Consecration of the Sacred Space

As the Senior Deacon in a craft lodge in the State of New Jersey, moves about the floor, his movement is mirrored by the Junior Deacon. This is strikingly similar to the Deacon & Sub Deacon's work in the Tridentine Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. I thought about the movements and proving (with the use of the password) and purging. It is much like a clearing or banishing in the consecrating of a sacred space. The Holy Bible on the altar of the Masonic Lodge, speaks clearly of the rite of lighting a lamp. The Senior Deacon in the Masonic Lodge lights the the lights.

In the Eastern & Oriental tradition of the Orthodox Christians, the bishop and the architect mark the outline of the future building. The bishop (having himself been initiated via apostolic ordination and consecration) places the cornerstone and lights an oil lamp. St. Symeon, archbishop of Thessalonica (of the 1400's AD) described how "The bishop takes stones with his hands, descends to the foundation and places them in the form of a cross, blessing them as a symbol of placing an unshakable stone - Christ - in the foundation of the church. Then he takes an oil lamp, fills it with oil, lights it and places with blessing in the space between the stones, which means heavenly enlightenment from the true Light and the sole true light - the one of Christ" (St. Symeon of Thessalonica, A conversation on the sacred rites and church sacraments, ch.69). The Grand Master, in some respects a Primate or Patriarch of the craft, consecrates the cornerstone being laid for the foundation, with corn, wine and oil. In Christian forms of Masonry, such as the Scottish Rectified Rite in Switzerland, the Great Prior is blatantly titled as the Most Reverend, unapologetically placing an episcopal importance upon his chair.

The bishop responsible for the ritual consecrating of the new church, approaches the altar table with a special blend of incense. A chorus is sung: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." The Entered Apprentice Freemason will no doubt observe, that this very same chorus was delivered during his circumambulation and birth into the lodge, where he was given a new name, just as the Baptizand was given a new name.