~ Lessons ~

" Good will triumph over evil.

The human intellect cannot measure the designs of God.

If lived properly, this life is a bridge to eternal life."






Be content to labor for the future.

Serve the cause of truth with patience and industry.

Destroy error, falsehood and intolerance with truth,

honesty, honor and charity.



Do you live your life so that it is a bridge to




Twelve columns around the Council Chamber,

the Tracing Board of the New Jerusalem,

the colors blue and gold, the spirit of Masonry.


The Nineteenth Degree

"Grand Pontiff"

~ Summary ~

The great lesson of this degree is that life, when

properly, is but a bridge to eternal life. Once the

secret of life after death is known, a man understands

that there is no time but eternity. Therefore,

calamities which happen are temporary and will not

continue. We are not taken down by calamities,

but remain strong to fight against oppression and

ignorance; we have passed from the Alpha to the

Omega, have learned all the letters of the alphabet

and understand that Alpha comes after Omega, that

life is renewed. There is no end to learning

and science.

The cordon is crimson, bordered with white,

and worn from left to right. It teaches us that the zeal

and ardor of a Grand Pontiff ought to be set off by the

greatest purity of morals, perfect charity and beneficence.

 Where it crosses the breast, embroidered in gold are

twelve stars and the Greek letters Alpha and Omega

The stars upon it allude to the twelve gates of the New

Jerusalem, the twelve signs of the Zodiac, the twelve

fruits of the Tree of Life, the twelve tribes of Israel and

the twelve Apostles. The initials of the Apostles' names

appear upon the gates and foundations of the New

Jerusalem. The columns in the set of this degree also

number twelve.






The jewel is an oblong square of solid gold,

with the letter Aleph engraved on one side

and Tau on the other. These letters are the

 first and last of the Hebrew alphabet as those

upon the cordon are of the Greek. They

should remind us of the love and veneration

we owe to that Great Being, the source of

 all existence, the Alpha and Omega, the

 First and the Last. On His promises we rely

 with perfect confidence, in whose mercy

and goodness we implicitly trust, and for

the fulfillment of whose wise purposes we

  are content to wait.


Another distinctive ornament of this degree is

the breastplate of the High Priest of ancient

Israel with twelve different gems embedded in

 a 4 X 3 matrix. Upon each gem is one of the

 initials of the twelve names (or attributes) of

 Deity mentioned in the ritual.


In this degree there is also a fillet, or head band, of blue

 with twelve stars upon it which have the same

significance as those on the cordon. It is the peculiar

emblem of a Grand Pontiff because the slightest contact

with the earth will spoil its spotless purity. Similarly, the

 least indiscretion will soil the exalted character which

 you have voluntarily assumed.


"By exploring origins of words in previous degrees, we have discovered hidden meaning and enlightenment. Here

we have the same opportunity. The name, Grand Pontiff, does not refer to the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

The word pontiff derives from two Latin words -- ponti, meaning 'bridge' and facere, 'to make'; hence, pontiff means

'bridge builder.' With this information, it is easy to see how the primary duty taught in the degree -- labor for the

future -- and the lecture in Morals and Dogma relate directly to each other." (A Bridge To Light, p. 162)





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Ill. David A. Yarborough, 33, General Secretary

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This Website was last updated on  November 23, 2012