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
~ 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
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
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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