The Order of the Secret Monitor, or Brotherhood of David and Jonathan, is probably the most caring of all the Masonic Orders.

A Brief History of the Order

An Order of David and Jonathan existed in Holland in the 18th Century but our present Order was brought from America to Britain by Dr. I. Zacharie about 1875. Originally the Order, as worked in America, consisted of a single degree, which could be conferred on any worthy Master Mason by another brother who had received it himself. Under Zacharie, a Grand Council was formed in 1887 and the ritual was extended to the present system of three degrees. Later there followed a problematic period when the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees was empowered to confer the American version of the Degree. The conflict between the two bodies was resolved in 1931 when all rights were transferred to the Grand Council (later Conclave) of the Order of the Secret Monitor.

Conclaves and Officers

Each Conclave is headed by a Supreme Ruler who represents David. The Immediate Past Ruler represents Jonathan. The other principal officers are the Counsellor and the Guide. Then come the usual offices of Treasurer, Recorder and Director of Ceremonies.

Next are four officers who are of key importance in promoting the fundamental principles of the Order – the Visiting Deacons. They are each assigned a portion of the membership and are responsible for communicating with their “charges” between meetings of the Conclave to ensure that all is well with them.

The other officers are the Assistant Director of Ceremonies, Guarder and Sentinel. In the Second or Princes Degree the titles of some the officers take on the names of certain Biblical characters involved in the story.

At each meeting of the Conclave, a roll-call of members is held, the Visiting Deacons report on their contact with the absentees, the reason for their absence, and if they are in need of help in any way whatsoever.

The Grand Conclave of the Order of the Secret Monitor for Northern Australia and Papua New Guinea became autonomous and was inaugurated on 31 May 1969.

The Order consists of three degrees;

Induction as a Secret Monitor is the First Degree where we have reference to David (father of Solomon) and Jonathan (son of Saul the first King of Israel). David was a great warrior and a servant of the King. Saul however, soon became jealous of David’s brilliance and plotted to kill him and the First Degree graphically describes how Jonathan warned David (in a non-obvious manner, hence “Secret Monitor”), not to return to King Saul’s household. It is taken from the first book of Samuel. The lesson in the Degree is the importance of friendship and fidelity.

The Second Degree is the Princes degree,

Through his friendship with Jonathan, David was informed of the plot to kill him and fled to the hills for safety. In order to keep David informed of developments within the King’s court, Jonathan devised a special system of communication which the Degree embraces and develops.

Saul was informed of the association between David and his son and blamed those around him for encouraging it. Saul embarked on a major search for David, slaughtering many whom he believed to be involved in his concealment but David triumphed and eventually became the second King of Israel.

This Degree tells how David admitted into his band one who had escaped from a massacre carried out at the order of Saul.

This is also taken from the first book of Samuel, and again stresses the importance of friendship and fidelity.

The third Degree is the Installation Ceremony of Supreme Ruler who is the Presiding Officer of the Conclave. It is unique, in that in addition to the actual Installation Ceremony that is usually carried out by the Supreme Ruler’s predecessor, there is the Ceremony of Commissioning, The Ceremony of Commissioning must be carried out by a Past or present Grand Officer, usually the most senior present, which confers status throughout the entire Order, and a Certificate is issued by Grand Conclave to that effect.

These ceremonies are very moving and it is upon the principles exemplified therein that the system of communicating friendship and caring among the members of the Order is promoted in a practical way.

The regalia for members of the Order is quite simple being a breast jewel suspended from a different ribbon for each of the first two degrees. The Officers of the Conclave wear a sash, the colours being different for each of the first two degrees. The Supreme Ruler wears a purple robe, a jewel suspended from a collarette and a sash with the name of the Conclave and the initials SR on it.

Grand Officers wear sashes of different colours embroidered with the symbol of the Jurisdiction and a Grand Officer Jewel suspended from a collarette, again of variant colours. The Grand Supreme Ruler and Deputy Grand Supreme Ruler each wear a Chain of Office, a Grand Officer Jewel surmounted with a Crown on a Collarette and carry a baton of office.

The Order of the Secret Monitor is an extremely happy and friendly Order. The qualification for membership is solely that of a being a Master Mason in good standing, and the office of Supreme Ruler can be reached without having to have been through the Chair of a Craft Lodge.

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