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Ritual

1. FOR OPENING CEREMONIES

(To be used whenever the Chapter holds a formal meeting)

When all is ready, the Prytanis shall give the signal for silence and order, and the Pyloros shall close the door.

PRYTANIS: Adelphos (Adelpheˉ) Pyloros, you will see that no one enters this room save members and accepted candidates for initiation into Eta Sigma Phi.

PYLOROS: I shall admit only these.

PRYTANIS: Adelphos (Adelpheˉ) Hyparchos, what does Sigma signify to us?

HYPARCHOS: Sigma is the society under which we meet, providing us with the means of cooperation throughout our body to achieve our aims.

PRYTANIS: Adelphos (Adelpheˉ) Grammateus, what does Phi signify in our ritual?

GRAMMATEUS: Phi binds us together in the study and appreciation of the ancient classics, opening out before us a vista of that glorious age of intellectual achievement.

PRYTANIS: This organization, meeting under the name of ἡ συνουσία φιλελλήνων, purposes to foster the study of the ancient classics, to enhance the appreciation of Greek and Roman culture, and to promote good will and friendship among classical students.

Members of Eta Sigma Phi, what is our motto?

MEMBERS: φιλοσοφοῦμεν κὰι φιλοκαλοῦμεν.

(During the opening ceremony the Prytanis, Hyparchos, and Grammateus sit at a table at one end of the room.

All closed meetings should end with the following, said by all members in unison:

ALL MEMBERS: Let the spirit of earnest endeavor, good will, and friendship pervade the body of Eta Sigma Phi and bind us all together.

2. FOR INITIATION

The ritual requires two rooms, preferably connected. The room in which the initiation takes place is called the naos; the anteroom in which the candidates are at first assembled is called the pronaos. In the naos the arrangement is as follows: The table with candelabra on each side is at the end of the room far from the door. The candles should be royal purple, one of the colors of the society. The olive branch and saffron-colored peplos, which is folded in a narrow band, lie upon the mensa. Until the entrance of the Kybernetes the mensa remains covered and serves as a lectern for the presiding officer. The members of the chapter who are not officiating are seated in parallel rows in front of the table and facing toward the center of the room. A passageway is left around the room behind the chairs. The Prytanis stands or sits behind the mensa. The Grammateus is seated at one side. (See diagram.)

The candidates will be assembled in the pronaos. (The Constitution and By-Laws should be made available to the candidates at this time.)

When all is in readiness and the chapter has opened its meeting according to the form prescribed, the Chrysophylax will retire to the pronaos and, having first collected whatever fees are required by the Constitution and By-Laws, will address the candidates as follows:

 CHRYSOPHYLAX: You have signified your desire to become a member (members) of Eta Sigma Phi and have been recommended for initiation into that society. In this ceremony which you are about to pass through, you will be required to pledge your word of honor that you will abide by and support the Constitution of the National Society of Eta Sigma Phi and the By-Laws of the local chapter, and that with loyalty you will promote its purposes and ideals. But I assure you that nothing dishonorable or unlawful will be required. Do you, one and all, wish to proceed?

CANDIDATES (severally): I do.

CHRYSOPHYLAX: I shall now conduct you into the naos.

(Chrysophylax signifies by one knock to Pyloros that the candidates are ready. Pyloros responds to the message with two knocks. Chrysophylax leads the candidates to a position facing the mensa but some distance from it—Position A on diagram.)

 PRYTANIS: Adelphos (Adelpheˉ) Chrysophylax, whom have you there?

CHRYSOPHYLAX: This is (These are) … (names of candidates). He (she, they) has (have) been judged worthy to assume the responsibilities of our society and has (have) been duly selected to be admitted to the rites of the order. He (she, they) has (have) met all the requirements and now voluntarily presents (present) himself (herself, themselves) for initiation.

PRYTANIS: (addressing the candidates by name)(Chrysophylax advances the candidates to a position about five feet in front of the mensa—Position B on diagram.) 

In presenting yourself (yourselves) for initiation into our society you have taken a step which I trust will be mutually helpful to you and to us. The purposes of Eta Sigma Phi are to encourage classical scholarship, to enhance the appreciation of Greek and Roman culture which is our priceless heritage, and to promote good will and friendship among classical students. Your excellent record for scholarship has pointed you out as a person (persons) both worthy and able to cooperate with us in promoting the ideals of the society, and as classical students devoted to similar interests, we desire your good will and friendship. We expect you to continue to maintain a high quality of scholarship, so that as champion (champions) of the classics you may never bring reproach upon them.

Before we can proceed further I must require of you an affirmative answer to the following:

Do you promise–

That you will abide by and support the Constitution of the National Society of Eta Sigma Phi and the By-Laws of … Chapter?

That you will uphold the ideals of the society and strive by every honorable means to promote the cause to which it is dedicated?

That you will contribute your fair share of time and effort to carry forward the work of the chapter?

That you will try at all times to maintain and promote harmony, good will, and friendship within the Chapter?

Do you unreservedly assent to these propositions?

CANDIDATES (severally): I do.

PRYTANIS: In accordance with the above and in token thereof you will step to the desk of the Grammateus and sign the By-Laws.

(After signing the By-Laws, the neophytes are seated by the Chrysophylax in a place reserved for them.) 

PRYTANIS: Having thus fulfilled the requirements for membership and having proved yourself (yourselves) worthy of receiving the benefits derived from the fellowship in this society, you are now ready for further instruction.

The official name of the national society to which you have just sworn your oath of loyalty is ἡ συνουσία φιλελλήνων (Society of Those Who Love the Greek Tradition). The letters which signify this name are Eta Sigma Phi, and our emblem is a pin consisting of these letters. (If pins are used, they are presented at this time.) 

Eta is the Greek word for “the.”

Sigma is the initial of συνουσία, the society under which we meet, providing us with the means of cooperation throughout our body to achieve our aims.

Phi, as the initial of φιλελλήνων, binds us together in the study and appreciation of the ancient classics, opening out before us that glorious age of intellectual achievement.

This organization, meeting under the name of h( sunousi&a filellh&nwn, purposes to foster the study of the ancient classics, to enhance the appreciation of Greek and Roman culture, and to promote good will and friendship among classical students.

Our motto is φιλοσοφοῦμεν κὰι φιλοκαλοῦμεν (We are lovers of wisdom and beauty).

Our colors are gold and royal purple.

Access to all official meetings is gained by one knock, which the Pyloros answers after an interval with two knocks before opening the door.

Eta Sigma Phi has a brief history, which you as a member (members) should know and which the Grammateus will read to you.

GRAMMATEUS: In the autumn of 1914 a group of students in the Department of Greek at the University of Chicago organized as an undergraduate classical club under the name of Phi Sigma. This organization continued for ten years with a membership consisting of students of Latin and Greek. By a union of this society with a society already existing at Northwestern University, in 1924 the organization became national. The Chicago society became the Alpha Chapter and the Northwestern society became the Beta Chapter. With the nationalization the name became Eta Sigma Phi.

PRYTANIS: Our hope is that Eta Sigma Phi will promote a greater appreciation of classical culture throughout our country. In you as a member (members) of … Chapter the national society reposes full confidence, with the expectation that through faithful effort and loyalty you will contribute to the realization of this hope.

 

SECOND SECTION

(This section may be omitted for the shorter ritual.) 

PRYTANIS: Adelphos (Adelpheˉ) Chrysophylax, bring our new members before me for further instruction. (When the neophytes have been brought before the mensa, the Prytanis then addresses them.) And now, that you may have a better 8 understanding of the high purposes which our society holds, you shall witness the symbols of our order and hear the words of some of the sages of ancient times. I shall now place you in the hands of a faithful guide who will reveal to you the immediate symbols of our order and later conduct you to those who will lay before you the wisdom of some of the great teachers of the past.  

(The Prytanis and Kybernetes change places. The Kybernetes uncovers the mensa. The neophytes remain as they were.)

KYBERNETES: Before the dawn of history, when Zeus, father of gods and mortals, ruled in ancient Greece, the city of Athens was founded upon a rocky citadel, the Acropolis. The people chose as their patron deity Athene, warrior daughter of Zeus, goddess of all wisdom, knowledge, and art. Under her tutelage Athens waxed great and powerful and became supreme in literature, philosophy, and all the arts. Her learning filled both Greece and Rome, and from Rome and Greece it pervades all civilization. So in Eta Sigma Phi Athene symbolizes the wisdom and power gained through the study of the classics.

On the mensa before which you now stand are symbols of Athene, protecting deity of Athens. You should know the full significance of themensa and these lighted candles. This mensa symbolizes the shrine of classical culture recognized by everyone who is worthy of the name of Eta Sigma Phi. The candles symbolize the continuing light of classical learning. Just as this mensa stands here in the light of these candles, kindled by one generation after another, so shall Eta Sigma Phi abide, lighted by the radiance of the learning which Athene spread abroad throughout the world, to endure for all time. It is the duty and privilege of each one of you to uphold the light of classical culture and learning through all the walks of life.

The peplos of saffron color which the people of Athens regularly bore to Athene lies upon the mensa as the symbol of our devotion to our society. The branch is that of the olive tree which Athene created for human use. As the olive grew abundantly in the land of the Athenians, so Athens developed the great tree of classical culture, whose branches reach out into all the world. Just as this is a branch of the olive, so are we a branch of the greater tree.

Now that you may more thoroughly understand the inspiration of Athene you shall go in search of further wisdom. Follow me. 

(Choose two or three speeches from the following; other suitable passages may be added or substituted.) 

(The Kybernetes leads the neophytes away from the mensa and to the place where the first speaker is seated at a table with a lighted candle. The Kybernetes should arrange the neophytes in front of the table before the first speaker. Music is desirable during this and the following progressions.)

KYBERNETES: Let us make inquiry of this stranger where we shall find the object of our quest. (To speaker) These who follow me desire wisdom and beauty that they may follow the right way of life.

HOMER: I speak the words of Homer.

The Muses love the race of poets and to us they teach a sweet song. For they know all things, but we hear only a rumor and know not anything. Even as are the generations of leaves, such are those likewise of human beings; the wind scatters the leaves on the earth, and the forest buds and puts forth more again when the season of spring is at hand; so of the generations of humankind, one puts forth and another ceases. All things are ever the same. The past is for you a mirror of the future. Learn of us.

Learn for your youth lessons of caution from glorious Achilles, taught to be a speaker of words and a doer of deeds. Rule your high spirits, for it is not seemly to have a ruthless heart. There is no device to heal an injury once done. View not the moment only, but in whatever you take a hand look before and after, that it may be for the best for all.

Learn for your later years lessons of fortitude from versatile Odysseus, who, suffering much while seeing the cities and learning the minds of many people, was disciplined to say this to his great spirit in every crisis, “Endure, my heart.”

KYBERNETES: Follow me, that we may make further inquiry. (The Kybernetes leads the neophytes away from the first speaker to the second speaker.) To you, stranger, I bring these who journey in search of wisdom and of beauty. Can you guide them in their quest?

SAPPHO: I sing the lyrics of Sappho

Whoever sits opposite those I love, whoever listens nearby to their sweet voices and lovely laughter, seems as fortunate as the gods to me. Love has shaken my heart like a wind falling on oaks on a mountain. Some say that a host of cavalry, others that a host of infantry, and others that a host of ships is the most beautiful thing on the black earth. But I say the most beautiful thing on earth is whatever a person loves.

It is easy to make the power of love intelligible to everyone by recalling Queen Helen of Sparta. Beyond other humans in beauty , she abandoned her noble husband and went off to Troy. The war that she caused, the thousand ships that she launched, inspired great poets such as Homer in their sweet song. As love transformed Helen’s life, and Helen’s world, so our love for learning has the power to change who we are and where we are.

And by taking the greatest delight in song, one that I loved became like a goddess for all to see. She stood out among Lydian women like the rosy-fingered moon after sunset, surpassing all of the stars, spreading its light over the salt sea and the flowery fields. Without a love for learning, without the joys of song, after we die there will never be any recollection of us or any longing for us. For we will have no share in the roses of Pieria, the sweet Muses.

PLATO: I speak the words of Plato.

The unexamined life is not worth living. It is not for you to follow the opinion of the many rather than that of the wise, who deserve more deference than all others combined.

I have believed in the unity of the virtues and taught that knowledge of them is latent within all of us, waiting to be remembered. I have set forth the sole reality of Ideas and held that we most nobly order our lives by fashioning our actions on the pattern of the Good. I have described an ideal state in which all social and political arrangements conduce to this end.

I exhort you to live in balance and harmony, body and soul.  Do not allow appetite or spiritedness to overcome reason, and do not spend all your time in cultivation of the mind at the expense of your body, or of the body at the expense of your mind.  In balance there is beauty, and all that is good must be beautiful.

Should you live a life of balance, guided by reason, you need not fear pain, disrepute, or even death.  The reward of the philosopher awaits you on the other side: wheeling with the stars, eternal motion in perfect harmony.

KYBERNETES: Follow me, that we may make further inquiry. (The Kybernetes leads the neophytes away from second speaker and to the third speaker.) Let us hear the words of this stranger. (To speaker) These who follow me desire to find wisdom and beauty.

CORNELIA: I recall the words of Cornelia

The daughter of Scipio Africanus who defeated Hannibal, I inspired my own noble family to value love for family members and country as well as literature, learning and eloquent public speaking. My husband and I had twelve children, six boys and six girls. But only three survived to adulthood, and his early death left me with sole responsibility for their upbringing.

Rejecting a marriage proposal from an Egyptian king, I devoted myself exclusively to my children’s education: surrounding myself with other lovers of learning, forsaking material display. When a guest at my home insisted on displaying her jewelry, I detained her in conversation until my sons Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus returned from school. I then announced, embracing them, “These are my jewels.”  Like the mothers of Julius and Augustus Caesar, I was recognized for educating a superior type of Roman leader. Rome did not see their like again once the Republic fell.

Hailed for writing letters that were a model of learned speech, and for contributing to my sons’ oratorical eloquence, I bore the early, violent deaths of both sons with dignity. Yet I did not always subscribe to their radical political positions. As I wrote my younger son, we must think of the family members who cherish and depend on us before we incur trouble and cause suffering, especially to fellow citizens. It is a beautiful thing to take vengeance on those who harm us, but only if we can do so without harming our family and country.

VERGIL: I speak the words of Vergil.

Before all other things, may the sweet Muses, whose sacred emblems I bear, and for whom I have great love, receive me and show me the paths of heaven and the stars. Blessed is the person who has been able to learn the causes of things, and who has hurled under foot all fear, and fate that cannot be opposed. Fortunate are they who know the humility of God. Power granted by the people cannot turn them from the straight path, nor the purple of kings, nor civil strife. They do not carry the political life of the Forum to the extremes of madness, nor sail the seas only to attack foreign lands; they do not ruin cities for their wealth or live as misers gloating over buried gold. They are not too easily impressed by the glib speaker, nor do they love to hear praise of themselves from others. Though they may not live in a mansion, they have the wealth of simple pleasures: youth strengthened by honest effort, worship of God, reverence for age. Among such people as these Justice has set her footprints.

You, like Aeneas, grasp the Golden Bough that leads to the Underworld, a place where truths are revealed. Heed the warning of the Sibyl, for the descent to Avernus is easy, but the return is difficult. Be resolved that, when you have gained the knowledge that you seek, you will return, not through the ivory gate of false dreams, but through the gate of horn into reality, where your newfound knowledge may help to make the lives of all people better.

KYBERNETES: Follow me. 

(The Kybernetes leads the neophytes back to the mensa and the Prytanis, who again stands or sits behind the mensa.)

I have taken these candidates far in the search for wisdom and beauty.

PRYTANIS: Your search has been long and it has led you to the wisdom of some of the greatest sages of ancient times. Ever give heed to their words and ever pursue what is good and what is true and above all else seek out wisdom and beauty. Be ever mindful of these sources of inspiration. Accept the treasure which is placed within your grasp and carry on this heritage.

 

And now since you have satisfied the requirements, on behalf of the national society, I receive you as active members of Eta Sigma Phi. 

(If honorary members are being initiated at the same time, the following sentence must be said to them: And you by these same tokens and in recognition of your manifest loyalty and service in the study and promotion of classical culture are received as an honorary member [members] of Eta Sigma Phi.)

ALL MEMBERS TOGETHER: Let the spirit of earnest endeavor, good will, and friendship pervade the body of Eta Sigma Phi and bind us all together.

3. FOR INSTALLATION OF OFFICERS

(For local chapters) 

PRYTANIS (or installing officer): Adelphos (Adelpheˉ) Grammateus, you will read the names of those who are to be installed as officers of … Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi. As their names are called they will be brought before me by their respective retiring officers or other sponsors. 

(As the names are read the officers-elect are brought forward and placed in a row before the installing officer.)

PRYTANIS: Are there any reasons why any of these persons should not be installed as one of your officers? (Pauses.) If not, we shall proceed with the installation.

Before you may be duly installed it will be necessary for you to take the oath of office, taking upon yourselves a solemn and binding obligation to be ever diligent in the administration of the affairs of the offices to which you have been elected. Please raise your right hands and repeat this oath:

I promise on my honor / that I will ever conform to, and abide by, / the constitution, laws, edicts, and traditions of Eta Sigma Phi. / I promise that I will do all in my power / to enforce these regulations and usages, / and that I will be faithful / in the performance of the duties of the office / to which I have been elected.

PRYTANIS: The Prytanis-elect will come forward. (Pauses.) You have been chosen to fill the highest position in … Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi—the presiding officer and chief executive of this chapter. It is your conduct and your word that will determine to a large extent how our society shall be regarded during the coming year and upon your shoulders rests the obligation to further its welfare and prosperity. You will preside at all meetings of the chapter and are ex-officio member of all committees. Do you whole-heartedly assume the responsibilities of this office?

ANSWER: I do.

PRYTANIS: The Hyparchos-elect will come forward. (Pauses.) You have been chosen as Hyparchos of … Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, and you will assist the Prytanis at all times. In the absence of the Prytanis you will preside and your special charge will be chairing the expansion committee. Do you wholeheartedly assume the responsibilities and duties of this office?

ANSWER: I do.

PRYTANIS: The Grammateus-elect will come forward. (Pauses.) You have been chosen as Grammateus of … Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, and it is your duty to keep an accurate account of the proceedings of all meetings, to handle all correspondence, and to send notices of all meetings. Do you whole-heartedly assume the responsibilities and duties of this office?

ANSWER: I do.

PRYTANIS: The Chrysophylax-elect will come forward. (Pauses.) You have been chosen as Chrysophylax of … Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, and it is your duty to receive and disburse all funds and to keep an accurate account of the same and to make an annual report. Do you whole-heartedly assume the responsibilities and duties of this office?

ANSWER: I do.

PRYTANIS: The Pyloros-elect will come forward. (Pauses.) You have been chosen as Pyloros of … Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, and it will be your duty to guard the door of the meeting room during all closed sessions and to maintain order in the meeting. Do you whole-heartedly assume the responsibilities and duties of this office?

ANSWER: I do.

PRYTANIS: Will the officers and members of … Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi stand? (Pauses.) Officers of … Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, these are the members who have chosen you to fill your respective offices during the coming year and to whom you owe full allegiance and loyalty. Members of … Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, only through cooperation with these officers will your society forge ahead during the coming year. It is the duty of each and every one of you to give to the greatest extent possible both of your time and of your ability to the furtherance of our work. I now declare your officers duly installed and your new year of work opened. 

(In case a new chapter is being installed, the installing officer immediately after the installation of officers shall turn to the newly installed Prytanis and say:)

By the authority vested in me by the national society of Eta Sigma Phi I deliver this charter of … Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi to you to keep and to hand on to your successor and I declare … Chapter to be duly installed.

 

4. FOR INSTALLATION OF GRAND OFFICERS

MEGAS (MEGALEˉ) PRYTANIS (or installing officer): Adelphos (Adelpheˉ) Grammateus, you will read the names of those who are to be installed as officers of the Grand Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi. As their names are called they will be brought before me by their respective retiring officers or other sponsors. (Names are read.)

PRYTANIS: Are there any reasons why any of these persons should not be installed as one of your officers? (Pauses.) If not, we shall proceed with the installation.

Before you may be duly installed it will be necessary for you to take the oath of office, taking upon yourselves a solemn and binding obligation to be ever diligent in the administration of the various offices to which you have been elected. Please raise your right hands and repeat this oath:

I promise on my honor / that I will ever conform to and abide by / the constitution, laws, edicts, and traditions of Eta Sigma Phi. / I promise that I will do all in my power / to enforce these regulations and usages, / and that I will be faithful / in the performance of the duties of the office / to which I have been elected.

PRYTANIS: The Megas (Megaleˉ) Prytanis-elect will come forward. (Pauses.) You have been chosen to fill the highest position in the Grand Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi—the presiding officer and chief executive of this organization. It is your conduct and your word that will determine to a large extent how our society shall be regarded during the coming year and upon your shoulders rests the obligation to further its welfare and prosperity. You will preside at all meetings of the Grand Chapter and are ex-officio member of all committees. Do you whole-heartedly assume the responsibilities of this office?

ANSWER: I do.

PRYTANIS: The Megas (Megaleˉ) Hyparchos-elect will come forward. (Pauses.) You have been chosen as Megas (Megaleˉ) Hyparchos of the Grand Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, and you will assist the Megas (Megaleˉ) Prytanis at all times. In the absence of the Megas (Megaleˉ) Prytanis you will preside and your special charge will be chairing the college expansion committee. Do you wholeheartedly assume the responsibilities and duties of this office?

ANSWER: I do.

PRYTANIS: The Megas (Megaleˉ) Grammateus-elect will come forward. (Pauses.) You have been chosen as Megas (Megaleˉ) Grammateus of the Grand Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, and it is your duty to keep an accurate account of the proceedings of all meetings. Do you whole-heartedly assume the responsibilities and duties of this office?

ANSWER: I do.

PRYTANIS: The Megas (Megaleˉ) Chrysophylax-elect will come forward. (Pauses.) You have been chosen as Megas (Megaleˉ) Chrysophylax of the Grand Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, and it is your duty to receive and disburse all funds and to keep an accurate account of the same and to make an annual report. Do you whole-heartedly assume the responsibilities and duties of this office.

ANSWER: I do.

PRYTANIS: Will the officers and members of Eta Sigma Phi stand? (Pauses.) Officers of the Grand Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, these are the members who have chosen you to fill your respective offices during the coming year and to whom you owe full allegiance and loyalty. Members of Eta Sigma Phi, only through cooperation with these officers will your society forge ahead during the coming year. It is the duty of each and every one of you to give to the greatest extent possible both of your time and of your ability to the furtherance of our work. I now declare your officers duly installed and your new year of work opened.

 

5. FOR PLEDGING

(To be used immediately following ritual for opening ceremonies) 

PRYTANIS: The business of this meeting is the pledging of those who have been elected as prospective members of Eta Sigma Phi. (To the Pyloros.)Let them enter.  

(Pyloros conducts candidates to middle of room before Prytanis.)

PYLOROS: I present these candidates to you. (Names them.)

PRYTANIS: Members-elect of Eta Sigma Phi, this society is an organization of students who purpose to encourage classical scholarship, to enhance the appreciation of Greek and Roman culture, and to promote good will and friendship among classical students. Your excellent records for scholarship have pointed you out as persons both worthy and able to cooperate with us in promoting the ideals of the society, and as classical students devoted to similar interests, we covet your good will and friendship.

In joining our society you take upon yourselves certain obligations which you cannot honorably neglect or renounce. We expect you to continue to maintain a high quality of scholarship, so that as champions of classics you may never bring reproach upon them. We expect you to contribute your fair share of time and effort to carry forward the work of the chapter. The welfare of the chapter requires that you do all in your power to maintain and promote the harmony of the society, and by reciprocity prove yourselves worthy of the good will and friendship which are accorded to you. If it is your intention to do these things you will so indicate by saying “I will.”

CANDIDATES: I will.

PRYTANIS: Then I do declare you pledged to … Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi and fully eligible for initiation.