The Agnus Dei, meaning the Lamb of God, also called the Paschal Lamb, or the Lamb offered in the Pascal Sacrifice, is one of the jewels of a Commandery of Knights Templar in America, and is worn by the Generalissimo.
The lamb is one of the earliest symbols of Christ in the iconography of the Church, and as such was a representation of the Savior, derived from that expression of Saint John the Baptist (John1, 29), who, on beholding Christ, exclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God."
"Christ," says Didron (Christian Iconography 1, page 318), "shedding his blood for our redemption, is the Lamb slain by the children of Israel, and with the blood of which the houses to be preserved from the wrath of God were marked with the celestial tau.
The Paschal Lamb eaten by the Israelites on the night preceding their departure from Egypt is the type of that other divine Lamb of whom Christians are to partake at Easter, in order thereby to free themselves from the bondage in which they are held by vice."
The earliest representation that is found in Didron of the Agnus Dei is of the sixth century, and consists of a lamb supporting in his right foot a cross. In the eleventh century we find a banneret attached to this cross, and the lamb is then said to support "the banner of the resurrection." This is the modern form in which the Agnus Dei is represented.
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
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