Masonic Funerals & The Graveside Address

by Steve Pritchard-Jones

The Masonic Funeral Service and the Graveside Address are beautiful pieces of literature. It’s simple and straight forward and will touch the hearts of everyone present, Masons and non-Masons.

A Masonic funeral is an option for Freemasons at any of the three levels in a Masonic Lodge –  Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason.

What sets Masonic funerals apart are the rituals, the focus, and the emphasis on inclusion. Masonic practices don’t claim to be a religion or a faith tradition. Though much of their ritual is of a religious context, it’s not referred to as a faith. This allows members of a lodge to practice their own religion.

A masonic service will focus on what the deceased did with the time he was given on earth and prompts people to engage with death in a rational, thoughtful manner.

The rituals and wording set Masonic funerals apart in most people’s minds. If you weren’t a member of a lodge, or familiar with their customers, a masonic funeral may appear unusual to you.

Rituals are an important way to commemorate someone’s individuality. They also provide closure for mourners. In this case, it allows Freemasons to die as they lived, within a tradition of brotherhood love, relief and truth.

The words spoken at a Masonic funeral come from years of developing Masonic tradition. Of course, needs change as time passes by, and their traditions reflect that.

The funeral process also often features verses from the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. It is common, given the inclusion of passages from the Bible, that the celebrant would use biblical metaphors in the service as well.

Funeral prayers are a major part of the Masonic funeral service. They remind us of brotherly love, proper use of the life we have, and doing good things. The prayers can sound archaic to the modern ear. 

At many funeral services, the loved one’s family decides the music. Maybe they would prefer a whimsical nod to the deceased’s personality. This isn’t always the case at a Masonic funeral because they tend to play Masonic music mainly composed for Masonic funerals by Mozart, who was a Freemason.  As a further mark of respect the Last Post may also be sounded on the bugle.

One of the most important funeral rites is the lambskin apron. It takes the place of a coffin flag in Masonic funerals. It’s draped over the deceased’s coffin and treated with the utmost respect as a sign of his Masonic membership. 

One of the most important Masonic funeral customs is committal because it allows Freemasons to commit the deceased’s soul to God. But the words used also focus on committing the soul to their resting place. This graveside emphasis on eternal rest is comforting, especially to those left behind. 

Example Order of Service

Words of welcome

Poem or reading

Sacred roll – Masonic career

Masonic Prayer

The Apron

Sprig of Acacia


Period of reflection


The Last Post

The Committal

Final thoughts

Don’t hesitate to contact Steve at Top Note Ceremonies ‘at your service’ for further information.

Steve Pritchard-Jones

Steve Pritchard-Jones

I am an independent civil celebrant conducting weddings, celebration of life/funerals, commitment, civil partnership, renewal of vows, adoption welcoming, naming, pet funerals, internment or scatter of ashes, memorials service, and even divorce ceremonies in Shropshire, West Midlands, Mid and North Wales, Derbyshire, Staffordshire & throughout the UK.

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