A Century of Fellowship

For more than a century, the members of the Ancient Mystic Order of Samaritans have been gathering in local Sanctorums to have some fun and enjoy the fraternal fellowship built among Odd Fellows. From humble beginnings in 19th Century Ontario, AMOS would eventually span the entire North American continent, with Samaritans meeting from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and all points in between.

Now, we want you to be a part of this history and guide AMOS through the next 100 years!

Quick Facts

  • Based on the legend of Xerxes.
  • Founded in in the late 19th Century in Canada.
  • Recognized by Sovereign Grand Lodge as the “Playground of Odd Fellowship” in 1950.
  • Sanctorums operating in the US and Canada (and growing!)

Full History

The real start of our Order is steeped in antiquity.

It is said that Xerxes, a haughty Persian king, who ruled in 456 B.A., while wandering unattended through his royal domain, met one of his subjects, who according to custom prostrated himself on the earth with his head in his hands. On being commanded to rise, the humble subject told the king that there would be imparted to him a secret of incalculable value. The King complied and was instructed. From that day onward the King’s insufferable pride and haughty manner disappeared and he became more concerned over humanity. From this unique story we believe that our illustrious Order of today originated.

We do know that for many years some of the more fun-loving delegates attending an I.O.O.F. Sovereign Grand Lodge Convention would get together and organize the Fun Degree for an evening of entertainment. They had no regular ritual and only one charge (which related to King Xerxes) written on a single sheet of foolscap paper. The degree appealed to “the boy in every man” and verified the proverb “A little fun now and then is relished by the best of men.” These Fun Lodges of Side Degrees sprang up across the American Continent, each conferring the degree according to their own tastes and ideas.  By 1886 the ritual had been refined, patterned after Middle-Eastern traditions as witnessed by signs, pass-words and sayings. The membership as a whole were referred to as Orientals and individually hailed as Tribesmen or, for officers, Sheiks.
It is apparent that each assembly was a meeting itself. Members attending a Sovereign or Grand Lodge Convention would organize the Degree, initiate the uninformed, select some charitable work for immediate attention and pass the hat. 25 cents of every donation or bill was retained to fund the order.

In the Spring of 1901 several far-seeing members felt there should be a governing body, to be known as the Supreme Orient, to perform functions usual to grand bodies. It was also deemed advisable to add a higher or a Grand Lodge Degree. The suggestion met with unanimous approval and Abner Fraser was asked to draft the new ritual. The name of the order was changed to the Oriental Order of Humility and Perfection. All were obligated in the new degree, the members being designated as Sheiks. John A. MacDonald became the first Supreme Monarchos, and Abner Fraser was elected as Supreme Clericus.

Some of the controlling authorities of the Odd Fellows did not approve of the conduct displayed by members of the Order and did everything they could to stop then. Others objected because it was not a recognized body under the Sovereign Grand Lodge. One authority of the I.O.O.F. threatened to have those taking part in the Fun Orders expelled from Odd Fellows if they continued with the institution of the Supreme Orient! Despite the controversy, the installation was held on August 13th of 1901. Three Canadian Sanctorums were present, Xerxes Sanctorum No. 1 of Toronto, Yezidee Sanctorum No. 2 of Hamilton, and Gotno Sanctorum No. 3 of Ottowa. The occasion of the birth of the Supreme Orient was royally celebrated by a torchlight parade. Sheiks and Tribesmen wore colorful Eastern robes, and elephants, camels, and zebras were secured from a circus then playing in town.

In the 1920’s, the Sovereign Grand Lodge asked that several of the Odd Fellows “fun” organizations consolidate into one uniform group. After many years of discussion, the Oriental Order of Humility and Perfection, along with the Imperial Order of Muscovites, the Ancient Mystic Order of Cabiri, the Pilgrim Knights of Oriental Splendor, and the Veiled Prophets of Baghdad consolidated into the United Order of Splendor and Perfection. The following year, the name of the organization was changed to the Ancient Mystic Order of Samaritans and has remained so to this day.

In 1948, it was proposed that the Order request the Sovereign Grand Lodge of the IOOF to recognize the Ancient Mystic Order of Samaritans.  The Soveregin Grand Lodge wanted A.M.O.S. to become another branch and be subject to the supervision and laws of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

But in 1950 the Soveregin Grand Lodge gave its blessings to use the words ” Playground for Odd Fellows” as the Motto of the Ancient, Mystic Order of Samaritans. Additionally the Samaritans and Sheiks would always sponsor and participate in only events that would best reflect the loyalty of the A.M.O.S. to the principals and teachings of the Independant Order of Odd Fellows of the world.

Today the Order continues to be an active body operating as a Playground Order for Odd Fellows throughout Canada and the United States. Although AMOS is an order only for men, the corresponding women’s group, Ladies of the Orient, is very closely associated, and traditionally AMOS sanctorums and LOTO Zuannas (the name for an individual chapter of LOTO) are held at the same location on the same day and time.

Recently there has been a great resurgence of interest in AMOS, and new Sanctorums are being chartered in various locations around the United States. AMOS also continues to support various worthy charities and non-profit organizations.

The Owl and the Fez

The common symbol of the Ancient Mystic Order of Samaritans is an owl, perched on a scimitar, flanked by a crescent moon. The scimitar is inscribed with the phrase “We Never Sleep,” suspended over a pyramid. The base of the pyramid has the letters “XERXES” making reference to the ancient ruler that the ritualistic work portrays.

Members of AMOS wear a maroon fez. Front and center on the fez is the symbol of the order. Above the symbol is the name and number of the local Sanctorum the owner hails from. Below the symbol are the letters “A.M.O.S.” – the abbreviation for the name of the order. Tassel and fez colors change based upon the experience and rank of the member.

Rank Fez Color Tassel Color
Samaritan Red Yellow
Sheik Red Red
Samaritan & Past Grand Monarch Red Yellow & Blue
Sheik & Past Grand Monarchos Red Red & Blue
District Deputy Red Purple
Past District Deputy Red Red, White, & Blue
Divisonal Officer Blue Red
Divisional Supreme Monarchos Blue Purple
Past Divisional Monarchos Blue White
Supreme Officer Red Purple
Supreme Monarchos Purple Purple
Past Supreme Monarchos Purple White