The Royal Arch Chapter is the second of the four York Rite Bodies of Masonry (the first is the Symbolic Lodge, where the first three Degrees of Masonry are conferred.)
Chapters confer four degrees: Mark Master, Virtual Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch.
The Mark Master Degree
The Mark Master Degree is believed to have originated as a ceremony of registering a craftsman’s mark in those years distinguished by operative craft masons and their temple building. It was later developed into a full fledged degree by the Masonic fraternity as we know it today, Some scholars say it was the earliest degree and may predate all others by many years. It is highly regarded by students in all Masonry, teaching lessons that have proven of value in all walks of life. Some Grand Lodges place so high an eminence on the Mark Master Degree, that they confine it to the jurisdiction of a separate grand body, the Grand Lodge of Mark Masters.
The Degree of Mark Master is a continuation of the lessons taught in the 2nd (Fellowcraft) Degree. The Degree teaches that although we are often misunderstood, underrated and traduced, there is ONE who will make the rejected stone the Head of the corner.
The Most Excellent Master Degree
The Degree of Most Excellent Master is a very beautiful and dramatic Degree. The Most Excellent Master Degree is a product of American innovation. It was conferred in a Royal Arch Chapter as early as 1783 in Middletown, Conn. It is by far the most spectacular degree in all Freemasonry. It is the only degree that brings forcibly to our attention the completion and dedication of King Solomon’s Temple. The very idea upon which all Masonic symbolism has been based. Here the Temple, on which work was halted so dramatically in the 3rd (Master Mason) Degree is completed.
The Royal Arch Degree
The Royal Arch Degree is the climax of Ancient Craft Masonry and Masonic Symbolism. It is described as “the root and marrow of Freemasonry.” The Degree of Royal Arch is the capstone of the Craft Degrees. It is concerned with the discovery of a crypt and the value of the resulting discoveries to the Craft. In this Degree, that which was lost in the 3rd (Master Mason) Degree is again found.
It is the complete story of Jewish History during some of its darkest hours. Jerusalem and the Holy temple are destroyed, The people are being held captive as slaves in Babylon. Here you will join with some slaves as they are set free to return home and engage in the noble and glorious work of rebuilding the city and the Temple of God. It is during this rebuilding that they make a discovery that brings to light the greatest treasure of a Mason – the long lost Master’s Word.
Many historians have traced the earliest origins of the Royal Arch Degree to Ireland, late in the 17th century and in England in 1738, In 1752, ambulatory or military warrants for Lodges were introduced. This was instrumental in placing the Royal Arch Degree on a par with the Master Mason Degree. Military lodges were greatly responsible for planting Freemasonry in the Colonies and also gave birth to the use of the Marl and Royal Arch degrees in the “New World.” Lodge records show that the Royal Arch Degree was conferred at Fredericksburg No. 4 on December 12, 1753. George Washington was raised in this Lodge a few months prior to this date.
The value of Royal Arch Masonry will be appreciated by all who are exalted to that most sublime degree, particularly by those who are seeking to complete their Masonic education. It reveals the full light of Ancient Craft Masonry, presents it as a complete system in accordance with the original plan and justly entitles you to claim the noble name of Master Mason. These Degrees continue the education which the Master Mason received in the Symbolic Lodge. Any Master Mason who wishes “Further Light in Masonry” should receive them.
Supreme Grand Council Of Royal & Select Masters
Eastern Jurisdiction Of Canada
The Cryptic Rite is one of the smallest but one of the most important and certainly one of the most curious of all the rites.
The Cryptic degrees are centered on stories involving a vault or crypt where certain treasures were hidden beneath King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem for very specific purposes.
The Council confers three degrees: Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent Master. Grand Councils have the right to confer other degrees such as the Royal Ark Mariner Degree in Canada.
Royal Master Degree
A Degree emphasizing the lessons of patience and fortitude. The Degree centers around the Fellowcraft Masons who were artificers fabricating the fittings and furniture of the Temple. It is unusual in that the first part of the Degree depicts events taking place before the death of the Grand Master Hiram Abif, and the last part depicts events occurring after his death.
Select Master Degree
A Degree emphasizing the lessons of devotion and zeal. The Degree centers on the construction and furnishing of a Secret Vault beneath the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Temple, and the deposition of those secrets pertaining to the Craft by the three ancient Grand Masters of the Craft. This Degree bridges the events surrounding the concealment and loss of the Ineffable Word and the events leading to the recover of the Word in the Royal Arch Degree. The presiding body is a Council, and the presiding officer is a Master (titled Illustrious).
Super Excellent Master Degree
A Degree emphasizing the lessons of loyalty and faithfulness. The Degree centers around the events leading to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple at the hands of the Chaldeans. The Degree is narrated by small interludes of biblical prophecy that highlight the end of the first Temple and the construction of the second Temple. It is noteworthy for its scenes of the Jewish court of Zedekiah and the Chaldean court of Nebuchadnezzar. This degree is an honorary one, and a member of the Council not needing to have it in order to hold membership or office.
Royal Ark Mariner Degree
The story of this degree contains events before, during and after the Biblical Flood. The apron and emblems of this degree are easily recognizable by the ark and rainbow motif, although the degree itself claims the original apron to have been made of unfinished lambskin. The historic prerequisite to be made a Royal Ark Mason is to be a Mark Master Mason, however, the degree has no connection symbolically or otherwise to the Mark degree. A brother is said to be “Elevated” to the Degree of Royal Ark Mariner.
Templars believe in practice; their charities may not be proclaimed from the house tops, but the records of the smallest preceptor of Knights Templar should prove that Charity and Hospitality are yet the grand characteristics of this great Christian Order. Templary realizes that it is hypocritical to profess and teach great platitudes without making an honest effort to practice what is professed.
Our governing body (Sovereign Great Priory) administers a substantial fund known as The Knights Templar Charitable Foundation, contributed to by all members and administered without ostentation. This fund originally designed for orphans of deceased Knights Templar is also used for many deserving welfare cases and education of deserving students, including those for the ministry.
The Order Of The Red Cross
The Red Cross Order is not, strictly speaking, a Christian Order. Its value in the Templar system is its bridging of the gap between the Royal Arch degree and the Order of the Temple. It is a story founded upon an important period in Hebrew history and stresses Faith in God, the importance of Truth, and the value of Liberty and Justice.
The Orders Of Mediterranean Pass & Malta
The Order of Malta brings to the novitiate the story of another of the great Chivalric Orders, whose deeds of heroism fill the pages of history, and whose Christian character forms a bright page in religious history.
The Orders of the Temple
The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both women and men may belong. Worldwide, there are approximately 1 million members.
The organization was founded in 1857. Membership is limited to Masons, their spouses, and female relatives. Meetings require the presence of a Mason in order to open and transact business. The presiding body is a Chapter, and the presiding female and male officers are a Worthy Matron and Worthy Patron. The Eastern Star is a social order comprised of persons with spiritual values, but it is not a religion.
There is 5 Degrees conferred in The Order Of The Eastern Star and comprises of the following:
The Order of the Secret Monitor, or Brotherhood of David and Jonathan embodies a series of three ceremonies, constitutes one of the most significant international fraternities to be found within Freemasonry.
Its teachings are embraced by Brethren from all the major religions of the world. It is generally acknowledged by scholars that the fraternity of David and Jonathan, or the Order of Brotherly Love.
The Order comprises of the following degrees:
Secret Monitor – First Degree
The legend narrated during the Induction ceremony is the story of the remarkable friendship which existed between David and Jonathan. During the ceremony the candidate is instructed in a certain course of action to be adopted when a brother is about to do anything which might prove injurious to himself and it teaches a beautiful lesson in friendship and fidelity.
Prince – Second Degree
The admission ceremony to an assembly of Princes is also derived from the Book of Samuel and narrates how Saul sought the life of David. It further relates an interesting legend of the methods contrived to thwart the efforts of the jealous King.
Supreme Ruler – Third Degree
This last named degree is unusual in that the ceremony of Installation constitutes the third degree of the Order pertaining to the Kingship of David and is fundamentally concerned with the headship of a Conclave. Embodied in the ritual of this degree, however, is the ceremony of commissioning, which gives rank and status within the Order as a whole, a certificate being issued to that effect.