Royal Arch Masonry is the first order a Master Mason joins in the York Rite. The Chapter works the following degrees: The Mark Master Mason degree is in some respects an extension of the Fellow Crafts’ second degree. In some jurisdictions the degree is conferred in a Fellow Craft Lodge, that is, the second degree of the Blue Lodge. The Past Master (Virtual) degree is conferred because of the traditional requirement that only Past Masters of a Blue Lodge may be admitted to Holy Royal Arch. Because there are so many applicants for this degree, Virtual Past Master is required to qualify them for it. Much of the work is the same given to install the Worshipful Master of a Blue Lodge. There is no such requirement or procedure outside the USA. In the Most Excellent Master degree the building of King Solomon’s Temple, which figures so prominently in Blue Lodge, has been completed. In England the degree is conferred by Cryptic Councils, along with three other degrees below. The Royal Arch Mason degree is said by many to be the most beautiful degree in all of Freemasonry. Following the convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter in England on November 10, 2004, there are significant ritual differences from that worked in the USA, fraternal inter-relations remain as before. Freemasons who reach this degree may continue to Cryptic Masonry or go straight to Knights Templar (where permitted—requirements vary in different jurisdictions).
What is Royal Arch Masonry
Royal Arch Masonry is not a religion and does not endeavor to fix ones conception of God. Royal Arch Masonry regards your religious belief as your own; it does not attempt to influence your belief. It only asks that you have a belief. The motto of the Royal Arch is “Holiness To The Lord” and ever reminds us of the reverence due the Great and Beneficient Author of our existence, who is a Being without beginning of days or ending of years.
A Royal Arch Mason holds firm to the belief in the Brotherhood of Man, the Fatherhood of God, and the Immortality of the Human Soul in high regard. He, therefore, who is a member knows that in his travels around the world he will be welcome and greeted with hospitality and friendship.
A Royal Arch Mason is taught to practice and espouse toleration for men and to become brothers in deed. Through active membership one obtains those things to which Royal Arch Masons aspire –companionship–brotherhood–opportunity for service in humanity’s name.
A Royal Arch Mason is taught to continually attempt to build with Plumb,
Square and Level, that Temple of Character which is the great goal of our gentle Craft.
The Royal Arch Mason is the heart, root, backbone and marrow of Freemasonry.
Chapter of Royal Arch Masons Having completed your degrees in Symbolic Masonry (Blue Lodge), your next step in advancing in York Rite Masonry is the Chapter of Capitular Degrees.
Royal Arch Masonry is said to have derived its origin from the original Masonic Degrees and traditions.
The Chapter, as present in Florida, consists of four beautiful degrees:
- The Mark Master Degree
- Past Master Degree
- Most Excellent Degree
- Royal Arch Degree
All Organizations have their own secrets and mysteries. Royal Arch (Capitular) Masonry is secret only in the result of a ballot, and a few innocuous passwords and means of recognition which are rarely used, and then only for the purpose of examination for admission to a Chapter. Membership is gained by the presentation of ritual through degrees, as described above. The degrees are more important at regards the meaning of the ritual than the wording thereof.
Mark Master Degree
is believed to have originated as a ceremony of registering a craftsman mark in those years distinguished by the 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 and ritualists as one of the most beautiful degrees 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 Master Masons.
Past Master Degree
came into being because originally the degree of Royal Arch was conferred by the Symbolic (Blue) Lodge only on actual Past Masters. This degree was instituted to make it possible for all worthy Brethren to receive the Royal Arch Degree. The first record of its conferral is found in 1768 in England.
Most Excellent Master Degree
is a product of American innovation. It was conferred in 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.
Royal Arch Degree
is the climax of Ancient Craft Masonry and Masonic Symbolism. It is described as “the root and marrow of Freemasonry.” It is the complete story of Jewish History during some of its darkest hours. Jerusalem and the Holy Temple are destroyed. The people of Israel are being held captive as slaves in Babylon. Here you will join with some of the captives 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.