About Us - Royal Arch
Royal Arch Masonry
The various local Chapters operate under the jurisdiction of the “Grand Chapter” of each State, which in turn is governed by the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International. The General Grand Chapter constitutes the largest Masonic Body in the world.
The York Rite Chapter confers four degrees (Capitular Degrees), giving a more complete story of Masonry and Masonic symbolism, in the following order:
- Mark Master
- Past Master (Virtual)
- Most Excellent Master
- Royal Arch
The Mark Master degree is probably the oldest Masonic degree, and is one of the most highly respected. It teaches practical lessons for everyday living. This degree supplements the Fellowcraft Degree. It is the fourth degree and addresses some of the lessons here in the Material World.
The Past Master degree teaches the candidate the important duties and responsibilities of the Oriental Chair, and is a qualification for advancement. This is the 5th degree and emphasizes the spirit in the Material World.
In the Most Excellent Master degree, we are taught the lessons of the completion and dedication of the Temple. It is commonly known that the symbolism of Freemasonry surrounds the building of the Temple. In symbolic Free-Masonry, the Temple is never completed. This is the 6th degree and alludes to the meaning behind Solomon's Seal.
In the degree of the Royal Arch, the epitome of Masonic symbolism is found. It has been said “the Royal Arch is the root, heart and marrow of Masonry, without knowledge of which the Masonic character cannot be complete”. The Royal Arch degree is a significant part in the completion of Freemasonry. This is the seventh degree and shows the tie between the Perfect Man and the Material World.
Having begun regular advancement through the Symbolic Lodge, it is the duty of every Master Mason to complete this series of degrees. He who has sought further Masonic education should return to the Symbolic Lodge, retrace his steps and advance through the York Rite until he can receive the climax of Masonic symbolism, as taught in the Royal Arch. Only those who have completed and attained the Royal Arch may be said to have completed their Masonic Work and truly be considered a Master Mason.
Every Master Mason aspires to attain the summit of Ancient Craft Masonry. Many feel with regret that it is not practicable for them to share in all the light shed by the several bodies, but all wish most earnestly to receive all the light and instruction which pertains to the Ancient Craft - the origin and foundation of the Institution.
In the life of every Master Mason, there comes a time when he realizes that he has not yet attained that goal, that he Is not yet in possession of all the rights and light of a Master Mason, as these were known and understood by his ancient brethren.
But he does not realize that the goal of his aspirations is near at hand - In the Royal Arch Degree.
All Symbolic Masonry has its source in the Grand Lodge of England. Section I of the Constitution of the United Grand Lodge of England declares that "pure, ancient Masonry consists of three Degrees and no more, Viz., those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch."
The Degree of Royal Arch Mason is founded upon the destruction of the first Temple and the building of the second Temple. The ceremonies of the Degree have an interesting and graphic historical setting, and a profound and reverential moral significance. The Royal Arch Degree, and the other degrees of the Royal Arch series, are the complement of the Master Mason's Degree, the unfolding into a second volume of the history of that which was lost to its final recovery. Without the Royal Arch, the Master Mason's Degree is like a song half sung, a tale partly told, or a promise unfulfilled.
The preparatory Degrees conferred in the Chapter are those of Mark Master Mason, Past Master and Most Excellent Master. All are beautiful, all are interesting, all teach valuable lessons, but the Most Sublime Degree of Royal Arch Mason is more august, sublime and important than all that precedes it. It brings to light many essentials of the Craft contained ONLY in this Most Sublime Degree and explains many cryptic passages of the first three Degrees incomprehensible to the Master Mason, without which, a knowledge of the full Masonic story cannot be complete.
It has been said that "The Royal Arch stands as the rainbow of promise in the Ritual; it stands as the promise of the resurrection; of that which was lost and that which shall be recovered."
The value of Royal Arch Masonry will be justly 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 confers, at last, the rights and light of a Master Mason - in fact - as well as, in name. It truly leads to a fuller understanding of the purposes and spirit of Freemasonry, for standing upon the towering summit of this degree we are able, for the first time, to perceive the completeness of the Ancient Craft and to understand how all its forms and ceremonies - from the Entered Apprentice to the Master Mason's Degree -are the preparation for the final goal, the Most Sublime Degree of Royal Arch Mason.
Our membership consists only of those who have been regularly initiated, passed and raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in a just and duly constituted Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, who are properly vouched for, in good standing in their respective Lodges and in the community in which they reside.
We would encourage all Master Masons to receive the light and instruction which can be communicated only in the Royal Arch Degree. Any Royal Arch Mason or York Rite Mason can give full information on how to proceed.