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KNOW YOUR YORK RITE OF FREEMASONRY
"Experience Spiritual Growth"
by
Noel M. Smith, P.G., O.P.C.
Reese L. Harrison, Jr., K.G.C.Y., K.C.P.C.


Chapters of Royal Arch Masons
Capitular Masonry - 4 Degrees

MARK MASTER:
     Based on the parable in Matthew 20:1-19. Teaches how to receive wages as a Fellowcraft Mason, the importance of the mark we make in life, the nobility of labor, and that no one is superior because of time in service.

PAST MASTER:
     Lessons taught in Psalm 25. Teaches that he who would rule others must first learn to rule himself, and how to govern and rule with moderation and decorum.

MOST EXCELLENT MASTER:
     Lessons taught in 2 Chronicles 6 and 7, and 1 Kings 7 and 8. Recites the events surrounding the completion and dedication of King Solomon’s Temple, and emphasizes the opportunity and obligation to disseminate light and knowledge to less informed brethren.

ROYAL ARCH:
     Lessons taught in 2 Chronicles 36. It brings to light that for which the Mason has searched, for here we find that which was lost – the word, which you were given a substitute in the Master Mason’s degree, is imparted to you. Its lessons are the essence of Masonic truth. The ceremonies, for the most part, are founded upon the return of the Israelites from captivity to rebuild a destroyed temple and you learn how many of the sacred objects of the Jewish people were discovered and restored. Presiding Officer of a constituent Royal Arch Chapter is the Most Excellent High Priest. Governing body is the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas. Decoration is the Golden Keystone. The meeting room is referred to as a Tabernacle, and meetings are referred to as Convocations.


Councils of Royal and Select Masters

Cryptic Masonry - 3 Degrees

ROYAL MASTER:
     Lessons taught in 1 Kings 5, 6 and 7. Symbolically teaches that to all who diligently labor in the erection of a Spiritual Temple in this life, a reward is promised and they may at its completion, appear before the Supreme Master, and if found worthy, receive a knowledge of divine truth.

SELECT MASTER:
     Lessons taught in Deuteronomy 31:24-26. The summit and perfection of Ancient Masonry, without it the history of the Royal Arch Degree can hardly be said to be complete. It rationally accounts for the concealment and preservation of those essentials of the craft which were brought to light at the erection of the second Temple and which laid concealed from the Masonic eye for 470 years. The degree teaches the virtues of silence and secrecy, which constitute the very essence of all Masonic character.

SUPER EXCELLENT MASTER:
     Teaches fidelity to vows, the wisdom of worshiping God and the punishment for perjury. Here you are welded into a circle of friendship, and an unending chain of fraternal union, as symbolized in the Symbolic Blue Lodge by the point within the circle, which is displayed on our altars. Presiding Officer of a constituent Cryptic Council is the Thrice Illustrious Master. Governing body is the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of Texas. Decoration is the Royal Purple Service Award. The meeting room is referred to as a Secret Vault, and meetings are referred to as Assemblies.


Commanderies of Knights Templar
Chivalric Masonry - 3 Orders

ILLUSTRIOUS ORDER OF THE RED CROSS:
     Lessons taught in Ezra 3, 4 and 6. Continues the story of the Royal Arch and deals with a period in Jewish history of the time of the return of the Jews from captivity and efforts to rebuild the temple of their God in Jerusalem and teaches the almighty force and importance of truth. As Judaism was a preparation for Christianity so this Order is a preparation for the Christian Order of the Temple.

MEDITERRANEAN PASS AND ORDER OF MALTA:
     Shifting to the time of the crusades, admission to the introductory degree of Mediterranean Pass is sought so that a safe pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulcher might be undertaken, culminating in the enrollment of the suppliant in the Order of Malta, which teaches a soldier of the cross to keep his sword untarnished, and to wield it with virtue.

THE ORDER OF THE TEMPLE:
     Binds the Christian virtues with their promise of immortality with the Word becoming flesh which walked among us. A Knight Templar is a defender of the faith, enlisted under the banner of our Blessed Savior, the Prince of Peace. Presiding Officer of a constituent Commandery is the Eminent Commander. Governing bodies are the Grand Commandery, Knights Templar of Texas, and Grand Encampment of the USA. Decorations are Knight Grand Cross of the Temple (KGC) and Knight Commander of the Temple (KCT). Highest award is Knight Templar Cross of Honor (KTCH). The meeting room is referred to as an Asylum, and meetings are referred to as Conclaves.


York Rite Sovereign College
of North America

KNIGHTS OF YORK
     Requires that all members be York Rite Masons. Membership is by invitation. Prime function is to bring about a new coordination of the York Rite structure by means of fostering cooperation among the various branches of York Masonry. The Order of Knight of York depicts the York legend and brings to life the Craft’s urgent needs, which brought into being the legendary Charter of York awarded by King Athelstan to Prince Edwin in 926 A.D. Presiding Officer of a subordinate College is the Preeminent Governor. Governing body is the York Rite Sovereign College of North America presided over by a Most Preeminently Distinguished Governor General. Decorations are Knight Grand Cross (KGC) of York and Knight Commander of the Purple Cross (KCPC). Meetings are referred to as Assemblies.

ASSOCIATE REGENTS
Order of the Purple Cross (OPC) - left
     A coveted investiture designated to honor any York Rite College member be he officer, or lay member, for outstanding service to York Rite or humanity, and awards the rank of Associate Regent of the Sovereign College.

REGENTS
     Regents govern the York Rite Sovereign College. There can be no more than 40 Regents plus the Grand Governors of Jurisdictions (State or Provinces) who are Regents Ex-Officio during their tenure in office as Grand Governor.

Chair Degrees or Orders


ORDER OF HIGH PRIESTHOOD

Lessons taught in Genesis 14:1-3, 8-24; and 33:18-20. Teaches monotheism and is founded on the Blessing of Abram. For those elected to preside over a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. Presiding Officer of a Grand Council of the Order is the Most Excellent Grand High Priest. Meetings are referred to as Conventions.


ORDER OF THE SILVER TROWEL

Lessons taught in 1 Kings 1:5-34: and Psalms 19. Refers to events connected with the closing years of King David’s life. For those elected to serve as Thrice Illustrious Master and preside over a Council of Royal and Select Masters. In some jurisdictions it is called Order of Thrice Illustrious Master or the Council of Anointed Kings. Presiding Officer of a Council of the Order is the Thrice Illustrious Master. The Order is under the proprietary jurisdiction of the State Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters. Meetings are referred to as Assemblies.


SOVEREIGN ORDER OF KNIGHTS PRECEPTOR

For those elected to preside over a Commandery of Knights Templar. A preceptor is a teacher and the study of Templary, its history, customs, traditions and usages. Its precepts and purposes are enjoined upon each Knight Preceptor. Presiding Officer of a subordinate Chapter is an Eminent Preceptor. Governing Body is the Grand Chapter presided over by the Sovereign Preceptor. The meeting room is referred to as an Asylum, and meetings are referred to as Conventions.

Honorary Invitational Organizations


KNIGHTS OF THE YORK CROSS OF HONOR (KYCH)

Membership is limited to those individuals who have presided in Lodge, Chapter, Council, and Commandery. The number of Priories permitted in each Grand Jurisdiction is dependent upon the number of chartered Councils or Commanderies. When a member Knight has been elected to preside over one of the four Grand Bodies of York Masonry, he is invested with the rank of Knight York Grand Cross of Honor (KYGCH) and is awarded a Quadrant to apply to his jewel. Presiding Officer of a subordinate Priory is the Eminent Prior. Governing body is the Convent General presided over by the Most Eminent Grand Master General. Decoration is Knight Grand Cross (KGC). Meetings are referred to as Conclaves.


ORDER OF THE RED CROSS OF CONSTANTINE

Membership prerequisite is to be a Royal Arch Mason. Consist of three orders. An individual must have demonstrated a high level of dedication and performance in his Masonic activities, be proposed for membership by a member knight companion and pass a secret ballot. It is based upon Trinitarian Christianity and was tradition-ally founded by Constantine the Great after the battle of Saxa Ruba in 312 A.D. Subordinate Conclaves are limited to no more than 50 members or less in some instances. The number of Conclaves is dependent upon Royal Arch membership in the Grand Jurisdiction. Presiding Officer of a subordinate Conclave is the Puissant Sovereign. Governing body is the United Grand Imperial Council presided over by the Most Illustrious Grand Sovereign. Decorations are Knight Grand Cross and Knight Commander of Constantine. Meetings are referred to as Assemblies.


HOLY ROYAL ARCH KNIGHT TEMPLAR PRIESTS

Membership prerequisite is to be a Past Commander of a Knights Templar Commandery. Consists of 33 degrees including the last degree which is Holy Royal Arch Templar Priest. Subordinate Tabernacles are limited to 33 members. The number of Tabernacles permitted in each Grand Jurisdiction is dependant upon the number of chartered Knight Templar Commanderies. Presiding officer of a subordinate Tabernacle is the Eminent Preceptor. Governing Body is the Grand College presided over by a Most Eminent Grand Preceptor. Decorations are Knight Grand Commander (KGC) and Knight Commander (KC). Meetings are referred to as Ingatherings.


ALLIED MASONIC DEGREES

Membership prerequisite is to be a Royal Arch Mason. The Grand Council controls and superintends 18 side or detached degrees some of which, many years ago, were conferred under Craft warrants. Subordinate councils are limited to 27 members. Presiding Officer of a subordinate Council is the Venerable Sovereign Master. Governing body is the Grand Council and is presided over by the Most Venerable Sovereign Grand Master. Decorations are Knight Grand Cross (KGC) and Knight of the Red Branch of Eri. Meetings are referred to as Convocations.


ORDER OF KNIGHT MASONS

Lessons taught in Ezra 3, 4 and 5. Membership prerequisite is to be a Royal Arch Mason. Knight Masons control the three Green Degrees of Ireland which are considered the ne ultra plus of Freemasonry in Ireland and dramatize the building of the second Temple. Presiding officer of a subordinate Council is the Excellent Chief. Governing body is the Grand Council presided over by the Most Excellent Great Chief.

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