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Royal Arch Masonry History


Founded in 1797, in Boston, Massachusetts, as a national organization, the General Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, International now has jurisdiction over half the 7,000 Chapters in the world, including several provinces in Canada, the Grand Chapters of USA, Philippines, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and many chapters in Central and South America. Upon your exaltation as a Royal Arch Mason you will become a member of the oldest and largest rite of Royal Arch Masonry.


One of the most fascinating aspects of Royal Arch Masonry has always been how so many men, from so many different walks of life, can meet together in peace, never have any political or religious debates, always conduct their affairs in harmony and friendship, and call each other brother.

No Rite of Freemasonry covers the world so much as does Royal Arch Masonry. In every country of the earth, on every continent and on many isles of the sea, Will be found Royal Arch Chapters, eager and willing to receive their companions from other parts of the world into that full fellowship that characterizes Royal Arch Masonry.


All Royal Arch Masons believe in one God and in respect for each other.



Royal Arch Masonry contains some simple, plain statements of Truth, easily understandable and helpful in our relation to life. Lodge symbolism deals with lessons of the material side of life. The Chapter degrees, and particularly the Royal Arch, deal with the spiritual side of life.

Upon your exaltation as a Royal Arch Mason you will become a member of the oldest and largest rite of Freemasonry.


Royal Arch Masonry is the logical step for every Master Mason to take. If after becoming a Royal Arch Mason, you desire to continue your studies, you may take the Royal Select Council Degrees and the Knights of Templar Commandery Orders, both of which are illustrative of and carry forward the principles of the Royal Arch.

Any Royal Arch Mason will eagerly propose your name as a candidate for the advancement in the mysteries of Freemasonry.


Anyone seeking Membership in the Royal Arch must sign a Petition, stating his age, occupation and place of residence. Members of the Chapter vote by ballot. To be accepted, the ballot must be unanimous.


What has attracted so many Brethren to seek further light in Royal Arch Masonry??

The Royal Arch Degrees was considered most important in the early years of Freemasonry and so dogmatic was the Mother Grand Lodge - from which all Speculative Masonry derives - that in 1813, when the two grand lodges in England united, a firm and solemn landmark was adopted and placed in the Articles of Union to guide Masons throughout the world forever on this matter:

"Pure Ancient Freemasonry consists of but three degrees, that of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch Mason."

The Chapter of Royal Arch Masonry consists of four degrees, Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch Mason.


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 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.


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 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 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.

The three symbolic degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason, as conferred in the United States are degrees of the York Rite.

You, therefore, as a Master Mason, have received the first three degrees of that Rite. It is perfectly natural that having begun your Masonic work in that Rite, you should want to continue it.

The Royal Arch Chapter offers you that opportunity, for in its last degree, the Royal Arch, is to be found the very essence of pure Freemasonry!

Even the Mother Grand Lodge of England recognizes this fact and many years ago set forth as Paragraph 1 of its General Laws and Regulations:

"By the solemn Act of Union between the two Grand Lodges of Freemasons of England in December, 1813, it was "declared and pronounced that PURE ANCIENT MASONRY consist of three decrees and no more, via., those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow- craft, and the Master Mason.


And today, in England, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, by virtue of his Grand Lodge office, is also the head of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons.

But on the North American Continent, you will find some additional degrees in the system, supplementing the work of the Lodge and the Royal Arch. These degrees are the degrees of Mark Master, Past Master and Most Excellent Master. and all are a part of the Capitular system.

The degrees of the Lodge, Chapter, and Council, and the Orders conferred in the Commandery have been arranged into a System or Rite, referred to as the York Rite of Freemasonry.


Now if there is anything about this Rite which distinguishes it, it is its DEMOCRACY. Its degrees, orders, offices and honors are open to all. Merit constitutes the only requirement for honors: the brethren with whom you labor are the judges of your deserts.

The value of any institution is in the contacts which it affords; the Chapter offers you the contacts afforded by 3,000 Royal Arch Chapters in the United States, of American possessions, together with the thousands of chapters working under England, Scotland, and Ireland in fact, more than a million Royal Arch Masons, and a Chapter in almost every country in the civilized world.

To those who are interested in Masonic philosophy or ritual, the Capitular degrees will particularly appeal; they contain no abstruse philosophy or unintelligible doctrines, but do contain simple, plain statements of Truth, easily understandable and helpful in our relation to life. The Lodge symbolism deals with the material side of life. The Chapter degrees. and particularly the Royal Arch, with the spiritual side of life. The fees for the degrees are low; the dues will be found moderate.


Founded as a national organization in 1797. existent in all parts of the civilized world, you will, upon your exaltation as a Royal Arch Mason, become a member of the oldest and largest Rite of Freemasonry in the World. Any Royal Arch Mason will be happy to present your name as a candidate for advancement in the mysteries of Freemasonry. You will be happy when you have received this ADDITIONAL Masonic Light.


Come See Us If You're Seeking More Light in Royal Arch Masonry!!!

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