Royal Arch

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.

Royal Arch Freemasonry provides an outstanding opportunity for Master Masons desirous of Further Light in Masonry to explore some of the deeper mysteries of the Craft. The four degrees of the Chapter are truly some of the most profound and impressive within the whole Family of Freemasonry.

Most impressive of all is the Royal Arch Degree itself. It is here that the True Word of a Master Mason is rediscovered in a beautiful ceremony that takes the candidates through the destruction of King Solomon's Temple, the seventy years of the Babylonian Captivity, and the ultimate return to the Holy Land to help, aid, and assist in the rebuilding of the Temple of the Most High.

So important is the Royal Arch to Craft Freemasonry that at the Act of Union in 1813, the United Grand Lodge of England issued the pronouncement:

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

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, moreover, 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.

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 knowledge of these the Masonic character 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."

All who are Exalted to that Most Sublime Degree, particularly by those who are seeking ┬Ěto complete their Masonic education; will justly appreciate the value of Royal Arch Masonry. 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 this towering summit 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.

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