Welcome to Suwassett Chapter 195
Fraternal Greetings and
What is Royal Arch Masonry?
THE COPESTONE OF THE CRAFT
In your journey through the three degrees of Symbolic masonry and as you have learned the proficiency lecture for each degree, no doubt many questions have arisen concerning the meaning of the ritualistic ceremonies, the historical implications and the “why” of the legends of Freemasonry. 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.
Many believe the Sublime Degree of Master Mason to be the ultimate degree of Freemasonry and all others to be added and explanatory. Students of Freemasonry agree that the story of the Craft as presented in the three degrees is incomplete and that the degrees of the Royal Arch complete the story and answer many of the questions in the mind of the newly made Master Mason.
The Royal Arch Degree 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, viz., that of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.” This Landmark has never been changed and to this day no other degree has been officially recognized by the Mother Grand Lodge and every rite, system or additional degree of Freemasonry cannot confer its degree on a Master Mason until he has received the Royal Arch Degree. Naturally, this is as it should be, because a man is not a Master Mason until he receives the Master’s Word and he can only receive it in the Royal Arch!”
The Chapter or Royal Arch Masonry consists of these 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 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.
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 Most Excellent Master Degree 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.
The Royal Arch Degree is the climax of Ancient Craft Masonry and Masonic Symbolism. and is described as “the root and marrow of Freemasonry."
It is much more than just the completion of the Third
Degree. The Supreme Degree of the Holy Royal Arch is
the natural progression in Freemasonry that provides
“Genuine Secrets” instead of substituted ones granted
in the Third Degree.
When you were ultimately Raised to the Sublime
Degree of a Master Mason you were told the Genuine
Secrets were lost and that it was necessary to wait
until time and circumstance should restore the genuine
In the supreme degree of the Holy Royal Arch, the
lessons about life and death taught in the three Craft
Degrees will be complete.
Because it completes the Masonic search and imparts
greater knowledge and wisdom, the Holy Royal Arch
has quite rightly been called the copestone of the
whole Masonic structure.
An integral part of Pure and Ancient Masonry, the Royal
Arch Degree is referred to in the Articles of Union at
the formation of the United Grand Lodge of Ancient
Free and Accepted Masons of England in 1813. Article
II proclaims, it is declared and pronounced 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 Mark Master, Most Excellent Master and Royal Arch
Degrees are very colorful and the candidate takes an
active part. The furnishings of the Mark Master Masons
Lodge, Most Excellent Masters Lodge, the Royal Arch
Chapter and the regalia of the members are rich in
symbols which will be explained to you.
What are the requirements to join Royal Arch?
The Next Step
If you would like to know more about the Mark Master, Most Excellent Master and the Royal Arch Degrees,
Suwassett 195 Tabernacle
Question: "Having been kept for a considerable time in a state of darkness, what, in your present condition, is the predominant wish of your heart ?"
Extract from Entered Apprentice and the Holy Royal Arch Degree