Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Alberta
WHAT IS ROYAL ARCH MASONRY?
The Royal Arch is the first step in York Rite Masonry. Here within the Chapter, you will receive the necessary instruction and information to fill in some of the missing pieces from the Masonic history taught in the Masonic Lodge. The Chapter is referred as Capitular Masonry, providing a member with the opportunity for further advancement within the brotherhood.
Every Chapter within the Province of Alberta falls under the jurisdiction of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Alberta. To become a member of a Chapter, you must first be a Mason, and then you may apply for an application. Once accepted you will receive three Degrees:
WHAT ROYAL ARCH MASONRY IS NOT
The work of the Chapter is very closely related to that of the Craft Lodge, and the Freemason finds a warm and comfortable home in and a safe and sacred retreat in the Chapter. The degrees afford historical and philosophical background on the work and meaning of Freemasonry.
Some charities supported by Royal Arch Masons in Alberta include the Youth Endowment Fund, a program of special funding for disabilities & needs and the St. John’s Ambulance “We Can Help” program bringing first aid and safety awareness to young school children.
Please click on the following link to the “Royal Arch Masons brochure”, for a brief summary of Grand Chapter and some answers for the curious mind.
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, viz., that of Entered Apprentice, Fellow craft, and Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.” The landmark has never been changed and to this day no other degree has been officially recognized by the Mother Grand Lodge. The intent was that every rite, system or additional degree in Freemasonry cannot confer its degree on a Master Mason until he has received the Royal Arch Degree. Naturally, we feel 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.
In many jurisdictions, a Chapter of Royal Arch Masonry consists of four degrees, Mark Master, Virtual Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch Mason. In Alberta, the Virtual Past Master’s Degree is not a formal requirement but conferred usually once a year under the direction of Grand Chapter so that Alberta Companions may travel outside of Canada and attend other Royal Arch Mason’s Chapters. Locally, in Alberta, our Companions in Montana, U.S.A. are invited to direct and confer the degree of a Virtual Past Master on the Friday before Grand Chapter officially opens.
THE MARK MASTER DEGREE
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 Degree of Mark Master is a continuation of the lessons taught in the 2nd (Fellowcraft) Degree. The Degree teaches that although we are often misunderstood, underrated and traduced, there is ONE who will make the rejected stone the Head of the corner.
THE MOST EXCELLENT MASTER DEGREE
The Degree of Most Excellent Master is a very beautiful and dramatic Degree. 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 very idea upon which all Masonic symbolism has been based. Here the Temple, on which work was halted so dramatically in the 3rd (Master Mason) Degree is completed.
THE ROYAL ARCH DEGREE
The Royal Arch Degree is the climax of Ancient Craft Masonry and Masonic Symbolism. It is described as “the root and marrow of Freemasonry.” The Degree of Royal Arch is the capstone of the Craft Degrees. It is concerned with the discovery of a crypt and the value of the resulting discoveries to the Craft. In this Degree, that which was lost in the 3rd (Master Mason) Degree is again found.
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. These Degrees continue the education which the Master Mason received in the Symbolic Lodge. Any Master Mason who wishes “Further Light in Masonry” should receive them.
“Fervency & Zeal”
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The Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Canada in the Province of Ontario