What is Royal Arch Freemasonry?
It is not an insurance nor benefit society. While we have religious allegories and require each candidate to profess a belief in the God of his own faith, it is neither a religion nor a creed, nor a religious order. It is not a charity organization, but makes charity a duty. It is not organized for profit. It dictates to no man as to his beliefs, either religious or secular. It seeks no advantages for its brethren through business or politics. It is not a forum for discussion of religion, politics or other partisan affairs. It is not a secret society as it does not conceal its existence or purposes from the public. And Royal Arch Freemasonry in no way conflicts with the symbolic lodge.
The First Step into the York Rite
The York Rite consists of three Bodies — the Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, the Council of Cryptic Masons, and the Commandery of Knights Templar. Sometimes, the Lodge is considered (rightfully) a part of the York Rite and, in these cases, the Chapter can be thought of as the second part in York Rite Freemasonry. Commonly, however, the Royal Arch is considered the first step into the York Rite, especially for those who are technically joining one or more of those three Bodies.
Here, within your Chapter, you will receive the necessary instruction and information to fill in some of the missing pieces from the Masonic history taught in the symbolic lodge. The degrees of the Chapter are referred to as “Capitular Freemasonry,” providing a Companion the opportunity for further advancement within the brotherhood.
Every chapter within the State of Illinois falls under either the jurisdiction of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State of Illinois, or that of the Prince Hall Grand Chapter of Holy Royal Arch Masons, State of Illinois.
An International Body, Welcoming All
No Rite of Freemasonry covers the world so much as does Royal Arch Freemasonry. In every free country of the earth; on every populated 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 Freemasonry. In Asia, in Africa, in Europe, in the Americas, and on the continent of Australia are found hundreds of Royal Arch Chapters into whose halls you will ever be a welcome visitor. In our own country, we find thousands of Chapters counting hundreds of thousands of Companions in our ranks. Upon your exaltation as a Holy Royal Arch Freemason, you will become a Companion of one of the oldest and largest rites of Freemasonry.
The work of a Chapter is very closely related to that of a 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.
The degrees of Mark Master, Past Master (Virtual) and Most Excellent Master are conferred in the Chapter opened in the form of a Lodge, using lodge-type officer titles. The supreme degree of the Holy Royal Arch is conferred in a Chapter of Holy Royal Arch Freemasons properly constituted in its own configuration. In either case, the familiar blue of Craft Lodge regalia is replaced by scarlet on the aprons and jewels in the Chapter. Hence the nicknames “blue lodge” and “red lodge” are still sometimes heard (particularly in Canada and Europe).
» To learn more about each of the Capitular degrees, click here.
» Click here to get more information about the Royal Arch or join the York Rite
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