The preliminary Declaration in the Book of Constitutions states 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."
We therefore consider that Core Freemasonry consist of four interdependent steps:
1) Entered Apprentice
2) Fellow Craft
3) Master Mason
4) Royal Arch Companion
Have you taken your fourth step by joining the Royal Arch? You really should you know!
The qualification for joining the Royal Arch is that a Freemason should be a Master Mason of at least four weeks standing, in a Lodge registered under the United Grand Lodge of England. When Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason (Third Degree), you were informed that, due to the untimely death of our Master, Hiram Abith,the secrets of a Master Mason were lost, and that certain substituted secrets were adopted to distinguish all Master Masons until time or circumstances should restore the genuine. Exaltation into the Royal Arch includes an explanation of how those genuine secrets were regained.
Thus, no person should be considered a complete Mason without being Exalted in the Royal Arch.
The following items below will, we hope, assist you to make that important decision to reach the climax of your journey through Pure Ancient Freemasonry:
What is Royal Arch?
Royal Arch is an Order in Freemasonry indissolubly linked with Craft Freemasonry. The first documented evidence of a ‘Royal Arch’ comes from Ireland in 1743; it seems likely that this was an ‘added extra’ worked within Craft Lodges in England, Ireland and Scotland for many years. Thus it came to be regarded, by the Antients in England, as a fourth Degree in Freemasonry.
The Moderns, on the other hand, do not appear to have officially recognised the Degree at all (with a few exceptions), leading in due course, to completely separate Royal Arch Chapters. These differences were partially resolved at the Union of the Grand Lodges in 1813, by a compromise: the new United Grand Lodge of England declared the Royal Arch to be an official and accepted part of ‘Pure and Antient Freemasonry’.
Companion Chapter Regalia - Apron, Sash and Royal Arch Jewel
The Royal Arch is the 4th and final step in the Masonic journey from Entered Apprentice to Royal Arch Companion. Companions meet in Chapters under The Supreme Grand Chapter of England. The Chapters are ruled over conjointly by three Principals, and the Grand Chapter is ruled over by three Grand Principals, with a Pro First Grand Principal when the First Grand Principal is a Royal Prince.
In England the Royal Arch has two ceremonies: the Exaltation ceremony to bring in new members and the Installation ceremony to Install each of the Three Principals. The Exaltation ceremony is in two parts: a rather dramatic presentation of the Principles of the Order followed by three Lectures in which the History, Symbolism and the Mystical knowledge and principles of the Royal Arch are further explained. Like Craft Freemasonry, the Royal Arch is open to men of all faiths.
The allegory of the Exaltation ceremony is based on the Old Testament story of the return to Jerusalem from the Babylonish captivity in order to rebuild the city and temple. In clearing the ground of the original temple for the foundations of the second temple, the Sojourners (One of which is the Candidate) make a number of discoveries which emphasise the centrality of God to man's life and existence and, without transgressing the bounds of religion, lead the candidate to a consideration of the nature of God and his personal relationship with Him, whatever his religion might be.
How to Join?
As in all other Masonic Orders you will need a Proposer and Seconder who are members of the Chapter in which you seek to be exalted. If your Lodge does not have a Royal Arch Chapter attached , it will probably have an arrangement with a local Chapter. Your Lodge Royal Arch representative will provide you with details and locations of Chapters meeting at different times and days of the week.
A Typical Chapter Temple
You can usually identify the members of your Lodge who are Royal Arch Masons as they will normally wear the jewel of the Order with their Craft regalia. They too will be delighted to be approached about membership.
Royal Arch Jewels
Thank you for taking an interest in what the Royal Arch is about.
We leave you with these further thoughts:
The Royal Arch leads the candidate from the practical to the spiritual and completes "pure ancient masonry", a fascinating journey of self- knowledge and self - discovery beginning with the Entered Apprentice degree and culminating in the First Principal's chair of the Chapter. As a Craft Mason you will already be aware that Freemasonry teaches self-respect, self-restraint and reason. In a changing and superficial world, it also points to the eternal and fundamental principles that have emerged unchanged from every transition era. The Royal Arch holds firm to the belief in the Brotherhood of Man, the Fatherhood of God, and the Immortality of the Human Soul in high regard. A Royal Arch Mason becomes a more fully-informed ambassador, by improving himself in Masonry.
The Royal Arch is literally the completion of "PURE ANTIENT MASONRY”
So please come and join us and be able to wear that truly magnificent regalia