While the Act of Union of 1813 recognised the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch as part of “pure, antient masonry“, the wording in the United Grand Lodge of England’s Book of Constitutions that “…pure Antient 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. was subsequently often interpreted to suggest that the Holy Royal Arch was not an additional degree, but merely the completion of the Master Mason degree. That view was so widely held among freemasons in England and Wales that in the Royal Arch ritual the newly exalted candidate was informed that he must not think that he had taken a fourth degree but that he had in fact completed his third. Statements to this effect can on occasion still be found today, e.g. “When a Freemason has attained the rank of a Master Mason he is then entitled (…) to be exalted into a Royal Arch Chapter in order to complete fully his Master Mason’s Degree. While expressing a compromise position between the traditional views of the “Antients” and “Moderns”, this interpretation put the Holy Royal Arch in opposition to masonic practice in most countries outside England and Wales. No other masonic constitution ever claimed that the Third Degree and the Royal Arch are two parts of a single whole. The Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England eventually questioned its own reasoning. In December 2003, the United Grand Lodge of England acknowledged and pronounced the status of the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch to be “an extension to, but neither a superior nor a subordinate part of, the degrees which precede it”. On 10 November 2004, after deliberations by a special working party, the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England at its regular meeting in London formally overturned the compromise position of 1813, and declared the Holy Royal Arch to be a separate degree in its own right, albeit the natural progression from the Third Degree, and the completion of “pure ancient Masonry“, which consists of the three Craft degrees and the Holy Royal Arch. Words in the ritual which propounded the earlier compromise position and led to misinterpretations were removed by mandatory regulation. The official position of the Supreme Grand Chapter today is that the “Royal Arch is the continuation of Craft Freemasonry“; in that sense, ““pure ancient Masonry” can be seen as a journey of self-knowledge and discovery with the Royal Arch completing the practical lessons of the Craft by a contemplation of man’s spiritual nature.”

(the source/read more: Wikipedia)




Number of post comments: 0

Log in/register to see and post comments.