Once accepted into a Chapter, the Holy Royal Arch equivalent of a Craft lodge, a candidate becomes a Companion, with Royal Arch meetings being described as a convocation. The ceremony in which a Master Mason is advanced to Companion is called Exaltation. Holy Royal Arch Chapters are governed by three Principals, who conjointly rule the Chapter, sitting together in the east of the assembly.
In addition to the three Principals, who rule conjointly, a Holy Royal Arch Chapter has elected and appointed officers with individual responsibilities within the Chapter. Similar offices exist at the Supreme Grand Chapter (national) level, and also at the intermediate level (Metropolitan, Provincial, or District), with appropriate prefixes to the titles.
- Zerubbabel – Prince of Jerusalem
- Haggai – the Prophet
- Joshua or Jeshua – the High Priest
- Scribe Ezra
- Scribe Nehemiah
- Director of Ceremonies
- Principal Sojourner
- 1st Assistant Sojourner
- 2nd Assistant Sojourner
- Assistant Director of Ceremonies
- Steward (there may be several Stewards)
All of these offices are listed in, and regulated by, the constitutions or regulations of the various national Grand Chapters, including those of the ‘mother’ Grand Chapter, the Supreme Grand Chapter of England. Within the ‘York Rite’ version of Royal Arch Freemasonry the Janitor may be known as the Tyler or Sentinel.
In England and Wales, Holy Royal Arch Chapters are grouped on a regional level as either a ‘Metropolitan area’ or ‘Provinces’ (based on the old Counties), while Chapters overseas are grouped in Districts. These Metropolitan, Provincial, and District Grand Chapters are ruled over by a ‘Grand Superintendent’ who is appointed by the ‘First Grand Principal’ (see below) as his personal representative for the particular area. Every ‘Grand Superintendent’ is usually assisted by a Deputy, and always rules conjointly with a ‘Second Provincial Grand Principal’ and a ‘Third Provincial Grand Principal’ (the word ‘Provincial’ being replaced with the word ‘Metropolitan’ in a Metropolitan Area such as London, or the word ‘District’ in an overseas area controlled from England). In many cases, the men acting as regional dignitaries in the Holy Royal Arch will also be holding the equivalent regional offices in Craft Freemasonry.
Supreme Grand Chapter
The Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England is governed from the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England in Freemasons’ Hall, London. The Supreme Grand Chapter is ruled by three Grand Principals, who have their headquarters . The ‘First Grand Principal’ is the Holy Royal Arch equivalent of the Grand Master in Craft Freemasonry. If the holder of this office is a Royal Prince, as is currently the case, he is supported by a ‘Pro First Grand Principal’. As at regional level, many officers of Grand Lodge hold the equivalent office in the Supreme Grand Chapter.