ROYAL ARCH MASON DEGREES
MARK MASTER DEGREE
The Mark Master Degree is believed to have originated as a ceremony of registering a craftsman’s mark during the period when operative masons were building the great cathedrals of Europe. Later, it was incorporated as one of the degrees in the Masonic fraternity. Some Masonic scholars claim that this degree may predate all others by many years. The Mark Master Degree teaches lessons that have proven of value in all walks of life.
PAST MASTERS DEGREE
Originally, the Past Master Degree was conferred by the Symbolic (Blue) Lodges only on actual Past Masters. Today, the Degree is still “symbolically” conferred on brethren about to be installed as Worshipful Masters of their lodge. This degree was instituted to make it possible for all worthy brethren to receive the Royal Arch degree. The first record of its conferral is found in 1768 in England.
MOST EXCELLENT MASTER DEGREE
The Most Excellent Master Degree is one of the most spectacular degrees in all Freemasonry. It was conferred in a Royal Arch Chapter as early as 1783 in Middletown, CT. The only degree that brings to the attention of the candidate, the completion and dedication of King Solomon’s Temple.
ROYAL ARCH DEGREE
The Royal Arch Degree has often been described as the climax of Ancient Craft Masonry and Masonic Symbolism. It is the root of Freemasonry and completes 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. The candidate joins 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. 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.
Historians have traced the earliest origins of the Royal Arch Degree to Ireland, in the late 17th century and in England in 1738.
Military lodges were largely responsible for instituting Freemasonry in the colonies and also giving birth to the use 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.
All who are exalted to that most sublime degree, particularly those who are seeking to complete their Masonic education, will appreciate the value of Royal Arch Masonry as it reveals the full light of Ancient Craft Masonry.