Royal Arch Awareness Evening
As part of its continuing commitment to extending knowledge of Royal Arch Masonry, Metropolitan Grand Chapter hosted a hugelysuccessfulAwareness Event at Freemasons’Hall on 5th April 2023.
An introduction to the eveningwas given by Assistant Metropolitan Grand Superintendent E Comp. Simon White, who took the Craft Masons present throughtheir journey to date and described that journey as being a“four-part television series”:the first three episodes of the drama being the three stages of CraftMasonry, with the final, and concluding, episode being‘exaltation’into the Royal Arch.
E Comp Simon and E Comp Ian Clark, Assistant Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, proceeded with a joint presentation that detailed the originsand historicalfoundations of English Royal Arch Masonry.
They explained that Royal Arch ritual is, unlike the three degrees in Craft Masonry, just one ceremony detailing the events surrounding the rebuilding of KingSolomon’s Temple at Jerusalem by Zerubbabel and his Companions after their return from 70 years of captivity in Babylon. The story is centred on the discoveryof a hidden vault by three labourers sent to clear the ground in preparation for the work and that the core lessons of the Royal Arch Order are derived from thisallegorical working of the story.
E Comp Ian proceeded with an explanation of the different officers and their roles within a Royal Arch Chapter together withan insight on how the layout andfurniture of a Craft Lodge differ remarkably from a Royal Arch Chapter. A description of the three Principals of a Chapter, some of the symbolism of theircolourful robes and sceptres followed and an explanation of the Royal Arch regalia was then also provided.
E Comp Simon reminded everyonethat the United Grand Lodge of England and the Supreme Grand Chapter–after over two hundred years-continue to worktogether in close harmony, with joint headquarters, joint administration and often, joint Rulers; and the Regulations for Supreme Grand Chapter are containedwithin the Craft Mason’s Book of Constitutions.
The Preliminary Declaration that can be found in the preamble to Rule 1 in the Book of Constitutions states that“…pure ancient masonry consists of threedegrees and no more, those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch”.The 18thCentury masonic pioneer, Laurence Dermott, described the Royal Arch as“the root, heart and marrow of Masonry”and it remains the Order most closely relatedto Craft Masonry. Indeed, membership of the Royal Arch is often described as being the climax of a Mason’s Craft experience or journey. The Royal Arch breastjewel, incorporating the Seal of Solomon, is worn in Craft Lodges as a further visible sign of the indissoluble link that exists between craft and Royal Archmasonry.
The event concluded with a lively‘Question and Answer’session and E Comps Simon and Ian reminded those present that any Brother who has been a MasterMason forat least four weeks is entitled to join the Supreme Order of the Royal Arch. A fantastic buffet within Freemasons’Hall then followed, where the‘presentation team’joined those drawn to the event; and the chat about Masonry in general, and the Royal Archin particular, lasted long into the evening.
The next Royal Arch Awareness Event will be hosted by Metropolitan Grand Chapter at a central London location in Spring 2024
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 52 August 2023 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 52 here.