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What is Royal Arch Freemasonry? 

The Holy Royal Arch (Chapter) is the very climax of pure Ancient Freemasonry. When you were Initiated into Freemasonry, you received a copy of the Book of Constitutions which contains a section called "The Royal Arch Regulations" (black edging). This signifies the very close affinity that exists between the Craft and Royal Arch Orders.

When you were raised to the Third Degree, you were told that, by the untimely death of our Master, the Genuine Secrets of a Master Mason. were lost, and you were informed in the Traditional History about the Substituted Secrets that are used to designate a Master Mason. until time or circumstances would restore the genuine ones. The Royal Arch Exaltation Ceremony (the R.A. equivalent to your Initiation) reveals those Genuine Secrets to you.

The Royal Arch should not be regarded as an 'optional extra' but the means by which every Master Mason. completes his pure Ancient Masonic knowledge and experience. 

Listen to our podcast to hear more about the Royal Arch degree.

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What Happens At Chapter Meetings?

These take a similar form to Craft meetings, in that we open the Chapter, present certificates, approve minutes and carry out other items of business such as elections, reports, etc. However, the main part of our meeting is the ceremony of Exaltation of a new candidate. This takes the form of a play which recounts events based on the rebuilding of King Solomon's Temple by the children of Israel on their return from their Babylonian captivity. There are also associated Lectures explaining the historical, symbolical and mystical knowledge of Royal Arch Masonry. As in a Craft Lodge, there is progression of officers towards the chairs of the three Principals who govern the Chapter. Members proudly wear their Chapter jewel in Craft Lodges, white for a Companion, red for a Principal or past Principal and tri-coloured for a Provincial Grand Officer.

Why Does The Royal Arch Complete the Teachings Of The Craft?

The Exaltation Ceremony follows on from the Master Mason's Degree by recovering that which was lost as a consequence of the death of our Master. It has, however, a far deeper meaning. In the symbolic sense, the three Craft Degrees correspond to our passage from darkness to light, our progress from ignorance to knowledge and understanding of morality and loss, with the promise of recovery. Exaltation into the Royal Arch provides an understanding of that recovery in the context of eternity. The journey from the Third Degree in the Craft into the Royal Arch brings to a glorious and happy conclusion to what is otherwise a tragic story.

How Much Does It Cost?

Subscriptions vary from Chapter to Chapter, but as they meet only three or four times a year, they are usually more modest than those in Craft Masonry, with an exaltation fee to pay on admission and regalia to buy as in the Craft. It is usual, but not compulsory, to dine after each meeting - dining costs are similar to those in the Craft. Collections for charitable causes are a regular feature, but members contribute only what they can afford, without detriment to themselves or their connections.

Which Chapter Should I Join?

There are 27 Chapters in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland which the Master Mason may join. You may wish to join the Chapter which is associated with your Lodge or, perhaps, a different Chapter, in a different location, to widen your mason circle of friends. Be careful to consider the meeting and rehearsal dates so as to avoid clashes with your Craft commitments. Whichever Chapter you choose to join, you are assured of a warm and sincere welcome. A full list of Chapters can be found in the Provincial Year Book or on this site.

Would You Like To Know More?

If you are interested in Royal Arch masonry, and want to to find out more: You may obtain help and information from the Royal Arch Representative in your Lodge, or from the Provincial Grand Scribe E. Further Information For The Master Mason The information above is contained in a handy leaflet, which is freely available from Lodge Royal Arch Representatives – and as can be seen, gives a very broad introduction to the world of ‘Chapter’ – the completion of ‘Pure Antient Freemasonry’, which takes you from Initiation to Exaltation.

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