The York Rite of Masonry (in Maine) consists of three separate bodies: the Royal Arch Chapter (Mt. Moriah #6), the Council of Royal & Select Masters (Bangor Council #5) and the Commandery of the Knights Templar (St. John’s #3). Each of these bodies has existed for nearly two centuries and they are active and involved. York Rite is an extraordinary Masonic experience open to all Master Masons and those who’ve become involved find much of interest. These groups draw their membership from a large surrounding area.
The York Rite is a collection of ten Masonic degrees and orders. These are conferred in the United States under a trilateral system of governance consisting of Chapters, Councils, and Commanderies. The name derives from the City of York where, according to one Masonic legend, the first meeting of Masons in England was held in the year 926 A.D.
The York Rite (along with the Scottish Rite) is one of two appendant Bodies of Masonry beyond the level of the Craft (or Blue Lodge). It is focused on expanding a Master Mason’s understanding of several important ideas introduced in the first three degrees of the Blue Lodge. The York Rite has a special and close relationship to the Blue Lodge degrees. It continues the lessons learned in the Fellowcraft degree and completes the journey that Hiram began in the Master Mason degree. It teaches the meaning of the True Word, offering impressive lessons from the Christian Knighthood tradition in a ceremony which is among the most beautiful in all of Masonry. In fact, the third tier of the York Rite, known as the Orders of Templary, has traditionally been styled the Christian Order of Freemasonry.
The Essential Theme of the York Rite
The degrees and orders of York Rite Masonry all revolve around one great center—the True Word.
In the Lodge that Word was lost.
In the Chapter degrees, consisting of the Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master and the Royal Arch, you will find the Master’s Word and where it was concealed before the death of Hiram. In the Council degrees, comprised of the Royal Master, the Select Master and the Super Excellent Master, the Word is preserved. As a Royal Master you will have a conversation with Hiram Abif about his mortality. You will discover how and why the Master’s Word was lost, by whom, and for what purpose. The answers to these questions will be unveiled in the Select Master degree.
In the Orders of the Commandery, consisting of the Order of Red Cross, Order of Malta, and the Order of the Temple, the Word is explained. In the Commandery Orders, you will assist in rebuilding the 2nd Temple and learn the origins of the Knights Templar. You will become a Knight after the tradition of Templary.
Come find out why York Masonry is so exciting! You can find meeting dates and times along with contact information for each body at www.yorkriteofmaine.org
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