The Concordant Bodies of Freemasonry

 
 
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The Scottish Rite

When a man becomes a Mason, he receives his first (Entered Apprentice), second (Fellowcraft), and third (Master) degrees in what is called the "Blue Lodge." It is well known within the Fraternity that the Master Mason is the highest honor bestowed upon a Mason. There are various bodies of Freemasonry that the Master Mason can pursue - The York Rite, the Scottish Rite, and/or the Shrine. The York Rite consists of Chapter and Council and Commandery. The Scottish Rite consists of the 4th to the 32nd Degrees. The varying degrees of Scottish Rite are given by the following: 

  1. Lodge of Perfection, 4°-14° (presiding officer - Venerable Master)

  2. Chapter of Rose Croix, 15°-18° (presiding officer - Wise Master)

  3. Council of Kadosh, 19°- 30° (presiding officer - Commander)

  4. Consistory, 31°- 32° (presiding officer - Master of Kadosh)


The York Rite

The York Rite, or more correctly, the American Rite, is based on the early remnants of Craft Masonry that were practiced in the early 1700's. The formation of the first Grand Lodge of England in 1717 specified that the lodges were to confer only the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason, all other degrees being considered spurious. However, many lodges had been conferring other degrees that they considered an integral part of Masonry, in particular that of the Royal Arch, and formed their own Grand Lodge in 1751, terming themselves the "Antients" and the other Grand Lodge members the "Moderns." With the merger of the two Grand Lodges in 1813 into the United Grand Lodge of England, the lodges agreed that only the three accepted degrees of Masonry would be used by the lodges, but the degree of the Royal Arch would be attached to Chapters allied directly to these lodges and bearing the same number as the lodge, though as a separate body. Thus, unlike the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, which claims to hold the power of conferring the first three degrees of Masonry in addition to those under its jurisdiction, those found in the York Rite have rightfully acknowledged the fact that they are considered appendant to those of Ancient Craft Masonry. It is still the practice in English Masonry that a Masonic member is not considered to be in possession of all the degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry until he has been exalted to the Royal Arch.

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The Shriners

Shriners International is a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth with nearly 200 temples (chapters) in several countries and thousands of clubs around the world. Our fraternity is open to men of integrity from all walks of life. In 1870 a group of Masons gathered frequently for lunch at the Knickerbocker Cottage on Sixth Avenue in New York City. At a special table on the second floor, a particularly fun-loving group of men met regularly. Among the regulars were Walter M. Fleming, M.D. and William J. “Billy” Florence, an actor. The group frequently talked about starting a new fraternity for Masons – one centered on fun and fellowship, more than ritual. Fleming and Florence took this idea seriously enough to do something about it. See Shriner's Hospitals http://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/

With the help of the Knickerbocker Cottage regulars, Fleming drafted the ritual, designed the emblem and costumes, formulated a salutation and declared that members would wear the red fez. The first meeting of Mecca Shriners, the first temple (chapter) established in the United States, was held September 26, 1872. As word got out about the fledgling organization, membership grew rapidly, spreading across the U.S. In the early 1900s, membership spread into Canada, Mexico and Panama. Today, Shriners International is a fraternity with nearly 200 temples in several countries, thousands of clubs around the world and hundreds of thousands of members dedicated to the principles of brotherly love, relief and truth.