Within the English Constitution, after four weeks as a Master Mason, a Freemason is entitled to join the Holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem, more familiarly known as the Holy Royal Arch.
The Holy Royal Arch whilst being an integral part of Freemasonry is organised as a separate Order. It is variously described as the "essence of Freemasonry", the "foundation and keystone of the whole Masonic structure", and as "the root, heart and marrow of freemasonry". Essentially it is the final part of "Pure Antient Masonry", as described in the Preliminary Declaration in the first paragraph on Page 1 of the Book of Constitutions, and as such it is hoped that every Master Mason has, or will take, the opportunity of discovering these qualities for himself by joining the Holy Royal Arch.
As with other Masonic Degrees, the ritual takes the form of allegory, but the Holy Royal Arch is concerned with encouraging the spiritual aspects of life without compromising or encroaching on an individual's belief or religion.
The ceremony in the Holy Royal Arch is colourful, thought provoking and uplifting. It is based on the legend of the rebuilding of King Solomon's Temple and invokes simultaneously, sensations of humility and our dependence on our unseen Creator.
We meet in Chapters and our meetings are known as Convocations. Members are known as Companions. As with Craft Masonry, each Chapter is organised individually and is normally attached to a Craft Lodge.
Supreme Grand Chapter controls the Holy Royal Arch at the national level and is organised similarly to United Grand Lodge. The Grand Master HRH the Duke of Kent is also the First Grand Principal for the Royal Arch, and the Grand Secretary is also the Grand Scribe E for the Royal Arch. At the Provincial level the Provincial Grand Chapter administers the Province, which is headed by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent.
Whilst the Holy Royal Arch in some respects resembles Craft Masonry, it is different in many aspects and, indeed, it is most interesting in its differences. For example we wear an apron but of a different design and colours, crimson and dark blue, together with a sash and a jewel. The jewel should be worn by Companions at Craft Meetings to emphasise the connection between the Craft and the Holy Royal Arch. We have three Principals who preside over the Chapter. They, and other Officers, are changed annually at the Installation Convocation.
There is a Holy Royal Arch Representative in each Craft Lodge in Berkshire who is there to give guidance and provide Master Masons with information on the Holy Royal Arch.
How to Join the Royal Arch
Should you decide to join the Holy Royal Arch you will need to complete Registration forms from both Supreme Grand Chapter and the Province. These Forms can be obtained from the RA Representative or the Chapter Scribe Ezra. You will need a Proposer and Seconder from the Chapter you wish to join. Details of your profession, date of raising and your Grand Lodge Certificate number will also be required. Clearance Certificates will be required from each Lodge of which you are, or have been, a subscribing member.
You will be balloted for in open Chapter in the same way as in the Craft. This would preferably be done at the Convocation before your Exaltation, although it is permitted for the ballot to be taken at the meeting immediately prior to your Exaltation ceremony. The ballot proving in your favour the Exaltation ceremony can proceed.
For more information, contact the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra via Contact Us.