INTRODUCTION TO THE YORK RITE
This site is being maintained principally to help interested, yet undecided
Blue Lodge Masons answer the question, " What is
the York Rite and why should I pursue it?" The site is unabashedly and
emphatically pro-York Rite. Also, it should help newly-initiated York Rite
Masons to better understand the meaning of the ceremonies through which they
DISCLAIMER--The reader should understand that the ideas and opinions
expressed herein are those of the author, and in no wise are to be be construed as approved or sanctioned by any Masonic body,
Grand or otherwise, of the state of North Carolina or any other Masonic
I will not attempt to embark on a lengthy history of the York Rite per se,
since the interested Mason can find an abundance of historical material on this
Rite elsewhere on the internet. Neither am I going to
discuss facts and figures or numbers, as these likewise can be obtained from
the various state Grand bodies. What I AM going to do is take you on a guided
tour of the York Rite as it is now practiced in the USA, and attempt to explain
some of our symbolism as I understand it. First of all, let's answer the
question, "Why go York Rite?":
- At the Union of the two principal Grand Lodges of England,
The Ancients and the Moderns, it was declared that Ancient Craft Masonry
consisted of the first three degrees and the Holy Royal Arch.
(Emphasis mine) This can be construed as meaning that this degree was
considered, by those in the land where speculative Masonry began, as an
integral part of the Blue Lodge Masonic system and the natural completion
of the story begun in the first three degrees. Since this original Royal
Arch degree is only found in the York Rite Chapter, it makes sense that,
in order to complete one's basic Masonic education, one should complete
the York Rite.
- The ritual of the York Rite is very close to that of
the Blue Lodge, easily recognizable and comprehensible by any Brother. It
uses a minimum of abstruse and unfamiliar vocabulary and phrases.
- The lessons of the York Rite are clearly presented.
There is no deep philosophy, oriental mysteries, or arcane mumbo-jumbo to
wade through in this Rite. The lessons are straightforward and are
essentially an extension and/or amplification of those already familiar to
the Blue Lodge Mason.
- To COMPLETE the York Rite sequence of degrees and
orders, one must be a professed Christian. The York Rite makes no apology
for this. Rather, it provides a way for the Christian Mason to more fully
relate to his faith through the degrees of Masonry and to appreciate them
more. The Commandery is exclusively Christian; however, brethren of all
faiths can receive the Chapter and Council degrees.
- The York Rite is governed through Grand Bodies resident
in the state, not at some remote central location. The Grand leaders are
elected annually at state conventions. Thus, the York Rite is democratic
in nature, run by elected leaders, who hold tenure not for life, but for
one year. To be sure, there are national bodies whose officers are elected
for three-year terms, but membership in two of these national bodies is
voluntary on the part of the state bodies. The point is, the York Rite has
no self-perpetuating oligarchy of ad vitam leaders,
but possesses a governing structure in which the officers at all levels
(local, state, and national) serve at the will and pleasure of their
- York Rite bodies are found widely distributed in towns
and cities of every size in a state, not just in a few principal
municipalities. Thus, the York Rite is convenient and quite diffused
across a state.
- Each national York Rite body sponsors a charitable
endeavor. These endeavors are voluntarily supported by the individual
members and local bodies.
- The York Rite has a legion of honorary and allied
bodies associated with it. Thus, even greater opportunities for
fellowship, service, and Masonic knowledge exist for the York Rite brother
who is willing to work unselfishly and contribute something of substance
to the Fraternity.
The above is not an exhaustive list of reasons why a Brother should
seriously consider the York Rite path, but it does give some of the more
prominent ones. This site presents, on succeeding pages, an overview of the
various York Rite bodies, degrees and orders. If you haven't gone York Rite
yet, it is hoped that by reading them your interest will be sufficiently piqued
to cause you to do so. I will be happy to try to answer any further questions
you might have, just submit them to me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org