Offices common to all Masonic jurisdictions
The senior officer of a Masonic Lodge is the Master, normally
addressed and referred to as the "Worshipful Master" (in Scotland, and in Lodges under the Scottish Constitution, the "Right Worshipful
Master"). The Worshipful Master sits in the East of the lodge room, directs all of the business of his lodge, and is vested with considerable
powers without further reference to the members. He also presides over ritual and ceremonies.
The office of Worshipful Master is the
highest honor to which a lodge may appoint any of its members. The office is filled by election, generally by means of a secret ballot.
However, in most lodges the progression is such that the post will almost always be filled by the previous year's Senior Warden.
should be noted that the honorific Worshipful does not imply that the Master is worshiped. Rather, use of the word implies its original
meaning, "to give respect", similar to calling a judge "Your Honor" or a mayor "Honorable". In fact, mayors and judges in parts of
England are still called "Worshipful" or "Your Worship." French Masons use the word Vénérable as the honorific for their Masters.
At the conclusion of his term of office, a Worshipful Master becomes known as a Past Master. The duties and privileges of Past Masters
vary from lodge to lodge and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, in some jurisdictions Past Masters are considered voting members
of the Grand Lodge, while in others they are not. In most jurisdictions, a Past Master continues to be addressed with the honorific
"Worshipful" (as in "Worshipful Brother Smith"), however there are a few jurisdictions where this honorific is used exclusively for
The corresponding grand rank is Grand Master. The Grand Master may preside over his Grand Lodge when it is in session,
and also has certain rights in every lodge under his jurisdiction. Grand Masters are usually addressed as "Most Worshipful".
The Senior Warden (sometimes known as First Warden) is the second of the three principal officers of a lodge, and is the Master's
principal deputy. Under some constitutions, if the Worshipful Master is absent then the Senior Warden presides at meetings as "acting
Master", and may act for the Master in all matters of lodge business. Under other constitutions, including Grand Lodge of England
and Grand Lodge of Ireland, only sitting Masters or Past Masters may preside as "acting Master", and so the Senior Warden cannot fulfill
this role unless he is also a Past Master. In many lodges it is presumed that the Senior Warden will become the next Worshipful Master.
The third of the principal officers is the Junior Warden (or Second Warden). The Junior Warden is charged with the supervision
of the Lodge while it is in recess for meals or other social purposes. In some jurisdictions the Junior Warden has a particular responsibility
for ensuring that visiting Masons are in possession of the necessary credentials. In others, this is the job of the Tyler. In some
jurisdictions the Junior Warden presides if both the Master and the Senior Warden are absent.
The Wardens are regular officers of
the Lodge, meaning that the positions must be filled.
The role of the Treasurer is to keep the accounts, collect annual
dues from the members, pay bills, and forward annual dues to the Grand Lodge.
The annual presentation of accounts is an important
measure of the lodge's continuing viability, whilst the efficient collection of annual subscriptions is vitally important, as any
lapse in payment (deliberate or unintentional) can lead to a member losing voting rights, being denied the opportunity to visit other
lodges, and finally even being debarred or excluded from his own lodge.
It is common for the Treasurer to be an experienced Past Master,
but this is not required.
The Secretary's official duties include issuing the summons (a formal notice of an impending meeting,
with time, date and agenda), recording meeting minutes, completing statistical returns to the Grand Lodge, and advising the Worshipful
Master on matters of procedure. Many individual lodge bylaws add to these duties by mandating, for example, that the Secretary serve
on specific committees.
Although any member may hold the office of Secretary, it is typically held by an experienced Past Master.
A Deacon is a junior officer in the lodge. In most jurisdictions, a lodge has two Deacons, styled Senior Deacon and Junior
Deacon (though First Deacon and Second Deacon are sometimes encountered as an alternative.)
The principal duties of the Senior Deacon
are to conduct candidates around the Lodge and speak for them during certain ceremonies, to assist the Worshipful Master as needed
and to carry messages between the Master and the Senior Warden.
The office of Junior Deacon is similar in many respects to that of
Senior Deacon. The principal duties of the Junior Deacon are to assist the Senior Warden, and carry messages between the two Wardens.
In some jurisdictions he is also responsible for guarding the inside of the main door of the lodge and ensuring that the lodge is
"tyled" (in other jurisdictions this duty is given to the Inner Guard or Inside Sentinel or Pursuivant).
a number of junior assistant roles. There is considerable variance, even within the same jurisdiction, as to the precise roles played
by Stewards. Some of their common duties could include the following:
Stewards are often tasked with an understudy role to fill the
position of the Senior Deacon or Junior Deacons, in their absence.
When a degree ceremony is performed, one or more Steward(s) may
be required to assist the two Deacons in conducting the candidates around the temple.
Stewards have a traditional role in many jurisdictions
of serving wine during any meal served after the lodge meeting. This is often extended to a general supervision and planning of catering
Some jurisdictions specify that each lodge has two Stewards, known as the 'Senior Steward' and 'Junior Steward'.
Other jurisdictions put no limit on the number of Stewards who may be appointed, and in this respect the office is unique. The Worshipful
Master may appoint any number of Stewards, according to the size and requirements of his lodge. These additional stewards are commonly
given the title of 'Associate Steward.'
Although newer members usually fill the office of Steward, in some lodges it is traditional
for a Past Master to be appointed to supervise the work of the Stewards.
The 'Tyler' is sometimes known as the 'Outer Guard'
of the lodge. His duty is to guard the door (from the outside), with a drawn sword, and ensure that only those who are duly qualified
manage to gain entry into the lodge meeting. In some jurisdictions, he also prepares candidates for their admission. The Tyler is
traditionally responsible for preparing the lodge room before the meeting, and for storing and maintaining the regalia after the meeting,
In some Jurisdictions the Tyler is a Past Master of the Lodge while in others he may be an employed brother from another lodge.