Friday, April 27, 2012

Allied Masonic Degrees

The Allied Masonic Degrees is an invitational body within the York Rite that is dedicated to Masonic Research.
The Allied Masonic Degrees are detached degrees which, many years ago, were conferred under Craft Warrants and formed a part of the loosely governed Freemasonry which afterward eliminated all save the three Craft degrees and the Royal Arch. 
History

The Allied Masonic Degrees are an invitational organization, and requires membership in the Royal Arch as well as the Symbolic Lodge. Membership is limited to 27 members per council.  

Be it remembered that on August 5, 1933, this Grand Council took as its date of formation January 14, 1892, since this date was the beginning of the Allied Masonic Degrees in America with the formation of the Sovereign College of Allied Masonic and Christian Degrees at Richmond, Virginia, that on April 16, 1932, the subsequent establishment of a Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America occurred in Salisbury, North Carolina, and that the union of the two bodies was drawn up and entered into July 18, 1933, and was ratified by the North Carolina Grand Council August 5, 1933 and was ratified by the Sovereign College at Norway, Maine August 24, 1933, and became effective as of September 7, 1933.  

The Allied Masonic Degrees are detached degrees some of which, many years ago, were conferred under Craft warrants and formed part of the then loosely governed Freemasonry of the period.  

Many of these detached degrees became dormant in some places, although in others they were conferred as side degrees. In time, the better of these degrees were grouped together in an organized body under the title of Allied Masonic Degrees. The degrees comprising the system in our Jurisdiction in the U.S.A. are the Royal Ark Mariner, Secret Monitor, Knight of Constantinople, Saint Lawrence the Martyr, Architect, Superintendent, Grand Tilers of Solomon, Master of Tyre, Excellent Master, Installed Sovereign Master, Installed Commander Noah, Red Branch of Eri and Ye Ancient Order of Corks. They are conferred in the United States in Councils chartered by the Grand Council. Each Council is limited to twenty seven members, with two exceptions. One of these Councils is known as the Council of the Nine Muses and is limited to nine members. The other is Grand Masters Council, which has what is known as a roving charter. The purpose of the latter Council is to provide a place of membership in the Allied Masonic Degrees for brethren residing in localities where Councils have not been organized. Membership in every Council of Allied Masonic Degrees is by invitation, and is predicated on membership in the Royal Arch Chapter.  

In addition to perpetuating these degrees, there is still another and equally important purpose. It is to bring together, in small groups, Freemasons who are interested in the advancement of all Masonry, preparing themselves to better serve the Craft through the medium of study and research. By limiting the membership in a Council and securing membership only by invitation, the result is a congenial group able to enjoy full fellowship when meeting together. Wherever there is an active Council of Allied Masonic Degrees, it exerts an influence for the betterment of Freemasonry in all the Masonic Bodies.  

There is no intention on the part of the Allied Masonic Degrees to detract from any organized and established body of Masonry. On the contrary, you will find our members active, beyond the average, in all local Masonic bodies. The real purpose is to stimulate interest in Masonry in general and bring together in small groups those who are interested in the study of Masonic subjects. Thus they are better enabled to serve the Craft.  

Degrees  

The Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America confers following grades:


Royal Ark Mariner

Evidence of the Grade of Royal Ark Mariner appears in Masonic records at a very early date and the very abundance of data is to be considered as detrimental, rather than helpful. To even approximate the earliest working of the Grade is impossible and legend of such a working must suffice at this time.       

In his Constitutions of 1733, Dr. James Anderson mentioned that we should all conduct ourselves as sons of Noah (or Noachidæ). There are many who assume that this is a reference to an Ark ceremony, but this study is neutral. It is possible, though hardly probable; the question depends upon what might be termed the date of the speculative Grades.       

Further, in some quarters it is a more or less accepted theory that the Ark and Anchor with which we are so familiar in the Craft are but indications of an ancient Ark ceremony of yesteryears. It is assumed that an ancient Grade relating to the Deluge was discontinued and the symbols thereof incorporated into the lectures of the Craft. This theory, likewise, is possible, but the present study does not either accept or deny the possibility of such a theory.       

On page 108, Vol. VI, A.Q.C., Bro. W. J. Hughan mentions two very old brasses of the "Ancient Stirling Lodge," of Scotland. At the top of one of the brasses appears a crude Ark and Dove, under which is "Redd Cros or Ark;" below this drawing are other drawings, illustrating "Knights of Malta" and "Night Templer," and probably the Royal Arch. While these brasses have been assigned a date so early as the seventeenth century, Bro. Hughan does not concur therein; he suggests that they are mid-eighteenth century, which appears more reasonable. Thus, without dates, some evidence is indicated of an early working of the Ark ceremony. The mention of the Ark Grade in intimate connection with the old Red Cross appears to have been quite usual in the eighteenth century.       

On a certificate issued from "the High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Knights of the Red Cross and Noachidas," held under sanction of Lodge No. 271 (Irish Constitution), is "dated in Limerick 27th February, 1790, and of the Order of the Red Cross, 2326°."       

In the "History and Description of the Town and Borough of Ipswich," G. R. Clarke, 1830, we find (pages 116-117) a paragraph quoted under the date of 17th of June 1790. It states in part: "…a person of the name of Noah Sibley, a man of some parts and oratory, established a club or society, at a house in St. Clement’s, purporting to be a particular branch of Freemasonry, called the Good Samaritan, or the Ark Masons … their public exhibitions were attended with much ceremony in their various processions through the different streets of the town, when a model of Noah’s Ark, and a variety of insignia and banners were displayed."       

Another early reference to the Grade is found in the "Freemason’s Magazine," for 1794 (vol. iii, p. 147): "Aug. 16, Being the birthday of his Royal Highness the Duke of York, it was celebrated with all the honors of Masonry by the Order of Knights Templars resident at London, united with the Society of Antient Masons of the Diluvian Order, or Royal Ark and Mark Mariners, assembled at the Surry Tavern in the Strand, by summons from homas Dunckerley, Esq., Grand Master and Grand Commander of those United Orders."       There are also early references in America, but these we omit.       

The Grade of Royal Ark Mariner is today worked under two authorities, other than in this country: (1) In Scotland the Grade is worked in a Lodge attached to a Royal Arch Chapter under control of Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter, and (2) in England it is worked in a Lodge, attached to a Mark Lodge, and under the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, of that country.       

The Ritual of the Grade used by the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America, is the same as that worked today in Scotland. The legend is of the Deluge and it is both beautiful and instructive. There is one other variation, peculiar to the defunct Grand Sovereign College, and thus to the "Time Immemorial" Councils. It is referred to loosely as the Degree of Royal Ark Mariner, or more accurately, by its members, as the Degree of Ark and Dove. It is a corruption of the English variant of the Grade, with numerous modifications and additions, including an oath of temperance toward alcohol. It could be conferred upon any Master Mason, thereby displaying a further deviation from the English variant. By the terms of Union between the Grand Council and Grand Sovereign College, the latter’s councils retained the right to confer this variation. This Degree was thus propagated and abused, the Josiah Drummond Council, No. 1 going so far as to invite in any Master Mason and confer the Degree upon him with any regards to petitioning or investigating the individual elevated. This abuse only ceased with the disbanding of the council in 1998. The remaining "Time Immemorial" councils have chosen to exemplify the Scottish Ritual of the Grand Council. Seven councils of the Grand Council still maintain the right of conferring the Grade upon any Royal Arch Mason, by virtue of holding separate Charters of Royal Ark Mariner Lodges. All other councils are considered to have a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge moored to their respective councils, and may confer the Grade only upon members of the Allied Masonic Degrees.

Secret Monitor
Brotherhood of David and Jonathon



As early as 1778 there was a society in Holland known as the Order of Jonathan and David, which probably furnished the germ for the origin of the American Grade now known as the Secret Monitor. In his "Catalogue," Kloss gives the title of a book published in 1778 at Amsterdam, which gives the statutes and formula of reception of the early Dutch society. This Dutch society became Masonic, no doubt, as there is mention of it in connection with Freemasonry in that country at a date just later than the above mentioned. On page 162, Vol. V, A.Q.C., there is, in addition to the other Dutch Masonic data, the following statement: "From the foregoing documents it is not possible to determine whence they issued or derived their authority. The names, however, of De La Garde, Bergh, Dalmencourt, De Consalvin, are to be found on old documents and certificates issued by a Chapter named ‘Jesus,’ and another called ‘Jonathan and David,’ of Avignon, France, in 1778.       

"The Bro. Bolt who was thus authorized to erect Chapters of the Rosy Cross, was also empowered to constitute Chapters of the United Orders of Jonathan and David, and Jesus Christ, by a document of which the following is a part.       

"Les Grand-Maitres plènipotentairees des ordres, fraternels et confèderès de Jonathan et David et Jesus Christ, au nom et sous l’auspice et la tolèrance mysterieuse de Sa Saintetè, Pius Pontife Sourverain! Magistre Suprème at Oecumenique! Serviteurs de Dieu! par la clemence divine …"       The birth of the Masonic Grade of Secret Monitor appears to have occurred in the United States, where it was worked for many years under various titles – "Brotherly Love," "Jonathan and David," and finally "Secret Monitor." Its first appearance seems to have been in 1850, in which there is clear mention of the Grade.       

The Grade was one of the many so-called "side degrees" which were worked throughout America during the last half of the nineteenth century. It was usually conferred – by communication – by one Mason upon another, without fee and no record being made of the event. Too, many Lectures conferred the Grade and thus it spread into most of the States.       

Sometime near the close of the nineteenth century, Dr. Issachar Zacharie carried the Grade from America over to England. There, a Body was created to administer over the Grade, termed a Supreme Council. The Grade was rearranged into three ceremonies: (1) That of Induction, (2) The Assembly of Princes, and (3) The Installation of a Supreme Ruler.       

Early records of the working of the Grade are scarce in this country, due to the fact that it was worked as a "side degree" and no Minutes were kept. However, in Scotland, the Early Grand Rite secured a version of this American Grade and incorporated it into their multifarious System. It there formed the Sixteenth Degree and was worked under the title "Order of Brotherly Love." A copy of the Ritual of that Rite (dated 1890), in the Archives of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America, shows a very weak and insignificant Ritual-ceremony, hardly worthy of consideration.       

The Ritual used by the Grand Council in this country was an original text, which was used here in 1896. It is a very instructive ceremony and based, for the most part, upon the love, which we are taught, existed between Jonathan and David. It teaches a beautiful lesson in friendship and fidelity. However, in 2000, Grand Council substituted the English ritual, which includes the ceremony of Installed Supreme Ruler, so that the councils practicing the Secret Monitor might conform and be recognized by their English counterparts, which are a separate body from the English Allied Masonic Degrees.       

The Jewel of the Grade originally was a hackle surmounted by a crown, in gold. This was worn suspended from a ribbon, black in the center, bordered on either side with white, the ribbon being surmounted by a gold bow. It is now that used by the English body, which is two interlaced triangles, superimposed upon three arrows, and containing the letters "D" and "J," in gold.


Installed Supreme Ruler

In the American Councils, the Degree is rarely exemplified. However, it has become more important with the mutual recognition of European and Canadian Secret Monitor Conclaves. The Degree recalls the consecration of King David.

The Jewel of the Grade originally was a hackle surmounted by a crown, in gold. This was worn suspended from a ribbon, black in the center, bordered on either side with white, the ribbon being surmounted by a gold bow. It is now that used by the English body, which is two interlaced triangles, superimposed upon three arrows, and containing the letters "D" and "J," in gold. The Jewel is worn suspended from the throat by an orange ribbon bordered by Medici blue.

St. Lawrence the Martyr

The actual date when this ritual was introduced is not known, but is believed to have been worked in England over two centuries ago. It has been generally accepted that the degree is remnants of an old operative ceremony originating from Lancashire and designed to distinguish true craftsmen from speculative masons. While the degree has little Masonic connection to the Hiramic legend, its interesting legend relates to the martyrdom of St. Lawrence who was afterwards canonized for his fidelity and Christian attributes. However, little of an authentic nature can be said regarding this. Records of the Grade anywhere are extremely rare, and no real early Minute has appeared to shed light on its origins. If this Grade was actually worked in Lancashire, which was near to Grand Lodge activity, it does seem that records would be available and something a bit more definite obtainable. The main lesson of the degree is fortitude.       

The ceremony relates neither to the First or Second Temple, nor to Masonic Chivalry. It is interesting in its simplicity and has a little-heard-of legend, which is pleasing to examine and of merit. The very peculiarity of the Grade marks it different and is perhaps the ground upon which the operative origin is claimed.       

The actual figure of St. Lawrence is a shadowy figure of the early Roman church. It has been said of the traditional stories about St. Lawrence that they portray, not the man, but the ‘typical figure of a martyr’. It is known that he was one of the seven deacons of Rome, and that he was martyred there four days after Pope Sixtus II (also canonized) in 258 AD. He was allegedly buried in the cemetery on the road to Tivoli, where the church of St. Lawrence-outside-the-Walls now stands. Traditional legend claims his martyrdom was being put to death by being roasted on a grid. It is more likely that in fact he was beheaded, as St. Sixtus was. Scholars are not wholly in agreement about how much credence can be given to such particulars about St. Lawrence as are given by St. Ambrose, the poet Prudentius, and others. His veneration dates from the fourth century, and he was considered as one of the most famous martyrs of the city of Rome. With St. Sixtus he is named in the canon of the Roman Mass. His feast day is 10 August. His emblem is a gridiron.       

This Grade is the administrative Degree that English and European Councils work in when transacting and conducting business. It is the only Grade of these councils that also has a chair Degree, that of Installed Worshipful Master. New members receive this Grade upon reception into an Allied Masonic Degree council, generally along with the Degrees of Knight of Constantinople and Grand Tiler of Solomon. Miniature jewels for the various Degrees are worn on the left breast, a miniature jewel being added for each additional Degree. While a member may not receive all the Grades of the Allied Masonic Degrees, he must be in possession of the Grade of St. Lawrence the Martyr in order to be seated in the Council meetings.       

In the American Councils, the Degree is not as often exemplified as the other AMD Degrees. With the mutual recognition of the various Grand Councils in the United States and Europe, this Degree becomes much more important as does the Degree of Installed Worshipful Master.  

The Jewel of the Grade is a silver gridiron, suspended from a ribbon, orange in the center and royal blue on either side. The Jewel of a Past Master is a silver gridiron enclosed in a silver circle.

Grand Tilers of Solomon

This interesting Grade was formerly known under the titles of "Mason Elect of the Twenty-Seven" or "Select Mason of the 27," and is found in many different countries, although records are by no means abundant. There can be little doubt that this Grade and the Grade of "Select Master" owe their origin to a common source. In his Masonic Orations, published in 1803, Frederick Dalcho mentions that in addition to the regular degrees and among those mentioned is "Select Master of 27." Elsewhere there is mention of "Select Mason of the 27" indicating that the Grade which we now work as "Grand Tiler of Solomon" is or very close resemblance to the present-day "Select Master."       

Early evidence of the Grade is contained in History of the Cryptic Rite, where is reproduced a diploma issued by Moses Cohn to Abraham Jacobs, dated November 9th, 1790, which in addition to some of the regular Grades of the Rite of Perfection, mentions the "Select Mason of Twenty-Seven." There are also other references to such a Grade at an early date.       

The Jamaica Ritual, purporting to have been used by Morin in the West Indies in the eighteenth century, is yet available for study and indicates a close adherence to the present working of the Allied Grade, while at the same time it indicates a direct line to the Select Master. However, following the trend of thought here introduced, the origin of the one Grade would be the birth of the other and the two Grades, while somewhat different today, indicated formerly one Grade. The Allied Grade merely holds to older working and has not been amplified and changed by too many hands. It appears to be old work.       

Thus, it is evident that the Grade is an American product and these records are the earliest yet found of its working. The Ritual now used is identical in both the United States and England, and is a product of late 19th century American ritualists. The Grade was conferred on the Earl of Euston, the Grand Master of Allied Masonic Degrees in England, in 1893 and accordingly it was incorporated under that Grand Council. The Ritual is of deep interest to those who really understand early Ritual and the environs in which it was created. Many lessons may be found in simple and easily explained ceremonies of this period.       

The Jewel of the Grade is a black delta, edged with gold, pointed downward, containing in the center "27" in Hebrew characters. On the reverse appears the Tetragrammaton in the Kabbalistic Order. The Jewel is suspended from a scarlet ribbon, edged with pale gray, on which is a hand grasping a sword and surmounted by three crowns.

Knights of Constantinople

This Degree is an authentic ‘side degree’, where it was customary for one brother to confer it on another and while it is known to have been working in the United States in 1831, its actual origin is unknown. The ritual attempts to connect the legendary Constantine with the Masonic fraternity and teaches a fine lesson in universal equality and humility; it also incorporates a suggestion of operative influence in an extensive lecture that also imbues the lesson of justice.       

In 1865, Major F. G. Irwin introduced this Grade to several English brethren in Devonport, England. Amongst those who received the ceremony at that time was Brother W. J. Hughan, the noted Masonic writer. Hughan states that Brother Irwin received the Grade in Malta and organized it in Devonport and Plymouth, in both of which places it was worked many years after the England Grand Council A.M.D., was formed. In the United States, organized records are available as early as January 14, 1892.       

There is a bare possibility that the Knight of Constantinople is traceable, in legend, to the same source as, or directly from, the Red Cross of Constantine. This is stated in face of the fact that the two Grades have nothing in common save the characters found in each. Yet, it appears likely that knowledge of these two characters in a Masonic setting would be necessary for the invention of the Knight of Constantinople.       

As stated earlier, the Ritual of this Grade teaches a beautiful lesson in humility and should be carefully studied by every Brother of the Allied Masonic Degrees. The Ritual used is identical in the United States and England.       

The Jewel of the Grade is a Maltese Cross, surmounted by a Crescent, in gold, suspended from a green ribbon, on which are three poniards, in gold. This jewel, like the others, is to be worn as a breast jewel.

Architect

The Grade of Architect is the first of a trilogy of Grades expanding upon the Solomonic lessons of architecture. The structure of the degree is Continental in character, resembling certain Rites of the French and German grades, but incorporating the use of trestle-boards as used in English and Scottish Masonry. Not surprisingly, it is first found attached to the Early Grand Rite of Scotland under the same name, as the VII° of the Blue Series. It is noteworthy in its interpretations as "extensions" or elaboration of the Master Mason degree. For this reason, it is assumed, it is not practiced or sanctioned by the English Masonic bodies, appearing only in the American and French variants of the Allied Masonic Degrees. The Grade was attached to the Grand Council of the AMD of the United States as an Active Grade in 1934.       

The actual degree itself is rather short, with the work resembling that performed in Craft Masonry. The lecture or explanation, however, takes the form of catechism between the principal officers. The ritual is also punctuated with excessive circumambulations and floor-work, which if followed verbatim as prescribed by ritual would make the Grade most unworkable. The use of extensive paraphernalia and properties also mark this Grade with the affinities exhibited by many of the early Rites, which required large auditorium settings with elaborate backdrops. This places it at a disadvantage, as exemplification of the work requires greater amounts of preparation and staging.       

The Jewel of the Grade is a flaming star, containing the letter "G," all of which is within a triangle, in gold.

Grand Architect

The Grade of Grand Architect is a continuation sequence of the Architect Grade. It is found first in the Early Grand Rite of Scotland under the same name, as the VIII° of the Blue Series. It is a continuation of the Solomonic legends of architecture, which seek to impose the ideal of an increasingly select and secretive body of craftsmen performing work upon the Solomonic Temple. It is now only practiced in the American and French Grand Councils of the Allied Masonic Degrees. The Grade was attached as an Active Grade to the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States in 1934.       

This degree is similar in concept and practice to its companion Grade, that of Architect, sharing the same flaws. It is actually even more cumbersome in the execution of its floor-work, and requires equally extensive paraphernalia and properties. The Grade is therefore seldom worked, as for the candidate to fully appreciate the Grade; it should be exemplified at the same time as the Grades of Architect and Superintendent.       

The Jewel of the Grade is double triangle, formed a pair of compasses and a level.

Superintendent

The Grade of Superintendent is somewhat of an enigma. It is clearly related to the Grades of Architect and Grand Architect, indeed, it is the climax of the latter, but was not one of the Grades of the Early Grand Rite of Scotland. Research into that body has failed to establish any connection, the IX° of that Rite’s Blue Series was worked as "Master of the Blue," and pertained to one of the tests of wisdom between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Neither is it found under the Rite’s Red, Black, Green, or White Series; where it would be most inappropriate in any case. Thus we are left with the frustrating mystery of a Grade which appears to be a ne plus ultra in the Solomonic architecture. Whatever the case may be, it is a fitting tribute to the other Grades, and rightly deserves a place in the Allied Masonic Degrees.       

Being of similar character and style as the Grades of Architect and Grand Architect, it also shares the flaws of those two Grades. The ritual would take several hours to confer if all signs, circumambulations, and raps were observed. The properties required are also more extensive and elaborate. For those Brethren who have the fortune of witnessing the work, however, it will be appreciated that the preparations are well worth the results.       

The Jewel of the Grade is a Triangle.

Master of Tyre

The Grade of Master of Tyre is a modern one, originating in North Carolina, USA, and is no doubt the product of the fertile minds of the Masonic brethren in the western area of that state; they being the originators of the Allied Masonic Degrees themselves. It does not appear in any of the early rituals of that body, and was later incorporated into the working along with the Grades of Superintendent, Architect, and Grand Architect.       

It was worked initially under the title "Masons of Tyre," with the idea being to function as a separate body of Freemasonry, the initial qualifications of membership requiring only good standing in the Craft. The organization was to operate under the direction of a Supreme Quarry, whose function was only to coordinate and charter new Quarries of the body. Problems arose with the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, which viewed the body as an alternate Masonic organization that encroached on the sovereignty of the Grand Lodges jurisdiction. To avoid any further dissension, the organization placed itself under the government of the Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States.       

The degree is somewhat awkward, being set around long lectures, which detract somewhat from the central lesson of the degree. The emphasis on the Tyrian connection of Masonry, however, makes it unique from the perspective of the majority of Masonic degrees. The main lesson taught is duty.  

The Jewel of the Grade is a Square and Compasses, containing in the center a crown, and at the tips of the Compasses and the apex of the Square three interlaced triangles containing the letters "M," "O," and "T," suspended from a purple ribbon.

Excellent Master

The Grade of Excellent Master, or Excellent Mason as it was known in its earlier working, is of such age as to confuse us in estimating just how old it is. It is almost safe to state that it is as old as is Royal Arch Masonry, because it has always formed a part thereof. Even in the United States it is mentioned as early as 1769, when in St. Andrew’s Chapter, Boston, a Brother was "made by receiving the four steps, that of an Excellt., Sup.-Excellt., Royll. Arch and Kt. Templar."       

Until the first quarter of the 20th Century, the Excellent was never worded alone; it was always with the Super Excellent and Royal Arch. Later, when this most beautiful method of work was abandoned almost everywhere, the title was changed to "Excellent Master," the ritual reworked and in Scotland was placed as the immediate predicant of the Royal Arch. It is not worked elsewhere today, save in the Allied Councils of the United States. Ireland has preserved some of both the Excellent Master and Super Excellent Master in her veil-working in the Royal Arch, but the formal ceremonies are a thing of the past.       

The origin of the American Royal Arch did not cause a wide swept discontinuance of the older form of working. The Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Virginia used the old form, and even chartered Chapters as "Excellent Super Excellent" well into the 19th Century. The very abundance of early records and Minutes makes unnecessary its transcription as we are all familiar with the antiquity of the Excellent Master and its significance to Royal Arch Masonry.       

The Ritual used in the United States is the Scottish work, unchanged. It is a beautiful ceremony, and almost necessary to the Royal Arch. Having passed the three veils in Babylon, there is necessity at Jerusalem only to enter the fourth, or White, Veil. It is a simple and beautiful method of working.       

The Jewel of the Grade is the Pentagram, in gold, suspended from a scarlet ribbon.

Installed Sovereign Master

The Chair Degree for the presiding Officer of a Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America. The Degree is usually conferred on the newly elected Sovereign Master by the Council’s Past Sovereign Masters at the close of Council meeting of the Sovereign Master’s election, though some Councils have a separate, formal installation. The Degree relates part of the Solomonic legend concerning the Queen of Sheba and members of the Craft.       
The Jewel of the Grade is the insignia of the Allied Masonic Degrees surrounded by a laurel wreath, both in gold, suspended from a green ribbon at the throat, or a white ribbon on the left breast.

Installed Commander Noah

In the American Councils, the Degree is rarely exemplified. However, it has become more important with the mutual recognition of European and Canadian Royal Ark Mariner Lodges. In some American Councils, the Royal Ark Mariner Lodge operates as a separate body, with its own set of officers and members. The Degree emphasizes the lessons of hospitality and generosity.       
The Jewel of the Grade is a silver Triangle. Center inside the inner edges of the triangle is a silver "N." The Jewel is suspended from a ribbon containing the colors of the Rainbow.

Royal Order of the Red Branch of Eri

This remote Order is said to be derived from a very ancient Order in Ireland, consisting of Freemasons and said to have been erected and patronized by the Kings of Ireland, for it is claimed that in early times Erin (Ireland) possessed a literature and history equal to that of the most highly developed of ancient nations. While it is generally accepted that Bro. John Yarker (1833-1913) was at one time the head of the ‘English Revived Order of the Red Branch of Eri’; certain records relate that Bro. F. G. Irwin, while Worshipful Master of the Inhabitants Lodge, No. 178 at Gibraltar in 1858, received the Order at the hands of the captain of an American trading vessel, to whom it had been transmitted from father to son, dating back to 1757, when his Irish forbear emigrated to New York while a District Grand Master of the Order. Major Irwin is then purported to have restored and reorganized the degree in England under the aegis of the Grand Mur-Ollamham. The Order possessed two Psalters, the Major Psalter being basically the rituals or the degrees and the Minor Psalter comprising the laws and rules of the Order. The degrees embodied in the Order are (1) Man-at-Arms, (2) Esquire, (3) Knight, (4) Knight Commander, and (5) Grand Cross.       

The English body languished for quite some time, starting during the latter part of Bro. John Yarker’s tenure as Master, and was worked only upon rare occasions with long periods of inactivity in between. It was revived sometime after the turn of the 20th Century, and attached in nature to the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, with restrictions that the Order could only be conferred upon invited SRIA members of VIº or higher. This modification of what is in the United States viewed as an American Order led to a schism between the English and American branches, the former refusing to extend recognition to the American knights of the Order.       

The American body uses the rituals as used by the English body under the stewardship of Bro. John Yarker. The degrees of Knight Commander and Grand Cross are not exemplified or practiced as there are no subordinate bodies of this Order in the United States. The Minor Psalter of the English body is not used either as it pertains to peculiarities of English Freemasonry and their Order. The Red Branch of Eri may be conferred upon any member of the Allied Masonic Degrees, by the unanimous decision of the member’s Council, for outstanding and meritorious service to the Allied Masonic Degrees. It is limited to no more than two members per Council per year.       

The Jewel of the Order is a white Salem Cross having a red branch in leaf superimposed thereon, suspended by a green ribbon. The Jewel is worn suspended from the throat. 

Comparison

Here is a comparison between the English and American AMD, and the chair degrees.

References      
1. Allied Masonic Degrees. (n.d.). Retrieved from St. Andrew's in America Council #1: http://www.angelfire.com/nc3/standrew1amd/  
2. Degrees & Regalia. (n.d.). Retrieved from Texas Council #335, AMD: http://txamd.albertpikedemolay.org/  
3. History. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Grand Council Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA: http://www.allied-masonicdegrees.org/

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