Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Ancient & Accepted Rite

The British equivalent of the Scottish Rite is known as the Ancient & Accepted Rite. The Ancient & Accepted Rite is frequently referred to simply as "Rose Croix," though that is only one of its degrees. This Rite is governed by the Supreme Council 33° of the Ancient and Accepted Rite for England and Wales and its Districts and Chapters Overseas." Membership in this Rite is by invitation only those Master Masons who have been in for one year and profess a belief as a Trinitarian Christian. It shares much of the same history as it was from the United States that the British version received a patent:
In Bordeaux, an influential Masonic center in France, was established a "Scottish Lodge" which had a set of "advanced degrees." In 1761, Masonic authorities granted a patent to Stephen Morin, a resident of Bordeaux, to spread the degrees across the Atlantic to the American colonies. In 1763, Morin was established in the West Indies. The degree system he established was one of 25-degrees and were known as the "Rite of Perfection." 
In 1767, Henry Francken, a Dutch merchant, organized a "Lodge of Perfection" in Albany, NY. Prior to his time in the colonies, he had been to the West Indies and had been deputized by Morin. In addition to creating this body in Albany, he transcribed four times all of his degrees into books which are referred to as the "Francken Manuscripts", from the 4° (Secret Master) to the 25° (Royal Secret or Knights of St. Andrews-the faithful guardians of the Sacred Treasure). The years following other deputies were appointed by Morin which organized Masonic groups and conferred these "advanced or higher degrees" along the colonies. These groups were decentralized and independent of one another, but all agreed upon the authority they had received from Stephen Morin. 
It wasn't until May 31, 1801, that a central authority was set up which was called "the Supreme Council of the Thirty-third degree for the United States of America" in Charleston, South Carolina. This Supreme Council sought to create "Order out of Chaos" (it's motto). With this creation, it added eight more degrees ending with the 33°. Today the headquarters is in Washington DC at the well known House of the Temple.
In 1819, Prince Augustus Frederick, the Duke of Sussex, received a patent from the US to form a Supreme Council in England, but this was not accomplished until 1845 when the Supreme Council for England and Wales received a patent from Supreme Council of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.

The Ancient & Accepted Rite confers the following degrees:
4° - Secret Master
5° - Perfect Master
6° - Intimate Secretary
7° - Provost and Judge
8° - Intendant of the Building
9° - Elect of the Nine
10° - Elect of the Fifteen
11° - Sublime Elect
12° - Grand Master Architect
13° - Royal Arch of Enoch
14° - Grand Elect Perfect and Sublime Master
15° - Knight of the Sword or of the East
16° - Prince of Jerusalem
17° - Knight of the East and West
18° - Knight of the Pelican and Eagle and Sovereign Prince Rose Croix H.R.D.M.
19° - Grand Pontiff
20° - Venerable Grand Master
21° - Patriarch Noachite
22° - Prince of Libanus
23° - Chief of the Tabernacle
24° - Prince of the Tabernacle
25° - Knight of the Brazen Serpent
26° - Prince of Mercy
27° - Commander of the Temple
28° - Knight of the Sun
29° - Knight of St. Andrew
30° - Grand Elected Knight Kadosh, or Knight of the Black and White Eagle
31° - Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander
32° - Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret
33° - Sovereign Grand Inspector General
The basic organizational unit is known as "Rose Croix Chapter" and is where the business meetings are held. The Rose Croix Chapter is composed of the follwoing officers.
Most Wise Sovereign
Prelate
First General
Second General
Treasurer
Recorder
Director of Ceremonies
Marshal
Raphael
Assistant Director of Ceremonies
Assistant Recorder
Almoner
Herald 
Organist
Captain of the Guard
Stewards
Outer Guard
Chapters are grouped into Districts who are governed by an "Inspector General of a District." Districts then fall under the governance of the Supreme Council. The Supreme Council is composed of only nine Sovereign Grand Inspectors General rather than the thirty-three of the Supreme Councils in the US. This Supreme Council has over 900 Rose Croix Chapters and Districts in 25 different countries.

A Rose Croix Chapter only communicates the 4° through the 14° while the 15° through the 17° are conferred in a shortened form before conferring the 18° in full form. The 18°'s "Ceremony of Perfection" is divided into 4-sections and are said to be "most imposing and impressive." It is meant to represent man's journey from darkness to light and the recovery of the Lost Word.

Progress beyond the 18° cannot be attained without having served as Most Wise Sovereign of a Rose Croix Chapter. The 19° through the 29° is communicated to the candidate before going through the 30°. The 30° draws upon the philsophical interpretations of the Masonic system and they are pledged to figuratively punish crime and protect innocence. The 30° Kadosh is considered Templar in nature. 

In the 31°, one is charged to oversee the observation of Masonic laws, and in the course of his induction is introduced to representatives of great lawgivers of the past. One is advanced to this degree in recognition of service rendered to the Order over a lengthy period of time.

The 32° "counsels charity and tolerance towards all mankind. This is exemplified by a symbolic pilgrimage in search of truth, when the candidate is conducted around the Camp of Chivalry where the respective points mark the renowned philosophies or religions of the world. Here, within the Consistory, is hidden a mystery of great import and where its true interpretation, the Royal Secret, is to be found. Only those who have merited additional recognition following long or active service to the Order can attain this degree."

The 33° is considered the "supreme degree" of the Rite that "incorporates a most impressive ceremony in which the candidate is required to endure a test demanding great courage, which is followed by a lengthy obligation, a fitting climax being attained when he is solemnly cemented to the Order with a golden ring of special significance. His particular duty entails the encouragement of charity and fraternal love throughout the Order, and the preservation with due reverence of the dogmas, statutes and doctrines of the Rite. This, the ultimate degree of the Rite, is only conferred upon members of the Supreme Council, Inspectors General of Districts, and other distinguished members of the Order."


References

1. History. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Supreme Council 33° For England and Wales and its Districts and Chapters Overseas: http://www.sc33.org.uk/

2. Jackson, K. B. (2012). Beyond the Craft (6th ed.). Lewis Masonic.

3. Scottish Rite - United Kingdom. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Rite#United_Kingdom

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