Monday, January 1, 2018

Officers of the Royal Arch Chapter

Royal Arch Masonry consists of the following degrees: Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch. The first 3-degrees have leadership like that found in the Blue Lodge in which a Worshipful Master presides. The basic organizational unit for Royal Arch Masonry is the Chapter and is composed of the following officers: Excellent High Priest, King, Scribe, Treasurer, Secretary, Captain of the Host, Principal Sojourner, Royal Arch Captain, the three Masters of the Veil, Chaplain, and Sentinel.

The High Priest presides over a Chapter of Royal Arch Masonry in America, but is equivalent to the First Principal in Royal Arch Masons found in England, Canada, and other places around the world. The Excellent High Priest represents Jeshua who oversaw the Jewish council that presided over the second building of the Temple (the central story of the Royal Arch degree) in Jerusalem and is the one who charges Zerubbabel to travel to the Persian court in the Order of the Red Cross. According to the Bible, the High Priest was the supreme religious leader of the Israelites and was a hereditary position stemming from Aaron, the brother of Moses. Once the Temple of Solomon was constructed, the High Priest was the lone person who could enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement and give sacrifice to God; the High Priest also had duties over other classes of priest and other sacred duties. For the Christian, Christ is the greatest High Priest whereby He sacrificed himself for the atonement of the world. This officer has the honorary title of "Excellent" which stems from the Latin word "excellentem" meaning "superior, excellent, or of first-class." The word "high" is comes to us from Germanic languages; "Heh" (Anglian), "heah" (West Saxon), and haukhaz (Proto-Germanic) translate as "of great height, lofty, tall, exalted, high-class." Priest is rooted in the Latin word "prester" meaning "priest or elder."

While the title would denote a chief authority, the King in the Chapter is second-in-command. This officer is equivalent to the Second Principal in Royal Arch Masons found in England, Canada, and other places around the world. The King represents Zerubbabel, a Prince of Judah, who is, according to the Bible, the grandson of King Jehoiachin (also referred to as Jehoiakim or Jeconiah) who was deposed by Nebuchadnezzar and resulted in the Jewish captivity in Babylon which would eventually be conquered by the Persian Empire. During the reign of King Cyrus, the Jews were allowed, by decree, to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and Holy Temple. Zerubbabel is portrayed in the Royal Arch degree, Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, the Order of Knight Masons, and degrees in the Scottish Rite. The word "king" is rooted the Germanic word "k├Ânig" meaning "ruler."

The third-in-command in the Chapter is known as the Scribe and who represented the Prophet Haggai. In Canada and England, the Royal Arch Masons use the term "Third Principle" rather than "Scribe", but the American use of Scribe hails back to Haggai who would have served as the scribe, or secretary, of the Grand Council charged with rebuilding the Temple. Haggai was a Prophet during the building of the building of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, which is central legend of Royal Arch Masonry, and the author of the Book of Haggai. Haggai is the Hebrew language translates to "my holiday". Of his personal life, little is known except that he was in a Levite, but according to Albert Mackey, Haggai was born during the Babylonian captivity and was a young man at the time of liberation by Cyrus though Ray Denslow differs in that Haggai was old by the time the rebuilding of the Temple had started. According to the 6th Chapter of the Book of Ezra, Haggai was instrumental in invigorating the Jewish people into rebuilding the Temple. The etymological root of Scribe is the word Latin word "scriba", meaning writer, from past participle stem of "scribere" meaning to "to write" from proto-Indo-European word "skribh" meaning "to cut". The etymology is applicable to the duties of Haggai. Historically, scribes have also been used as notaries, copyists, interpreters of law (lawyers or judges), accountants, ministers, and journalists. Much of ancient history was recorded by a scribe, by one name or another. In some instances, scribes were considered a part of the royal court, performing the previously described duties for monarchs, as would have been the case for Haggai.

The senior appointed officer of the Chapter is the Captain of the Host and represents the general of the Jewish troops who returned from Babylon. This officer has duties related to those found with the Marshall (or Master of Ceremonies) in the Blue Lodge as well as some duties of the Senior Deacon. The word "captain" comes from the Late Latin word "capitaneus" meaning "chief" which comes from the Latin "caput" meaning "head." The word "host" stems from the Old French word "ost" meaning "army" which is rooted in the Medieval Latin word "hostis" meaning "a stranger, foreigner, or guest."

Next in line is the Principal Sojourner who has duties in line with the Senior Deacon. A sojourner signifies a person living out of his own country and as a candidate represents sojourning Jews returning to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity ended, the Principle Sojourner acted as their guide and spokesman. The word "Principlal stems from the Latin word "principalis" meaning "first in importance; original, primitive," or from the Latin "princeps" meaning "first man, chief, leader." The word "Sojourner" is rooted in the Old French word "sejorn" meaning "to dwell for a time."

Corresponding to the Junior Deacon in a Blue Lodge, the Royal Arch Captain is the sixth in line for a Royal Arch Chapter. The Captain of the King's Guards and guarded the fourth veil of the Tabernacle. His banner was white and adorned with a lion representing the tribe of Judah. The word "Royal" stems from the Latin word "regalis" meaning "royal or regal" which is itself rooted in the word "rex" meaning king. The word "Arch" stems from the Latin word "arcus" meaning "a bow." Like mentioned above, Captain is rooted in the Latin word "caput."

Following the Royal Arch Captain are the three Masters of the Veil. In a Mark Master Lodge, the Masters of the Veil correspond to the Overseers. Most state that they don't have a corresponding position within a Blue Lodge, but, in my opinion, they appear to correspond with the Stewards of a Lodge having duties that pertain to the conferral of the Royal Arch degrees. The First Master of the Veil guards the first veil, his banner was colored blue, the banner was adorned with an eagle, and represented the Tribe of Dan. The Second Master of the Veil guards the second veil, his banner was colored purple, the banner was adorned with a man, and represented the Tribe of Reuben. The Third Master of the Veil guards the third veil, his banner was colored red, the banner was adorned with an Ox, and represented the Tribe of Ephraim. The word "Master" is rooted from the medieval Latin word "magister" meaning "one having control or authority." The word "Veil" stems from the Latin word "Vela" meaning "sail, curtain, or covering" from the Proto-Indo-European word "weg" meaning "to weave a web." 

Just as in the Blue Lodge, the Chaplain is charged with scriptural lessons to the candidate as well as other ritualistic duties during the conferral of degrees. Traditionally a Chaplain is a member of the clergy who is attached to a private chapel, organization, military unit, institution, or society. This title comes from Old French "chapelein" meaning "clergyman" deriving from the Medieval Latin word "cappellanus" meaning the same.

The final appointed officer of the Royal Arch Chapter is called the Sentinel and whose duties correspond with that of the Tyler in the Blue Lodge. The Sentinel guards the Chapter from without the door to ensure the Companions are not caught or taken by surprise by those wishing to cause harm or those who are not entitled to be there. The word Sentinel stems from the Latin word "sentire" meaning "to watch or perceive by the senses." The Sentinel is one who stands guard over some kind of structure, whether it be an installation, a gate, or a passage. It is there job to prevent intrusion by enemy or those unauthorized.

References

1. Arch. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/arch

2. Captain. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/captain

3. Captain of the Host. (n.d.). Retrieved from Masonic Encyclopedia: http://masonicencyclopedia.com/topic/?i=4703&topic=CAPTAIN-OF-THE-HOST

4. Chaplain. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/chaplain

5. Chaplain. (n.d.). Retrieved from Masonic Encyclopedia: http://masonicencyclopedia.com/topic/?i=4613&topic=CHAPLAIN

6. Excellent. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/excellent

7. High. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/high

8. Host. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/host

9. King. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/king

10. King. (n.d.). Retrieved from Dictionary.com: www.dictionary.com/browse/king

11. King. (n.d.). Retrieved from Masonic Encyclopedia: http://masonicencyclopedia.com/topic/?i=3138&topic=KING

12. Master. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/master

13. Priest. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/priest

14. Principal. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/principal

15. Royal. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/royal

16. Scribe. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/scribe

17. Sentinel. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/sentinel

18. Sentinel. (n.d.). Retrieved from Masonic Encyclopedia: http://masonicencyclopedia.com/topic/?i=1676&topic=SENTINEL

19. Sojourn. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/sojourn

20. Sojourner. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/sojourner

21. Tierney, J. (1911). The High Priest. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12407b.htm (August 13, 2014 ).

22. Veil. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/veil


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