YORK RITE DEGREES
The York Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry in which a Master Mason may proceed to supplement and amplify the Blue Lodge degrees, affording historical background on the work and meaning of Freemasonry. The York Rite takes its name from the old English city of York. The York Rite is not a religion in itself, it does, however, develop themes based on the Medieval Crusades.
The York Rite confers degrees beyond the Blue Lodge’s three degrees. In the York Rite, A Master Mason may become a member of three bodies:
Royal Arch Freemasonry provides an outstanding opportunity for Master Masons desirous of Further Light in Masonry to explore some of the deeper mysteries of the Craft. Chapters confer four degrees: Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch. These four degrees of the Chapter are truly some of the most profound and impressive within the whole Family of Freemasonry.
The Council of Cryptic Masonry is the second of the York Rite bodies. A man must have completed the Symbolic Degrees and have taken the Degree of Royal Arch before he can become a Cryptic Mason. Cryptic Masonry consists of three Degrees: Royal Master, Select Master and Super Excellent Master. This Council known as the Cryptic Rite, fills what would be a significant void in the complete story of the York Rite. The Degrees of Royal Master and Select Master are sometimes called the Degrees of Preservation. The Council Degrees are often referred to as “The Three Little Jewels” and are to many, the most appealing in all Masonry.
In the Commandery, there are three ‘degrees’ or steps, which are called Orders. These are The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, The Order of Malta and The Order of the Temple.