What is the Royal Arch?
In the Book of Constitutions, which was given to you at your ‘Initiation’ into Freemasonary, there is a statement called ‘The Preliminary Declaration’, this states that “pure antient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more, viz those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.”
The Royal Arch clearly is an integral part of Freemasonry and is closely interwoven with the Craft. It is organised as a separate Order distinct from the Craft degrees, the teaching of which it completes. At the highest level, the ‘Grand Master’, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent is also the ‘Most Excellent First Grand Principal’ and the ‘Pro Grand Master’ Peter Geoffrey Lowndes is also the ‘Pro First Grand Principal’.
The Royal Arch has been described as “the root, heart and marrow” of Freemasonry, for it may be said that without it, the teaching of the Craft is incomplete. Many Freemasons have found out for themselves that by becoming a member of this beautiful, colourful and contemplative order they have gained a much deeper understanding of the three great principles on which the Craft is founded and have discovered in the companionship of their Chapter a happy and enduring relationship with their fellows.
A Master Mason who is curious about what lies beyond the Craft should progress naturally to the Royal Arch. As a seeker after knowledge he most surely will receive an enthusiastic welcome.
The Royal Arch is organised into Chapters, just as the Craft is organised into Lodges. Most Chapters are attached to a Lodge and usually have the same name and number.
Although many Royal Arch Masons belong to a Chapter attached to their Craft Lodge, that is not a necessary condition. A member can belong to any Chapter he chooses, provided that he meets the requirements of being a “Master Mason of four weeks and upwards” and is acceptable to the members.
If not yet a member of the Royal Arch, we urge you to take your next step and join. We are confident that you will gain much pleasure and great satisfaction from it, as our members will testify.
There are 48 Chapters in Buckinghamshire and over 1,200 active Royal Arch Masons, so it will not prove difficult for you to find someone who will be only too pleased to answer the questions you may have and to expand further on what we have said here, but if you prefer, please contact the Provincial Scribe Ezra – Excellent Companion Mike Stephens (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01494 681694)