The Degrees and Orders of the York Rite of Freemasonry


 

Capitular Masonry

The four degrees of Capitular Masonry are Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch.  These degrees are conferred under the jurisdiction of Chapters of Royal Arch Masons.  It is for this reason that these degrees are referred to as the capitular degrees.  The Second Landmark of Freemasonry states that "Ancient Craft Masonry consists of the three degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason, including the Holy Royal Arch."  The Royal Arch degree is thus said to be the "crowning feature and glorious completion of Ancient Craft Masonry."








Cryptic Masonry

The three degrees of Cryptic Masonry are Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent Master.  These degrees are conferred under the jurisdiction of Councils of Cryptic Masons.  The setting for the Select Master degree is in a secret vault, or crypt, beneath the Temple.  It is for this reason that these degrees are referred to as the cryptic degrees.  The Royal and Select Master degrees are said to complete the "circle of perfection in Ancient Craft Masonry."








Chivalric Masonry

The three orders of Chivalric Masonry are the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, the Order of Malta, and the Order of the Temple.  These orders are conferred under the jurisdiction of Commanderies of Knights Templar.  They are Orders of Christian Knighthood and it is for this reason that these orders are referred to as the chivalric orders.  The Order of the Temple is said to be the "most beautiful and inspiring of all the degrees and orders of Freemasonry."