The Holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem
The Origins of the holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem degree
The Supreme Grand Chapter of England was established in 1817, but it is historically evident that the Chapters were formed in other countries around 1740 … Thus, this degree could be originated in England, Ireland or France. Most researchers, however, supports a French origin of this degree.
Degree or Order? There was much discussion as to whether the “Royal Arch” is the complement of the third degree or a specific degree. The constitutions of the ancient craft (and 1813’s act of union) state that “The pure Ancient Freemasonry consists of three degrees and no more, namely that of Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch”. This definition considers the Holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem as a supplement to the third degree.
We have no knowledge or certainty about the origin of the degree of Royal Arch. It is thus impossible to say when, where, how or why it was created. Many books have been published on the subject with conclusions very relevant and very different.
The Royal Arch degree organization
In England and France, the National Grand Chapter of the Holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem depends on a Grand Lodge.
The Grand Chapter is divided into Provincial Grand Chapters. They are chaired by Grand-superintendents.
All chapters, including the National Grand Chapter, headed three principal officers who are called: First Principal (representing Zerubbabel and the Royal Power), Second Principal (representing Haggai and the Prophetic Power) and Third Principal (representing Joshua and Priestly Power). The attributes of their scepters and the color of their robes denote royal, prophetic and priestly dignities.