The English Rite (Emulation)
This Ritual has dozens – even hundreds – of variants officially practiced by lodges belonging to the United Grand Lodge of England. There have been various influences, including the Bristol Ritual which is itself diverse. There were influences arriving in 1813 from Europe or America precisely during the merger of the Grand Lodge of the Ancients with the Grand Lodge of England.
The Emulation Ritual was chosen by the National Grand Lodge of France in 1914. The Ritual took its name from the “Emulation Lodge of Improvement,” one of the Lodges of Instruction which was given the task of teaching the ritual working at the newly consolidated United Grand Lodge of England.
In its organization, it combines the characteristics of the two English Grand Lodges that existed before 1813. We find the symbolism strongly oriented toward the companion (stone mason or operative builders), but also the “Ancient” placement of the columns on the porch of the Temple, the practice of the ceremony for the installation of the Master of the Lodge (Installed Master) and the addition of the additional degree of the Royal Arch of Jerusalem. It should be noted as a curiosity the Royal Arch is directly administered by the United Grand Lodge of England, whereas in the other countries it is another organization (Sovereign Chapter, etc. ) that oversees this degree.
There is therefore theoretically no “higher degrees” in the “English” Emulation Rite. However, there are many Freemasons in the Rite of Emulation who belong to a chapter of the Royal Arch. The “Royal Arch” is considered by the English Freemasons as the deepest achievement and completeness of the Master Mason degree, and not as a new grade or degree. The two “Rites” complement each other very well and there are many who follow the view that the degree of the Royal Arch is the “higher degree” of the Emulation Rite. We therefore decided to introduce to you the two of them as if they were a singular Rite.
The Emulation Rite involves the following:
- Entered Apprentice
- Fellow Craft
- Master Mason
The Rite of the Royal Arch is concerned only with:
Chapters of the Royal Arch
- Companion of the Royal Arch
In Ireland, Scotland, and in some other countries that practice rituals in the same family as the Emulation, there are Sovereign Grand Chapters that manage the following degrees:
- Mark Mason
- Past Master
- Very Excellent Master
- Holy Royal Arch
In England and France, these degrees and several others have an Anglo-Saxon origin such as Knight Templar, Allied Masonic Degrees and the Red Cross of Constantine. They are managed by different Sovereign Grand Chapters (or Lodges, Colleges etc).
In France, the Emulation Rite is in use at the National Grand Lodge of France, at the Traditional and Symbolical Grand Lodge, Opera, at the French National Lodge and at the Grand Lodge of France. It is noted that at the Grand Lodge of France there is only one lodge using the Emulation Rite: the “Anglo Saxon Lodge.”