About the York Rite

The York Rite is a series of progressive degrees in the diaspora of Freemasonry that are expressed through Capitular, Cryptic and Chivalric forms. Each form has a unique significance as explained in the degrees which relate to the specific designation. The degrees themselves are categorized accordingly:

HOLY ROYAL ARCH MASONS (Capitular Degrees)
  • Mark Master
  • Past Master
  • Most Excellent Master
  • Royal Arch Mason

Royal Arch Masons meet in Chapters. All Master Masons are eligible for membership. Each Chapter is presided over by an Excellent High Priest.

  • Royal Master
  • Select Master
  • Super Excellent Master

Royal and Select Masters meet in Councils. None may become Royal and Select Masters without first becoming Royal Arch Masons. A Council is presided over by a Thrice Illustrious Master.

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR (Chivalric Degrees)
  • Order of the Red Cross
  • Order of the Knights of Malta
  • Order of the Temple

Knights Templar meet in Commanderies. None may become Kinghts Templar without first becoming Royal Arch Masons and Royal and Select Masters. A Commandery is presided over by an Eminent Commander.


The Knights of the York Cross of Honor is a designation to honor members who not only were elected and have served as the head of a Chapter, Council and Commandery but also have served as Worshipful Master of a subrodinate Lodge.

Knights of the York Cross of Honor meet in Priories. One is eligible for membership if he is:

  • An actual Past Master of a Masonic Lodge
  • A Past Excellent High Priest of a Chapter
  • A Past Thrice Illustrious Master of a Council
  • A Past Eminent Commander of a Commandery

One must be elected by Knights of the York Cross of Honor to join its ranks. A Priory is presided over by an Eminent Prior.