by Jay Hochberg,
Sovereign Master William J. Gronning
Council, No. 83, AMD New Jersey, USA
March 22, 2014
Perhaps more than any other Masonic organization, the
Allied Masonic Degrees fits the description of "appendant body," because its
degrees [for the most part] fit alongside Craft and Royal Arch degrees. In the
United States, the AMD is part of the "York Rite," as only Royal Arch Masons may
The Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA are conferred in Councils, to which
membership is by invitation only. Membership in each Council is limited to 27 RA
Companions, except for the Council of the Nine Muses [which simply consists of
its officer line] and the Grand Masters Council, which exists to confer degrees
where no AMD Council has been chartered.
The purposes of AMD are two-fold: to govern the workings of a number of
degrees that had been considered long dormant, and to provide an academy that
encourages research into all topics Masonic. In America, some of these dormant
degrees were worked either in Craft Masonry or in appendant bodies until 1933,
when the Grand Council of AMD in the US was formed. They are:
Royal Ark Mariner - The same degree as that conferred in the UK in lodges of
Mark Master Masons in which the story of Noah and the Ark is used symbolically.
Secret Monitor - This is light on ritual and involves a lesson borrowed from
Knight of Constantinople - According to Mackey's "Encyclopedia of
Freemasonry," this "has no connection whatever with Masonry," but does impart
"an excellent moral lesson of humility."
St. Lawrence the Martyr - When the Prefect of Rome learned of the riches of
the Christian Church, he ordered Lawrence, the Church treasurer, to surrender
them. Lawrence admitted that the Church was wealthy and he brought to the
Prefect, as treasures, many poor and sick Christians. Lawrence was martyred by
being burned alive, but not before telling his killers that his body "is broiled
enough. You may eat."
Architect - In effect, this involves a Lodge of Sorrow, where GMHA is mourned
Superintendent - Upon receipt of this degree, a Mason is entrusted with the
tasks of preparing the altars and utensils in KST.
Grand Tilers of Solomon - Chronologically speaking, this is a side-step
following the FC Degree. Through the negligence of the Tiler, a FC Mason wanders
into a subterranean chamber where KS has convened a meeting of eminent FCs.
Master of Tyre - In a Quarry of Masters of Tyre, members represent the court
of King Hiram and receive the honors due to those who served their masters well
during the building of KST.
Excellent Master - This degree discusses the return from the Babylon
Red Branch of Eri - Virtues of Irish chivalry are advanced here.
Ye Ancient Order of Corks - A fun and social degree conferred during Grand
Council communications only.
Needless to say, it is common for these degrees to be 'communicated' as a
group, rather than conferred in succession, however a member certainly may
receive each degree formally at various times. Each February, the Grand Council
of AMD of the United States holds its annual communication in Washington, DC, at
which time degrees are conferred and research papers are read, and regular
business is addressed as well. Here in New Jersey each summer, the annual AMD
ingathering is held, at which time those present receive a degree or two and
hear numerous papers read.
The presiding officer of an AMD Council is called the Sovereign Master;
otherwise the officers' titles mirror those of the lodge.
For a look at the aprons, jewels and other regalia of the AMD, click on
Like the AMD, Knight Masonry is an honorary, invitational and research-minded
appendant body consisting of Royal Arch Masons. Its members are called
"Cousins," and they meet in Councils that confer the "Green Degrees," so called
because of their Irish heritage. [It is said that these Green Degrees predate
the Sublime Degree of MM itself.] These degrees are:
Knight of the Sword
Knight of the East
Knight of the East and West
No doubt these names are familiar to Scottish Rite Masons; in fact, these are
'Old Testament' degrees similar to the 15th and 16th Degrees of the SR, which
tell the story of Zerubbabel and the Second Temple.
Prior to the formation of the Grand Council of Knight Masons in Dublin in
1923, these degrees were conferred in Royal Arch Chapters and Templar
Commanderies. In 1936 these workings of these three well known degrees were
brought to the USA. In 1967, the Grand Council of Knight Masons of the US was
formed, and was recognized by Dublin two years later. There are approximately 70
Councils throughout the US, with more than 7,000 members. I think most Councils
hold only a few meetings each year, so the addition to the busy Mason's schedule
isn't too much.
According to the US Grand Council, Knight Masonry exists to:
- Perpetuate the ancient rituals of the Irish Masonic canon by promoting
their frequent and regular conferral in constituent councils, and by its
expectation that such conferral will be executed with an accuracy, a precision,
and a dramatic power congruent with the highest traditions of Masonry.
- Elevate to membership in its councils only those Freemasons who have amply
and thoroughly demonstrated in their Masonic lives, by means of a faithful
attachment to the institution, a true and honorable record of service.
- Foster in its constituent councils the regular exploration and study of
Masonic tradition and heritage by means of an aggressive program of scholarly
inquiry and research, and to pursue that Masonic learning in the spirit of our
Celtic forbears who kept the light of faith burning in times of darkness.
- Encourage its constituent councils to discover in the pleasures and
diversions of the festive board that warm fellowship and that joyous fraternity,
which have ever characterized and actuated the great spirit of the Craft.
- Promote the charitable dimension so central to, and inherent in, Masonic
life and tradition by obliging its constituent councils to contribute with
customary Masonic liberality to those institutions, both Masonic and
non-Masonic, which serve the needs of the greater community.
For a look at the aprons and sashes of Knight Masonry, click on
http://www.lafsco.com/amdkm.html and scroll past the AMD items.
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