Order of the Allied Masonic
The Grand Council of the
Allied Masonic Degrees was formed in 1879 to bring under its direction all
lodges of various orders who recognised no central authority and were not
regulated by the other major governing bodies. Initially the degrees of Grand
High Priest, St Lawrence the Martyr, the Red Cross of Babylon and Knights of
Constantinople placed themselves under the control of this body and by 1897 the
degrees of Grand Tilers of Solomon, one degree of the Secret Monitor and the
Order of Holy Wisdom (Knight Templar Priest grades) had also been included.
Eventually, however, in 1923 a Grand College of Holy
Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests for England was erected at Newcastle and
the Grand Council accordingly disclaimed control of this large group of degrees.
Following this in 1931 the Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees agreed to
cease working their single degree of the Secret Monitor.
Early 2000 the Grand Council had 134 Conclaves, most of the in
Commonwealth countries and Hong Kong and three in Spain.
The order in the United States is more extensive. There, the Royal Ark Mariner's
degree, the Secret Monitor and the Order of Eri are part of this rite.
The British order has five degrees:
Membership of this order requires a Mark Master Masonship.
St. Lawrence the Martyr. The
actual date when this ritual was introduced is not known, but it is believed to
have been worked in England two centuries ago. It is generally accepted to be
the remnants of an old operative ceremony originating from Lancashire and
designed to distinguish the true craftsman from the speculative mason. While
having little masonic connection, the interesting legend relates to the
martyrdom of St Lawrence who was afterwards canonised for his fidelity and
Christian attributes. Understandably the lesson taught is fortitude.
Knight of Constantinople. This
degree is an authentic ‘side degree’, where it was customary for one brother
to confer it on another and while it is known to have been working in America in
1831, its actual origin is unknown. The ritual attempts to connect the legendary
Constantine with the masonic fraternity and teaches a fine lesson in universal
equality and humility; it also incorporates a suggestion of operative influence
in an extensive lecture which also imbues the lesson of justice.
Grand Tilers of Solomon. Under
an early title of Select Masters of Twenty Seven, this degree is known to date
back in America to 1893. It is very similar in character to the degree of Select
Master and relates the story of the accidental intrusion of a craftsman into
the secret vault of KS, where his fate is determined by the three GMs. This
degree was conferred on the Earl of Euston, the Grand Master of Allied Masonic
Degrees, in 1893 with powers to propagate it in England and accordingly it was
incorporated under the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees.
Red Cross of Babylon. This
degree is of considerable antiquity, being closely associated with the Holy
Royal Arch and the rebuilding of the second Temple of Jerusalem with the
candidate bearing the name of Zerubbabel. The legend beginning in the days of
Cyrus, King of Persia, continues through to the time of Darius and incorporates
an outstanding feature of passing a bridge over a river which has particular
significance. The degree culminates with an intricate debate taken from the
First Book of Esdras which established the profound maxim ‘great is truth’.
In Scotland this degree is found as the Babylonish Pass while in America it is
annexed to the Templar grades. In both Ireland and America it also constitutes
the Order of Knight Masons. The theme of this
degree is also found in the 15th Degree of the
Scottish Rite and with one of the degrees of the Historical
Grand High Priest. This
is an amalgamation of two degrees originating from Germany and France in the
middle of the 18th century and was worked extensively in America around 1802,
being in many cases a perquisite or honorary degree conferred on those who have
presided as, or are elected to the chair of, First Principal of a Holy Royal
Arch Chapter. In England there was ample evidence of this Holy Order when the
Grand Council was formed in 1879 and was one of the first Orders to place itself
under its aegis.
The degree is founded on the
Blessing of Abraham and the consecration of Aaron, and the candidate is admitted
by the President (who represents the King of Salem) and set apart with due
ceremonial to the Holy office of Grand High Priest in a most beautiful and
uplifting enactment. It is usual that this degree is only performed in any
Council once in every year although this is not a rigid ruling.
Ritual of Grand Tilers of Solomon or Masons Elect of
Ritual of Installation of a Master in the Degree of
St. Lawrence the Martyr.
On our CD-Rom York Rite Invitational Orders
Library we have published a number of rituals and other texts of this order.