In 967 the Temple is dedicated. King Solomon, wishing to reward many of his skilled and devoted craftsmen, institutes this Degree as a token of merit.
THE CRYPTIC SERIES OF DEGREES
The Most Excellent Master is part of the Cryptic Series of Degrees. This series of Degrees include those of Select Master, Royal Master, Most Excellent Master and Super Excellent Master and cover a vast period in the Masonic story, commencing with the events surrounding the Third Degree through to the final destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar. The name for these Degrees is derived from the Greek word for a vault or subterranean passage, referring to the ascertained fact that secret vaults were constructed underneath the great Temple of King Solomon.
Each of the four Degrees involves an interesting ceremony. In undertaking these Degrees you will experience:-
The building of the Temple is well in hand and nearing completion. The three Grand Masters, knowing that the prophets had foretold that the Holy City would be destroyed and that the inhabitants would be carried into captivity, secretly began to hollow out a crypt underneath the Temple in which to deposit the sacred treasures and secrets.
In the year of the slaying of Hiram Abiff in 968 the Temple is almost complete. One of the most senior of the Craftsmen approached Hiram Abiff, asking him when he would receive that which would make him a Master. Hiram Abiff gave him his view on mortality and explained that if he (Hiram Abiff) unexpectedly suffers death then that which the Craftsman sought would eventually be discovered and restored.
Most Excellent Master
The Temple is now complete and dedicated and King Solomon, wishing to reward many of his skilled and devoted craftsmen, instituted this Degree as a token of merit and reward.
Super Excellent Master
The story of this Degree is set 381 years after the dedication of the Temple, Zedekiah is King. Jerusalem is under siege by Nebuzaraddin, Captain of the Guard of Nebuchadnezzar. The City falls, the Temple is pillaged, its treasures plundered and the King and many of the population are carried off into captivity in Babylon. (2 Kings, Jeremiah, Daniel)
The symbolism of each of these Degrees is:-
Select Master’s Degree is that of loving care for the preservation of the old landmarks. The candidate is said to be “chosen” for his fidelity and zeal.
The Royal Master’s Degree is that of the labourer seeking his reward and the Fellowcraft searching for the Word which will make him a Master Mason.
The Most Excellent Master’s Degree complements some of the teachings of the Fellowcraft’s Degree and relates that of tangible expression of integrity and approval on the part of the Master in acknowledging the just deserts of his Craftsmen. Hence the candidate is said to be “received and acknowledged”.
The Super Excellent Master’s Degree is that of faithfulness to vows. Zedekiah teaches the effect of violating one’s obligations. The candidate is said to be “greeted” by his inclusion into a tightly knit band of like‑minded faithful Companions.
The colours of black and red are given as appropriate to the Cryptic Series of Degrees. Black, because the Craft was symbolically in mourning for the loss of one if it’s Masters. Red to mark the blood which was shed as a proof of Masonic integrity and also to symbolise fervency and zeal.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can enrich your understanding of Masonic history and traditions through the Royal Arch Degrees, available to you upon becoming a member of the USGC.