St. Andrew Royal Arch Chapter #146

York Rite or not York Rite..?

Before I get too involved in this question I want to point out that these are my opinions on the York Rite matter, and should not be in anyway interpreted as anything more, I have no idea what Supreme Grand Chapter's stance on the matter is, and in our Chapter I would imagine it would be a debate of many hours.

The first thing that needs to be stated on this subject is that there is no governing body for the York Rite. Every description that you will find - well that I've ever found anywhere - is written in relation to the York Rite degrees as worked in the United States, and occasionally Canada. Scottish and English degrees only ever get mentioned as references.

York Rite is actually a descriptive term used for three co-operative groups that confer a total of ten degrees in the United States. There are four Royal Arch Degrees, three Cryptic Mason degrees, and three Chivalric orders (culminating in the Knights Templar Order).

Freemasons For Dummies - Christopher Hodapp 32°

So before we even get off to a good start we have a problem..! In Scotland the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter is the governing body of the Royal Arch Chapter, Cryptic Council and the Royal Ark Mariners. The three orders combined make a total of ten degrees. The Knights Templar consists of a further five. So in Scotland we have a total sum of fifteen degrees compared to the American ten.
See Degree Structure

This does not, however, mean that the term York Rite is not applicable. It is a group collective name, with no governing body. So it therefore must stand that no person or body can actually rule regarding what is or what is not York Rite.

It is my opinion that the Royal Arch - as worked in Scotland - is part of the collective group known as the York Rite, but you are free to come to your own conclusions on the matter.

I know of at least one person who is adamant that the York Rite is American and has no reference whatsoever to the Scottish system.

But I also know someone who is of the opinion that if its not a Craft Degree and not a Scottish Rite Degree, it must by default be part of the York Rite.

Ultimately it doesn't really make any difference, I just happen to like the term, so I will until someone can conclusively prove otherwise continue to use it.