A few weeks ago, I had the distinct honor to be initiated into the Central New York York Rite College No. 27.
The York Rite Sovereign College of North America exists primarily to be of service to the York Rite of Freemasonry. Constituent colleges must declare fealty to the Grand Lodge of their respective jurisdictions. The pre-requisite for membership, which is by invitation only, is good-standing in all four York Rite bodies: Lodge, Chapter, Council and Commander or Preceptory (Canada.)
The Reference for the following information is a pamphlet published by the York Rite Sovereign College of North America.
"Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave: even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve." Matt.20:26-27-28
LEGEND OF YORK
"This craft came into England, as I tell you, in the time of good king Athelsan's reign; he made then both hall, and also bower and lofty temples of great honor, to take his recreation in both day and night, and to worship his God with all his might. This good lord loved this craft full well, and purposed to strengthen it in every part on account of various defects that he had discovered in the craft. He sent about into all the land, after all the masons of the craft, to come straight to him, to amend all these defects by good counsel, if it might so happen, He then permitted an assembly to be made of divers lords in their ranks, dukes, earls, and barons, also knights, squires and many more, and the great burgesses of that city, they were all there in their degree; these were there, each one in every way to make laws for the state of these nations. There they sought by their wisdom bow they might govern it; there they found out fifteen articles, and there they made fifteen points."----Regius Manuscript, circa 1390----Regius Manuscript, circa 1390
THE YORK RITE
The York Rite takes its name from the Ancient English city of York, around whose minster, or cathedral, cluster many Masonic traditions. Here , these traditions tell us, Athelstan, who reigned more than a thousand years ago and who was the first king of all England, granted the first charter to the Masonic guilds. Here, in 1705, a Grand Lodge in London, to whose constitution the Grand Lodge of England later appealed as the true source of authentic Freemasonry. Though early disappearing from the Masonic scene, this Grand Lodge left an indelible impression upon the institution, and its name --- York --- will survive as long as Freemasonry continues.
ORIGIN OF THE COLLEGE
The York Rite Sovereign College of North America came into being in the City of Detroit, Michigan on January 6, 1957. It was the result of a meeting called by Richard W. Lewis, Past Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Michigan, and attended by the heads of the four Michigan York Rite grand Bodies and a number of distinguished Masonic leaders from other States. These founders, responding to a need which had long been recognized in the York Rite, outlined the structure and purpose of the new organization and arranged for its incorporation.
The purpose of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America, as set forth in its Constitution and By-Laws, are as follows:
(1) To foster a spirit of cooperation an coordination among each of the Bodies of York Rite Masonry.
(2) To assist in worthy efforts to improve the ritualistic and dramatic presentation of York Rite work.
(3) To conduct an education program in order to inculcate a greater appreciation of the principles, ideals and programs of York Rite Masonry.
(4) To strengthen York Rite Masonry in every possible manner.
(5) To build up a love of country and to aid and support genuine Americanism.
(6) To reward outstanding service to York Rite Masonry by awards, honors and other methods of proper recognition.
(7) To support Charitable and Benevolent Endeavors of Freemasonry.
Following my stint as the Onondaga District DDGM, I have found myself active once again in my Royal Arch Chapter. Unfortunately, I have yet to find the time to fit in The Cryptic Council or Commandery, although, I do belong to both.
I think that the York Rite Bodies are sometimes overshadowed by the Scottish Rite in this country. It is often said and I quite agree, that the Holy Royal Arch completes Blue Lodge Masonry. There are many ritual & symbolic similarities between the Royal Arch Chapter and the Scottish Rite's Lodge of Perfection - I highly recommend that you try both.