The Royds Royal Arch Chapter No. 1204

Royal Arch Masons of England

Royal Arch Masonry

The Royal Arch is the continuation of Craft Freemasonry. Its members, called Companions, meet in Chapters under a Grand Chapter. Chapters are ruled over by three Principals, who rule conjointly, and the Grand Chapter is ruled over by three Grand Principals, with a Pro First Grand Principal when the First Grand Principal is a Royal Prince.

In England, the Royal Arch is considered to be the completion of pure ancient Masonry. During the three degrees of Craft Freemasonry, a Mason is presented with a series of eminently practical principles and tenets. If practised, these may result in him living a life pleasing to his God, however he worships him, and of service to his fellow man. But man is not simply a practical being, he has an essential spiritual aspect to his nature.

This spiritual aspect is introduced in the Third Degree of Freemasonry, during which a Mason is led to a contemplation of man's inevitable destiny, and forms the central message of the Royal Arch. In this sense, pure ancient Masonry can be seen as a journey of self-knowledge and discovery, with the Royal Arch completing the practical lessons by a contemplation of man's spiritual nature.

The word Companion is derived from two Latin terms: cum, meaning with, in the sense of being together; and panis, meaning bread. Someone with whom you shared your bread was one who could be trusted with your life, and it suggests a higher affinity than that of a Brother, the title by which Craft Freemasons are known. This is a particularly apt description of a member of the Royal Arch, who has a duty to support and encourage his Companions and attain a high standard of conduct in his personal life.