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by Jay Hochberg,
Sovereign Master William J. Gronning Council, No. 83, AMD New Jersey, USA

Last Modified: March 22, 2014

Perhaps more than any other Masonic organization, the Allied Masonic Degrees fits the description of "appendant body," because its degrees [for the most part] fit alongside Craft and Royal Arch degrees. In the United States, the AMD is part of the "York Rite," as only Royal Arch Masons may become members.

The Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA are conferred in Councils, to which membership is by invitation only. Membership in each Council is limited to 27 RA Companions, except for the Council of the Nine Muses [which simply consists of its officer line] and the Grand Masters Council, which exists to confer degrees where no AMD Council has been chartered.

The purposes of AMD are two-fold: to govern the workings of a number of degrees that had been considered long dormant, and to provide an academy that encourages research into all topics Masonic. In America, some of these dormant degrees were worked either in Craft Masonry or in appendant bodies until 1933, when the Grand Council of AMD in the US was formed. They are:

Royal Ark Mariner - The same degree as that conferred in the UK in lodges of Mark Master Masons in which the story of Noah and the Ark is used symbolically.

Secret Monitor - This is light on ritual and involves a lesson borrowed from I Samuel:16-23.

Knight of Constantinople - According to Mackey's "Encyclopedia of Freemasonry," this "has no connection whatever with Masonry," but does impart "an excellent moral lesson of humility."

St. Lawrence the Martyr - When the Prefect of Rome learned of the riches of the Christian Church, he ordered Lawrence, the Church treasurer, to surrender them. Lawrence admitted that the Church was wealthy and he brought to the Prefect, as treasures, many poor and sick Christians. Lawrence was martyred by being burned alive, but not before telling his killers that his body "is broiled enough. You may eat."

Architect - In effect, this involves a Lodge of Sorrow, where GMHA is mourned and saluted.

Superintendent - Upon receipt of this degree, a Mason is entrusted with the tasks of preparing the altars and utensils in KST.

Grand Tilers of Solomon - Chronologically speaking, this is a side-step following the FC Degree. Through the negligence of the Tiler, a FC Mason wanders into a subterranean chamber where KS has convened a meeting of eminent FCs.

Master of Tyre - In a Quarry of Masters of Tyre, members represent the court of King Hiram and receive the honors due to those who served their masters well during the building of KST.

Excellent Master - This degree discusses the return from the Babylon Captivity.

Red Branch of Eri - Virtues of Irish chivalry are advanced here.

Ye Ancient Order of Corks - A fun and social degree conferred during Grand Council communications only.

Needless to say, it is common for these degrees to be 'communicated' as a group, rather than conferred in succession, however a member certainly may receive each degree formally at various times. Each February, the Grand Council of AMD of the United States holds its annual communication in Washington, DC, at which time degrees are conferred and research papers are read, and regular business is addressed as well. Here in New Jersey each summer, the annual AMD ingathering is held, at which time those present receive a degree or two and hear numerous papers read.

The presiding officer of an AMD Council is called the Sovereign Master; otherwise the officers' titles mirror those of the lodge.

For a look at the aprons, jewels and other regalia of the AMD, click on

Like the AMD, Knight Masonry is an honorary, invitational and research-minded appendant body consisting of Royal Arch Masons. Its members are called "Cousins," and they meet in Councils that confer the "Green Degrees," so called because of their Irish heritage. [It is said that these Green Degrees predate the Sublime Degree of MM itself.] These degrees are:

Knight of the Sword

Knight of the East

Knight of the East and West

No doubt these names are familiar to Scottish Rite Masons; in fact, these are 'Old Testament' degrees similar to the 15th and 16th Degrees of the SR, which tell the story of Zerubbabel and the Second Temple.

Prior to the formation of the Grand Council of Knight Masons in Dublin in 1923, these degrees were conferred in Royal Arch Chapters and Templar Commanderies. In 1936 these workings of these three well known degrees were brought to the USA. In 1967, the Grand Council of Knight Masons of the US was formed, and was recognized by Dublin two years later. There are approximately 70 Councils throughout the US, with more than 7,000 members. I think most Councils hold only a few meetings each year, so the addition to the busy Mason's schedule isn't too much.

According to the US Grand Council, Knight Masonry exists to:

  1. Perpetuate the ancient rituals of the Irish Masonic canon by promoting their frequent and regular conferral in constituent councils, and by its expectation that such conferral will be executed with an accuracy, a precision, and a dramatic power congruent with the highest traditions of Masonry.
  2. Elevate to membership in its councils only those Freemasons who have amply and thoroughly demonstrated in their Masonic lives, by means of a faithful attachment to the institution, a true and honorable record of service.
  3. Foster in its constituent councils the regular exploration and study of Masonic tradition and heritage by means of an aggressive program of scholarly inquiry and research, and to pursue that Masonic learning in the spirit of our Celtic forbears who kept the light of faith burning in times of darkness.
  4. Encourage its constituent councils to discover in the pleasures and diversions of the festive board that warm fellowship and that joyous fraternity, which have ever characterized and actuated the great spirit of the Craft.
  5. Promote the charitable dimension so central to, and inherent in, Masonic life and tradition by obliging its constituent councils to contribute with customary Masonic liberality to those institutions, both Masonic and non-Masonic, which serve the needs of the greater community.

For a look at the aprons and sashes of Knight Masonry, click on and scroll past the AMD items.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014