The actual date when this ritual was introduced is not known, but it is believed to have been worked in England two centuries ago. It is generally accepted to be the remnants of an old operative ceremony originating in Lancashire and designed to distinguish the true craftsman from the speculative mason. While having little Masonic connection, the interesting legend relates to the martyrdom of St. Lawrence who was afterwards canonised for his fidelity and Christian attributes. Understandably, the lesson taught is fortitude.
This degree is an authentic 'side degree' where it was customary for one brother to confer it on another, and while it is known to have been working in America in 1831 its actual origin is unknown. The ritual attempts to connect the legendary Constantine with the Masonic fraternity and teaches a fine lesson in universal equality and humility; it also incorporates a suggestion of operative influence in an extensive lecture which also imbues the lesson of justice.
Under an early title of Select Masters of Twenty Seven, this degree is known to have been conferred in America in 1893. It is very similar in character to the degree of `Select Master' and relates the story of the accidental intrusion of a craftsman into the secret vault of The Temple, where the three GMs determine his fate. This degree was conferred upon the Earl of Euston, the Grand Master of Allied Masonic Degrees, in 1893 with powers to propagate it in England, and accordingly it was incorporated under the authority of the Grand Council.
This degree is of considerable antiquity, being worked in two parts, and is closely associated with the Holy Royal Arch and the rebuilding of the second Temple of Jerusalem with the candidate bearing the name of Zerubbabel. The legend begins in a Royal Arch Council in the days of Cyrus, King of Persia, and continues through to the Persian Court in the time of Darius, incorporating an outstanding feature of passing a bridge over a river which has particular significance. The degree culminates with an intricate debate taken from the First Book of Esdras which established the profound maxim 'great is truth'. In Scotland this degree is found as the Babylonish Pass, while in America it is annexed to the Templar grades. In both Ireland and America it also constitutes the Order of Knight Masons.
This is an amalgamation of two degrees originating from Germany and France in the middle of the 18th century and was worked
extensively in America around 1802, being in many cases a pre-requisite or honorary degree conferred on those who have presided as, or are elected to the chair of, First
Principal of a Holy Royal Arch Chapter. In England there was ample evidence of this Holy Order when the Grand Council was formed in 1879, and it was one of the fast orders to
be placed under its aegis.
The degree is founded on the Blessing of Abraham and the Consecration of Aaron, and the candidate is admitted by the President (who represents the King of Salem) and is set apart with due ceremonial to the Holy office of Grand High Priest in a most beautiful and uplifting enactment.