A History of Mark Master Masons
The Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners
Although it has no real historical connection with the Degree of Mark Master Masons, the Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners, otherwise known as the Degree of Royal Ark Mariners, is worked under the aegis of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons.
Every Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners is attached (moored) to a Lodge of Mark Master Masons and bears the same number, and all candidates for Elevation into the Degree must have been first Advanced into the Degree of Mark Master Mason.
These elements apart, the Royal Ark Mariner Degree stands alone and is entirely unrelated to any other Masonic degree.
It is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring and beautiful degrees found in Freemasonry and echoes the good fellowship and enjoyment found in the Mark Master Masons' degree and indeed a candidate will often find himself in the company of friends from his Mark Master Mason's Lodge.
There is only one ceremony of "Elevation" which is relatively short, usually less than one hour, other than the annual Ceremony of Installation.
The Degree is around two hundred years old and, as it's name suggests, it has a nautical flavour taking for it's setting the circumstances leading up to the Great Flood and the steps taken by Noah to build the Ark by which mankind was preserved from perishing in the "Universal Deluge".
Just as the Mark Master Mason's Degree is based on established fact (the construction of the Temple at Jerusalem), so the Degree of Royal Ark Mariner is based on an actual happening i.e. the Great Flood as recorded in the Bible and verified by the archaeologist, Sir Lionel Wooley in 1929.
The Officers of a Royal Ark Mariner's Lodge represent Noah and two of his sons, Japheth and Shem.
The legend of Noah, his sons, the Ark and the Deluge was enacted in the Mystery Plays of the seventeenth century and parts featured in many of the early Masonic rituals.
The first authentic record of the Degree appears in the Minutes of a meeting held in Bath in 1790. The organisation of the Degree went through many changes, until in 1870, the then Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons announced that the Mark would protect the Royal Ark Mariner degree under a new Grand Master's Royal Ark Council based upon the fact that the degree of Ark Mariner had been worked in Mark Lodges since 1790. After some dissension, the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons "purchased" the degree for £25.
The Royal Ark Mariner Degree does not have a Provincial structure but is governed by the respective administration controlling the Mark Lodges in a particular Province.
How do I join?
It is hoped that you have received this leaflet from a Royal Ark Mariner who is a friend or acquaintance. Ask him to tell you more about the Degree and if this arouses your interest ask him if he will propose you to join his Lodge or to give to you the address of the Scribe of the Lodge which you might like to join. Otherwise you can obtain details of the Lodges of Mark Master Masons from the Provincial Grand Secretary.
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