Grand Council of Royal and Select Masons of Maryland


William C. Hare, Jr                                        
Most Illustrious Grand Master

On behalf of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters and all Select Masters in our jurisdiction, I welcome you to our website!

The York Rite of Masonry affords the candidate an opportunity to expand and enhance his Symbolic Lodge experience. The Cryptic degrees, those conferred in Council, contribute to that experience. The three Cryptic Degrees are:

  • The Royal Master Degree
  • The Select Master Degree
  • The Super Excellent Master Degree

A fourth degree, the Thrice Illustrious Master Degree, is conferred on those Companions who have been elected by their Council to serve as Thrice Illustrious Master. Due to this, the degree is referred to as a “chair” degree, because by having received it, the Thrice Illustrious Master-elect is enabled to preside in the Oriental Chair in the East. It is a very moving experience for those who have received it.

Two of the degrees, the Royal Master and Select Master degrees, take place during the building of King Solomon’s Temple and are an expansion upon the Royal Arch degree.  The initial Cryptic degree, the Royal Master, is unique in that Grand Master Hiram Abif is alive and the candidate has an actual conversation with him on the subject of life and death.

When a candidate is exalted to the Royal Arch degree, he is introduced into the Secret Vault and the discoveries which were subsequently made.  However, it is not described why and for what purpose they were placed. The Select Master degree provides that background.

The Super Excellent Master degree is a very ornate and interesting degree and is the only Masonic degree which deals with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and the enslavement of the Hebrew people by the Caldeans. It is conferred every two or three years because a very large cast is required to properly perform the degree. This degree, it should be noted, is not required to advance to the Chivalric Orders of the Commandery.

If you are a Mason who is seeking further Light in the Craft, there is no better place to start than through the York Rite. You are encouraged to reach out and be a part of these very elegant degrees. You will not be disappointed.

If you are already a Companion York Rite Mason, be active in the bodies. If you haven’t been a part of the Council, attend meetings and especially the conferrals of these enlightening degrees.


William Hare, Jr.
Most Illustrious Grand Master