The four degrees of Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch Mason, are conferred under the jurisdiction of Royal Arch Chapters. They are called Capitular because of the prevalence of the idea in the early 19th century that Royal Arch Masonry headed and consummated the craft, or genuine, Masonic degrees.
The degrees of Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent Master are conferred under the jurisdiction of Councils. These are called Cryptic from the Greek word “crupe,” or the Latin “crypta,” meaning a vault. All the degrees of Cryptic Masonry are introductory to, or part of the Second Temple legend.
The Three Orders of Chivalric Masonry include the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, the Order of Malta, and the Order of the Temple. These orders are conferred in Commanderies of Knights Templar. They are called orders rather than degrees because of the chivalric nature of their work. They are all based on feudal knighthood or the military nobility. In Masonry, the Orders represent Orders of Christian Knighthood and the teachings center around the virtues of knighthood.
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