Dating from 1752 the Royal Arch was for a long time an appendage to the Third Degree, being regarded by the Ancients as a Fourth Degree conferred in their Lodges.
Over its long history from the earliest days of Masonry it has become the most talked of, and written about Degree in Freemasonry. For many Masons, it is still regarded as the ultimate of the Craft system, having on numerous occasions, been described as “the most sacred part of Masonry” and “the root, heart and marrow of Masonry”.
The Royal Arch Degree deals with a lengthly period following the ending of Solomon’s reign. The Temple at Jerusalem has been destroyed, the Kingdom of Judea divided, and the tribes taken into captivity. Babylon eventually fell to Cyrus the Great and became part of the Persian Empire. Cyrus set free the Jewish captives and invited them to return to Jerusalem to commence rebuilding the temple.
The legend sets out to restore the genuine secrets of a Master Mason and this is accomplished by workmen who make a momentous discovery during their labours and an interesting and illuminating explanation of the nature of God is conveyed.
The symbol of this degree is the Triple Tau.