The York Rite of Freemasonry has been an integral part of Freemasonry in Kentucky for over 175 years. The York Rite is not the name of a separate organization; Cryptic and Templar Rites and is a symbol of the antiquity of Freemasonry. In Kentucky, the Grand Bodies of these Rites work closely together in a York Rite Council whose membership consists of the four highest elected officers in each Rite.
The Rite consists of the three separate organizations linked together by their teachings which are successive and progress from the symbolic lodge through the Royal Arch Chapter, the Council of Royal and Select Masters of the Commandery of Knights Templar.
The Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons organized in Lexington in 1817 now has 61 Chapters. The Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters began its work in Frankfort in 1827 and it now has 44 Councils. The Grand Commandery of Knights Templar was chartered by the Grand Encampment of the United States in 1847 and it supervises 35 subordinate Commanderies.
A Master Mason petitions and is elected to receive the degree and orders of the Rite. The Rite confers 4 degrees in the Chapter or Capitular Masonry-Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master and Royal Arch Degree; 3 degrees in the Council or Cryptic Masonry-Royal Master, Select Master and Super Excellent Master; and 3 orders in Chivalric or Templar Masonry – the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, the Order of Malta, and the Order of the Temple.
All York Rite Masons contribute regularly to Masonic related charities and Youth groups. The Knight Templar Eye Foundation is internationally known for its contributions to medical research on the blindness and for its aid to the blind in paying for medical treatment that will regain the sight of those unable to afford the medical service.
The Knights Templar Educational Foundation provides low interest loans and scholarships to deserving students who would be unable to attend technical schools or college without the aid. The York Rite in Kentucky is over one hundred and seventy one years old and it is still a living, growing part of Freemasonry in the Commonwealth.
James H. King, PGHP
Presiding Officers of the Kentucky York Rite Bodies
Most Excellent Grand High Priest
Mathew H. Lewis
Most Illustrious Grand Master
Right Eminent Grand Commander
Official Web Sites
Kentucky York Rite
General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, International
General Grand Council, Cryptic Masons
Grand Encampment, Knights Templar of the U.S.A
York Rite Freemasonry, The International Information Site