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Masonic History

The York Rite Sovereign College


An invitational body of the York Rite

"Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave: even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve."

Matt.20:26-27-28

Origin Of The College


The York Rite Sovereign College of North America came into being in the City of Detroit, Michigan on January 6, 1957. It was the result of a meeting called by Richard W. Lewis, Past Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Michigan, and attended by the heads of the four Michigan York Rite grand Bodies and a number of distinguished Masonic leaders from other States. These founders, responding to a need which had long been recognized in the York Rite, outlined the structure and purpose of the new organization and arranged for its incorporation.

Purpose Of The York Rite Sovereign College


The purpose of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America, as set forth in its Constitution and By-Laws, are as follows:

  1. To foster a spirit of cooperation an coordination among each of the Bodies of York Rite Masonry.

  2. To assist in worthy efforts to improve the ritualistic and dramatic presentation of York Rite work.

  3. To conduct an education program in order to inculcate a greater appreciation of the principles, ideals and programs of York Rite Masonry.

  4. To strengthen York Rite Masonry in every possible manner.

  5. To build up a love of country and to aid and support genuine Americanism.

  6. To reward outstanding service to York Rite Masonry by awards, honors and other methods of proper recognition.

  7. To support Charitable and Benevolent Endeavors of Freemasonry.

Membership Requirements


Membership in a College is by invitation, and is restricted to those who hold membership in all of the other York Rite bodies. Since the primary object of every College is to foster a spirit of service and to promote and support the York Rite in every way possible, it is no surprise to find many of the leaders of the Craft numbered among its ranks. Here they find a common ground from which the can act for the welfare of all York Rite bodies without special favor to any. Colleges have been active in the organization of York Rite Festivals, degree teams, drill corps, and many other functions which serve to assist, coordinate, and unify the Rite.

Orders Conferred By The York Rite Sovereign College


Knight of York


The order of the Knight of York is conferred by the College and is tells the story of the legend of York where the Masons of York were granted a charter by King Athelstane in the year 925 AD. It takes its ritual from the Regius Manuscript which is Freemasonry's oldest surviving document.

Awards Given By The York Rite Sovereign College


The York Rite Sovereign College of North America is the supreme governing body for all Colleges within its jurisdiction. As such, it endeavors to promote all those activities which favor the accomplishing of its stated purpose. Among these is the awarding of certain honors for outstanding service.

The Order Of The Purple Cross

The Gold Honor Award may be given to any Mason for unselfish and faithful service in any branch of the York Rite. The recipient need not to be a member of a College, nor is it required that he be a member of all the other York Rite bodies.

The Order of the Purple Cross of York, the highest honor of the College, is conferred upon those members of the College who have distinguished themselves by their service to humanity or to the Rite. The recipients are designated Associate Regents of the Sovereign College and from their ranks are chosen the Regents or active members of that body.

-Source York Rite Sovereign College

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