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Order of Mark Master Masons
|Purpose||Degree based on Temple of Solomon|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
The administration of this degree varies greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, though in all jurisdictions, the candidate for advancement is required to be a Master Mason to be eligible for this degree. In Europe, Asia and Australia the Mark Degree is conferred in separately warranted Lodges under the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons.
- In England and Wales, the governing body is The Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of England and Wales and its Districts and Lodges Overseas, which also controls the Royal Ark Mariner degree; conferred in separately warranted Royal Ark Mariner Lodges.
- In Ireland, the degree of Mark Master Mason is required to join a Royal Arch Chapter. A Royal Arch Chapter meets as a Mark Lodge, confers the Mark Degree on a candidate making him eligible become a Royal Arch Mason as a subsequent meeting. A Mark Lodge and a Royal Arch Chapter share the same Warrant within the Irish system.
- In Scotland, the Mark Degree is conferred in a Craft lodge and is seen as completion of the Fellowcraft degree. The degree may alternatively, and exceptionally, be conferred in a Holy Royal Arch Chapter as a prerequisite for exaltation to the HRA.
- In Western Australia, the Mark Master's Degree is conferred in a Royal Arch Chapter operating under the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Western Australia, and is conferred as part of the process of Exaltation to the Holy Royal Arch Degree. The Degree may also be conferred upon candidates in a Lodge formed under the Scottish Constitution, by warrant from the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
- In Queensland, Australia the Mark Master's Degree can be conferred by a Royal Arch Chapter under the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Queensland or by a Mark Master Mason's lodge under the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons in Queensland. His entry into the Chapter is preceded by a short ceremony of Mark Lodge Affiliation, if the candidate has already been advanced into the Mark degree.
- In New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory under the United Grand Lodge the Mark Man ceremony is not treated as a degree and is conferred in a warranted craft lodge with the Mark Master degree conferred in a Warranted Mark Master lodge. The Mark Man ceremony is commonly believed to be the contents of what was removed from the second degree to shorten it.
- In North and South America, parts of Europe, Asia and Australia the Mark Master Mason degree is conferred as part of Royal Arch Masonry which is included in the York Rite.
- In Brazil, the governing body is The Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of the State of Rio de Janeiro (GLMMMERJ), which also controls the Royal Ark Mariner degree; conferred in separately warranted Royal Ark Mariner Lodges.
Similarly to Craft Freemasonry, the Mark Degree conveys moral and ethical lessons using a ritualised allegory based around the building of King Solomon's Temple. The events of the degree require the candidate to undertake the role of a Fellowcraft, thus the degree is seen as an extension of the Fellowcraft Degree and the philosophical lessons conveyed are appropriate to that stage in a candidate's Masonic development.
Following the Union of the Antients and Moderns Grand Lodges and the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813, the articles of union stated that there would be three Craft degrees only, including the Royal Arch, excluding the Mark degree.
As Freemasonry spread around the globe in the 18th and 19th centuries, Mark Masonry became well established and now has a worldwide presence, with six daughter Grand Lodges and the degree being worked under alternative administrative structures elsewhere. In England, the current Mark Grand Master, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, is the younger brother of the Craft Grand Master, HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.
Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas speculate in their 1996 book The Hiram Key that the construction of the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland (1440–1490) provided the interface between the Knights Templar and Freemasonry. Accordingly, the first degree and Mark Masonry was introduced by William Sinclair, whom they claim was the first Grand Master and founder of Freemasonry.
- Jackson, Keith B. Beyond the Craft. London: Lewis Masonic, 2005. ISBN 09780853182481
- Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas. The Hiram Key. London, 1996.
- The Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons at GLMMM.com (in Freemasonic)