ABOUT THE ROSE CROIX DEGREE

Of the degrees beyond the Craft probably the most sought after and respected is the 18o (or ‘Knight of the Pelican and Eagle and Sovereign Prince Rose Croix’) of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, normally referred to as the Rose Croix Degree. The Degree is the 18o of 33o of the Rite and is a Christian Degree which is open (by invitation) to any brother who has been a Master Mason for at least one full year and who professes the Trinitarian Christian belief.

The Rose Croix is not another degree just to be attained. Rose Croix Chapters choose their candidates with great care. The ceremony demands real thought and Christian understanding before undertaking it. Membership of the Ancient & Accepted Rite should ideally be by invitation. However, rank in the Craft or other degrees should also have no bearing; a mason's self-awareness and Christian faith is not measured by his rank in the Craft and other Orders.

The District of Suffolk comprises 11 Rose Croix Chapters. These Chapters are not generally large in number, the emphasis being on members who will maintain the quality, friendliness and warmth of the Order.

Chapters generally meet between two and four times a year. The meetings usually commence at about 6p.m. and are concluded, after a traditional festive board, by about nine-thirty.

An Inspector General, assisted by the District Recorder, leads the District. The Chapter fees are maintained at a modest level commensurate with the limited costs of administration.

THE CEREMONY

In the ceremony the Candidate is taken through several rooms which figuratively represent his spiritual and masonic life from Craft Masonry, through despair, to a Rose Croix Chapter. At the start, he is taken from a Master Mason (3o) to a 17o mason, a Knight of the East and West, of symbolic age, coming – as the ritual explains - at a time of dire calamity with but incomplete pre-Christian knowledge.

The ceremony of the 18th degree, seeks the Perfection of Christian virtues in Faith, Hope and Charity. It is an immensely thought provoking, impressive and beautiful ceremony which instils a warmth of Brotherly love, on which the whole Masonic movement is founded.

That this 18o is special, is not in doubt, to those on whom it has been conferred.

Rose Croix, like Freemasonry as a whole, is not a religion, it does, however, serve to point the way. It is this which makes Rose Croix masonically so important, encompassing all we seek, while pointing us clearly to the Trinitarian Christian Faith.

Rose Croix is considered by many members to be the pinnacle of Freemasonry and to most it is the last Order they would give up.

THE ORDER

The complete Order comprises thirty-three and the last Masonic degrees, of which only the 18th degree is worked in full in the Chapter. The first three degrees of Craft Masonry are accepted as equivalent to the first three degrees of this Order and the Supreme Council confers the last four. The remaining degrees are conferred by name.

The Order amplifies the teachings of Craft Masonry within a Christian context, for which reason candidates must profess the Trinitarian Christian Faith.

Being a progressive Order, it is the aspiration (but not a requirement) of most members to attain the Chair of Sovereign. His work, in the only degree worked in our Chapters, is not extensive, as the majority of the ritual is undertaken by the Chapter Generals and Past Sovereigns. He is, however, expected to carry out the complete ceremony during his time as a General and in the Chair (over three years) and also the short ceremony of Enthroning his successor. As very few Rose Croix Masons withdraw from progression, it normally takes about six to ten years to pass through the different Offices.

Throughout England and Wales and certain Districts and Chapters Overseas the Order is governed by the Supreme Council 33o whose headquarters are known as Grand East and are located at No. 10, Duke Street, St. James' London. It is at the Grand East where the other Degrees of the Rite (31o, 32o and 33o) are conferred.

THE ROSE CROIX DISTRICT OF SUFFOLK

The District meets together with ladies and friends, at an annual Church Service combined with the Districts of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire & the Isle of Ely in the autumn and at a Sunday luncheon normally held in June. Also all members are invited to attend the annual colourful demonstrations of two of the Intermediate Degrees of the Order (from the 4th to the 17th Degrees), enacted by the King Edward VII Chapter of Improvement, which are held around the country.