There is an indissoluble link between Craft Freemasonry and the Royal Arch, with the Royal Arch being considered the completion of a Freemason’s journey in “Pure Antient Masonry”.
Holy Royal Arch
The Royal Arch has four ceremonies: the exaltation ceremony to admit new members and an installation ceremony for each of the three Principals. The exaltation ceremony is in two parts: a rather dramatic presentation of the principles of the Order followed by three Lectures in which the history, symbolism and principles of the Royal Arch are further explained. Like Craft Freemasonry, the Royal Arch is open to men of all faiths.
Its members, called Companions, meet in Chapters under a District Grand Chapter. Chapters are presided over conjointly by three Principals, and the District Grand Chapter by three Grand Principals.
District Grand Chapter Officers
E. Comp. Theophilus Arputharaj Devagnanam
District Grand Superintendent
E. Comp. Mathew Joseph
District Deputy Grand Superintendent
E. Comp. Sundaresan Sadagopan
District 2nd Grand Principal
E. Comp. Duleep Sahadevan
District 3rd Grand Principal
E. Comp. Ilango Raphael
President, District committee of general purposes
E. Comp. George Pius Tharayil
District Grand Scribe Ezra
E. Comp. Viji Joseph
District Grand Treasurer
Origins & Governance
As with Craft Freemasonry, there are various schools of thought as to the origins of the Royal Arch, which is not helped by the paucity of surviving evidence. From that evidence we learn that the Royal Arch was known in London, York and Dublin by the late 1730s. From Lodge Minute Books of the 1750s we know that the Royal Arch was being worked within Craft Lodges under both the premier and the Ancients Grand Lodges in England, and also in Lodges in Ireland and Scotland. Charters for the first seven new Chapters were issued in 1769 and by 1813 one hundred and twenty Chapters were chartered to meet in England, Wales and territories overseas. To enhance the growth of the Royal Arch the office of Grand Superintendent in and over a Province was introduced in 1778. Thomas Dunckerley was among the first to be appointed Grand Superintendent of eighteen Provinces, from Durham in the North to Cornwall in the South West.
Holy Royal Arch in the District of Madras
The Masonic jurisdiction of the English Constitution in South India is termed as The District of Madras, which comprises all the present States of South India namely, Andhra, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nādu and Kerala. The District takes its name from the eponymous MADRAS PRESIDENCY as did the Masonic jurisdictions of the BENGAL and BOMBAY Presidencies which constituted the main administrative entities of direct British rule in India until 1947.
In the chronicles of history, we find that more Chapters were consecrated in the District – Chapter Excelsior (1871), Benson (1892), Pitt Macdonald (1893), Chapter Rock at Trichinopoly, (1907), Chapter Southern Brotherhood (1909), Chapter Ampthill (1919), Chapter Cauvery (1927), Chapter Minchin, Trivandrum (1929), Kerala Chapter (1942), Chapter Cochin (1946), Chapter Quilon (1949), Chapter John Miller (1963), Chapter Universal Charity (1965). The District of Madras now administers 15 Royal Arch Chapters.
How to Join the Royal Arch?
The prime qualification for admission into the Royal Arch is to be a Master Mason, of at least four weeks standing, in a Lodge under the United Grand Lodge of England, or a Lodge under a Grand Lodge recognised by it.
If you are interested in becoming a Royal Arch Mason, you should initially talk to your Lodge’s Royal Arch Representative, who will be able to put you in touch with a suitable Chapter. Otherwise, the Lodge Mentor, or anyone wearing the jewel of the Order with their Craft regalia, will be delighted to be approached about membership. Alternatively, you can contact your District Grand Lodge Office to make an enquiry.
Chapters in the District
Chapter School Of Plato, No.150 (Chennai)
Attached to Lodge Perfect Unanimity, No.150.
Date of Opening: December 10, 1811
Pitt Macdonald Chapter, No.1198 (Chennai)
Attached to Pitt Macdonald Lodge, No.1198.
Date of opening: May 17, 1887
Chapter Universal Charity, No.273 (Chennai)
Attached to the Lodge of Universal Charity, No.273.
Date of Opening: January 22, 1965.
Chapter Minchin, No.2710 (Trivandrum)
Attached to Lodge Minchin, No.2710.
Date of Opening: December 28, 1929
Chapter John Miller, No.1906 (Chennai)
Attached to Lodge John Miller, No.1906.
Date of Opening: November 18, 1963
Chapter Southern Brotherhood, No.3311 (Bangalore)
Attached to Lodge Southern Brotherhood, No.3311.
Date of Opening: August 27, 1909
Chapter Cauvery, No.3848 (Thanjavur)
Attached to Lodge Cauvery No.3848.
Date of Opening: March 21, 1927
Chapter Quilon, No.5839 (Quilon)
Attached to Lodge Quilon, No.5839.
Date of Opening: February 18, 1949
Chapter Rock, No.260 (Tiruchirapalli)
Attached to Lodge Rock, No.260.
Date of Opening: April, 27,1907
Chapter Benson, No.1093 (Wellington)
Attached to Lodge Anchor of Hope, No.1093.
Date of Opening: July 18, 1892
Chapter Excelsior, No.1285 (Ootacamund)
Attached to Lodge of Faith Hope & Charity, No.1285.
Date of Opening: 2nd August 1871
The Golconda Chapter, No.3249(Secunderabad)
Attached to Lodge Golconda, No.3249.
Date of Opening: October 13, 1963
Chapter Ampthill, No.3682 (Coimbatore)
Attached to Lodge Ampthill, No.3682.
Date of Opening: December 20, 1919
Chapter Cochin, No.4359 (Cochin)
Attached to Lodge Cochin, No.4359.
Date of Opening: Janauary 18, 1946
Chapter Kerala, No.2188
Attached to Kerala Lodge, No.2188.
Date of Opening: August 11, 1956