The Royal Arch - An Order or a Degree?
One of the problems in uniting the Premier Grand Lodge, sometimes referred to as the Moderns, and the Antients Grand Lodge, was how each Grand Lodge regarded the Royal Arch. The Premier Grand Lodge did not recognise it, while the Antients Grand Lodge embraced it wholeheartedly and worked it as a Fourth Degree in their Craft lodges. A compromise was found that placated both Grand Lodges. The Royal Arch was accepted as being part of pure Ancient Masonry but had to be worked in separate Chapters and no longer within Craft lodges. A pronouncement was made in the Act of Union of 1813, that pure Ancient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more, namely those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.