Difference Between York Rite and Scottish Rite

Among all the social groups that human beings have, secret societies are one of the most interesting terms used in this aspect. Secret societies are basically organizations that operate secretly.


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No one outside of this organization knows who the members are and usually, the induction is also a very weird process. Secret societies usually serve a purpose all the members believe in or help each other in areas of business, politics, etc.

Among these societies, Freemasons are one of the most famous and prominent societies. They have been around for a long time, and supposedly have quite a few members, and that to prominent members of the society. 

In Freemasonry, a rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred to a series by various Masonic organizations and bodies. The York Rite is also known as the American Rite is basically a group of bodies that follow the masonic structure.

However, if this rite was not present, then these bodies would have functioned independently. The Scottish Rite, similar to the York Rite, is another rite of Freemasonry, which refers to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

York Rite vs Scottish Rite

The difference between York Rite and Scottish Rite is that York Rite has three separate and autonomous bodies, while Scottish Rite has four coordinate bodies.

York Rite vs Scottish Rite

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonYork RiteScottish Rite
BodiesYork Rite has three autonomous bodies in it.Scottish Rite has four coordinating bodies under it.
CountryConferred separately in the city of York, where the first meeting of Masons took place in England.Predominant in the United States.
RecognitionIs accorded official everywhere.Not accorded official recognition by the Grand Lodge.
PolityDemocratic polity.Hierarchical polity.
OfficeProgressive, office posts are held by different people from time to time.One post can be held for a lifetime.

What is York Rite?

York RIte is one of the many rites of Freemasonry which primarily contains three autonomous bodies, that would have otherwise functioned independently.

These bodies are Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, Council of Royal and Select Masters, which is also known as the Council of Cryptic Masters, and the Commandery of Knights Templar.

Since they are autonomous, they are governed independently, however they all come under the York Rite. Other than these three, there are some other organizations that come under the York Rite, such as the York Rite sovereign college. But, these three are considered to be the major ones.

One important thing to note is that one should already be a master mason before joining the York Rite. The York Rite does provide additional degrees, but they are not deemed more important in any way than the main three ones which it already provides.

The Royal Arch Masonry is the first step into the York Rite. After that comes the Mark Master. This degree revolves around the construction of King Solomon’s Temple. By this virtue, it teaches the person the values of workmanship, charity, kindness, honesty, etc. 

The title of the Past Master is given to someone who has already served as Worshipful Master of a lodge. The Cryptic Rite provides three degrees, however it is worth noting that some US jurisdictions provide four too.

The degree Royal Master, is about the days before King Solomon’s Temple was constructed. Then there are others, such as the Select Master, Super-Excellent Master, and the Thrice Illustrious Master. 

FInally, comes the Commandery of Knights Templar. Here, it is worth noting that there has not been ay connection between these and the Knights of Templar of the crusades. The degrees included in them are The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, Order of Malta, Order of the Temple.

What is Scottish Rite?

Scottish Rite is also a rite of the Freemasons which has four coordinating bodies under it. One ususally joins the Scottish Rite to get further exposed to the ideals, ways, and principles of Freemasonry.

However, the Scottish Rite has not been awarded official recognition by the Grand Lodges, but only a freemason is allowed to join the Scottish Rite, and there are no bars in doing so. This means that joining the Scottish Rite is entirely optional, and depends upon the candidates’ will to do so.

The Scottish RIte is basically a concordant body. This is because some of its degrees continue to building of King Solomon’s Temple, that had been started in the first three lodge degrees.

There are degrees 4 to 32 here, but sometimes the rite can also award someone with a 33rd degree. This degree is given in regards to special service. The ceremonies of the Scottish Rite is theatrical in nature, and are usually held in auditoriums.

There are short plays, make up, lighting, sound effects, etc. The Scottish Rite is divided into chapters, and in the United States, a single state usually has no more than two or three chapters. These chapters are also known as valleys. 

In each of these valleys, there are smaller divisions, where the are a kind of in-house lodges. They are, Lodge of Perfection, Council Princes of Jerusalem, Chapter of the Rose Croix, Council of Kadosh, and the Consistory.

Main Differences Between York Rite and Scottish Rite

  1. The main difference between York Rite and Scottish Rite is that York RIte has three autonomous bodies under it, while Scottish Rite has four coordinating bodies under it.
  2. York Rite was conferred separately in the city of York, where the first meeting of the Masons took place in England, while Scottish Rite is predominantly in the US.
  3. The York Rite is recognised as official everywhere, while the Scottish Rite is not accorded official by the Grand Ldges.
  4. York RIte has a democratic polity, while the Scottish Rite has a hierarchial polity.
  5. York Rite has a progressive culture, and a certain post gets assigned to different people over time, whereas in Scottish Rite, a person can hold an office for a lifetime.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=TAEZopwOKNYC&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=york+rite+masons&ots=sy8SCc_XSm&sig=Il1oT0_dRS3Hn_SWDrdFIFxB3Ds
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3509938
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