The Oration

given at the constitution, consecration and dedication of the Melrose Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners at Mandeville, Jamaica on 22nd October 2011

by R.W.Bro Whilston D. Taylor, PDistGM

Right Worshipful District Grand Master and Brethren The background of this degree is more interesting than any other in Freemasonry considering it is based on a historical occurrence which happened some 6000 years ago and is well described in the book of genesis ( within the volume of the sacred law) and referred to as the flood..

Iin the statutes of a self-styled Grand Lodge of Royal aark Mariners produced in 1871 we read “in the year 1772 a Grand Lodge was reconstituted”, however this statement is unsupported and gives rise to questions vis:

  1. When and by whom was it discovered that a Grand Lodge had been re-constituted?
  2. It would have been more convincing should the names of one and another to whom the warrant has been transmitted had been given?.

In the minutes of a meeting held in bath , in 1790, there appears to be the first authentic record of the degree being worked, while there are numerous records of elevations taking place all over the country (UK).

In 1816 a Brother John F. Dorrington caused a renewed interest in the degree and was named Grand Commander. It was this revival that stimulated the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons to take action by placing the degree under its protection.

A Grand Master’s Royal Ark council was eventually formed to oversee and regulate the degree, and it is recorded that the first working under the new constitution was in mother lodge of Royal Ark Mariners no. 1 in 1872.

Since then the Fraternity has grown and lodges of this degree have been practised thoughout the world with over 1000 lodges working under the English Constitution.

The degree is practised in other constitutions, albeit not in a seperate Grand Lodge, in the Scottish Constitution under the Supreme Grand Chapter, as part of the cryptic degree, every Ark Mariners Lodge must be attached (moored) to a Mark Lodge and assumes the number of that Mark Lodge;

The mandatory officers are :

with the following being optional:

The qualification for membership, elevation, is being a Mark Master Mason, and a dispensation is mandatory for a candidate for the chair of Worshipful Commander if he has not held the office of Worshipful Master of a Lodge of Mark Master Masons.

There is no Provincial or District Grand Lodge of Ark Mariners but it is governed by the relevant administration controlling the Mark Lodges within the respective Province or District and District Grand Lodge Rank is awarded from the Provincial or District Grand Lodge while Grand Rank is from the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons.

Elevation into this degree commemorates the timely care and mercy of god and refers to the deluge as set out in the volume of the sacred law a most informative, athough not logical, legend.

The lodge is formed in the shape of a triangle which can be referenced to the Triune Diety, a symbol known to all masons interestingly both wardens are seated in the West, a reference to ancient craft masonry.

As we celebrate the constitution, consecratrion and dedication of this the seventh Royal Ark Mariners Lodge in the District let us take time to reflect on the antiquty of the degree, the many and varying efforts to establish a Grand Lodge and ensure that within the walls of this Lodge we shall always practice and encompass Brotherly Love, Justice and Truth.