• Masonic Lodge Officers

    This article relates to mainstream 'Craft Freemasonry', sometimes known as 'Blue Lodge
    Freemasonry'. Every Masonic Lodge elects or appoints Masonic Lodge Officers to execute the
    necessary functions of the lodge's life and work. The precise list of such offices may vary
    between the jurisdictions of different Grand Lodges, although certain factors are common to all,
    and others are usual in most. All of the lodges in a given nation, state, or region are united under
    the authority of a Grand Lodge sovereign to its own jurisdiction. Most of the lodge offices listed
    below have equivalent offices in the Grand Lodge, but with the addition of the word 'Grand'
    somewhere in the title. For example, every lodge has a 'Junior Warden', whilst the Grand Lodge
    has a 'Grand Junior Warden' or 'Junior Grand Warden'. A very small number of offices may
    exist only at the Grand Lodge level - such offices are included at the end of this article. There
    are few universal rules common to all Grand Lodge jurisdictions of Freemasonry (see Masonic
    Landmarks for accepted universal principles of regular Freemasonry). the usual progression is
    for a lodge officer to spend either one or two years in each position, advancing through "the
    chairs", until he elected as Worshipful Master. In addition, there are some offices that are
    traditionally not considered to be part of the "line", and which may be held by the same brother
    for many years, or be held by Past Masters
    Contents1 Offices common to all Masonic jurisdictions
    o Worshipful Master
    o Senior Warden
    o Junior Warden
    o Treasurer
    o Secretary
    o Deacons
    o Steward
    o Tyler
    • 2 Officers found in some jurisdictions and not in others
    o Inner Guard or Inside Sentinel
    o Chaplain
    o Director of Ceremonies / Ritualist
    o Marshal
    o Masters of Ceremony
    o Almoner
    o Organist / Director of Music
    • 3 Additional (less common) Offices
    o Orator
    o Historian
    o Charity Steward
    o Poet Laureate
    • 4 Offices generally found only at Grand Lodge level
    o Deputy Grand Master
    o Grand Chancellor
    o Grand Registrar
    o Grand Superintendent of Works
    o Grand Sword Bearer
    o Grand Standard Bearer or Grand Banner Bearer
    o Grand Pursuivant
    Officers common to all Masonic jurisdictions
    Worshipful Master
    The senior officer of a Masonic Lodge is the Master, normally addressed and referred to as the
    'Worshipful Master'. The Worshipful Master sits in the East of the lodge room, directs all of the
    business of his lodge, and is vested with considerable powers without further reference to the
    members. He also presides over ritual and ceremonies. The office of Worshipful Master is the
    highest honour to which a lodge may appoint any of its members. The office is filled by
    election, generally by means of a secret ballot. However, in most lodges the progression is such
    that the post will almost always be filled by the previous year's Senior Warden. It should be
    noted that the honorific "Worshipful" does not imply that the Master is worshiped. Rather, use
    of the word implies its original meaning, "to give respect", similar to calling an judge "Your
    Honor" or a mayor "Honorable". In fact, mayors and judges in parts of England are still called
    "Worshipful" or "Your Worship." French Masons use the word Venerable as the honorific for
    their Masters.
    There are a few titles used in relation to the position of Master of a Lodge:
    • Worshipful Master - the presiding officer of the Lodge
    • Past Master - a member who has previously served as Worshipful Master of any
    Lodge.(In many jurisdictions, a Past Master is addressed as "Worshipful Brother
    • Immediate Past Master or Junior Past Master - the Past Master who served directly before
    the present incumbent, and acts as his mentor and prompter.
    • Installed Master - generic term for all Masons who currently serve or have ever served as
    Worshipful Master of a Lodge
    • Right Worshipful Master - alternative name for the Worshipful Master in Scotland (In
    some jurisdictions the title "Right Worshipful" - without the word Master - is reserved for
    Grand Lodge Officers)
    • Deputy Master - in England and Wales a Royal Prince elected as Worshipful Master may
    appoint a Deputy to serve in his place
    • Depute Master - in Scotland, an elected deputy to the Right Worshipful Master
    • Serving or Reigning Master - colloquial term for the current Worshipful Master of a
    • Board of Installed Masters - an assembly restricted to masons who are Installed Masters
    The corresponding grand rank is Grand Master. The Grand Master may preside over his Grand
    Lodge when it is in session, and also has certain rights in every lodge under his jurisdiction.
    Grand Masters are usually addressed as "Most Worshipful".
    Senior Warden
    The 'Senior Warden' (sometimes known as First Warden) is the second of the three principal
    officers of a lodge, and is the Master's principal deputy. Under some constitutions, if the
    Worshipful Master is absent the Senior Warden presides at meetings as "acting Master", and
    may act for the Master in all matters of lodge business. Under other constitutions, including
    Grand Lodge of England and Grand Lodge of Ireland, no mason may act as Worshipful Master
    unless they have previously been a Master, and so the Senior Warden cannot fulfil this role
    unless he is a Past Master. In many lodges it is presumed that the Senior Warden will become
    the next Worshipful Master.
    Junior Warden
    The third of the 'principal officers' is the 'Junior Warden' (or Second Warden). In some
    jurisdictions the Junior Warden has a particular responsibility for ensuring that visiting Masons
    are in possession of the necessary credentials. In others, this is the job of the Tyler. The Junior
    Warden is charged with the supervision of the Lodge while it is in recess for meals or other
    social purposes. The Wardens are 'regular officers' of the Lodge, meaning that the positions
    must be filled.
    The role of the 'Treasurer' is to keep the accounts, collect annual dues from the members, pay
    bills and forward annual dues to the Grand Lodge.
    The annual presentation of accounts is an important measure of the lodge's continuing viability,
    whilst the efficient collection of annual subscriptions is vitally important, as any lapse in
    payment (deliberate or unintentional) can lead to a member losing voting rights, being denied
    the opportunity to visit other lodges, and finally even being debarred or excluded from his own
    Although any member may hold the office of 'Secretary', it is almost universal practice for an
    experienced Past Master to hold this position. (One notable exception to this norm was the
    appointment of Rudyard Kipling as Secretary of Lodge of Hope and Perseverance No 782
    (English jurisdiction) at Lahore, Punjab, India in 1886: Kipling was just 20 years old, and had
    only just been admitted as a Freemason; indeed, he recorded the minutes of his own initiation)It
    is also common for the same member to hold the office of Secretary for a number of years, for
    the sake of continuity; although again, there is no rule to this effect, and annual reelection/
    appointment is necessary in all jurisdictions. The Secretary's office is sometimes said to
    be the real power base of a lodge. It is certainly true that the position is an influential one, and
    in those lodges which do not have an active general committee, the Secretary inevitably ends up
    making many key decisions in the life of the lodge. The Secretary's role includes issuing the
    'summons' (a formal notice of an impending meeting, with time, date and agenda), recording
    meeting minutes, completing statistical returns to the Grand Lodge, and advising the
    Worshipful Master on matters of procedure. In many lodges it is also the Secretary who
    determines (with consultation) the progression of officers within the lodge. The Secretary is
    almost always a key figure in the interviewing of potential new members of the lodge.
    A Deacon is a junior officer in the lodge. In the traditions of most Grand Lodges each
    subordinate lodge has two Deacons, styled 'Senior Deacon' and 'Junior Deacon' (though 'First
    Deacon’ and 'Second Deacon' is sometimes encountered as an alternative.)The principal roles of
    the Senior Deacon are to conduct candidates around the Lodge during certain ceremonies and
    formally to assist the Worshipful Master and to carry messages between the Master and the
    Senior Warden. The office of 'Junior Deacon' is similar in many respects to that of Senior
    Deacon. The principal roles of the Junior Deacon are to assist the Senior Warden, conduct
    certain candidates, and carry messages between the two Wardens. In some jurisdictions he is
    also responsible for guarding the inside of the main door of the lodge and ensuring that the
    lodge is tiled (in other jurisdictions this duty is given to the Inner Guard or Inside Sentinel).
    'Stewards' are commonly appointed to fulfill a number of junior assistant roles. There is
    considerable variance, even within the same jurisdiction, as to the precise roles played by
    Stewards. Some of their common duties could include the following:
    • Stewards are often tasked with an understudy role to fill the position of the Senior
    Deacon or Junior Deacons, in their absence.
    • When a degree ceremony is performed, one or more Steward(s) may be required to assist
    the two Deacons is conducting the candidates around the temple.
    • Stewards have a traditional role in many jurisdictions of serving wine during any meal
    served after the lodge meeting.
    Some jurisdictions specify that each lodge has two Stewards, known as the 'Senior Steward' and
    'Junior Steward'. Other jurisdictions put no limit on the number of Stewards who may be
    appointed, and in this respect the office is unique. The Worshipful Master may appoint any
    number of Stewards, according to the size and requirements of his lodge. Although newer
    members usually fill the office of Steward, in some lodges it is traditional for a Past Master to
    be appointed to supervise the work of the Stewards.
    The 'Tyler' is sometimes known as the 'Outer Guard' of the lodge. His duty is to guard the door
    (from the outside), with a drawn sword, and ensure that only those who are duly qualified
    manage to gain entry into the lodge meeting. In some jurisdictions, he also prepares candidates
    for their admission. The Tyler is sometimes a Past Master of the Lodge, while in other
    jurisdictions; the Tyler may be an employed brother from another lodge. This perpetuates the
    historical condition of lodges meeting in ale houses and employing the landlord as Tyler.
    Officers found in some jurisdictions and not in others
    There are many officers that are found in some jurisdictions and not in others. Depending on the
    jurisdiction, some are "progressive" others are not. The more common ones include:
    Inner Guard or Inside Sentinel
    The office of 'Inner Guard' (or Inside Sentinel) is common to UK lodges, but is rare in
    American lodges. He is commonly assigned to a fairly junior member, and provides an
    opportunity for him to observe ceremonies and display his own abilities.The task of guarding
    the door is shared with the 'Tyler' (see above). The Inner Guard is on the inside of the door, and
    in some jurisdictions is armed with a poignard, or short dagger. In those jurisdictions which do
    not appoint an Inner Guard this duty is added to those of the Junior Deacon (see above). In
    Ireland, if the Inner Guard is not present for some reason, the Junior Warden will take on the
    role of Inner Guard, too.
    In most Masonic jurisdictions, each lodge will have a 'Chaplain'. The principal role of the
    Chaplain is to lead prayer before and after the lodge meeting, and to say grace while the lodge is
    at dinner. In many lodges this position is filled by a clergyman (an ordained minister, priest,
    rabbi, imam, etc.) who is a brother of the lodge. However, it is not required that the Chaplain be
    a clergyman, as prayers are non-denominational. In some lodges the tradition is for the
    immediate Past Master to act as Chaplain.
    Director of Ceremonies / Ritualist
    The title 'Director of Ceremonies' is used in the United Grand Lodge of England and its
    subordinate lodges, as well as in many other jurisdictions. However, other titles found in other
    jurisdictions include, 'Lecturer', and 'Ritualistic’. Whatever the title, this officer is responsible
    for the smooth flowing of ceremonial and ritual and may hold rehearsals. He may be
    responsible for prompting other officers who forget their lines. In some jurisdictions, he directs
    proceedings during the installation of a new Worshipful Master. He is also responsible for
    forming processions and introducing visitors, except in those jurisdictions which appoint a
    'Marshal' for these latter purposes
    The office of 'Marshal' is quite common in the United States, but not in other countries. In some
    jurisdictions where it is found, the title is simply an alternative for 'Director of Ceremonies' (see
    However, there are jurisdictions in which the office is distinct from any other, in which cases
    the duties of the office revolve around the organization of processions and ensuring the correct
    precedence and etiquette in formal proceedings, including the introduction of visitors to the
    lodge. This is distinct (in such jurisdictions) from the role of the Director of Ceremonies in
    supervising the ritual of the lodge's degree ceremonies.
    Masters of Ceremony
    The offices of 'Senior and Junior Masters of Ceremony' appear in some jurisdictions. Their
    primary duty is to prepare candidates prior to each of the three degrees. They also help conduct
    the candidates during the degree conferrals.
    The 'Almoner' (sometimes called the 'Caring Officer') is responsible for the well-being of lodge
    members and their families. He remains in contact with members who are unwell, and also
    maintains a discreet presence in the lives of widows of former members, so that the lodge may
    readily assist them should they find themselves in any particular need.Of necessity the Almoner
    must be well versed in local and national Masonic charities and the scope of their charitable
    work, so as to offer advice to those who might qualify for such assistance.In some jurisdictions,
    these duties are handled by a committee (under various titles).
    Organist / Director of Music
    The 'Organist' or 'Director of Music' provides musical accompaniment to lodge proceedings,
    although there is no set form. Many lodge rooms are equipped with a pipe organ or electronic
    organ, and in others, there is provision for a wider range of instruments. In other places the
    Director of Music operates recorded or digital music systems, such as at the Grand Lodge of
    Austria in Vienna.
    Additional (less common) Offices
    There are certain offices which exist only in particular lodges, or only in the lodges of a
    particular jurisdiction. As far as possible, the following list seeks to record all such offices that
    are either reasonably widespread, or else have been made notable by some other means, such as
    being held by famous people.
    In some jurisdictions there is a strong tradition of Masonic research and education, and the
    presentation of papers by members is as common as degree ceremonies or other business. In
    such cases the 'Orator' may present papers, or be responsible for their presentation by others.
    The Orator may also be called upon to present a paper to celebrate milestones in the life of the
    The term Grand Orator refers to a similar office within Grand Lodges.
    Most lodges have a senior member who holds a particular interest in the lodge's history. In
    some jurisdictions, this interest may lead to appointment to formal office as the lodge's
    'Historian'. The office involves the archiving of documents and artifacts, and the publishing and
    updating of historical information.
    Charity Steward
    All lodges are charged with maintaining an appropriate level of charitable giving to good
    causes. In some jurisdictions the office of 'Charity Steward' exists. He is responsible for
    encouraging the members to give generously, as well as leading discussions about the
    appropriate recipients of the lodge's charitable donations.
    Poet Laureate
    This particular office is believed to be unique to one Scottish lodge, the 'Lodge Canongate
    Kilwinning' No 2. In 1787 the lodge appointed Robert Burns as 'Poet Laureate'[2], an investiture
    later immortalized in a painting by Stewart Watson, the original of which hangs in the Grand
    Lodge of Scotland building in Edinburgh. The painting incorporates a certain amount of artistic
    license, which may possibly extend to the presence of Burns himself, for although he was
    certainly a member of the Lodge, it is not clear that he was present at the meeting at which he
    was appointed Poet Laureate. Many years later (in 1905), the office of Poet Laureate in this
    lodge was awarded to Rudyard Kipling, who was made an honorary member for that purpose.
    There is no known Grand equivalent to this office in any other jurisdiction.
    Offices generally found only at Grand Lodge level
    The offices in a Grand Lodge are generally derived from the corresponding offices in its
    subordinate lodges. However, there are certain offices that must necessarily be filled in Grand
    Lodges, but have no private lodge equivalent. These are outlined below.
    Deputy Grand Master
    In some jurisdictions, the Deputy Grand Master serves as the Grand Master's assistant. He is
    followed in seniority by the Senior Grand Warden.
    Grand Chancellor
    The Grand Chancellor is responsible for external relations and formal interaction with the
    Grand Lodges of other jurisdictions. The United Grand Lodge of England changed its
    constitution in 2007 to allow for the appointment of a Grand Chancellor for the first time. Only
    a few jurisdictions have Grand Chancellors. In most jurisdictions, the Grand Secretary fulfills
    these duties. The Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge No 4, in England, is a rare
    example of a lodge that appoints a Chancellor as one of its officers. It appears that when the
    office was created in the nineteenth century it was intended to be similar to the role of Chaplain
    However when revived in the early twentieth century, the role was more directed towards
    external relations. By the late twentieth century it appears that it had become customary for the
    office to be awarded to the longest serving member of the Lodge.
    Grand Registrar
    In some jurisdictions a 'Grand Registrar' is appointed to be the principal legal officer of a Grand
    Lodge. The role is generally held by a qualified lawyer or judge. In other jurisdictions, there is
    no official title given to the holders of these duties.
    Grand Superintendent of Works
    When this office exists, the 'Grand Superintendent of Works' is a Grand Lodge officer
    responsible for the Grand Lodge building, and as such, the office is usually awarded to a
    qualified architect or builder. Responsibility for individual Lodge buildings usually falls to a
    Grand Sword Bearer
    Many Grand Masters are preceded in formal processions by a ceremonial sword. In such cases a
    'Grand Sword Bearer' is appointed to carry the sword.
    Grand Standard Bearer or Grand Banner Bearer
    Many Grand Masters or Grand Lodges have an official standard which is carried behind the
    Grand Master in formal processions. In such cases a 'Grand Standard Bearer' or 'Grand Banner
    Bearer' is appointed.
    Grand Pursuivant
    It is the Grand Pursuivant duty to announce all applicants for admission into the Grand Lodge
    by their names and Masonic titles; to take charge of the jewels and regalia of the Grand Lodge;
    to attend all communications of the Grand Lodge, and to perform such other duties as may be
    required by the Grand Master or presiding officer.

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