It is interesting to note the real difference between two often-confused terms, which are York Rite and Scottish Rite. Both of these terms actually refer to degrees in Freemasonry. This is a fraternal organisation which originated a long time ago, in the 16th to 17th century. Around the world, there is an estimated five million members of the Freemasonry organisation, including those from the United States, England, Scotland and Ireland.
So what are the main differences between the York and the Scottish Rites? Firstly, there’s the York Rite. By definition, this refers to a collection of Masonic degrees which are usually conferred separately. The term York Rite originated from the city of York, where the first meetings of the Masons in England took place. On the other hand, Scottish Rites refer to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, conferred to Freemasonry members in the United States.
Both Scottish and York Rites are dedicated to the benefit of society through an individual’s improvement. Specifically, however, there are key differences between the two. York Rites consist of three separate and autonomous bodies, including the Chapter, Council and Commandery. Meanwhile, Scottish Rites have four coordinate bodies, including the Lodge of Perfection, the Council of Kadosh, Consistory, and the Chapter of Rose Croix.
Even the attire worn by Scottish and York Rites are different. The uniforms worn by the York Rite Commandery are complete with ceremonial swords, while Scottish Rite attires consist of an ornamented hat, which has the symbolic braiding of a double-headed eagle in a gold color. Finally, Scottish Rites have a hierarchical polity, while York Rites have a democratic polity.
1. Scottish Rites refer to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite conferred to Freemasonry members in the United States; while York Rites refer to a collection of Masonic degrees conferred separately in the city of York, where the first meetings of the Masons in England took place.
2. Scottish Rites have four coordinate bodies, while York Rites have three separate autonomous bodies.
3. Scottish Rites have a hierarchical polity, while York Rites have a democratic polity.