This degree occurs after the death of Hiram Abiff and requires the candidate to profess his abhorrence of the crime committed against Hiram before being admitted.
It is the first in a series of three degrees, all under the control of AMD, which tell a continuing story about the advancement of skilled craftsmen for the ultimate purpose of completing the Temple.
In this degree the candidate is made an Architect to furnish plans for the second elevation of the Temple and to participate in the construction of the tomb for Grand Master Hiram Abiff.
This degree bears a significant resemblance to the French degree "Petit Architecte" (Junior Architect), which was reprinted in Volume 4 (1995) of Heredom, by the Scottish Rite Research Society. The source from which they received it was an expose published in 1766 entitled "Les Plus Secrets Mysteres des Hauts Grades de la Maconnerie Devoile" [The Most Secret Mysteries of the High Grades of Masonry Unveiled], edited by M. de Berage.
According to Berage's work, this was the Fourth Degree of Masonry, with Perfect Elect Mason, Elect of Perignan, Elect of the Fifteen coming before it. A little research has landed me with this list, which shows that it would have been the Fifth Degree of the "Hauts Grades", not the Fourth or Fifth Degree of Masonry itself. According to Albert G. Mackey's "An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences" pg. 20, the list of degrees in the now extinct rite of "Adonhiramite Masonry" were as follows:
- Master Maon
- Perfect Master
- Elect of Nine
- Elect of Perignan
- Elect of Fifteen
- Minor Architect
- Grand Architect, or Scottish Fellow-Craft
- Scottish Master
- Knight of the Sword, Knight of the East, or of the Eagle.
- Knight of the Rose Croix
I should mention that I got to be the candidate for the AMD version of the Architect Degree when our Council put it on this last year. It was special, and I really feel that it is a worthwhile degree and has a good, consistent feeling that goes along with the other degrees of Masonry.