What is the Thirty-third Degree?
This is the highest or official degree which can only be granted and conferred by the Supreme Council. It cannot be applied for. Each year at the annual meeting of the Supreme Council, a number of Thirty-second Degree Masons from throughout the Jurisdiction, are elected to receive the Thirty-third Degree because of outstanding service to the Fraternity or for service to others which reflects credit upon the Order. Nominations for the Thirty-third Degree are made by the Deputies of each of the fifteen states after consultation with their fellow Active Members in each state. Nominations are then submitted to the entire Active Membership of the Supreme Council for ballot. Following election, candidates await the next annual meeting when the Degree is conferred in full ceremonial form.
What is the Meritorious Service Award?
This honor is granted by the fifteen Councils of Deliberation to Thirty-second Degree or Thirty-third Degree Masons nominated for the award by the presiding officers of local bodies. Supreme Council law limits the number of such awards to one member a year from each body in a state, subject to reduction by each Council of Deliberation. At the end of July, 1987, there were 1,600 holders of the Meritorious Service Award throughout the Jurisdiction.
What is the Gourgas Medal?
The Gourgas Medal is named in honor of the founder of this Supreme Council, an outstanding leader who is known to the Craft as the “Conservator of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.” This may be conferred by the Supreme Council, or by the Sovereign Grand Commander, upon a member of our Jurisdiction, or of any other Jurisdiction with which we exchange Representatives, in recognition of notably distinguished service in the cause of Freemasonry, humanity or country. Only twenty-five awards have been made since the decoration was established in 1938.