Masonic Sacrificial Altars

Since ancient times sacrificial altars for making blood offerings and performing human sacrifices have remained virtually unchanged.

The architecture of Freemasonry preserves his unique heritage in Temples throughout the world, where one can re-experience the unique drama of human sacrifice preserved in our DNA.

  • The Egyptian – Third Millennium B.C.E.
  • The Ionic – 700 – 600 B.C.E.
  • The Corinthian – 300 B.C.E.
  • Norman – 1100 – 1200 C.E.
  • Gothic – 1250 C.E.
  • Oriental (Moorish – Spanish – Jewish) – 1350 C.E.
  • Renaissance – 1450 – 1600 C.E.

 

NOTE: The following images and descriptions are from the Philadelphia Masonic Temple website and have been consolidated here onto one page.

WARNING: These images and descriptions may contain triggers to those who have experienced these types of rituals either as participants, observers, or victims.

 

 

 

 

Egyptian Hall, finished in 1889, is decorated in the style of the Nile Valley, and in all of the Ornamentations, accuracy was of the utmost importance.

Twelve huge columns stand on the four sides of the room, surmounted by capitals peculiar to the Temples of Luxor, Karnak, Philae and other ancient edifices. Each column has an original in Egypt. The sections of the columns have borders of reeds and rushes, a fluted frieze, the flying sun-disk, the Uraeus, and other symbolic motifs. Lotus flowers twine around the base of each column; reed decorations are on the cornice; and pyramidal designs complete the panels. Uraei, or sacred asps with extended heads, encircle all sides of the Hall.

The furniture also is in Egyptian style. The Worshipful Master’s throne is gilded ebony; the pedestal is flanked by sphinxes.

The pedestals of the Senior and Junior Wardens are also similarly decorated.

The scenes of domestic life on the walls were taken from the hypogea (underground chambers) of the Old Empire. Other scenes were taken from sepulchral chambers.

The ceiling is blue, indicative of the heavens. A solar disk is placed in the East. This is the symbol of Aten, the Sun, the god of Akhenaten. From it emanate rays tipped with the ancient sign of fertility, the Ankh. At various points, the seven planets are indicated by stars. The symbolic representation of the twelve months was copied from the Temple of Rameses at Thebes. The crossbeams of the ceiling are treated with motifs taken from ancient decorative forms; and the intersections have ancient mason-marks.

The frieze of the cornice represents the seasons and the twelve hours of the day, as found at Edfou. The appropriate goddess stands in the prow of a boat. She has a star in a circle over her head. The soffits of the lintels over the columns are alternately figures of Uati, the goddess of the north and south, and Nekhebt, identified by the Greeks with Elithya, the goddess of birth.

East Wall

On the east wall, the cornice of the pylon contains as its central figure the all-seeing eye of Horus. The sloping jambs of the pylon represent the adoration of a Theban deity by Egyptian kings. The panel above the door depicts the goddess having jurisdiction over the east bank of the Nile. The soffits of the pylon contain the names of the principal gods.

The twelve columns and fourteen panels, numbered from the Worshipful Master’s right and running counterclockwise, are as follows. Column No. 1 is divided into two parts: the upper, representing the sovereign and his family adoring the sun, and the lower, Horus and Thoth purifying Amenophis II. Column No. 12, to the Worshipful Master’s left: the upper panel is the Judgement of the Dead, and the lower, Horus to Osiris, by his mother, Isis. The four panels on this wall represent four great deities: Panel No. 1, Osiris; Panel No. 2, Horus; Panel No. 14, Isis; and Panel No. 13, Ammon-Ra.

North Wall

On the north wall, Column No. 2 represents King Sheshonk worshipping the great triad of Memphis: Ptah, the lioness-headed Sekhet, and Imhotep. Column No. 3 represents Rameses II praying to the Theban triad Ammon-Ra, Mut, and Khonsu. The latter was worshipped as moon-god. Column No. 4 represents Amenophis II offering floral tributes to the gods of Elephantine and the Cataract, Khnum, and his two female companions, Satit and Anuket. Column No. 5 represents King Seti making a milk offering to Osiris, Isis and their son, Horus, the god of Abydos. Panel No. 3 depicts King Amenophis, as a child sitting on the lap of a goddess (from a tomb at Gournah). Panel No. 4 has a man, his wife and their household (from the stele of the Eleventh Dynasty, Abydos-Boulak). Panel No. 5 shows hunting in the marshes (from the tomb of Ti). Panel No. 6 shows Seti I striking war prisoners with a mace (from Karnak). Panel No. 7 depicts Harper (from the tomb of Rameses III, in Thebes).

West Wall

The pylon on the west wall is dedicated to the industrial arts, as found upon the hypogea at Abydos and Bab-el-Moluk. Column No. 6 has the figures of the goddesses Selk and Hathor, lady of the West; Seb, husband of Nut; and the crocodile-headed Sebek, the god of Fayum. Column No. 7 represents Thoth, goddess of Ratui. At Erment she was worshipped as the wife of the hawk-headed Theban sun god Mentu. In the panel above the chair is a bronze relief of Brother Thomas R. Patton, former Right Worshipful Grand Treasurer and benefactor of the Thomas Ranken Patton Masonic Institution for Boys, now the home of the Pennsylvania Youth Foundation .

South Wall

On the south wall, Column No. 8 is dedicated to Neith and Tanen a form of the god Ptah. Column No. 9 is consecrated to Maat, the goddess of truth; Thoth and the goddess Sefekh, mistress of the records. Column No. 10 represents a form of Horus and Set, son of Nut. Column No. 11 represents Osiris, Isis, and the jackal-headed Anubis, guardian of Necropolis, and son of Osiris by Nephthys. Panel No. 8 is Harper (from the tomb of Rameses III). Panel No. 9 shows Rameses in his war chariot. Panel No. 10 shows the bari, or sacred boat (from the Temple of Elephantine). Panel No. 11 depicts Rameses II celebrating a festival. Panel No. 12 has Anubis presiding over the dead, which the soul revisits in the shape of a human-headed hawk, holding the symbol of life in one hand and a sail, emblematic of breath, in the other.

Egyptian Hall is fifty-one feet long, forty-three feet wide and twenty-two feet high.

The Ionic Order of architecture received its name from Ionia, where King Ion reigned in Asia Minor. Ionians were mostly Greek emigrants. Refinement and elegance are the characteristics of Ionic style.

The pillars of this Hall, decorated in 1890, are finished in cream-tone ivory and their capitals are enriched with gold, vermilion and blue.

The wall panels contain full-length portraits of Right Worshipful Past Grand Masters: Joseph Eichbaum, Peter Fritz, Conrad B. Day, Peter Williamson, John Thomson, Robert Clark, William Barger, George E. Wagner, Michael Arnold, Henry W Williams, Richard Vaux, Robert A. Lamberton, and Clifford P. MacCalla. Otherwise the walls are a delicate blue.

The ceiling of Ionic Hall represents the blue vault of heaven. In the center blazes the midday sun, surrounded by the planetary and zodiacal signs. The twelve signs of the zodiac represent the twelve portions of the heavens through which the sun courses during the year. Inscribed clay Assyrian cylinders indicate an antiquity of at least four thousand years for these signs of the zodiac. The most ancient known depiction is on a fragment of a Chaldean planisphere in the British Museum inscribed with the names of the twelve months and their governing signs. Zodiac, derived from Greek zodion, means “little animal.”

In Nineveh, the tenth month was sacred to the “star of the goat,” Capricornus. The human race was supposed to have been created under the sign of Taurus, the bull. The Egyptians had this same twelve-fold division of the zodiac, and the Chinese indicated the yellow road of the sun by twelve cyclical animals. The zodiacal signs were distinctly recognized and characteristically employed by our precursors in the Craft, the operative masons of the Middle Ages in Europe.

Ionic Hall is sixty-four feet long, forty-one feet wide and twenty-one feet high.

Corinthian Hall. The features of this magnificent room, finished in 1903, are in strict conformity with the principles of Grecian classical architecture, and the best known examples of the Greek Corinthian Order. Columns and capitals are modeled after the perfect ones found in the monument of Lysicrates in Athens. The paneled ceiling in the apse at the east end of the room together with the Caryatides supporting it, depict the Portico of the Caryatides of the Erectheum, a building on the Acropolis, in Athens. Seats on the platform in the East are in accordance with those in the ancient Theatre of Dionysus, also in Athens. Various subjects for the bas-relief medallions over the entrance hall and on the pilasters on the north and south walls were taken from ancient Greek coins and medallions. Pictorial representations in the panels on the large frieze running around the four enclosing walls of the room are copies of historical fragments from Greek mythology relating mostly to spiritual life. The general color scheme of the architectural motif, from floor to ceiling, is dull ivory with gold to accentuate all relief and figure details. The large cove and ceiling are treated in shades of deep blue, studded with gold stars. This creates a sky effect above the line of lattice balustrade, and gives an atmosphere of an open hall in an ancient Greek temple.

East Wall

On the east wall, the inscription in the frieze below the pediment is “Fiat Lux” (Let there be light). There are five murals, of which the one on the pediment depicts the Rising of the Sun. Hellos, young, beardless and with radiant head, rises from the waves in a chariot drawn by four horses. To the right, the first panel shows Aurora pouring dew upon the Earth. Also known as Eos (Aos), the Dawn, she is clad in a long chiton, or tunic, strewn with stars, and hovers in the air holding the jars whence she pours the dew. In the second panel to the right is Psychotasia, the weighing of souls. Hermes holds the balance of the scales, where the souls of two warriors are seen. Two witnesses stand by: Zeus, on the left, is armed with his thunderbolt and leans on his scepter. Eos, on the right, is the mother of Memnon, who was slain by Achilles while aiding his uncle, Priam, during the Trojan War. Eos, inconsolable, weeps for him every morning, whence also the dew. In the first panel on the left is Apollo, god of the various Fine Arts and reputed originator of Music, Poetry and Eloquence. Apollo is seated on a high tripod that has broad wings bearing him gently over the waves. Dolphins, springing out of the water, accompany him. The god is also called Delphinos. He wears a wreath of laurel; his left hand touches the cithara; and a bow and quiver of arrows are on his shoulder. The voyages of the god upon his tripod are doubtless allusions to the colonies founded by order of the Delphic Oracle. On the second panel to the left is Triptolemus, holding a patera (a broad, flat saucer used for pouring libations) in his right hand and heads of grain in his left. He is seated on a winged chariot from which dart two serpents. In front of him, Proserpine, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, holds a torch in her left hand, and in her right, a wine jug, which she inclines toward the patera of Triptolemus. Behind the chariot is Demeter, goddess of grain, with a torch and some heads of grain in her hand. The hero is preparing to journey through the world and instruct the human race in agriculture.

West Wall

The west wall bears the inscription “Fide et Fiducia” (By Fidelity and Confidence) in the frieze of the cornice. There are three murals on this wall. In the center, Jason and Hercules, with the help of Medea, are attacking the dragon. A tree is in the center of the scene, dividing it into two equal parts. Upon the branches is suspended the Golden Fleece. Above the trunk is coiled the dragon which guards it. Jason, on the left, and Hercules, on the right, are preparing to strike the monster, one with a lance, the other with a club. Behind the heroes, and ready for combat, are three of the Argonauts, their companions. In the upper division of the panel on the left, the winged Calais (another Argonaut), son of Boreas (“north wind”) and the nymph Oreithyia, come to take part in the combat. To the right, Medea, clothed in splendid Asiatic garments, aids the combatants by her magic power. In her left hand she holds a casket. With her right, she is preparing to throw some leaves on the dragon. Behind her, and corresponding to the figure of Calais, is a winged Love. He is sitting on a rock holding a mirror in his left hand. In the right panel is Orestes (who, with sister Electra’s help, had killed their mother, Clytemnestra, to avenge his father, whom she had killed) in shelter at Delphi and protected by Apollo. Orestes is seated on the altar of Apollo, who stands beside him holding over his head a pig, the expiatory victim. Artemis, Apollo’s sister, stands in front of Orestes. In the left panel Eumolpus, seated with a scepter in his hand, a swan at his side, is an allusion to the King’s name. Amphitrite, a goddess of the sea, has a fish in her right hand. Dionysus (or Bacchus, god of wine) is holding a vine-stock as a scepter.

Medallions over doors and on pedestals on either side of the niche were taken from antique coins and medallions. Above the door to the left, looking toward the west wall: center, taken from a bronze coin, are the eight Phoenician Kabeiroi. Left, from a bronze coin of Ephesus, is the effigy of Marcus Aurelius. Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius stand at the lighted altar before the statue of Artemis of Ephesus. Right, from a coin of Ariathes, is the Baal of Gazioura. Seated, his left hand resting on a scepter, he holds an eagle in his right hand. Above the door to the right: center, from a bronze medallion, is the Temple of Zeus at Pergamos. Under the portico is Zeus, before him is a priest holding a patera, about to sacrifice a bull. Left, from a coin of Chios, Dionysus, crowned with ivy, stands holding a thyrsus (a staff or spear tipped with an ornament). Right, from a gold coin of Alexander, is a winged Victory; in a field is a thunderbolt, also a letter, which is a mint mark. On the pedestal to the right: from an Athenian coin, A.O.E., the names of magistrates. The owl is a symbol of wisdom; the lion of strength.

South Wall

Upon arriving on the second floor, one encounters the Meeting place of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania: Corinthian Hall. The features of this magnificent room, finished in 1903, are in strict conformity with the principles of Grecian classical architecture, and the best known examples of the Greek Corinthian Order. Columns and capitals are modeled after the perfect ones found in the monument of Lysicrates in Athens. The paneled ceiling in the apse at the east end of the room together with the Caryatides supporting it, depict the Portico of the Caryatides of the Erectheum, a building on the Acropolis, in Athens. Seats on the platform in the East are in accordance with those in the ancient Theatre of Dionysus, also in Athens. Various subjects for the bas-relief medallions over the entrance hall and on the pilasters on the north and south walls were taken from ancient Greek coins and medallions. Pictorial representations in the panels on the large frieze running around the four enclosing walls of the room are copies of historical fragments from Greek mythology relating mostly to spiritual life. The general color scheme of the architectural motif, from floor to ceiling, is dull ivory with gold to accentuate all relief and figure details. The large cove and ceiling are treated in shades of deep blue, studded with gold stars. This creates a sky effect above the line of lattice balustrade, and gives an atmosphere of an open hall in an ancient Greek temple.

East Wall

On the east wall, the inscription in the frieze below the pediment is “Fiat Lux” (Let there be light). There are five murals, of which the one on the pediment depicts the Rising of the Sun. Hellos, young, beardless and with radiant head, rises from the waves in a chariot drawn by four horses. To the right, the first panel shows Aurora pouring dew upon the Earth. Also known as Eos (Aos), the Dawn, she is clad in a long chiton, or tunic, strewn with stars, and hovers in the air holding the jars whence she pours the dew. In the second panel to the right is Psychotasia, the weighing of souls. Hermes holds the balance of the scales, where the souls of two warriors are seen. Two witnesses stand by: Zeus, on the left, is armed with his thunderbolt and leans on his scepter. Eos, on the right, is the mother of Memnon, who was slain by Achilles while aiding his uncle, Priam, during the Trojan War. Eos, inconsolable, weeps for him every morning, whence also the dew. In the first panel on the left is Apollo, god of the various Fine Arts and reputed originator of Music, Poetry and Eloquence. Apollo is seated on a high tripod that has broad wings bearing him gently over the waves. Dolphins, springing out of the water, accompany him. The god is also called Delphinos. He wears a wreath of laurel; his left hand touches the cithara; and a bow and quiver of arrows are on his shoulder. The voyages of the god upon his tripod are doubtless allusions to the colonies founded by order of the Delphic Oracle. On the second panel to the left is Triptolemus, holding a patera (a broad, flat saucer used for pouring libations) in his right hand and heads of grain in his left. He is seated on a winged chariot from which dart two serpents. In front of him, Proserpine, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, holds a torch in her left hand, and in her right, a wine jug, which she inclines toward the patera of Triptolemus. Behind the chariot is Demeter, goddess of grain, with a torch and some heads of grain in her hand. The hero is preparing to journey through the world and instruct the human race in agriculture.

West Wall

The west wall bears the inscription “Fide et Fiducia” (By Fidelity and Confidence) in the frieze of the cornice. There are three murals on this wall. In the center, Jason and Hercules, with the help of Medea, are attacking the dragon. A tree is in the center of the scene, dividing it into two equal parts. Upon the branches is suspended the Golden Fleece. Above the trunk is coiled the dragon which guards it. Jason, on the left, and Hercules, on the right, are preparing to strike the monster, one with a lance, the other with a club. Behind the heroes, and ready for combat, are three of the Argonauts, their companions. In the upper division of the panel on the left, the winged Calais (another Argonaut), son of Boreas (“north wind”) and the nymph Oreithyia, come to take part in the combat. To the right, Medea, clothed in splendid Asiatic garments, aids the combatants by her magic power. In her left hand she holds a casket. With her right, she is preparing to throw some leaves on the dragon. Behind her, and corresponding to the figure of Calais, is a winged Love. He is sitting on a rock holding a mirror in his left hand. In the right panel is Orestes (who, with sister Electra’s help, had killed their mother, Clytemnestra, to avenge his father, whom she had killed) in shelter at Delphi and protected by Apollo. Orestes is seated on the altar of Apollo, who stands beside him holding over his head a pig, the expiatory victim. Artemis, Apollo’s sister, stands in front of Orestes. In the left panel Eumolpus, seated with a scepter in his hand, a swan at his side, is an allusion to the King’s name. Amphitrite, a goddess of the sea, has a fish in her right hand. Dionysus (or Bacchus, god of wine) is holding a vine-stock as a scepter.

Medallions over doors and on pedestals on either side of the niche were taken from antique coins and medallions. Above the door to the left, looking toward the west wall: center, taken from a bronze coin, are the eight Phoenician Kabeiroi. Left, from a bronze coin of Ephesus, is the effigy of Marcus Aurelius. Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius stand at the lighted altar before the statue of Artemis of Ephesus. Right, from a coin of Ariathes, is the Baal of Gazioura. Seated, his left hand resting on a scepter, he holds an eagle in his right hand. Above the door to the right: center, from a bronze medallion, is the Temple of Zeus at Pergamos. Under the portico is Zeus, before him is a priest holding a patera, about to sacrifice a bull. Left, from a coin of Chios, Dionysus, crowned with ivy, stands holding a thyrsus (a staff or spear tipped with an ornament). Right, from a gold coin of Alexander, is a winged Victory; in a field is a thunderbolt, also a letter, which is a mint mark. On the pedestal to the right: from an Athenian coin, A.O.E., the names of magistrates. The owl is a symbol of wisdom; the lion of strength.

South Wall

On the south wall, in the frieze on the cornice, is the inscription “Labore et Honore” (By Labor and Honor). In the center panel is a depiction of the birth of Pallas Athena. Zeus, thunderbolt and scepter in hand, is seated on a throne. Hephaestus (or Vulcan, the god of fire and patron of workmen) has cleft the skull of the god and Pallas Athena is springing, full-armed, into the light of day. On each side of Zeus are the divinities usually associated with Pallas. To the right, before her, is Ilithyia, who presides over birth; as well as Hercules, the most famous of Greek heroes, celebrated for his strength and courage; and Ares (Mars) the god of war. To the left are first, Apollo, playing the seven-stringed lyre; Poseidon, god of the sea, fountains and rivers; Hera, wife of Zeus; and Hephaestus (who flees in alarm). Behind Hera, a bird of augury is in the air. On the first panel to the right, looking toward the south wall is the ancient Scheme to Sacrifice. Nike, the goddess of victory and success, pours wine for libation into a cup. At the right, are two assistants, each carrying a wand. A flute player is last. The inscription above him indicates that he will share in the sacred repast. In the second panel to the right is the Judgement of Paris, who was the son of Priam. Paris has awarded the apple to Helen of Troy as the most beautiful woman. She is seated on a throne and is attended by a winged Victory. To the right stands Hermes (Mercury), the messenger of the gods. In the first panel on the left are Odysseus (Ulysses) and the Sirens. Odysseus is standing tied to the mast of his vessel, while his companions, urged by the helmsman, are rowing. Three Sirens, in the form of birds with women’s heads, seek to attract them. On the second panel is Greece personified by Hellas, who stands between Zeus and Pallas Athena and is attended by a Victory. Zeus is on the throne. The medallions on the pilaster supporting the center panel were taken from coins and a carved stone. The first (top), from a silver coin from Corinth, is a bridled Pegasus, flying beneath the kappa, the initial letter, in Greek, of Corinth. The second, taken from a Corinthian coin, shows the hero Isthmos, the personified isthmus, holding a rudder in each hand. The third, also from a Corinthian coin, is the round temple of Polaimon, the cupola of which, adorned with dolphins that form the akroteria, is supported by six columns. Before the temple is a bull about to be sacrificed and a tree. On the fourth, from an engraved stone, are the laws of Triptolemus.

The style of Norman Hall, finished in 1891, is Rhenish Romanesque. The term “Norman” is indiscriminately used for round-arch architecture, such as is found here.

The walls are divided into bays by broad piers with heavy arching. The center bays of the east, south and west walls have pedimented niches carried on short columns with foliated caps, and supported on heavy corbels. From the lace of the piers, curved ribs support the beams that divide the ceiling into twenty-five panels. Additional force is given to the arching in the room by an impressive molding, marking the junction of walls and ceiling. A plain wainscot with molded base extends around the room, following the angles formed by the piers.

Decorations, although elaborate and rich as gold can make them, are quiet and dignified. The piers are deep olive green and embellished with an interlacing of various colors picked out with gold. The panels between the piers, not occupied by windows, have life-sized figures on a gold mosaic background. The figures are bearing the Working Tools of Freemasonry: Plumb, Trowel, Square, Mallet and Compasses.

The ceiling panels are a deep blue with the outside tinted chocolate brown. Decorations are alternating patterns found in ancient Irish or Scandinavian manuscripts.

The rug has a background of deep greenish blue, necked with figures in shades of gold, red and black. The result is interlacing designs that produce the effect of a larger room.

Norman Hall is fifty-one feet long, forty-one feet wide and twenty-three feet high.

Gothic Hall, also called the Asylum of Knights Templar, is located on the third floor. It was dedicated to the purposes of Templary on September 30, 1873. The approach to Gothic Hall from the second floor is by two curved cantilevered staircases rising from the east end of the Grand Foyer. It is also served by elevators

Gothic Hall has all the characteristics of the architectural style for which it is named. The groins, pointed arches, pinnacles and spires appear in every part of the room. The Cross and Crown, emblem of Sir Knights hangs above the Commander’s throne (a replica of the Archbishop’s throne in Canterbury Cathedral) on the lofty platform, which also bears the richly carved chairs of the other Officers. The pictures on the walls are of Past Grand Commanders. The wainscoting is of oiled pine, and the richly carved furniture, Gothic in all its decorations, is covered in black leather. Four rows of benches are on each side of the room. A doorway at the top of a short flight of stairs on the south end of the Hall formerly opened into a banquet room, but that space has been radically changed into office and storage space.

As of October 1981, Gothic Hall is also the home of the Valley of Philadelphia of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.

Gothic Hall is eighty-seven feet long, fifty feet wide and twenty-six feet high.

The motifs of Oriental Hall, decorated in 1896, are exemplifications of the Moorish or Saracenic style. Coloring and ornamentation of the Hall have been copied from various parts of Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Construction of this colorful palace (Alhambra, from Arabic kal’-at al hamra, means “the red castle”), was started in the thirteenth century and finished in the fourteenth. The embellishment of Oriental Hall gives some idea of the grandeur and magnificence of this fortress-like palace.

The ceiling is divided into seven thousand panels of various shapes and forms, copied from the “Hall of the Ambassadors.” The border surrounding the ceiling, a pattern of the lotus flower, is copied from the “Salon of the Tribunals.” Glazed tile designs for the base of the walls and the screens between the arches are replicas of those in the “Court of the Fish Pond.” Designs from the same court were used on the wall panels above the columns and the shield ornamented border. Designs for the wall panels above the tile between the columns, the border on each side, the band of arched ornamentation above, and the capitals of the columns are copied from the “Court of the Lions.” Ornamented bands above the wall panels are a succession of small arches with a delicate embellishment of intricate lacy design. The border on the sides of and behind the columns are interlacing lines of arches, the inner ones each containing a shield. The borders on the lines of the capitals were copied from the “Hall of the Abencerrages.” The soffits of the arches and the spandrels above them (whose designs were suggested by the lotus flower) are from the “Hall of the Two Sisters.”

Oriental Hall is fifty-three feet long, forty-one feet wide and twenty-three feet high.

The outer vestibule of Renaissance Hall has a twelve-foot lion’s head fountain of variegated marble. The inner vestibule has separate apartments necessary for the Conferring of both Chapter and Blue Lodge Degrees.

Renaissance Hall, on the south side of the second floor, is where the Grand Holy Royal Arch Chapter of Pennsylvania and some subordinate Chapters Meet. It was officially dedicated to Capitular Masonry on September 29, 1873, but several Blue Lodges also meet there. The Hall is decorated in the Italian Renaissance style, and was finished in 1908.

On the top of the north wall are round-headed paintings of Moses and King Solomon. The south wall has paintings of Hiram, King of Tyre and Hiram Abiff. On the east wall is a full-length painting of Joshua, the High Priest. The painting on the west wall is of St. John the Evangelist. The prevailing color of the room is scarlet, the symbolic color of the Chapter.

Two stages of columns, one above the other, are in relief around the room. The lower is Corinthian with elaborate ornamental detail. The upper is a series of columns with foliated capitals, from which springs the vaulted ceiling.

The ceiling is divided into three portions. The center is a circular skylight twenty feet in diameter. To the east and west of the skylight, are sections furnished with elliptical panels. Throughout the walls and ceiling are emblems of Royal Arch Masonry.

An elaborate porch surmounts the throne and triple chair of the Most Excellent Grand High Priest, the Most Excellent Grand King and the Most Excellent Grand Scribe.

The furniture is walnut inlaid with mahogany and California redwood.

Renaissance Hall is seventy-three feet long, forty-six feet wide and fifty feet high.

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