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The silly notion we just entered the third millennium is great for commerce, bad for accuracy.

Only the relatively unimportant Christian scale recently reached the year 2,000. Virtually everyone else's time scale passed that long ago. The Chinese calendar is in the 4700s. The Jews are in the 5700s.

But it's the Freemasons who have a set of calendars as fascinating as their remarkable history. Each Rite of Masonry keeps its own. Here's what they look like.

The ordinary calendar (or "vulgar era") is not generally used by Free and Accepted Masons in dating their official documents. They have one peculiar to Masonry, differing according to their various rites.

Masons in the York and French rites add 4,000 years to the Christian era, calling it Anno Lucis - Year of Light - abbreviated A.L. Thus the year 1901 A.D. would be A.L. 5901.

This has its origin in early superstition about a date of creation.

Masons of the York Rite begin the year on the 1st of January. In the French Rite it commences on the 1st of March. To find the date for the York Rite, add 4,000 to the present year.

Royal Arch Masons date from the building of the Second Temple 530 years before Christ. Their style is therefore Anno lnventionis - A. Inv. - in the year of the Discovery. Add 530 to the present year.

Royal and Select Masters frequently use the common Masonic date - Anno Lucis, but properly they should date from the completion of Solomon's Temple, which would add 1000 to the Christian era. Their style is Anno Depositionis - A.Dep. - in the year of the Deposit. Add 1000 to the present year.

Knights Templar date from the organization of the Order in 1118. Their style is therefore Anno Ordinis - A. O. - in the year of the Order. Subtract 1,118 from the present year.

A. A. S. R.
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Masons use the Jewish calendar which adds 3,760 to the vulgar era, styled Anno Mundl - A.M. - year of the World. Sometimes they also use the Hebrew calendar year which begins on the 17th of September, or 1st of Tisri. They indicate that by using the initials A.H. - Anno Hebraico - Hebrew year. Add 3,760 to the present year.

(The foregoing was not written by a Mason but is drawn from the
1926 edition of the Mason's Standard Monitor.)

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