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The 33rd Degree ring is one of the more unique Masonic Rings because it is a triple one, like three small rings, each one-eighth of an inch wide, side by side, and having on the inside a delta surrounding the figures 33, and inscribed with the wearer’s name, the letters S.G.I.G., and the motto of the Order, Dues meumque Jus, meaning God and my moral rightness. The 33rd Degree ring had been worn on the fourth finger of the right hand but in 1923 a provision was made that the Thirty-third Degree ring should be worn on the little finger of the left hand in the Southern Jurisdiction. The ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand in the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States of America.
“The Thirty-third Degree is conferred upon those Freemasons who are legitimately invested with it, the quality, title, privilege, and authority of Sovereign, Supremorum, Grand Inspectors-General of the Order. The peculiar duty of their mission is to teach and enlighten the Brethren; to preserve charity, union, and fraternal love among them; to maintain regularity in the works of each Degree, and to take care that it is preserved by others; to cause the dogmas, doctrines, institutes, constitutions, statutes, and regulations of the Order to be reverently regarded, and to preserve and defend them on every occasion; and, finally, everywhere to occupy themselves in works of peace and mercy.”
The Body in which the members of this Degree assemble is called a Supreme Council. The symbolic color of the Degree is white, which denotes purity. The distinctive insignia are a sash, collar, jewel, Teutonic cross, decoration, and the 33rd Degree Ring.
In the United States, members of the Scottish Rite can be elected to receive the 33° by the Supreme Council. It is conferred on members who have made major contributions to society or to Masonry in general. In the Southern Jurisdiction, a member who has been a 32° Scottish Rite Mason for 46 months or more is eligible to be elected to receive the “rank and decoration” of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour (K.C.C.H.) in recognition of outstanding service. After 46 months as a K.C.C.H., the member is then eligible to be elected to the 33rd degree, upon approval of the Supreme Council and Grand Commander. In the Northern Jurisdiction, there is only one 46-month requirement for eligibility to receive the 33rd degree, and while there is a Meritorious Service Award (as well as a Distinguished Service Award), they are not required intermediate steps towards the 33°. A recipient of the 33rd Degree is an honorary member of the Supreme Council and is therefore called an “Inspector General Honorary.” However, those who are appointed Deputies of the Supreme Council that are later elected to membership on the Supreme Council are then designated “Sovereign Grand Inspectors General.” In the Northern Jurisdiction a recipient of the 33rd Degree is an honorary member of the Supreme Council, and all members are referred to as a “Sovereign Grand Inspectors General.”
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