The Holy Order of Grand High Priest, which has been worked extensively in Lancashire and Yorkshire and various other parts of England under the aegis of certain "Antient" Lodges, was one of the four ceremonies which the Grand Council then took under its control. Both in this country and in the United States it has been designated an "Order"; that title, instead of Degree, has been preserved in this Ritual.
Almost everywhere the Order has been closely associated with Royal Arch Masonry. Under the original Constitutions of the Grand Council, no Brother could be admitted to the Order unless he was an Installed Principal of a Royal Arch Chapter. This limitation was later considered to be too restrictive and not in the best interests of the Allied Masonic Degrees as a whole; accordingly in 1934 the Constitutions were amended to make any Royal Arch Mason eligible for reception into this Order. Nevertheless, members of the Order, whether or not Installed Principals, are still designated "Excellent Companions".
The Ceremony is undoubtedly very old, but the date of its earliest working and even its country of origin have not been definitely established.
There is however a long and detailed of the possible origins of the Order on continental Europe in the Rituals of the Order given to each candidate when he completes his entry into all five degrees of the Order.
This Order carries us to a high realm of Masonic thought. The Companion who is admitted to it is left in no doubt that he is set apart for high duties and responsibilities in life, both as a Mason and as a man: he is taught that, to carry them out, he is called upon to dedicate himself to the service of the Most High God and also to that of his fellow-men. To preserve the solemnity of the ceremony and the distinction which it was deemed to confer on the recipient, the Grand Council enacted in 1913 that it was not desirable that the Order should be conferred in any Council more often than once a year: this restriction has since been relaxed.
Tabernacle of the Order represents the encampment of Melchizedek in the valley of Shaveh (the King's dale.) The room is divided by curtains which must be capable of being opened and closed. The Eastern part represents the royal tent of Melchizedek. These curtains are open during the Opening of the Convention: they are closed for Part I of the Ceremony of Reception and for the first portion of Part II, until the Candidate is invited to enter the Tent: thereafter they remain open.
A candidate in this Order is said to be "admitted and anointed, consecrated and set apart to the Holy Office of Grand High Priest". The regalia traditionally worn in this Order consists only of a Jewel in the form of a mitre on an equilateral triangle, both in gold, suspended by a red ribbon: the apex of the triangle points upwards.