The origin of the Degree of Anointed High Priest, though not definitely known, is not shrouded in the same mystery as most of the other Masonic Degrees. The first mention of it as in 1799 when Benjamin Hurd Jr., Thomas S. Webb and James Harrison were appointed as a Committee to revise the Constitution of the General Grand Chapter of the United States. On the 10th of January of the same year, Webb as Chairman of the Committee submitted a report which was received and adopted. The revision provided certain ceremonies for the Installation and Anointing of High Priests, part of which had to be performed in an assembly from which all, but High Priests were excluded. It would appear that the Degree was fabricated by these three worthy Companions and that the material was drawn from certain manuscripts of the Order of the Temple and the Mediterranean Pass, which had been in use in England and Scotland but later discontinued.
At the Triennial Convocation of the General Grand Chapter held in the City of Lexington, Kentucky. In September 1856, the requirements of the Constitution concerning this Degree were removed, leaving the Degree the exclusive property of those in possession of it and here it remained. At present the General Grand Chapter does not require it as essentially necessary for the qualifications for the Office of High Priest but does consider it expedient for every Companion on being elected to that Office, to receive the Degree as soon after his installation as possible.
The first record of an organized Council is in the proceedings of the Grand Chapter of Ohio of 1828 when it appears that a Council was duly formed, and rules and regulations adopted for its government. The list of Officers is also recorded.
In England, the Degree is under the control of a separate governing body, which receives as candidates any Companions who have been installed in any of the three Principals’ Chairs of a Royal Arch Chapter.
The Degree has never been extensively practised in Canada as the three Principals in most of our Canadian jurisdictions are differently named from those of the United States, and the value of the Degree is therefore, somewhat lessened.
During the year 1926, a Number of Companions, some of whom had the Degree conferred on them while travelling in the United States, felt that there was a distinct loss to the Craft by not having this Degree worked here. They, therefore, drew up a petition and requested the Grand President of the Michigan Order of High Priesthood, George King Phillips, to come to Toronto, and confer the Degree upon a class of Candidates and to institute a Council in this Province. This he kindly consented to do. Arrangements were then made to offer every Canadian who had been installed as First Principal of a Royal Arch Chapter, the opportunity to receive this solemn Degree. A list of Officers was then nominated, and a Constitution was adopted. It is to be noted that at that time, the Constitution was referred to as the Bylaws in the Minutes of the Day, but later they were named as the Constitution and somewhat later the word Bylaws was reserved for use with the rules of the Constituent Councils. This historic Convention took place at the York Masonic Temple(cor. Yonge & Eglinton in 1927) in Toronto on February 21st, 1927, when 24 Candidates were duly Set Apart, Anointed and Solemnly Consecrated to the Holy Order of High Priesthood of Canada … “Canada” was changed to “Ontario” in 1960 as it was believed to cover too broad an area.