In affixing dates to official Masonic documents, Freemasons should always use the calendar peculiar to themselves: the common calendar, or vulgar era, may also be used in the sam instrument. The dates vary in the different branches of the order.
Masons of the York and French rites, date from the creation of the world, calling it "Anno Lucis," which they abbreviate A.·. L.·. sygnifying "in the year of Light." Thus with them the present year is A.·. L.·. 5852. Masons of the York rite begin the year on the first January, but in the French rite it commences on the first of March, and instead of the month receiving their usual names, they are designated nmerically. as first, secont, third, &c. Thus, the "1st day of the 11th Masonic month, Anno Lucis, 5852." The French sometimes, instead of the initials A.·. L.·., use "L'an de la V.·. L.·., or "Vraie Lumiere," that is, "Year of True Light."
Royal Arch Masons commence their era with the year in which Zerubbabel began to build the second temple, which was 530 years before Christ. Their style for the year 1852 is, therefor, A.·. Inv.·., that is, Anno Inventionis, or, in the year of the Discovery, 2382.
Royal and Select Masters very often make use of the comon masonic date, Anno Lucis, but properly they should date from the year in which Solomon's Temple was completed and their style would then be, Anno Depositionis, or, in the Year of the Deposit, and they would date the present year as 2852.
Knights Templars use the era of the organization of their order, in 1118. Their style for the present year is .·. O.·., Anna Ordinis, or, in the year of the Order, 734.
RULES FOR DISCOVERING THE DIFFERENT DATES.
The folloing table shows, in one view, the date of the present year, in all the branches of the Order: