International Scottish Rite meeting
25- 27, 2007)
Brief monograph of the Masonic
Landscape in France
Freemasonry in France currently
counts most important membership in continental Europe, that is to say some
130.000 members, obediences and jurisdictions all together.
The Grand Orient
of France, directly resulting from the first Grande Loge of France “to
democratize itself”, is, by far, most important obedience with 47.000 men
who chose this way. This obedience created, according to different
sources', in 1728 (attested presence of Lodges since 1725) or in 1773, is
It initiates only men, but the
Lodges have any latitude, if they wish it to receive Sisters in visit or not
to do it. Since 1877, the invocation of the GAOU is ad libitum but the
obedience counts a little more than 200 Lodges on a total of 1.000 which
does it. GODF is a federation of Lodges and Rites (French Rite, AASR, RSR ,
Emulation style, and Egyptian Rite). Masons of GODF maintains the relations
with Bretheren and Sisters of other Obediences through associations of
The Grand Lodge of France,
with which GODF maintains official relations, accounts 25.000 members.
It was inaugurated in 1896 and proceeds of The Supreme Council of
France; it works exclusively with the AASR and to the glory of the GAOU.
It refuses the access of the SS\
with its Temples but occasionally invites them to White Lodges.
The G.L.N.F., founded in
1913, is the only one being in fraternal relation to UGLoE and does not
belong, with difference of the first two Obediences quoted here, in the
liberal stream. Its members are thus not authorized to visit Lodges of
other French Obediences to which it disputes “regularity” and refuses to
them consequently “recognition” (concept rising from the posture on
“regularity”). This obedience is male only and does not accept the visit
of the SS. It asserts 36.000 members. Half of the Lodges work with the
AASR, the quarter with the French Rite from 1801, the being divided
remainder between the Rectified Scottish Rite, style Emulation and York,
American style Nova Scotia.
Human Right Order (Droit
Humain), mixed obedience, accounts 14.800 members of the two sexes and
works with the AASR. according to close methods those applied to G O D
F, dual membership being besides frequent concerning male Masons. This
obedience works in a pyramidal structure from the First to the 33°
degree within the framework of the French Federation of the Human Right
The Feminine Grand of
France initiates only women and joins together 11.600 members. It
accepts the specific visits of male masons and authorizes its members to
visit Lodges of male Obediences. It cumulates all the rites, like G O D
F the AASR being practiced by 75% of Lodges.
The Grande Loge Mixte
Universelle (GLMU) is fruit of one scission in 1973 of D\H\
, French Federation. It counts 1.100 members.
The Mixed Grand Lodge from
France results from a scission from GLMU. It counts 2.250 members, men
and women and works primarily AASR, but also the Rite French, more
The Grand Lodge of Memphis
Misraïm works with Egyptian Rite and accounts also 1.100 members.
There is also a small mixed
obedience of this rite.
The Traditional grand Lodge
Opera (GLTSO) was born from one division of G L N Fin 1958. Belonging to
the liberal Masonic stream, it works mainly with the RER but also with
the Rites Emulation and Rectified Modern French. It counts 3.300 male
The French National Lodge
finally, has emerged in 1968 and counts 300 members all males which work
likewise with style Emulation and with French Rite known as Traditional
and with the RER.
All these Obediences except for
GLNF had sealed a pact in 2003 to create “French Masonry”, primarily under
the impulse of the Grand Masters of G O D F and of G L D F, leaving with
each one nevertheless its whole independence. This agreement did not last
beyond those which had had the happy initiative of it when they were not
Grand Masters any more.
2. Jurisdictions of the High
Traditionally it is the A\A\S\R\
who constituted in France, like elsewhere in the world, the framework of the
“high Degrees”, even if for a short period the AASR and the French Rite were
quite often one and the same in our country at the half of the 18th
century. The emergence of a French Rite of High Degrees at the end of the
years 1990 is occurred on melts of crisis of Obedience G O D F
then, because of the dominating weight of this Obedience, it followed a
movement whose reflection is found today about in all the structures of High
Degrees related to Obediences quoted previously.
The Rectified Scottish Rite
(RER) is, in the order history, one of oldest (1776, Treaty of union
with the Grand Lodge, future the Grand Orient of France), but one of the
less numerical importance with some 1.500 members.
The Supreme Council, Grand
College of AASR- GODF is the direct successor of Grand College of the
Rites to which the Grand Orient of France put an end in 1998 while
choosing to withdraw to him its role of academy of all the High Degrees
Rites guaranteed by the Convention of 1946. First jurisdiction of AASR
in France and continental Europe, the Supreme Council exists since 1804
and manages today 7.000 Brothers working in 365 Lodges of different
degrees, of the 4E to the 33E and last degree.
This liberal Jurisdiction is
autonomous and manages the AASR in all independence from G O D F. Caretaker
of the tradition of the AASR; it remains by definition the body of
conservation of memory and research.
The Supreme Council of
France results from the scission early, as of September 1805, of Masons
of AASR refusing the terms of Legal settlement “Concordat” signed on
December 5, 1804 by GO DF and the Scottish General Grand Lodge. It
remains with the obligation of the invocation of the GAoU like with
Volume of the Sacred Law. This Supreme Council has nevertheless, until
in years 1970, taken part in the international dialogue within the
framework of International meetings of the Scottish Rite High Degrees.
This Supreme Council is mono-rite with the AASR.
Since the bursting of the Grand
College of the Rites of G O D F, and more particularly since 2002, the
relationships to this Jurisdiction became quasi non-existent on the official
level. But on the fraternal and personal level they exist nevertheless. This
Supreme Council claims 3.500 members.
The Supreme Council for
France recruits all its members exclusively with GLNF “regular”. It is
nevertheless independent of Obedience G.L.NR.F. Working with the AASR,
it cohabits from now on with jurisdictions all related to GLN\F\
: Great Priory of Gaules (the RER), Great Chapter General of the French
Rite, Grand Lodge of the Mark and Supreme Rite Grand Chapter of the
Royal Arch. It does not maintain any official relation with our
Jurisdiction (the Supreme Council of the AASR-GODF); even if personal
relations can exist here where there, but always in-outside of any
ritual activity. This Supreme Council counts some 3.500 members also.
The Supreme Female Council
of France, near of Grand Feminine Grand Lodge where it recruits its
adherent which is some 600. This Supreme Council conducts a policy to
create abroad female Supreme Councils (like what also the Supreme Female
Council of Belgium does).
The Supreme Council of the
Mixed Grand Lodge of France federates male and female Masons in small
number. It maintains the friendly semi-official relationships to our
Jurisdiction (Supreme Council of the AASR-GODF) but not any rule of
The Supreme Council of the
Human Right is old and numerically rather significant with
all its membership.
The Sovereign the Large
Council of the old and primitive Rite of Memphis-Misraïm counts some 500
Supreme the Great Chapter
of the Old Masonry from York counts five Lodges of the Mark and two
Chapters of Royal arch.
3. Other Rites of the High
Ranks appeared since 1995 with GODF):
The Great Chapter General
of the French Rite gathers in five orders. Their number does not exceed
2.500 Brothers. It allows full freedom of visits of the BB and of the SS
without restriction none.
The Rite of
Memphis-Misraïm, masculine, accounts some 500 members.
The Rite of the York, the
Mark is still not very significant numerically.
The Emulation Style only
represents some Lodges with G O D F, primarily of defectors of GL N F.
Complexity of the French
Masonic landscape since half of the years 1990, consequence of the crises
which shook G O D F, did not have an effect of erosion on the AASR, at this
stage. It is important nevertheless to be conscious of the potential
incidences in the long run - including in the close countries - Belgium,
Switzerland, Portugal… - of a reorganized French Masonic landscape of the
High Degrees - and this goes well beyond only GODF- It carries in oneself of
the germs at the risk, so much for the cohesion of the Order, which for the
purity of the attitudes would be this only because of the ambitions or
waiting that that nourishes. It is a dimension which thus interests all our
Scottish Jurisdictions, including in other Continents, and especially in