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19th International Scottish Rite meeting

 (Rome May 25- 27, 2007)

Brief monograph of the Masonic Landscape in France

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Freemasonry in France currently counts most important membership in continental Europe, that is to say some 130.000 members, obediences and jurisdictions all together.

1. Obediences:

·         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 also oldest.

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 solidarity.

  • 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 Order.
  • 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 rarely.
  • 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 members exclusively.
  • 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 Degrees:

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 inter-visits exists.
  • 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 Members.
  • 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 Africa.