The Grand Lodge of France (GLDF)
The Grand Lodge of France is a regular and traditionnal French grand lodge, which has almost 32,000 Brothers. Its headquarters are located at 8 rue Puteaux in Paris, in a former convent.
The Tradition of the Grand Lodge of France comes from the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, from which it derives its foundation in 1894. Since 1804, date of creation of the first Supreme Council of France1 (Supreme Council for the 33rd degree in France) the evolution of this grand lodge was always some way linked to that of the Rite and the Supreme Council. It therefore remains administratively independent of it.
The grand lodge historically mainly practices the craft Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. Some of its lodges also practice the Rectified Scottish Rite (6 lodges) and Emulation Rite (1 lodge). Lodges not practicing the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite may not swarm (create other lodges).
History of the Grand Lodge of France
The first Grand Lodge of France was created between May and July 1728, by the Duke of Wharton, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of London. In 1738, the Order gets its first French Grand Master: Thee Duke of Antin. In 1771, the Grand Lodge of France had 41 lodges in Paris, 169 in provinces, 11 in the colonies, 5 and 31 overseas military lodges.
In 1773 the Grand Lodge of France splitted :
- The main part became the Grand Orient of France.
- The other part became the National Grand Lodge – (Also known under the names of “Grand Lodge of Clermont” or “Grand Lodge of France”). The National Grand Lodge or Grand Lodge of France, was mainly composed of Parisian lodges. In 1778, she had 129 “Masters of Lodges”2 in Paris, and 247 lodges in the province.
In 1799, 10 years after the French Revolution, the two Grand Lodges attempted to merge. But several lodges of the Grand Lodge of France refused the merger created the Scottish Mother Lodge of France (also known as “St Alexandre d’Ecosse”).
On 27 August 1804, Mr De Grasse Tilly decided to create with the Scottish Mother Lodge of France, the General Scottish Grand Lodge of France and the Supreme Council of the 33rd degree in France for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite3 . In early December 1804, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is united with the Grand Orient of France4 . In September 1805, the union is opposed by a minority5 ; agreement is issued and the Grand Orient kept the administration of 1 to 18 degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the Supreme Council exercising its jurisdiction over the 19 to 33 degrees.
In 1815 the Grand Orient creates its own Supreme Council. Germain Hacquet is appointed as Sovereign Grand Commander. The Supreme Council of the 33rd degree in France ceased operations until 1821.
On 24 March 1821, the Supreme Council of the 33rd degree in France is awakened by the “American” one6 . This one and the American one merged into the “Supreme Council of France” and created the Central Grand Lodge, to administer the blue lodges but remaining under the supervision of the Supreme Council.
During the revolution of 1848, seven lodges of the Central Grand Lodge (the Supreme Council of France) created the National Grand Lodge of France to give Freemasonry a republican spirit. In 1851, the French government banned this Grand Lodge.
The Supreme Council decided in 1873 that all Masonic documents shall begin with “To The Glory of the Great Architect of the Universe, In the Name and Auspices of the Supreme Council of France, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”.
In 1881, the Symbolic Scottish Grand Lodge, a split from the Central Grand Lodge, refused the “Les Libres Penseurs” Lodge, East of Pecq, the right to initiate women. On 9 January 1882, the “Les Libres Penseurs” lodge expressed its desire to break away from its allegiance. January 14, the lodge initiated Deraismes Maria7 .
On 7 November 1894, the Central Grand Lodge became the Grand Lodge of France, independant masonic body managing the blue lodges of the Supreme Council of France. The Grand Lodge of France and the Symbolic Scottish Grand Lodge began to merge. Their merger is achieved in 1911.
Déclaration of Principes
Here is the Declaration of Principles of the Grand Lodge of France, as it was approved in 1955.
- The Grande Loge de France works to the glory of the Grand Great Architect of the Universe.
- In accordance with the traditions of the Order, three Greater Lights are placed on the altar of the Lodges : The Square, the Compass and the Volume of the Sacred Law. The Obligations of the Masons are sworn on these three Lights.
- The Grande Loge de France proclaims its unswerving loyalty and total devotion to the Nation.
- The Grande Loge de France and its Lodges engage in no controversy involving political or confessional matters. For the instruction of its Brethren, talks on these issues, followed by an exchange of views, are authorised. However, debates on these subjects must never give rise to a vote, nor to the adoption of resolutions, these being liable to hamper the opinions or feelings of some Brethren.
- Concerning principles other than those defined above, the Grande Loge de France refers to the Old Charges, in particular in the respect of the traditions of Freemasonry and in the scrupulous and serious practice of the Ritual and Symbolism as means of access to the initiatory content of the Order.
The Grand Lodge of France today
The current Grand Lodge of France has turned to the Tradition. It respects the “Anderson’s Constitutions” and all its lodges must have a Volume of Sacred Law (the Bible), covered with a square and compass.
The work is open “to the Glory of the Great Architect of the Universe”. It does not require belief in one revealed God but it requires all its members to believe in a Supreme Being : The Grand Architect of the Universe. The “stupid atheists and irreligious libertine” do not have their seats in this Grand Lodge. Similarly, discussing political and religious are prohibited in its lodges. The Grand Lodge of France is part of the United Grand Lodges of Europe.
The work of this Grand Lodge are symbolic and spiritual. The social issues are very rare. His “headquarters” are in Paris. It broadcasts a magazine turned to symbolism : “Points de Vues Initiatiques”.
Grand Lodge of France
8, rue Puteaux
- All Supreme Councils current French are from the first Supreme Council, which disappeared around 1815-1816 [↩]
- former names of the “Worshipful Master” in France during the 18th century. [↩]
- The official constitution date of the Supreme Council of the 33rd degree in France is December 22, 1804 [↩]
- The term “concordat” is sometimes used. [↩]
- In fact, a rift between brothers took place September 6, 1805 and a new agreement is reached on September 16, exactly 10 days after. [↩]
- The “Supreme Council of American Islands in the Leeward and Windward”, founded in 1803 by Grasse-Tilly and woke up around 1810 by Delahogue [↩]
- This lodge and this event is the founding one of the “Droit Humain” comasonry. [↩]