The Rectified Scottish Rite (RER)
The Rectified Scottish Rite (RER in French) is highly influenced by the Templar traditions. It was officially born in 1778 in Lyon, France during what is called the “Congress of the Gauls.” Its roots are deep in the German Rite of the “Templar Strict Observance.” Originally it contained contained four symbolical degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, Master Mason and Scottish Master, a chivalric Inner Order given in 2 degrees the Novice Squire and Knight Beneficent of the Holy City (also called CBCS for Chevalier Bienfaisant de la Cité Sainte), and, finally, a “secret” class consisting of Profes and Grand Profes.
The rituals of this Rite were in the main written by Jean-Baptiste Willermoz between 1778 1809. The Rite disappeared shortly after the French Revolution of 1789. There were several attempts to revive it. Out of those Grand Priories which had been created to manage the working only one survived. It was the Independent Grand Priory of Helvetia (GPIH).
In 1910, the GPIH assisted brothers in France in establishing a lodge which worked the craft, or blue lodge, of the Rectified Scottish Rite. A craft lodge In Paris was established “Le Centre des Amis,” along with the Scottish Master of St Andrew, the 4th degree of the Rite. In 1911, the blue lodge “Le Centre des Amis” was formally established under the purview of the Grand Orient of France.
The profoundly Christian dimension of the Rectified Scottish Rite proved too controversial among many members of the Grand Orient of France. It followed that the lodge “Le Centre des Amis” was forced to leave the Grand Orient and then established itself in the National, Independent and Regular Grand Lodge for France and its Colonies. This action in 1913 proved quite significant in the founding of the Grand Loge Nationale Indépendante et Régulière pour la France et ses Colonies, currently often referred to as the GLNF.
The Grand Priory of Gauls (GPDG), an independent Grand Priory created in 1935 in France, managed the Rite across several Grand Lodges. The GPDG had been created by the Independent and autonomous GPIH. Another Rectified Grand Lodge was created working under the GPDG’s direction. This Grand Lodge practiced the RER with wide latitude. The blue lodges included the 4 degrees of the symbolic RER: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, Master Mason and Scottish Master of St Andrew. Brothers came to the Rectified Grand Lodge from the Grand Lodge of France and from the GLNF.
In 1958, the Grand Priory of Gauls was forced to merge with the GLNF and the lodges of the Rectified Grand Lodge were absorbed by the GLNF. Lodges of St Andrew were created for brothers holding the 4th degree. The role of the Grand Priory of Gauls was limited to administration of the Rite from the 4th degree. The Brothers of the GPDG belonging to other Grand Lodges created another Grand Priory.
The Grand Priory of Gauls, or GPDG, never really consented to the constraints imposed by the GLNF. It slowly sought to regain control of the GLNF Rectified Rite blue lodges.
In May 2000, the GPDG severed its relationships with the GLNF in order to restore the RER. A number of brothers faithful to the RER followed the Grand Priory of Gauls. There were approximately 50 lodges that did so. From this time forward the GLNF has prohibited its members practicing the RER from attending the Grand Priory of Gaul’s meetings.
The GPDG is today completely independent and autonomous. A National Directorate of the lodges (DNLRER) administers its blue lodges with its 4 grades. There are in France, several Grand Priories governing the Rite. They are all derived from the Grand Priory of the Gauls. They are:
- The Independent Grand Priory of France (the Grand Orient of France)
- The Grand Priory of France (The Traditional and Symbolical Grand Lodge, Opera)
- The United Grand Priories of the three Provinces (recruiting mainly from the French National Lodge)
- The Reformed and Rectified Scottish Grand Priory of Occitania (and the Reformed and Rectified Scottish Grand Lodge of Occitania)
- The Grand Priory of Gauls
Since 2008 there is a Feminine Grand Priory of France, recruiting from the Feminine Grand Lodge of France.
On December 6th, 2008, in the room of the conclave of the Palace in Avignon, the first 4 bodies listed above signed a protocol, as well as a charter of common reference in the practice of this Rite. Some hold that one day there will be a reunification of the various major Priories on the French territory that existed before 1958.
In September 2011, the Grand Priory of Gauls is having a formal treaty of amity with some of the Grand Priories which were involved in the Congress of Avignon.
In 2012, the Rectified Grand Priory of France which was born in 2001 to replace the GLNF leaving Grand Priory of Gauls requested its members to join the Freimaurer Orden in Germany. This Grand Priory seems now having completely disappeared.
Jean-Baptiste Willermoz, Louis Claude de Saint-Martin and Martinez de Pasqually are regarded as the “spiritual Fathers” of the Rite. To be a member you must be Christian or accept without reservation its Christian character. Here are the degrees:
- Entered Apprentice
- Fellow Craft
- Master Mason
Fourth Symbolical Degree (Lodges of St Andrew also called Green Lodges)
- Scottish Master of St Andrew
- Novice Squire
- Knight beneficent of the Holy City
Metropolitan College (Secret Class)
- Grand Profes
This Rite is in use in all Grand Lodges using multiple Rites.