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The French Rite

Logo-GCG

This Rite was established in 1783 with a formal consecration held within the Grand Orient of France, followed by the establishment of a Grand General Chapter of France anchored in 1787 within the precincts of the Grand Orient. Its statutes and general regulations mentioned that the Rite was established with 5 Orders of Wisdom.  An “Order” here means the equivalent of a “degree” in wider Freemasonry.  The rituals of these Orders of Wisdom were published in 1801.

The special feature of this Rite is its articulation of the symbolism of the Rose+Croix. The Rite qualified as “Modern” because it used the French translations of the rituals from of the Grand Lodge of England which was known as the Freemasonry of the “Moderns.”

Subsequently, with the events of 1877 the annual communication of the Grand Orient of France voted that a belief in God and the immortality of the soul was no longer  mandatory and the Grand Orient of France modified the rituals accordingly.  A large part  of its symbolism and coherence disappeared in the process. The French Rite went through additional modifications over the ensuing years and today is called “Groussier” after the Grand Master who oversaw its re-writing.  Today it is practiced by most of the lodges of the Grand Orient of France but is very different from the version of 1783.

However, within the last two decades, scholars in France and Belgium have through research found that the original form of the Rite survived in Brazil over what has been a long period of time. The Modern Rite was established in Brazil in1822 and incorporated as the Grand Chapter of the Higher Grades in 1842.  This discovery of the survival of the early form of the Rite in Brazil has greatly animated the Orders of Wisdom in the General Grand Chapter of France, the GLNF, and through the Declaration of Barcelona (discussed in a moment) other bodies of Freemasonry. It is to be noted that the GLNF has gone through a severe shakeup in 2011 and its survival is questioned along with its higher Orders of Wisdom.

The Declaration of Barcelona in June 2011 involved the Supreme Conselho do Modern Rite for Brazil and Masons from other modern Masonic bodies in Europe.

The declaration called for a renewal of the educational system of the Rite, its geographic diffusion and an open non-hierarchical structure.  As a result of the meeting in Barcelona involving the Supreme Conselho do Modern of Brazil an educational body has been formed in France called the Sublime Conseil du Rite Moderne pour la France. The Rite in its original form is now increasing among the lodges of the Grand Orient of France and is beginning to draw interest from outside of France.

Blue Lodge
  1. Entered Apprentice
  2. Fellow Craft
  3. Master Mason
First Order of Rose+Croix
  1. Master Elect
Second Order of Rose+Croix
  1. Scottish Master
Third Order of Rose+Croix
  1. Knight of the East
Fourth Order of Rose+Croix
  1. Sovereign Prince Rose+Croix / Knight of the Eagle

The fifth Order has been rebuilt by the Grand Chapter General of the French Rite and now others in Europe. It includes the study of more than 80 rituals. It acts as a conservator of the Rite. It is practiced differently at the Grand Orient of France than its counterpart at the GLNF which, however, has all but collapsed in 2012.

This Rite is in use in all of the French Grand Lodges which work multiple rites.