To all Illustrious
and Enlightened Masons throughout the World.
Union, Prosperity, Friendship, Fraternity
almost forgotten footnote in the history of Freemasonry,
John Yarker's Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry can be traced to the
Oriental Rite of Memphis established in France in 1814, and the Rite of Mizraim,
established in France in 1813. From the time Yarker was introduced to the Rite
during a visit to New York in 1871, until his death in 1913, there was never
more than a total of 300 members.
The following is an outline of the history and principles of the rite as
written by John Yarker. Researchers are directed to J. M. Hamill's paper, "John
Yarker: Masonic Charletan?" published in Ars Quatuor
Coronatorum,Volume 109 for the year 1996, Transactions of Quatuor Coronati
Lodge No. 2076, Robert A. Gilbert, ed.. Butler & Tanner Ltd. Frome and London:
1996.ISBN 0 907655 36 X. [pp. 191-214]
The Kneph. Official Journal of the Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry.
John Yarker, ed. Vol. VIII, No. 1, September, 1888. [page size 7' x 9 3/8"]
Bound in red hardcover. Published for the Sovereign Sanctuary of the Antient and
Primitive Rite of Masonry for Great Britain and Ireland.
First published in The
Kneph. Official Journal of the Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry.
Kenneth R.H. MacKenzie, ed. Vol. I, No. 7, July, 1881 on page 63. [page size 7'
x 9 3/8"] Bound in red hardcover, printed by the Crown Printing Company, Crown
Court, Milton Street, London, E.C.. Published for the Sovereign Sanctuary of the
Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry for Great Britain and Ireland, by Bro.
James Hill, at 6, Little Britain, E.C.
The system of High Grade Masonry,
from which our Antient and Primitive Rite derives its origin, had birth in this
country before the establishment of Grand Lodges. In France it had developed,
early last century, into several Rites which were distinguished as
Primitive–notably the Rites of Primitive Philadelphes and Philalethes, which
were the offspring of those of Martinez Pashalis, and Marquis de St. Martin, and
which, with others, worked side by side with the Rites of Perfection and Knights
of the Orient. The army of Buonaparte carried these High Grade Rites Egypt in
1798, and a Grand Lodge was then established at Cairo, when Buonaparte and
Kleber received investiture with a ring at the great Pyramid of Cheops, at the
hands of an Egyptian Sage, as a symbol of their union with the ancient occult
Masonry of Egypt. Under the Grand Lodge of Cairo Brother Samuel Honis was
initiated, and afterwards removed to France. Mehemit Ali Pacha patronized
Masonry in Egypt until his death, and the Rite maintained a correspondence with
its confreres in Europe by means of our well-known cyphers.
The Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry, Disciples of Memphis, was founded
as a Grand Lodge at Montauban, France, n [sic] the year 1814, by the
Illustrious Brothers Gabriel Mathieu Marconis de Negre; Samuel Honis, of Cairo;
Baron Dumas; Hypolite Labrunie; Marquis de Laroque; J. Pettitt, and others. The
basis of this system was the Primitive Rites, in which the degrees were not
absolutely defined, as each principal grade had the power to confer others of
like nature. The seven classes into which our Order is divided are schools for
the study of Masonic knowledge, physics and philosophy; and embody rituals, the
production of more than a quarter of a century of assiduous labour and research,
concerning all Masonic Rites.
The Grand Lodge of Osiris, or Disciples of Memphis, after an interval of
sleep, recommenced work at Brussels, in 1838, and at Paris in 1839, when it
published its statutes; but in 1841, the Grand Master Hierophant, the
Illustrious and Enlightened Brother Jacques Etienne Marconis, 33-97°, son and
Initiate of the first Grand Hierophant, was forced by civil politics to put all
the Lodges in France asleep. In 1848 our Order revived its work at the Orient of
Paris, and continued to prosper; and in 1856 had established itself in Egypt,
America, Rumania, and other countries.
In 1862, the Illustrious Grand Master Hierophant united our Antient and
Primitive Rite with the Grand Orient of France, and the High Grades continued to
be conferred by the recognized Grand Council of Rites of the Grand Orient. A
formal Concordat was promulgated by the said Grand Orient, and the Ill. Grand
Hierophant, J.E. Marconis, 33-97°, which arranged the relative values of the 33
leading degrees of our Rite with those of the Ancient and Accepted, Mizraim, and
other Rites recognized by the said Grand Council of Rites; also giving power to
the 33 principal degrees to confer the minor ones.
Upon this, in the year 1862, the Illustrious Grand Hierophant J.E. Marconis,
33-97°, acting in concert with Marshal Magnan, 30°, the Grand Master of the
Grand Orient, formally constituted the Sovereign Sanctuary of America, 33-95°.
Shortly after the degrees of the Rite were, nominally and temporarily, reduced
from 95 to 33 ceremonies by omitting the rest of those conferred only by name.
The Grand Orient of France continued to exchange Representatives with the Sov.
Sanc. of America, and lists thereof will be found in the French Official
Calendar, until 1869, when, in consequence of the invasion of the American
territory by the recognition of certain spurious Lodges of the Scottish Rite,
the Americans withdrew from representation.
France then abandoned the Rite, and the Ill. Gd. Hierophant, J.E. Marconis,
33-97°, having died in 1868, Egypt took full possession. The Craft Gd. Lodge,
our Antient and Primitive Rite, and the Antient and Accepted Rite, executed a
Tripartite Treaty to render mutual aid, and restored the Sov. Gd. Mystic Temple–Imp.Council
Gen., 96°, presided over by a Gd. Hierophant, 97°.
In the year 1872, several Illustrious Brethren who had priviously received
the 33-95°, obtained a Charter for the establishment of a Sovereign Sanctuary in
and for Great Britain and Ireland, with Illustrious Brother
John Yarker as Grand Master General, 33-96°, and in the same year received
many Brethren, members of the Royal Grand Council of Antient Rites, time
immemorial, which had adopted the Rite of Perfection last century, and had met
under H.R.H. Duke of Sussex, Grand Master; and in 1874 the Jerusalem Chapter of
Antiquety, H.R.M.–K.D.S.H., formally amalgamated with the Palatine Chapter, No.
2, and Senate No. 2, of the Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry, thus giving
the Rite the prestige of a time immemorial association in the United Kingdom.
One of the earlist resolutions passed by the new Sovereign Sanctuary was for
the establishment of an Order of Merit, of three classes, 1st, for Saving Life;
2nd, Literary Merit; 3rd General Merit. Besides this, the Rite possesses five
Decorations; ist, the Grand Star of Sirius, or Wisdom; 2nd, the Cross of Alidee,
or Truth; 3rd, the Alidee of the Third Series, or Justice; 4th, the Lybic Chain,
or Hope; 5th, the Golden Branch of Eleusis, or Charity. These decorations are
exclusively the reward of Merit, and are conferred in a Grand Chancery, one in
consecutive order every year.
At a Sovereign Sanctuary held on the 20th June, 1885, a Benevolent Fund was
established by appropriating one-third of all sums paid for Certificates and
Charters, in perpetuity, as its foundation.
A full history of the Rite may be obtained from the Grand Secretary General,
and is well worth perusal. Few could rise from its study without the conviction
that our Rite has a legitimate Masonic standing, second to none in the world,
and also the far higher claim to universal recognition and the zealous support
of the Craft.
To strengthen its position, and carry out its principals–the toleration of
all Rites, the Sov. Sanc. has since obtained Charters for the practice of the
Mizraim and Scottish Rites, and is enabled to afford opportunity for its members
to obtain certificates of corresponding degrees, which carry their due weight in
all countries. The Grand Master General being a member of the 96° in Egypt, the
system is assimilated to the Memphis Rite in Egypt.
The principals of the Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry we may summarize
It is universal, and open to every Master Mason who is in good standing under
some constitutional Grand Lodge, it teaches the Fatherhood of God and the
Brotherhood of Man.
The qualification of a Neophyte is probity and honour, it esteems Masonic
worth and learning above social and personal distinctions, seeking by means of
its comprehensive ceremonials to extend Masonic Knowledge, Morality and Justice,
and enforce all those great principals which have distinguished true Masons in
Its Rituals embrace all Masonry, and are based on those of the Craft
universal ; they explain its symbols, develop [sic] its mystic philosophy,
exemplify its morality, examine its legends, tracing them to their primitive
source, and dealing fairly and truthfully with the historical features of
Symbolical Masonry. They contain nothing in their teaching but what Mahommedan,
Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Brahmin, or Parsee may alike acknowledge.
The government of the Rite is elective, and it extends the hand of
brotherhood to all legitimate Rites. It is in cordial union with a number of
grand bodies of its own or similar Rites, with whom it has Representatives
established, and its influence is silently extending over the face of the whole
The Degrees of the Rite are divided into three Series, and the Masters of
each section receive the 31-91° and the 32-93°, and constitute the Judicial
Tribunal, 31-91°, and the Mystic Temple, 32-93°, of which the President or Gd.
Master of Light, receives the 33-95°, to represent his Province in the Sovereign
It has been ordered by the Sovereign Sanctuary;
1. That Dispensation may be given to individual Members of the Rite in any
town, where no subordinate body exists, to receive a sufficient number of
Brethren to form a Chapter, Senate, or Council.
2. That CHAPTERS of the Rose Croix (11-18°); SENATES of Hermetic
Philosophers (20-33°) ; COUNCILS of Sublime Masters of the Great Work (30-90°)
; Mystic Temples–Grand Consistories (32-93°), may be chartered throughout our
jurisdiction, in accordance with the General Statutes.
3. That Grand Mystic Temples–Councils General, (32-94°), may be constituted
in any of the Colonies and possesssions of the United Kingdom, subject to the
General Statutes of the Order, with privileges similar to the Grand Mystic
Temples–Councils General of England, Ireland and Scotland.
4. Application may be made to the Grand Secretary General, Grand Chancellor
General, or Grand Master General, who will furnish all information as to fees
and the mode of proceeding.
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