Origin and historical structures of the Rectified Scottish Regime
The Rectified Scottish Regime was organized between 1774 and 1782 by two groups of Masons from the towns of Lyon and Strasburg, amongst whom one can cite Jean and Bernard of TURKHEIM and Rodolphe SALTZMANN (Strasburg) and above all Jean-Baptiste WILLERMOZ (Lyon 1730-1824) who was the mind and spirit of it all. The architecture of the Regime was his work, and it was he that formulated the doctrine that it conveyed.
From the formal point of view, the Rectified Scottish Regime has three origins; from the spiritual point of view it has two sources or inspirations.
In respect of structure and masonic or knighlty symbolism, the three origins of the Regime are:
" The French Masonry of the period, with its proliferation of the most varied grades (Willermoz knew them all and had practised many) and which, having been purged , became structured towards 1786 -1787 into a System which later carried the name of "French Rite", with its three grades and its four orders: not to mention the various grades, the combination of which made up what one termed "l'Ecossisme" [Scotticism - in its particular gallic masonic sense of the word], which were synthesized by Jean Baptiste WILLERMOZ
specific to Martinez de Pasqually, enigmatic but inspired character, whom
Willermoz, like Louis-Claude de SAINT MARTIN, recognized always as his Master,
i.e. The Order of the Masonic Knights of the Chosen Coens of the Universe"
" The Strict Observance, also called "Rectified Masonry" or "Reformed (Masonry) of Dresden", a German system in which the knightly aspect took priority over the masonic aspect , because it willed itself not only to be the heir to , but also the restorer of, the ancient Order of the Temple abolished in 1312.
The two spiritual sources are :
" The "esoteric" doctrine of Martinez de Pasqually of which the essential part bears upon the primeval origin, the present condition and the ultimate destination of man and of the universe.
The Christian Tradition, indivisible, nourrished by the teachings of the Fathers of the Church
Whatever may have been affirmed elsewhere, these two doctrines are in no way contradictory but, on the contrary, corroborate each other. All the texts prove the perfect orthodoxy, in regard to Christian confessions as a whole, of the Rectified Regime, which concerns itself , not with what divides Christians but what re-unites them.
Starting from there, Willermoz gave a concentric architecture to his System or Regime, by organizing it into three successive "classes" becoming more and more interiorized and at the same time more and more secr& - each class being unknown to that which was exterior to it.
Furthermore, he doubled the initiatory itinerary
from grade to grade by doctrinal teaching which became progressively more and more precise , by means of "instructions" that were an integral part of the ritual of each grade.
This overall conception - architecture of the Regime and doctrine - was officially approved in two steps. First of all on the national level , by the Convent of the Gauls, at Lyon (November - December 1778) which ratified, inter alia, the Masonic Code of the Re-United and Rectified Lodges and the Code of the Order of the Knights Beneficent of the Holy City, which remain the constitutional texts, still in force today, of the Regime. Then, on the European level, by the Convent of Wilhelmsbad, in Germany (August - September 1782), held under the presidences of the Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick and of the Prince Charles of Hesse, principal leaders of the Strict Observance, who rallied to what was called at the time "the Reform of Lyon".
In its original structure, the Rectified Scotttish Regime was composed of three classes, two ostensible and one "secr&".
1. The symbolic class or Masonic Order, in which was conferred, and conducted to its term the masonic initiation.
This class was itself sub-divided into four grades:
- The grades practised in the Lodges of Saint John , called Blue Lodges because of the colour of their decorations; the grade of Scottish Master of Saint Andrew, practised in the Lodges of Saint Andrew, called green Lodges for similar reasons.
this fourth grade , the masonic initiation process remained incompl&e.
The reception ceremony at this grade sums up and compl&es the initiatory
and doctrinal content of the three preceding grades,and brings it to accomplishment.
The Scottish Master of Saint Andrew is given to contemplate all that awaits
him until his re-integration into heavenly Jerusalem, goal of the Christian
- These four grades are oriented towards the internal re-construction of man by the deepening of the faith and the assiduous practice of Christian virtues.
- When the
Scottish Master of Saint Andrew has attained the required degree of spiritual
realisation proving that he has put into practice the masonic initiation,
he may have access to the Inner Order.
2. The Inner Order is an Order of Christian knighthood, which in no manner of terms may be assimilated to a System of High Grades, nor of philosophical grades.
It is made up of two stages:
" A preparatory and transitional stage: Squire Novice.
The quality of Squire Novice (Ecuyer Novice) is conferred by the ceremony of "vestment" (vestition) . This quality is however revocable. In effect , the Squire Novice has for sole task to prepare himself, for at least a year, to become a Knight; but, should he reveal himself to be definitively unfit, he may be, and even , according to the code of Knights Beneficent of the Holy City, must be, downgraded and re-become a Scottish Master of Saint Andrew.
" The second stage is that of Knight Beneficent of the Holy City (in abbreviation K.B.H.C). It is not a grade but a quality that is conferred by the knighting ceremony. The latter is in principle celebrated by the National Grand Master and Great Prior in person or, in case of unavailability, by a delegate nominated by him.
The Knight has the obligation to work actively within the Order and the world outside to put into practice the moral, religious and doctrinal teachings received in the Lodges of Saint John and Saint Andrew, but non&heless he does not abandon for all this these Lodges, where he must, on the contrary , and more than ever, devote himself to the service of his br&hern and all mankind, in particular in the exercise of beneficence.
3. The Profession (La Profession)
In the XVIIIth century, there existed a "secr& class", that of the 'Profession'. The Knights which composed it fell into two categories: the "Profès" and the "Grands Profès", re-united in a M&ropolitan College. Held by total commitment vis-à-vis the Order, without exercising, as such, functions of responsability or administrative directorship, the latter being incumbent upon the dignitaries of the Inner Order, the Profès and the Grand Profès devoted themselves to the deepening, by study and meditation , of the doctrine s& out in the texts ("secr& instructions") preserved by the M&ropolitan College, their charge being to vivify the Order both by their knowledge and by their living example. This class has apparently disappeared, or if it still exists, it pursues , as in its original concept, a very discre& existence.
According to the decisions taken at the Convent of the Gauls and confirmed at the Convent of Wilhelmsbad, the Rectified Scottish Regime - in a marked move away from the Strict Observance - renounced an historical filiation to the Order of the Temple while preserving a spiritual filiation, illustrated by the adoption, at the same Convent , of the denomination "Knights Beneficent of the Holy City", in order to make reference to the original "poor knights of Christ" , and not to the rich and powerful Order it became in the time following.
Through its spiritual filiation, the Rectified Scottish Regime lays claim , in the same manner as the Order of the Temple, to the double quality of knighthood and religion.
This double quality , which apppears already in filigrane in the masonic grades and conferred in fullness through the arming ceremony , is to be implemented in a world which is no longer either that of the XIIth century or that of the XVIIIth century but by means whose essential nature has nevertheless remained immutable, since they consist in putting into daily and universal practice the theologal virtues of faith , hope and charity. This is expressed in obligations imposed, not only upon the K.B.H.C but also upon the Rectified Mason, right from the grade of (entered) apprentice, to defend the holy Christian religion and to exercise beneficence towards all and particularly towards the weak and the wanting.