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The Swedish Rite *** Por Eric B Ceja

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The Swedish Rite *** Por Eric B Ceja

Mensaje por Admin el Dom Mayo 17, 2015 9:01 pm

May 14th | | "Happy Birthday, Bro. Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden (1710-1771), Protector of Swedish Rite Freemasonry." 
via Bro. Arturo de Hoyos
Painting by Gustaf Lundberg

  • Eric B Ceja

  • THE SWEDISH CONSTITUTION, Nordic Esotericism in Baroque Splendour.
    by W.Bro Alex G. Davidson 

    IPM (2005), United Masters Lodge No. 167 (New Zealand Constitution) 

    1. Introduction

  • Grand Lodge of Sweden

  • The Swedish system of Freemasonry (Svenska Frimurare Orden) is probably the most unusual constitution with which we enjoy
    fraternal relations. It is not, as may perhaps be assumed, a small and obscure branch of the Craft: the Swedish system is also
    used in the rest of Scandinavia and is one of the two major constitutions in Finland.[1] In Germany, the Große Landesloge der
    Freimaurer von Deutschland use it, in Norway it is found in Den Norske Frimurerorden, in Denmark it exists as Den Danske
    Frimurerorden, and the Icelandic order Frímúrarareglan á Íslandi is also Swedish. It is not so widely known that it was one of the
    three great strands of the historical Russian constitution.[2] Excluding the revived Russian order, it has over 40,000 members
    today. It would therefore be fair to describe it as a major system, and one that differs greatly from the Anglo­American forms we
    are accustomed to. 

    Although I am a New Zealander, I am unusually well placed to comment on the Swedish system. I lived in Sweden for ten years,
    I speak the language fairly fluently, and I hold a doctorate in philosophy from the Royal University of Uppsala. I have attended two Swedish workings as a visitor: a first degree ceremony in Stockholm at the magnificent Bååtska palatset, and a third degree in my old ‘home town’, Uppsala. Information in English about the Swedish order is readily available, so the emphasis in this paper will be on the aspects of their system I consider most interesting, with some personal observations and comparisons. 

    My starting point, however, is not Sweden but the Isle of Man. In a web site devoted to fraternal associations and clubs of that
    island, two observations on the page about Freemasonry caught my attention. The first, in reference to masonry as ‘a system of morality’, is the following comment: 

    This morality is taught via role playing in small set­piece allegorical theatrics with the addition of lectures or catechisms in which the candidate gives set answers to set questions.[3] 

    The second, referring to the history of Freemasonry, observed:
    Stewart [4] in a recent Prestonian Lecture discusses the linkage between the members of several London lodges and
    the Royal Society to illustrate the interest in the new rationality and scientific outlook promulgated within lodges at this early period. However, by the mid 19th century, he agrees with contemporary French criticism that English Freemasonry had become a “body without a soul”, having lost its original philosophic impulse, and was by then (and possibly still is) obsessed by form, procedure, decorum, status etc. 

    These two observations seem to me especially relevant in discussing certain significant differences between constitutions of
    British origin and the Swedish system. I hope to bring out that relevance in the following pages. 

    2. Origins of the Swedish System 

    The Swedish Rite has been described as ‘a mixture of the pure Rite of York, the high degrees of the French, the Templarism of the former Strict Observance, and the system of Rosicrucianism.’[5] Sweden was one of the first countries to receive Freemasonry during its expansionary period in the first half of the 18th century. Masonry came to Sweden in the early 1730s not from England, where modern organised Freemasonry had begun in 1717, but at second hand from France. The chief architect of the Swedish order was C.F. Eckleff, who designed a system with nine degrees. Subsequently, Duke Carl (later King Carl XIII), who was a devoted mason, redesigned the constitution to contain ten degrees. This is basically the same system as is
    used now, though an eleventh degree has been added, which is awarded only to certain grand officers of the order. 

    The Swedish Constitution is a closed male order based on the Christian faith, which engages in personal development, friendship and fundraising for welfare. As such, it is almost unique in its insistence on candidates being practising Christians. At the beginning of the First Degree ceremony, the candidate must go through a long catechism in which he affirms his adherence to the Christian faith, asserts it is the best of all possible religions, and confirms that he would never abandon it. 

    Although non­Christian Brethren who are members of other constitutions (except the Grand Orient) may visit a Swedish lodge, they cannot become members. 

    The history of the Swedish Order is interesting. In an earlier paper[6] I claimed that English Freemasonry in the early 18
    th century was the bearer of radical Enlightenment philosophy: essentially republican (in the Lockean sense), deistic and universalistic including (including the de­Christianisation of the ritual and the admission of freethinkers and Jews).[7] Freemasonry came to Sweden from Christian lodges in France. French Freemasonry, although derived from the English, had developed in two directions: one explicitly Christian, and one whose tendency was rationalist and nonreligious. The latter was inspired by the ideology of the English Grand Lodge: the former came from exiled Jacobite Britons who were, in many cases, Catholics. 

    At the time of the formation of the first Grand Lodge, the English situation was unique. As a result of their revolutions of 1640­50
    and 1688, they had secured constitutional and parliamentary government. However, Freemasonry neither caused nor participated in these revolutions. To ensure respectability, English Freemasons remained silent on any part their members may have played, and Continental masons carefully reconstructed the mythic history of origins from Hiram and King Solomon’s Temple, through the Crusades and Knights­Templar, up to 17th century England. 

    Provided by 

  • Eric B Ceja

  • The Swedish Rite 

    The Swedish rite is truly progressive and continous. Each degree leads to the next and each sums up the contents of the preceeding degrees.

    The system is grouped into three divisions as follows:

    St. John's (Craft) degrees:
    I Apprentice
    II Fellow Craft
    III Master Mason

    St. Andrew's (Scottish) degrees:
    IV-V Apprentice-Companion of St. Andrew
    VI Master of St. Andrew

    Chapter degrees:
    VII Very Illustrious Brother
    VIII Most Illustrious Brother
    IX Enlightened Brother
    X Very Enlightened Brother

    On top of the system is
    Most Enlightened Brother, Knight Commander of the Red Cross

    There are currently about 60 Knight Commanders of the Red Cross. They are present or past members of the Grand Council or Grand Officers. In 1811 King Karl established the Royal Order of King Karl XIII. It is a civil order, conferred by the King, only to some Knight Commanders of the Red Cross with the number limited to 33. It is, however, not a Masonic degree.

    Progression from one degree to the next is far from automatic. A brother has not only to be regular in attendance - he has to give proof of his proficiency and of his knowledge of Freemasonry.

    There is only one form of accepted ritual for each degree, and deviations are not tolerated. The presiding Master follows an accepted ritual manuscript when working a Lodge.

    The Swedish Rite is worked in Sweden/Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. In Germany a Grand Lodge, Grosse Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland, is working rituals based on Carl Friedrich Eckleff’s documents from 1760, but otherwise have few similarities to the Swedish Rite. 

    Information Provided by

Pedro P. Dollar:.
Por Cuba, con Dios y la Masoneria


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The Swedish Rite of Freemasonry

Mensaje por Admin el Lun Mayo 18, 2015 8:15 pm

Eric B Ceja

The Swedish Rite of Freemasonry

Lodge of Sweden

A brief presentation of The Grand Lodge of Sweden and the progressive system of the Swedish Rite.

Freemasonry was brought to Sweden by Count Axel Wrede-Sparre, a Cavalry Officer who during service in France had become a Freemason. After returning to Sweden he brought together some friends who like himself had been made Freemasons abroad. In 1735, he inititated and passed his brother-in-law Count Carl Gustaf Tessin in Stockholm. Most of the Brethren joining Wrede-Sparre’s Lodge belonged to the higher nobility. The meetings seem to have ceased at the end of the 1740s.

At the beginning of the 1750s there were quite a large number of Freemasons in Sweden who had been initiated by Wrede-Sparre or abroad. Count Knut Posse established the Lodge St Jean Auxiliaire (John the Baptist) in 1752. Wrede-Sparre and most of the Brethren of his Lodge joined the Lodge St Jean and Wrede-Sparre handed over his rituals and other documents to the new Lodge.

The Lodge St Jean was called ”Mother-Lodge of Sweden” and considered itself entitled to issue warrants to other Lodges in the country and in Finland, which was a part of Sweden at that time. Count Carl Fredrik Scheffer who had been made a Freemason in Paris in 1737, was elected National Grand Master in 1753. During the 1750s, the Lodges opened their doors to members of other classes of society than the nobility.

In 1756, Carl Fredrik Eckleff together with six Brethren formed the Scottish Lodge L’Innocente in Stockholm, working in so called Scottish St Andrew´s degrees. The next step in the development of Swedish Freemasonry was taken by Eckleff in 1759, when he established a Grand Chapter in Stockholm. Eckleff who was an employee of the Swedish Foreign Office, held a foreign patent authorizing him to found lodges. It has not been possible to ascertain the date and place of origin of the patent and of the rituals. The Grand Lodge of Sweden was established in 1760.

Present organization

At present there are 56 Craft Lodges, 27 Lodges working the St Andrew’s degrees, two Steward Lodges, eight Chapters and one Lodge of Research. There are 68 Fraternal Societies (nearest Lodges of Instruction), usually at smaller towns. In Finland there are seven Lodges working the Craft degrees and three Fraternal Societies under the Swedish Order of Freemasons. There is also two Lodges working the St Andrew’s degrees, one Steward Lodge and one Grand Chapter in Helsinki.

There are about 15 200 Freemasons in Sweden and about 1 300 in Finland under the Swedish Order of Freemasons. As lodges are few in number, there is usually quite a number of members in a Swedish lodge. Only men of Christian faith are admitted.

The Worshipful Master of a Lodge is usually appointed for a period of six years. However, a compulsory retirement age of 75 is strictly enforced for all office bearers.

The Swedish Rite is worked in Sweden/Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. In Germany a Grand Lodge, Grosse Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland, is working rituals based on Carl Friedrich Eckleff’s documents from 1760, but otherwise have few similarities to the Swedish Rite.

Information Provided by the Svenska Frimurare Orden


Top Image: The regalia (sash, 'jewel' decoration, and apron) of the Chapter Degrees of the Swedish Rite of Freemasonry: from left to right, Knight of the East, Knight of the West, Enlightened Brother of St John, Right Enlightened Brother of St Andrew, and Knight Commander of the Red Cross. The regalia includes a standard top hat (not shown).

Bottom Left Image: The regalia (sash, 'jewel' decoration, and apron) of the St John's ("Blue Lodge") Degrees of the Swedish Rite of Freemasonry: on left, the regalia of the Entered Apprentice, in centre, the regalia of the Fellow Craft, and on right, the regalia of the Master Mason. Note that the regalia are incomplete for the Master Mason: the missing item is a standard top hat. Note also that the carpenter's square 'jewel' does not signify a Worshipful Master; it is an integral part of the Master Mason's apron. Finally, in contrast to all other degrees, the apron of the Apprentice is worn with its flap up, in the style of a stonemason at work.

Bottom Right Image: The regalia (sash, 'jewel' decoration, and apron) of the St Andrew's Degrees of the Swedish Rite of Freemasonry: on left, the regalia of the Apprentice-Companion of St Andrew, and on right, the regalia of the Master of St Andrew. Note that the regalia are incomplete: Master Masons and above of the Swedish Rite wear top hats.

Pedro P. Dollar:.
Por Cuba, con Dios y la Masoneria


Cantidad de envíos : 12757
Puntos : 34570
Reputación : 225
Fecha de inscripción : 14/06/2009
Edad : 65
Localización : Miami

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