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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fremasons Organizational Structure

Fremasons Organizational Structure Cover There are a great many different "jurisdictions" of Freemasonry, each sovereign and independent of the others, and usually defined according to a geographic territory. There is thus no central Masonic authority, although each jurisdiction maintains a list of other jurisdictions that it formally "recognizes". If the other jurisdiction reciprocates the recognition, the two jurisdictions are said to be "in amity", which permits the members of the one jurisdiction to attend closed meetings of the other jurisdiction's Lodges, and vice-versa. Generally speaking, to be recognized by another jurisdiction, one must (at least) meet that jurisdiction's requirements for "regularity". This generally means that one must have in place, at least, the "ancient landmarks" of Freemasonry... the essential characteristics considered to be universal to Freemasonry in any culture. In keeping with the decentralized and non-dogmatic nature of Freemasonry, however, there is no universally accepted list of landmarks, and even jurisdictions in amity with each other often have completely different ideas as to what those landmarks are. Many jurisdictions take no official position at all as to what the landmarks are.

There is no tidy way to split jurisdictions into separate camps. For instance, jurisdiction A might recognize B, which recognizes C, which does not recognize A. In addition, the geographical territory of one jurisdiction may overlap with another's, which may affect their relations, for purely territorial reasons. In other cases, one jurisdiction may overlook irregularities in another due simply to a desire to maintain friendly relations. Also, a jurisdiction may be formally affiliated with one tradition, while maintaining informal ties with the other. For all these reasons, labels like "Anglo" and "Continental" must be taken only as rough indicators, not as any kind of clear designation.

The ruling authority of a Masonic jurisdiction is usually called a "Grand Lodge", or sometimes a "Grand Orient". These normally correspond to a single country, although their territory can be broader or narrower than that (in North America, each state and province has its own Grand Lodge). The oldest jurisdiction in the Anglo branch of Freemasonry is the United Grand Lodge of England ( (UGLE), founded in 1717. Its headquarters are at Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London. The oldest in the Continental branch is the Grand Orient de France ( (GOdF), founded in 1728. At one time, these branches recognized each other, but most jurisdictions cut off formal relations with the GOdF sometime after it started accepting atheists in 1877. In most Latin countries, as well as in Belgium, the French style of Freemasonry predominates. The rest of the world, accounting for the bulk of Freemasonry, tends to follow the English lead.

Scottish Rite of Freemasonry

The following is the structure of Freemasonic degrees for the Scottish Rite:

Note. group titles apply to degrees above.

33° Inspector General

* Supreme Council

32° Master of the Royal Secret
31° Inspector Inquisitor

* Consistory

30° Knight Kadosh
29° Scottish Knight of Saint Andrew
28° Knight of the Sun (Prince Adept)
27° Knight Commander of the Temple
26° Prince of Mercy
25° Knight of the Brazen Serpent
24° Prince of the Tabernacle
23° Chief of the Tabernacle
22° Knight of the Royal Axe (Prince of Libanus)
21° Noachite, or Prussian Knight
20° Master of the Symbolic Lodge
19° Grand Pontiff

* Council of Kadosh

18° Knight of the Rose Croix
17° Knight of the East and West
16° Prince of Jerusalem
15° Knight of the East, of the Sword or the Eagle

* Rose Croix

14° Perfect Elu (Grand Elect, Perfect and Sublime Mason)
13° Royal Arch of Solomon (Knight of the Ninth Arch)
12° Grand Master Architect
11° Elu of the Twelve
10° Elu of the Fifteen
9° Elu of the Nine
8° Intendant of the Building
7° Provost and Judge
6° Intimate Secretary
5° Perfect Master
4° Secret Master

* Lodge of Perfection

3° Master Mason
2° FellowCraft
1° Entered Apprentice

* Blue Lodge or Craft Lodge

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