This rite claims a derivation from Egypt, and an organization from the High Grades which had entered Egypt before the arrival of the French Army, and it has been asserted that Napoleon and Kleber were invested with a ring at the hands of an Egyptian sage at the pyramid of Cheops. However that may be, in 1814 the Disciples of Memphis were constituted as a Grand Lodge at Montauban in France by Gabriel Mathieu Marconis and others, being an incorporation of the various rites worked in the previous century and especially of the Primitive Rite of Philadelphes of Narbonne, which see. In the political troubles that followed in France the Lodge of the Disciples of Memphis was put to sleep on March 7, 1816, and remained at rest until July 7, 1838, when Jacques Etienne or James Stephen Marconis was elected Grand Hierophant and arranged the documents, which the Rite then possessed, into ninety degrees.
The first Assembly of this Supreme Power was held on September 25, 1838, and proclaimed on October 5 following. The father of the new Grand Hierophant seems, to have been living and to have sanctioned the proceedings. Lodges were established in Paris and Brussels until the government of France forbade the meetings in 1841; however, in 1848 work was resumed and the Rite spread to Roumania, Egypt, a America, and elsewhere.
In 1862 J. E. Marconis united the Rite with the Grand Orient of France, retaining apparently the rank of Grand Hierophant; and in 1865 a Concordat was executed between the two bodies by which the relative value of their different degrees was settled.
In 1872 a Sovereign Sanctuary of the Rite was established in England by some American members with Brother John Yarker as Grand Master General.
An official journal entitled The Kneph was at one time issued by the authority of the Sovereign Sanctuary, from which we learn that the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Freemasonry is ''universal and open to every Master Mason who is in good standing under some constitutional Grand Lodge, and teaches the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man."
The degrees of the Rite are ninety-five in number, starting with the three Craft degrees, and divided into three series, and appear to have been rearranged and renamed at various times.
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