Encyclopedia Masonica

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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The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.

For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.

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