This Order was introduced in Berlin, or, as some say, in Vienna, in the year 1780, by a schism of several members of the German Rose Croix. They adopted a mixture of Christian, Jewish, and Mohammedan ceremonies, to indicate, as Ragon supposes, their entire religious tolerance. Their object was the study of the natural sciences and the search for the universal panacea to prolong life. Thory charges them with this ; but may it not have been, as with the Alchemists, merely a symbol of immortality?
They forbade all inquiries into the art of transmutation of metals. The Grand Synédrion, properly the Grand Sanhedrim, which consisted of seventy-two members and was the head of the Order, had its seat at Vienna.
The Order was founded on the three symbolic degrees, and attached to them nine others, as follows :
6. Initiated Knights and Brothers of Asia in Europe;
7. Masters and Sages;
8. Royal Priests, or True Brothers of Rose Croix;
The Order no longer exists. Many details of it will be found in Luchet's Essai sur les Illumines.
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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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