Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Evolution of the Vth Order of the French or Modern Rite

Recent years have been witness to a kind of rediscovery of the French or Modern Rite, which despite being a great unknown was the foundation of what would later evolve into various Masonic ritual "manifestations" both good and bad. Undoubtedly, the proliferation of the so-called High Degrees and heterodox systems, often lacking in coherence and sometimes contrary to the original aims of the Order, the intrusion of extravagant and visionary fashions, grotesque messianic systems, pseudomystical rituals and other varied fauna, led French continental masonry, and specifically the Grand Orient of France, to the creation of a "Grand General Chapter of France" in order to bring order and give uniform coherence to the chaos that was 18th Century Continental Freemasonry.

From time to time, history provides us with clear minds in various fields of art and knowledge. One of the transcendental figures to approach this structuring was Roëttiers de Montaleau, who along with Graffin, Salivet, Saurine, Millon and many other of those 81 founding members (note the number 81), gave form to the Orders of Wisdom, previously called Superior Orders, the intent of which was and continues to be that of coherently grouping the teachings, bringing together all the historical currents of the so-called Scottism, which I have developed extensively in other articles and essays.

Alexandre-Louis Roëttiers de Montaleau
The original founding idea of ​​1784 that simply intended the making of a V Order that contains "all the physical and metaphysical degrees and all systems, especially those adopted by the Masonic associations in force", remains a hard task to master. it came to be realized progressively and, curiously, was forgotten in some cases, or unknown in others, either by laziness, ignorance or egocentric overeagerness.

The French Rite of the Moderns that Roëttiers de Montaleau called in one of the reorganization proposals as the "Primitive Rite" affirming with this qualifying adjective the source of the French Rite, a name adopted to differentiate it from others created later and also implemented in France. I will leave for another occasion my modest analysis about the misuse that has been given to a supposed "Primitive Rite" in other parts of the world.

Now let's return to the true concept, that Primitive Rite, the French Rite or Rite of the Moderns, which compiled after the three symbolic degrees represents an authentic Academy and Conservatory of masonic degrees of the Enlightenment and the accumulated knowledge of multiple ritual systems.
This ambitious, but necessary regulation on the one hand academic and on the other administrative, is still alive today, and its genesis was intended to present a vision of the future as indicated by its first Statutes and General Regulations of March 19, 1784.
It is not simply a compilation or "Ark of the Covenant" of the first and historic 81 degrees distributed in 9 series, but meant to accommodate the greater masonic knowledge it contained, thus incorporating and conserving the culminating degrees of all the different systems and Rites.

That is the ultimate goal of the V Order: to reunite what is dispersed at the highest level of initiation. That's how it was and that's how it is today.

(Translated from the Spanish of Joaquim Villalta)

Joaquim Villalta, Vª Orden, Gr. ·. 9, 33rd
Director of the International Academy of the Fifth Order - UMURM
Member of the Sublime Council of the Modern Rite for Ecuador
Vice-president of the Circle of Studies of the French Rite "Roëttiers de Montaleau"
Honorary Member of the Lusitano Grande Orient
Honorary Member of the Colombian National Grand Orient
Honorary Member of the Traditional Grand Lodge of Paraguay
Very Powerful Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree for Spain of the Ancient and Accepted Rite (R de C)

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