Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Introduction of the Modern Rite to Brazil

Paulo César Gaglianone
Supreme Council of the Modern Rite
Orient of Rio de Janeiro, 1994

Freemasonry was introduced in Brazil when it was still a colony under the Portuguese monarchy. For that reason. it is important to look to Portugal to find the roots of Freemasonry in Brazil. Freemasonry in Portugal dates back to c. 1730, with the foundation of the first lodges in Portugal under the influence of France and England (Clavel, 1843).

In 1738, Pope Clement XII forbid Catholics to hold positions in the Masonic Lodges and the king of Portugal Dom João V  threatened Masons with penalties. (Thory - "Histoire de La Fondation du Grand Orient de France"). In fact, neither the Papal Bull, nor the decree of the King prevented Masonic activities in Portugal. Later, during the government of del-rei D. José I (1750-1777) Portuguese Lodges functioned under secrecy. Thereafter, until the French Revolution, Portugal was greatly influenced by the Lodges of Paris, notwithstanding the bans of D. D. João VI and Maria I.

Around 1793, there were several students in Coimbra and Porto and in parts of the overseas provinces several students including in the State of Brazil (Livy and Ferreira, 1968).

The Grande Oriente Lusitano was created in 1800, with Judge Sebastião São Palo as Grand Master, and then, in 1803, General Gomes Freire de Andrade (The Return of Freemasonry, Angel Maria de Lera, foreword by Adam and Armando Silva , 1986).

In 1807,  Junot's conquest of Lisbon forced the Portuguese Court to seek shelter in Brazil. "So Masonry of Brazil since the eighteenth century was linked to Portugal. While the headquarters of the Portuguese monarchy was in Lisbon, both Freemasonry and revolutionary movements found the climate more agreeable in Brazil, hence the occurence of the Inconfidências Mineira (1789) and Bahia (1799). With the relocation of the Portuguese monarchy to Rio de Janeiro, revolution  emerged in 1817 both in Brazil (Pernambuco) and Portugal (led by Gomes Freire de Andrade) " (Livy and Ferreira, 1968).

The Liberal revolution triumphant in the English colonies of North America, as well as in France and Latin America, it was also about to explode in the Portuguese Colony.

In the early years of the nineteenth century, Masonic lodges spread extensively in the provinces of Pernambuco, Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. Some under the auspices of the Grande Oriente Lusitano others under France. The Lodge "Virtude e Razão", for example, was installed in Salvador, in 1802, working the Modern Rite.

"In remembering the Independence of Brazil, it far from consisted only in the "Grito do Ipiranga" on September 7, 1822, but had before this started with the Constitutional Revolution in 1820 in Porto, Portugal, by way of protest against "the measures of recolonization" . (Adam and Armando Silva, preface, The Return of Freemasonry, 1984).
The Grande Oriente de Brasil was founded on June 17, 1822. Joaquim Gonçalves Ledo and José Clemente Pereira were prominent leaders in this movement, both the Loja Comércio e Artes, founded in November 15, 1815.

Thus the lodges  "Comércio e Artes", which was subdivided into "União e Tranqüilidade" and "Esperança de Nictheroy", formed the basis of the Grande Orient de Brasil, which received the Charter of the Grande Oriente Lusitano de Portugal. His first Grand Master was General Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva. "The Loja Comércio e Artes and those which were derived from it initially worked the "Rito Adonhiramita" and the Grande Oriente de Brasil was soon recognized by the Grand Orient of France, and by Lodges of Britain and the United States" (Melo, Masonic Centenary Book).

In the view of Lima (Backstage Mystery): "Brazilian Freemasonry is a spiritual daughter of French Freemasonry. From France came the Modern Rite when the Grand Orient came of age, and ten years later, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. "The Grande Oriente de Brasil was closed by Dom Pedro I, Prince Regent, and soon after was restored ( in 1832) by Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva.

The Grand Orient of Brazil, was restored in 1832, adopting the Constitution of the Modern Rite Grand Orient of France in 1826, adapted by Gonçalves Ledo and promulgated on October 24, 1836 (Viegas, 1986). The Modern Rite, therefore, became the Official Rite of the Grande Oriente de Brasil, in the work of its Legislative and Administrative Bodies, ie, for the operation of its Senior Corps.

The Lodge Comércio e Artes No. 1, thereafter adopted the Modern Rite (later, through Decree 2405 of August 13, 1974, this location changed from the Modern Rite to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite). The Lodge "Seis de Março de 1817", in Pernambuco, was regularized on October 7, 1832 by the GOB also working with the French Rite (Albuquerque, Freemasonry and the Greatness of Brazil). The manuals published by the French Rite GOB in 1835 dated from 1834 as did the establishment of this Modern Rite Chapter.

On 1 September 1839 another Constitution was drafted, and soon replaced by yet another in 1842. In 1841, the Grande Oriente de Brasil was again recognized by France (Viegas, 1986).

Already in the Republic, between 1891-1901, the Grand Master Antonio Joaquim de Macedo Soares, with the Secretary-General Henrique Valadares, guaranteed a strong influence of French Freemasonry. (Viegas, 1986). The constitutional reform of 1877 only reached the jurisprudence of the Grand Orient of France, but the Grand Orient of Brazil, where it practiced the French Rite, followed its model.

In 1927 there was a major split in the GOB with the formation of the Regional Grand Lodges, and the latter kept the Scottish Rite. "The Grand Lodge of England which considers that conditions essential to Masonic life include belief in God and an afterlife, broke with the Grand Orients of France and Belgium in defense of those principles, and made with the Grand Orient of Brazil, in 1935 a treaty of alliance indissoluble, firming up the cordial relations between the two bodies. " (Viegas, 1986).

Today (1994), the Grande Oriente de Brasil has 33 Lodges and 11 Chapters, currently practicing the Modern Rite. To date, there are in South America, dominated by the Grand Lodges, except in Brazil, several Lodges which practice the Modern Rite.

The Modern Rite played an important role in Brazil, and helped effect positive transformations in the national struggle for Independence, during the Brazilian Empire and after the Proclamation of the Republic assisted the search of a more perfect society and the triumph of the fraternal ideal.

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