2 Joint Communiqués of the 3 Major Regular Rites in France

Published on by Winnie

Our English, American, Australian and New Zealand readers (LML in English has gone global !!) may not be aware that masonry in general in France differs greatly in its structural organisation to what you are used to. You tend to have a single national (or state) lodge which works according to a single rite, similar to our "rite émulation". In France there are a multitude of lodges (obédiences) which is possibly why you sometimes refer to our lmasonry as a "French bordel" !! The 3 principal lodges are the Grande Loge National de France (GLNF), the only one recognised as being regular by the UGLE, the Grand Orient (GO) and the Grande Loge de France (GLDF), all of which work the first 3 degrees or grades. Within them the Brethren work according to their choice of rite, the most common being the ancient and accepted Scottish rite (REAA), the modern Scottish rite (RER) and the French rite (RF). These 3 rites are governed by juridictional orders that cover not only the 3 basic grades but also the higher grades and are the sole and ultimate deciding body for all the grades within the order.



The governing bodies of the 3 major regular rites practising in France, the :


  1. Grand Rectified Priory of France (Grand Prieuré Rectifié de France)
  2. Grand French Chapter, Supreme Council of the Modern Rite for France (Grand Chapitre français, Suprême Conseil du Rite Moderne pour la France)
  3. Supreme Council for France of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (Suprême Conseil pour la France du Rite Ecossais Ancien et Accepté)


Have issued 2 joint communiqués over the past fortnight, each in reference to the current upheavals in the GLNF. The first, dated December 3rd 2010, states :


That they are Traditional Masonic Orders of Initiation,


That they are the historic heirs of the initiators of these Rites that they continue to practise in all their purity and on the basis of the founding principles, source of their regularity, that is:


-          that they work to the Glory of the GAOTU

-          that they work within the framework and respect of the landmarks and the rule in 12 points,


this being within the framework of their founding Constitutions.


That they are the guarantors, regulators and protectors of the totality of grades that constitute their Rites, and in particular:


-          of the symbolic, initiatory and spiritual  content of the totality of degrees forming together the Rectified Scottish, French or Modern, as well as the ancient and Accepted Scottish Rites,

-          by the vector of the Rites they oversee, of the practice of conserving and transmitting, their Traditions; and authentic spiritual realisation, faithful to the fundamental principles of the Masonic Order


Having recalled this, the ordinal signatories of the initiatory Jurisdictions solemnly affirm that the founding principles of regularity stated above are both intangible and immutable.


That under all circumstances they intend to preserve them totally and to ensure their strict respect.


That they are and will remain attached to the adherence of regular masons to an Obedience (Jurisdiction) that offers them all the guarantees necessary for the pursuit of the initiatory work in the three first degrees.

That nonetheless they note the appearance within A MASONIC JURISDICTION of dissensions and deviations that have troubled the Brethren (under their jurisdiction), of such nature as to lead them away from the traditional avenues of spiritual realisation proposed by Freemasonry,

That they express their deepest anxiety concerning this subject.

That they heard and listened to the numerous appeals for help coming from the Brethren within their Rite.


As of now, the signatory Jurisdictions have decided


-          to solemnly reaffirm their common conception of the traditional way of spiritual realisation proposed by the Order of Freemasons, in the diversity of its Rites and practices, and their attachment to its maintenance in all the principles of regularity to be found notably within the Rule in 12 points.

-          To meet together and install between them a permanent study group with the aim to take when the opportunity presents itself and if necessary, all initiatives to contribute to, within the limits of their prerogatives and means, the respect and maintenance of the traditional path of Freemasonry, of the spirit and letter of their respective Rites and of the regularity necessary to their practice.


In addition they remind all Brethren in their jurisdictions of their solemn,  obligations, notably

-          their duty to defend the traditional founding principles of regular masonry, the purity of the rites as well as the scrupulous practice of the rituals,

-          their undertaking to conserve under all circumstances the calm and balance essential to a total mastery of oneself, as well as an exemplary behaviour in the eyes  (sight) of all, based upon research and spirituality and the daily and effective practice of charity and Brotherly Love raised up as a fundamental virtues of regular freemasonry.



The decision of the French courts pronounced on December 7th declaring the GLNF French 1901 civil association multi location annual general meeting illegal and requiring François Stifani to reconvene another annual general meeting as soon as possible in a single location with an agenda of :


-          the approval of the 2008 – 2009 statement of accounts

-          the approval of the 2010 – 2011 annual budget

-          the revocation of the president of the association and the nominated members of the board of directors (conseil d’administration)


No doubt it was this court decision which instigated the issuing of a second joint communiqué dated December 9th stating:




Grand Rectified Priory of France (Grand Prieuré Rectifié de France)

Grand French Chapter, Supreme Council of the Modern Rite for France (Grand Chapitre français, Suprême Conseil du Rite Moderne pour la France)

Supreme Council for France of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (Suprême Conseil pour la France du Rite Ecossais Ancien et Accepté)


Wishing to:

- maintain the harmony which must exist among the brethren of the GLNF to guarantee the practice of the Royal Art of Traditional and regular Freemasonry


- maintain the regularity of Masonic work within the purity of the Rites

- reply to the concern of a great number of Brothers

- preserve the unity of the GLNF

- avoid that many Brethren should stray from the traditional ways proposed by the GLNF

- and allow the pursuit by each Brother, by the vector of the Rites in charge of preserving and transmitting the traditional content of a way of authentic spiritual realisation, faithful to the fundamental principles of traditional Masonry;


Having learned of the judgement rendered on December 7th, 2010 by the Principle Court of Paris who, after having recalled that during an assembly of the Grand Lodge on March 25th, 2010 a great number of delegates expressed the desire that the grand Master and the members of the Board of Directors abandon their mandates, nullified the general assembly of October 16th,2010, concluding notably:


That the President of the association call without delay the general assembly of the GLNF and place on its agenda


-          the approval of the 2008 – 2009 statement of accounts

-          the approval of the 2010 – 2011 annual budget

-          the revocation of the president of the association, Mr Stifani, and the nominated members of the board of directors (conseil d’administration)


Having received the letter of the President of the association GLNF, Grand Master of the GLNF, dated December 8th 2010 in which he details:


Act is taken and recorded  of this decision and given the executory character of the judgement I will propose to the Board of Directors on December 10th, in the strict respect of our functioning and the legal rules, to authorise me to call a general assembly in one place and publishing on its agenda:

-          the approval of the 2008 – 2009 statement of accounts

-          the approval of the 2010 – 2011 annual budget

-          a possible revocation of my function as president of the association, as well as that of its the nominated members.


I wish to assure each of you of my total devotion, trusting that, in the sad period, in which we find ourselves, the GLNF remains animated by a spirit of exchange and of consultat ion conforming to our commitment.

Reminding all parties to this executory decision of justice, as well as all Brother Freemasons whose solemn undertaking is to conduct themselves under all circumstances as men of honour, loyal and discreet, worthy in all ways, and draw their attention on the gravity of their responsibility concerning the future of the GLNF.


Note the decision of the grand master to submit to the decision of the general assembly composed of rightful members and delegates of the GLNF, the possible revocation of his mandate as grand Master, president of the association, these 2 functions being indissociable , both in the spirit and the letter of the rules governing the GLNF.


Salute this wise and responsible decision as being the best to enable to cease in the shortest time the confusion, dissention and straying currently affecting the Obedience, such as to trouble the brothers under their jurisdiction, and whose nature gravely compromise the accomplishment of the traditional objectives of the Order of Freemasons.


Following the general Assembly, the Regular Orders will meet within the framework of a reflection group that they have formed, to bring every useful proposition in order to maintain the traditional way in all its purity and the respect of the values of each of the Rites.



We now know that the meeting of the GLNF Board of Directors of December 10th decided unanimously to appeal against the court’s decision. French jurists feel that the right of appeal is not justified under this judgement. The court’s decision is eagerly awaited.

Comment on this post

Winnie 12/21/2010 16:56

The term, "French bordel" was first used by Jean Solis in his long speech on the sad state of affairs of the GLNF. He and I was referring to both the internal haemmorraging of the GLNF and the
complicated overall masonic scene here in France with a bewildering multitude of lodges and numerous rites practiced within these lodges.

M. de Roxanne 12/21/2010 14:45

Perhaps I could clarify. Emulation is an English working which indeed dates from the Union in 1813 (in fact the years immediately following as the new United Grand Lodge sorted itself out). This is
not the forum to go into details as to which current English working is nearest to that officially authorised by the new UGL all those years ago.
Within the GLNF, Emulation working is used by a lot of Lodges, and for consistency with the terminology used for REAA, RER and RF it is referred to as “Rite Emulation”. The GLNF does not officially
permit variations on the edition it publishes itself, in French, of Emulation ritual. However, this inconsistent with declaration in each book that it is in conformity with the demonstrations at
ELOI and the fact that it is not!
As regards opening and closing of (Provincial) Grand Lodge, the procedure used in the GLNF is similar to that used in UGL, but neither one is Emulation. (In an appendix, the English Emulation
ritual includes these opening/closings, but it is clearly stated that they do not form part of Emulation ritual.).

Stephen Burrough 12/21/2010 13:27

Dear Joaben
"Emulation" did not, either as a word or a masonic working, directly result from the unification of the Antients with the Moderns. Furthermore, it is not a rite, but a "working", only the GLNF
could have created this confusion! Happy Christmas all the same.

joaben 12/21/2010 12:07

Dear Stephen,
"French mess" is difficult to understand abroad...

To avoid misundersatanding, despite any respect due to our brothers (considered "irregulars") it should be clearer to limit discussion to the masonery recognized by UGLE.

In France, the only obedience in this case is GLNF.

Emulation rite is the result of reunification of modern(in fact the oldest) and ancients(who contest the moderns).

This rite is practiced in GLNF and in particular at each national or provincial meetings.

Other rites (RF, REAA, RER) are based on diffrent rituals autorised by GLNF for the first 3 degrees.

Over 3rd degree it is managed by other bodies who recognized GLNF as the only one to provide regular masons.

They give delegation to GLNF for the first 3 degrees, IF GLNF OFFER GARANTIES TO STAY REGULAR.

And this is why these bodies(3 major rites practiced in GLNF) mandate GLNF to give explanation following all the disputes and failures of regularity organized by the grand master team.

This is the main reasons why immense majority of GLNF masons want the GLNF to come back to regularity, respect the laws of the country, does not involve in politic or religious matters, rules Which
were obviously violated by present Grand Master.

Stephen Burrough 12/21/2010 11:09

We have a problem with terminology. If you are outside of France and looking in, please be undestanding with us! A couple of examples are "obedience", meaning any self-governing association of
craft lodges, including the "Grand Orients", "Grand Lodges" and others, such as Droit Humain, which do not occur very obtrusively on the English-speaking countries' masonic sky lines. Then there is
what the GLNF has, in its peculiar way, decided to call the "Rite Emulation". I feel that some of you might well like to explain to those of us, indocrinated as we are over here by the GLNF, that
Emulation "Rite" is a misnomer. Have any other examples struck you? Arturusrex