Noteworthy events: some points of reference …

Numerous books dealing with Freemasonry shows that the interest in this institution is still present in different stories and legends keeping mysterious secrets and rituals as well as in numerous debates in this regard.

Nowadays, the new technologies allow more and more people to get information about the fundamentals of Freemasonry. One can easily find in the Internet the original statements of the XIV and XV centuries, latest Grand Lodges news, the first Anderson's constitutions, as well as the remarkable dates of the foundation of the first lodges in France, UK and the Caribbean.

The questions when, how and where Freemasonry originated are still at the great interest. There are several theories about its origin. Some authors believe that Freemasonry originated from the Antic Egypt; the others think that it arose from the "Order of  the Temple" or even from the philosophical organization «Rosæ Crucis». Someone even believe that its history goes back to the creation of the world.

We find the names of legendary Grand Masters in the Bible stories as well as in the pages of mankind’s history. Tubalcain, Noha, Moses, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, King Arthur, Pierre l’Ermite are mentioned among the others. Kings of England are also the part of this prestigious list of Grand Masters. Among them there are Harold II, Richard “the Lionheart” and James II. Certainly, we should mention the biblical King Solomon and architect Hiram.

The vast majority of books make the link between the Freemasonry of the XVIIth  and XVIIIth centuries and the medieval freestone masons who built the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe.

The years 1717 and 1723 are the key dates for modern Freemasonry. On June 24th, 1717 the first Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster was founded. In 1723 historically fundamental texts of Anderson’s constitutions were published. Since then Freemasonry spread all over the world.

In France historical events influenced on to the development of Freemasonry. And the character of this influence was more politic than spiritual.

  • In1877, the "Grand Orient de France" (GODF) allowed those who had no belief in a Supreme being  and in the immortality of the soul to be admitted. Ten years later, the opening and closing of Lodge "to the Great Architect of the Universe"  was made optional.
  • In 1893, Maria Desraismes founded the first mixed obedience, “Droit Humain” (DH).
  • In 1894, Grande Loge de France (GLDF) was created to manage the first three grades of Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (AASR).
  • In 1913 the Grande Loge Nationale Indépendente et Régulière pour la France et les colonies françaises (GLNIR) was founded. In 1948 it became the Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF). It brings back to the British tradition and the "regularity", claimed by every organization nowadays.
  • In 1952 the Grande Loge Féminine de France (GLFF), exclusively reserved to women was founded.

The french masonic landscape was mainly established in the middle of the 20th century. New Lodges are constantly created because of major division between the main obediences. There are many reasons explaining these divisions, essentially due to the rituals and the systems of the "High Degrees".

In front of such great multitude obediences, we are allowed to wonder: what is Freemasonry?

Should we agree to an unique definition or admit the existence of several Freemasonrys?