The History of the Rite
The origins of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite can be traced back to the mid-1750s in Bordeaux France. A number of Lodges, each daughters of Lodge L’Anglais, began practising a 25 Degree system known as the Rite of Royal Secret.
A document entitled “The New Statutes and Regulations made by the 14 Commissioners on the 25th November 1762”, now known as the “Constitutions of 1762”, formed the global legislative authority for the Rite which is stored today in the Supreme Council Library, London.
During the 1700s Masonic ritual was not always written but rather passed and learnt by word-of-mouth. Etienne Morin, in 1763, began the process of documenting the rituals for the 4th to 25th Degrees (the 1st - 3rd Degrees were accepted as worked within the Craft Lodges). Following Morin’s death in 1771 his work was continued and completed by Henry Franklin in 1783. The manuscripts are stored today in the archives of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, Boston Massachusetts USA.
By 1786 the Grand Constitutions had been established which extended the Degrees of the Rite, now known as the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, from 25 to 33 and laid down the procedures for the government of the Rite within each Supreme Council across the world. It is under this document that the Supreme Council for Australia was formally constituted.
Supreme Councils were established and propagated with increasing momentum across the globe: France 1804, Italy 1805, Northern Jurisdiction USA 1813, Belgium 1817, Venezuela 1824, Brazil 1826, Ireland 1826, Columbia 1827, Peru 1830, England 1845, Scotland 1846, Uruguay 1856, Agentina and Cuba and Denmark in 1858, Mexico in 1860, Dominican Republic and Turkey in 1861, Chile 1870, Central America (Guatemala) and Costa Rica and Paraguay in 1871, Greece in 1872, Switzerland in 1873, Canada in 1874, Norway in 1891, Equador in 1910, Netherlands and Panama in 1913, Austria in 1925, Germany in 1930, Bolivia in 1931, Philippines in 1949, Iceland in 1951, El Salvador and Honduras in 1960, Nicaragua in 1961, Israel in 1966, Iran in 1970, Finland in 1973, Luxemburg in 1976 and Australia in 1985.
Australia requires some further explanation because the Rite was operating here well before 1985. The first Sovereign Chapter was established in Australia more than 125 years earlier. In 1859 the Supreme Council for England and Wales granted a Charter to a Chapter in Melbourne Victoria. Twenty years later, in 1879, the Supreme Council for Scotland issued a Charter to a Chapter in Brisbane Queensland. Numerous Charters were issued by either the Supreme Council for England and Wales or the Supreme Council for Scotland. The Charter establishing the Supreme Council for Australia was issued conjointly by the Supreme Council for England and Wales, and the Supreme Council for Scotland, in 1985 which resulted in many Australian Chapters being renumbered according to the Register of the new Supreme Council for Australia.
A number of Sovereign Chapters continue to operate to this day within Australia under Charters issued by either the Supreme Council for England and Wales or the Supreme Council for Scotland.
Supreme Councils operate collaboratively with each other and are each responsible to administer and uphold the universal Grand Constitutions. The Rite has no greater legislative authority than a country’s Supreme Council.