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Egyptian Freemasonry

 - Priory of Sion

The Rite of Misraïm or of Egypt, according to various scholars of Masonry history, was founded in 1801 in Venice by Philalethes Abraham. However, even if the testimonies are unquestionably respectable, however, the origins of this Rite are and remain very mysterious. In fact, an attentive reader cannot escape the fact that, precisely in reference to the aforementioned founder, it will be possible to note, as a useful indication, that the Philalethes were Freemasons from France and linked to the primitive Rite of Narbonne and that Abraham is the name of the well-known Jewish patriarch and that this Rite is steeped in kabbalistic science. Consequently, the Misraïm Rite, instead of having arisen ex novo in Venice, could instead have been born in other places.

In any case, we cannot completely ignore what some famous scholars of Masonry history affirm in their works on this point, who agree that this Rite had an initial diffusion in Venice and in the Ionian islands. In fact Thory states on this point: "...in 1815 it was very widespread in Venice and in the Ionian islands, before the French revolution of 1789. There were many Chapters in Abruzzo and Puglia".

While Levesque, in a writing from 1821, testifies: "... this Rite has been established in Paris for five or six years. It comes from southern Italy and has a certain consideration in the Ionian Islands and on the shores of the Adriatic. And was born in Egypt." It is therefore evident that this Rite was initially widespread especially in Italy, and in Naples, where a R+C Chapter was transformed into the Supreme Council of Great Ministers constituting an Egyptian Masonry Order, deliberating and issuing licenses also to high-level French Masons.

Also in this period, the Bedarride Brothers, of the Jewish religion, after receiving regular (Egyptian) masonry initiatory transmissions in the city of Milan, at the same time became the main diffusers of the Rite, up to introducing it in France, in 1813. Immediately afterwards there were further such developments that Lodges and Chapters were opened in Belgium, Switzerland and Ireland. Jean Mallinger who studied the origins of the Rite of Misraïm in great depth, having had the opportunity to consult numerous ancient documents, confirms that this same Rite was practiced in Italy and in the Mediterranean islands before 1789 and that its last degrees were practiced in two forms different from each other, that is: "a first ritual form was constituted by a philosophical-kabbalistic regime, practiced and spread by the Bedarride Brothers;" "a second form consisted of an Egyptian-Hellenic philosophical regime known as the "Regime of Naples" (well known in the Masonic world also under the denomination "Arcana Arcanorum") condensed into the last degrees of the same Rite." Despite various historical events, including the fusion of this Rite with the Rite of Memphis, Misraïm remained independent in France until 1902 and immediately afterwards fell definitively into sleep. However, it must be specified that, after this date, it seems that there have been possible survivals in Belgium. Again with reference to the legends of its origins, it is possible to affirm, according to the most reliable and acceptable theories, that the Rite of Misraïm was born in Naples and when Freemasonry declined in its esoteric contents to open itself to the revolutionary wind, many Brothers emigrated from Naples to the their possessions on the Adriatic, bringing with them awareness and certainties

initiatory. Possible and consequent diffusions took place from these places and from these ancient times, as will be explained later. According to other scholars, as already mentioned, it was Philalethes Abraham, in 1801, who reconstructed the Loggia of the Rite of Misraïm in Venice, which had become sleepy after the Austrian occupation; this lodge would have existed since 1796. Brother Abraham would be none other than Baron Tassoni of Modena. Finally, there is a further hypothesis formulated by Robert Ambelain and Robert Cools, that it was Cagliostro who spread the Rite of Misraïm in Venice.

In conclusion on the origins of the Rite of Misraïm it is reliable that it had its origin in Italy or, at least, its first diffusion took place in this country, given the affirmations of these and other authors. In any case, in summarizing, briefly and succinctly, the succession of historical events that favored the appearance of this Rite, it is considered useful to report that, basically, there are two versions that historians tell us about the birth of this Rite, the first hypothesis consider the Rite would have been brought to the Venetian Republic at the beginning of the 18th century then, due to ups and downs, from the Ionian islands, precisely from the Egyptian Loggia of Zante (of which Ugo Foscolo was also a member) landed in Venice in 1782. Immediately afterwards, a group of Freemasons Brothers (belonging to the anti-Trinitarian Protestant community of Socino), members of the aforementioned Egyptian Lodge, received from Cagliostro (who at that time was staying in Trento) another masonry initiation. Shortly afterwards, both Gad Bedarride and his son Marc received the relative initiations from these Egyptian Lodges which, in the same period, they integrated with other filiations, always coming from the ancient land of Egypt.

The second hypothesis it is provided directly by Marc Bedarride in his book "L'Ordre Maconique de Misraïm", published in Paris in 1845 by Bérnard et Comp., which outlines the whole genealogy which, backwards, reaches Adam.

As far as we are concerned, having carefully examined the different versions provided by contemporary historiography, and in the light of the initiatory experience proposed by Our Venerable Rite, the conviction becomes more and more consistent that on the origins of the Rite of Misraïm, with possible and due correctives, both hypotheses may be true.

Having made the necessary premises, we finally start, again following a further comparison between the different sources and versions, the very schematic and synthesized description of the historical events concerning the origin and development of the Rite of Misraïm.




From Egypt and Malta, through the initiatory work of illustrious personalities, among which the work of Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of San Severo stands out, an intense research and study activity of the Egyptian tradition of Masonry converges in Naples .


From the Egyptian Loggia of Zakynthos, a Masonry initiatory system with marked Egyptian ritual characteristics spread to Venice and the neighboring regions. In this same year, Marc Bedarride claims that his father Gad was visited by an Egyptian Initiate named Ananiah the Wise, from whom he obtained both the lineage and the powers of transmission of a Masonic Tradition of Egyptian origin.


The EGYPTIAN ORDER OF MISRAÏM was born in Venice, thanks to the synergies of the industrious Egyptian Masonry Lodges, partly promoted by Cagliostro and partly by Ananiah the Wise and Abraham (Baron Tassoni of Modena).


The Ancient and Primitive Egyptian Rite of Misraïm from Venice begins to spread in Lombardy. In 1805 Le Changeur founded the Supreme Council of the Rite in Milan with jurisdiction over the 90 degrees.


According to the most reliable hypotheses, in 1813, the Brothers Bedarride, Joly, Gaborria and Garcia receive the power to spread the Rite of Misraïm in Naples.


The Rite of Misraïm, after ups and downs, governed directly by Marc Bedarride, was definitively absorbed by the Rite of Memphis. Between 1856 and 1870, however active, some national obediences of this Rite remain (see filiation of Mallinger in Belgium) constituting the initiatory deposit called "Arcana Arcanorum". Most of these obediences that remained active were then unified into a single Rite by Giuseppe Garibaldi.


Giuseppe Garibaldi, former Grand Master of the Rite of Misraïm since 1860, elected Grand Hyerophante General in 1881, by virtue of his sovereign powers unifies the two Rites of Memphis and Misraïm which, on a formal level, had remained separate up to that time.

Here ends our very brief and succinct description of the facts on the history of this Rite. Finally, as far as information is concerned, for the sake of completeness of information, the description of the Philosophical Scale of the degrees of the Rite of Misraïm is reported below, comprising 90 degrees of initiatory work divided into 4 series:

SYMBOLIC series from 1st to 33rd grade
PHILOSOPHY series from 34th to 66th grade
MYSTICAL series from 67th to 77th grade
KABALISTIC series from the 78th to the 90th degree
Rite of Memphis (Montauban 1815)

There are many legends about the origins of this rite that are lost in the mists of time. However, scholars of Masonry history know that the Rite of Memphis historically draws its origins from groups of initiates inspired by the mystical and spiritualist movement of the Rose+Cross and from hermeticists who existed before the foundation of the Grand Lodge of England itself, in 1717 The most significant phases of its history are listed below.



The existence of a Masonry Rite composed of seven degrees in the "Egyptian" form, operating in France and, precisely, in Avignon, dates back to this period.



Savallette de Lange, together with numerous other Master Brothers, after having founded the Lodge "Les Amis reunis", on April 23, 1771 in Paris, created the Masonic Order of Philalethes.


The Marquis Chef de Bien after reawakening the Primitive Rite of Narbonne (already existing since 1712) established relations with a Lodge of African Architects existing in Paris and of Germanic origin. Upon its awakening, the Rite of Narbonne took the name of Primitive Rite of the Philadelphi and was modeled on that of the Philalethes of Paris.


Samuel Honis becomes Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Philadelphia.


In this year numerous officers of the Napoleonic army, during the campaign of Egypt, already belonging to one Lodge of the Rite of the Philadelphians, founded a new lodge. Subsequently this same Lodge joined with a Grand Lodge of Egypt (whose origins derive from a branch of Rose + Cross from the period of Constantine) structured in 70 degrees. It is generally accepted that in this same period Napoleon was initiated into the "Isis" Lodge, presided over by General Klebèr.

On the Egyptian Grand Lodge, which existed before the Napoleonic campaign, it can be said, in short, that its legendary existence had been preserved and developed, with great discretion, within Egyptian communities of the Coptic religion and undoubtedly not of the Muslim religion since As is well known, the Copts can be considered as the natural successors of the ancient Egyptians. On the other hand, the current Egyptians, being of Arab origin, even if they arrived in Egypt as early as 700/800 AD. C. always remained very distant and, in some periods even very hostile, to the history, culture and religion of Ancient Egypt.



Returning to France, many Officers already veterans of the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt, founded the Lodge "The Disciples of Memphis" in Montauban, France. This, immediately afterwards, will become the Mother Lodge of the Ancient Eastern Rite of Memphis. Among the founders of this extraordinary Workshop we find the Officer, of Italian origin, Gabriel Mathieu Marconis de Negre (his son will later become his heir and his successor as Sovereign Grand Master of the Rite of Memphis).


Upon their return to their homeland, some Napoleonic officers established the Mother Lodge of the Rite of Memphis in Montauban, France, on May 28, 1815, electing Samuel Honis as Grand Master, who was succeeded on January 21, 1816 by Gabriel Marconis de Negre. Again according to what Jean Etienne Marconis recounts, his father, Gabriel, an Italian officer in the Napoleonic army, was initiated during the Egyptian campaign into the Egyptian Lodge "Isis" and which, on his return home, he founded, together with his comrades-in-arms and Brothers, in 1798, a Lodge with marked Egyptian ritual characteristics, with the distinctive title "The Disciples of Memphis". Brothers who, in the years prior to 1798, already operated in France in Rites always of Egyptian extraction, also converged on this Lodge and integrated very soon. Subsequently Jean Etienne Marconis, basing himself on the stories of his father Gabriel and of the Brothers of the Lodge, of the latter, reconstructed the profile, substance and history (perhaps legendary) of a Rite which was to gather, in a single ritual body, also the many elements of the Egyptian initiatory tradition, present in the multiplicity of Rites operating at the time. On May 25th of this same year, following the intense and productive masonry activity carried out by the Lodge "The Disciples of Memphis", the Ancient and Primitive Eastern Rite of Memphis was born. Brother Samuele Honis is proclaimed Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of this Rite.


On January 21, Brother Gabriel M. Marconis de Negre succeeded Samuel Honis as Grand Master and the Rite assumed a ritual scale of 95 degrees.


In this period the Rite, with ups and downs, passes from periods of intense masonry activity to periods of little significant activity, however manages to survive.



On March 23, Jean Etienne Marconis de Negre, inherited from his father Gabriel, assumes the Grand Mastership of the Rite of Memphis. Soon after he awakens and reactivates this Rite in France and in Belgium. To immediately give an idea of the initiatory message that the Rite of Memphis, under the Great Magisterium of J.E. Marconis, had to offer to Freemasons of all times, we use the same words that Marconis, in his book "Le Sanctuarie di Memphis" (Paris chez Bruyer, 1849), used to outline the fundamental principles that were to constitute the ritual articulations of the Rite of Memphis.

"The Masonic Rite of Memphis is the heir of the Mysteries of antiquity; it educates men to pay homage to the divinity; its dogmas rest on the principles of humanity; its mission is the conquest of the wisdom which serves to discern the truth ; it is the beneficial dawn of the development of reason and intelligence; it is the cult of the qualities of the human heart and the condemnation of its vices; it is, finally, the echo of religious tolerance, the union of all beliefs, the bond between all men, the symbol of the sweet illusions of hope that preaches faith in God that saves, and charity that makes us bless". Thus Jean Etienne Merconis, using initiatory teachings and lineages of Egyptian derivation, created the "Osiris" Lodge in Paris on 23 March 1838 and, subsequently, on 21 May 1838 in Brussels, Belgium, the Lodge "La Benefacente". Immediately afterwards, on August 7, 1838, he was elected Grand Hyerophante of the Mason Ritual Body which definitively assumed the name of Memphis or Eastern Rite. At first this Rite was divided into 91 degrees which, subsequently, due to the needs of initiatory work, they were brought to 95. This Rite had considerable success in Milan and in France. The 95 degrees were divided into the following three series:

1st series: from 1st to 35th grade
It included, in turn, three classes: LODGES, CHAPTERS, AREOPAGHI, where morals, the meaning of symbols, emblems and the first part of the history of the Order were taught, as well as the exercise of philanthropy.

2nd series: from 36th to 68th grade
It included two classes: SENATES and CONSISTORIES, where the natural sciences and the second part of the history of the Order were taught; study materials were provided on the organization and doctrine of all the Rites practiced in Universal Freemasonry. The occult meaning of poetic mythology was also studied.

III series: from 69th to 95th grade
it included only one class, the COUNCIL. In these Ritual Chambers the completion of the history of the Order was known; the mystical and transcendental part of Universal Freemasonry developed; the most daring and sublime theosophical speculations were cultivated. In addition, the philosophy of religions and of all the disciplines constituting the SECRET SCIENCE or better known as REGAL ART were studied in particular.


Spread of the Rite of Memphis in England.


The Rite of Memphis opens its Works in Romania.


On 16 July, Br. Beryeau was appointed Grand Master of the English Rite of Memphis.



Rite of Memphis Works in Australia opens. In the same year, a Sublime Council of the Rite of Memphis was established in Alexandria of Egypt, and Giuseppe Beauregard was appointed Grand Master. On November 9 a Sovereign Grand Council of the 94th degree is founded in New York. Br. Donald Mac Lellan is appointed Grand Master.



Giuseppe Garibaldi and some of his officers are initiated, in Palermo, in a Memphis Rite Lodge.


Became Grand Master of the Sovereign Council for the U.S.A. Brother Harry Seymur.


The Sovereign Shrine of the Rite of Memphis is established in the U.S.A.


The Grand Hyerophante J. E. Marconis de Negre issues the License n. 2005 for the establishment in Alexandria of Egypt of a Mystical Temple and of the Supreme Grand Council of Princes Patriarchs Great Conservators, 95th and last degree of the rite. The license is made out in the capacity of Grand Master to Br. L. Reginald de la Grèce Marquis of Beauregard.


on 26 August, Br. G. Garibaldi and Br. Francesco de Luca, Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy, were elected honorary members of the Supreme Grand Council of Alexandria in Egypt.


on November 21, Grand Hyerophante J. E. Marconis de Negre passes to the Eternal Orient.


On 21 March, Br. Salvatore A. Zola was proclaimed effective Grand Master of the Grand Orient National of Egypt and of the Sovereign Shrine of the Rite of Memphis.


on May 19, Br. Giuseppe Garibaldi was proclaimed Honorary Grand Master ad vitam of the Grand Shrine of the Rite of Memphis and was conferred the 95th and 96th degrees.


on January 11, Br. Salvatore Zola was elected Grand Hyerophante 97th degree of the Rite of Memphis.


Br. Giuseppe Garibaldi unifies the two Rites, of Misraïm and Memphis, in a single Ritual Body and becomes Sovereign Grand Master, Grand Commander, Grand Hyerophante General of the Eastern Masonic Order of the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and Misraïm. Currently the unified Memphis Rite, as far as we know, is asleep. In France in 1947 Probst Biraben tried to awaken it but without lasting success.


Reginald Mac Bean, consul of England in Palermo, reawakens the Rite of Memphis in Italy, but the fascist regime forced, shortly after, to put the Italian Rite of Memphis back into sleep. Subsequently, R. Mac Bean himself appointed five Brothers as conservators with the authorization to reopen this Rite "at a convenient time and place". Said Brothers were Leadbeater, Wedgwood, Arundale, Janarajadasa and Kollestrom who, except for a short-lived episode, kept the Italian Rite of Memphis dormant (as their successors still do today).

United States of Memphis and Misraim (1881)

For Our Venerable Rite the date of 1881 remains a very important anniversary. In fact, on September 23, 1881, Brother General Giuseppe Garibaldi succeeded, both for his high prestige and for the work done by his talented collaborators, in unifying the two Rites of Memphis and Misraïm into a single Ritual Body. This anniversary remains very important also because in addition to the unification, for the first time in the history of the two Rites, Br. G. Garibaldi is recognized as the Great Universal Hyerophante. Italy, the United States, Great Britain, Egypt and Argentina took part in the solemn proclamation. In truth, however, it must be said that, after this event, he continued 

Both the Rite of Memphis and the Rite of Misraïm came to exist separately in some national realities.

On June 2, 1882 Garibaldi passed to the Eternal Orient and the successors of the United Rites, unprepared for his disappearance and for a consequent successor of him, were very upset. In fact, the growth and development of the unified Rites suffered a setback, also motivated by external causes. We want to recall, in this regard, that in that period violent anti-Masonic campaigns were orchestrated in Europe which were made even more violent also in the wake of the mystifications of the former Freemason Leo Taxil.


Only in this year was the United Rite also recognized by Egypt, although it had participated in the appointment of G. Garibaldi as sole Sovereign of the two Rites already in 1881.


The Sovereign of the Rite of Memphis, Br. Ferdinando Francesco degli Oddi, is appointed Grand Universal Hyerophant as successor of G. Garibaldi.


Brother F. degli Oddi is succeeded by John Yarcher Grand Master of the United States of England. This succession took place by virtue of the fact that Br. J. Yarcher held a license, issued to him in 1872, by Br. E. Seymur, Sovereign Grand Master of the Memphis Rite of the United States to whom, in 1856, J. E. Marconis had issued , in turn, a licence.


On June 24, a Sovereign Grand General Council of the Rite of Memphis and Misraïm was created in Paris for France and its dependencies, Gerard Encausse was nominated Grand Master and Charles Detré was appointed Grand Master. The constituent license was signed, in Berlin, by the Grand Master of the German Sovereign Shrine, Theodore Reuss. The French Brothers, mentioned above, at the time of the creation of the Sovereign Grand Council worked in the "Humanidad" lodge connected with the Spanish National rite. For this reason this Lodge then became the Mother Lodge of the Rite of Memphis and Misraïm.


On March 20, John Yarcher moved to the Eternal Orient and was succeeded by Theodore Reuss, by virtue of the license that Yarcher himself had issued him in 1902 to open the A.P.R.M.M. in Germany.


Theodore Reuss passes to the Eternal Orient leaving the post of Grand Hyeropahnte vacant until


Before continuing further, however, it is necessary to return to France where, as already mentioned, a Sovereign Grand General Council was established in 1908. In this period Gerard Encausse died of an illness contracted during military service in October 1916. He was succeeded by Charles Detré who in turn died on December 25, 1818.


Br. Detré was succeeded by Br. Jean Bricaud and his temporary license issued by Teodoro Reuss was reconfirmed, again by this same one. These successions deserve an evaluation. In fact, the history of the two Patents relating to the A.P.R.M.M. French (of which we read in some books published in Italy) is very simple since the second patent was nothing more than the confirmation of a traditional regularity and continuity of the Rites of M.M. in France in the person of Br. J. Bricaud. In the same period, Bro. Bricaud received from the Supreme Council of Confederate Rites of the United States a series of other patents for the Rite of Perfection, for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Cerneau, for the Royal Order of Scotland and another license for the Rite of M. and M. Also in this year the Grand General Council of France of the A.P.R.M.M. becomes Sovereign Sanctuary.


On February 21, Bro. Bricaud dies and Bro. Constant Chevillon is proclaimed his successor. Under his Grand Mastership the Rite has a great impulse and extends throughout the world until the outbreak of the Second World War.


On March 26, Bro. Constant Chevillon was succeeded by Br. Henri Dupont.


On 13 August, Br. H. Dupont designates Br. Robert Ambelain to succeed him in the General Staff of the A.P.R.M.M:. a fact that took place in December of the same year following the death of Br. Dupont. Under the magisterial government of Fr. Robert. Ambelain the diffusion of the A.P.R.M.M. regains strength and vigor.

Nowadays The Great Hierophany derives its legitimacy from the 12th Grand Hierophant Michel GAUDART de SOULAGES, direct successor of the filiations of Robert AMBELAIN and Gérard KLOPPEL, as well as their predecessors. He is the holder of initiatory transmissions and operative teachings. He is also surrounded by senior initiates with specific Hermetic experience and knowledge, whose knowledge is known and recognized internationally. Together, they put their skills and experience at the service of SS∴ and FF∴ in search of knowledge.

Egyptian Masonry through its various initiatory currents unquestionably brings a genuine spiritual answer accessible to all women and all men of good will.

Modifying one's state of consciousness, enriching one's level of knowledge to reach the path to Freedom, this is the proposal of Egyptian Masonry. The rituals of the different grades, the symbols and the philosophical and hermetic teachings dispensed by the Lodges and the Obediences to the different grades constitute a basis of training and work essential to the quest for evolution and knowledge of any Mason.

Egyptian Masonry goes beyond these intellectual and mental notions and shows us the way to a spirituality marked by freedom beyond all dogma and all sectarianism. From the rank of Apprentice, Egyptian Masons are able to lay the foundations for future work of the Arcana Arcanorum (Secret of Secrets), through awareness of the Presence in the moment. These teachings specific to Egyptian Masonry remain at the heart of the training throughout the evolution, beyond the different grades. These are all the foundations of the alchemy of the internal ways which are thus exercised. With the 18th degree, the Knight Rose+Croix enters fully into the operative chivalric spirituality and is ready to grasp the first notions of theurgy. Beyond the 33° degree, Egyptian Masonry definitely marks its difference with all the other initiatory currents. The theoretical and practical study of Gnosis is then at the center of all the teachings and of all the individual and collective works and rituals. The work of Presence at the moment, to which are added the bases of theurgic work, gradually lead the Egyptian Mason towards the 90°, the grade of the Arcana Arcanorum.

These initiatory and hermetic teachings open up three paths:

The alchemy of internal pathways

The alchemy of external pathways


It is the culmination of the Egyptian Masonic path. This can continue with the teachings of Master-Guide through a work of acquisition of knowledge and operational experiences. These confidential, initiatory and even hermetic teachings are in the custody of the Great Hierophany. The Great Hierophant is its guarantor; he is also the holder of the most secret and hermetic transmissions, the most important of which are only verbal.

The Great Hierophany is not an Obedience. Its sole vocation is to transmit the teachings to the highest level and guarantee the authenticity of the initiatory currents embodied by the Grand Hierophant who is its guardian. In fact, the Great Hierophany has no vocation to interfere in the internal organization of the Lodges and Obediences which remain definitively free according to the philosophical foundations of Freemasonry.

The Great Hierophany guarantees the authenticity of the transmissions and the quality of the theoretical and operational teachings.

The Great Hierophany has an Official Website anyone could visit