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Brethren in North America are familiar with a system of Craft lodges working three degrees and separate bodies confering either the fourth through thirty-third degrees of the Scottish Rite or the several degrees of the Royal Arch and York Rite.
Freemasonry in Europe has taken a different path and a study of her history is recommended to the masonic student. In northern Europe, the Swedish Rite is of particular interest.
SWEDISH RITE
INDEX OF PAPERS
BIOGRAPHIES
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Swedish Rite FAQ
1998/03/18: revised 2010/04/18
Contents
I National Grand Lodges
1.What is the Swedish Rite?
2.Where is the Swedish Rite worked?
3.How many degrees are there in the Swedish Rite?
4.What is the total membership of the lodges?
5.In what degree is a lodge opened to conduct regular business, vote and ballot?
6.What degree must a brother hold to vote in lodge?
7.In what degree is a lodge opened to receive the Grand Master or his Deputy?
8.What degree must be held for a brother to sit as Warden or Master?
9.What degree must be held for a brother to serve as Grand Master or lodge officer?
10.In what degree is the Grand Lodge opened to conduct regular business,vote and ballot?
11.Are members required to maintain membership in lodges of the lower degrees?
12.Are Saint Andrews Lodges invitational?
13.Does the King still play an active role or does he delegate his duties to a deputy?
II Illuminated Chapter
1.Does the Illuminated Chapter hold any authority over the national Grand Lodges?
2.What authority does Grand Chapter hold over the various national Grand Lodges?
3.What is the total membership of the Illuminated Chapter?
4.Can a freemason ask to join the Illuminated Chapter, or must he be asked?
5.Do the brethren of the Red Cross hold any authority over the National Grand Lodges?
III Further information
1.Does the Swedish Order of Freemasonry have a website in English?
2.Is this the only ritual worked in Northern Europe?
3.Does the Swedish Rite use the same symbol for recognition?

INational Grand Lodges
1. What is the Swedish Rite?
The Swedish Rite "is a mixture of the pure Rite of York, the high degrees of the French, the Templarism of the former Strict Observance, and the system of Rosicrucianism." 1 "The Swedes and Danes deny any derivation from the Strict Observance." 2 Membership is restricted to Christians.
The first regular lodge in Sweden was started in 1735 by Count Axel Wrede-Sparre. It seems to have waned around 1748. In 1752 the lodge "St Jean auxiliaire" started in Stockholm, and in 1753 it was declared by the King to be Grand Lodge for all Swedish craft lodges. The first high-degree "Scottish" lodge was started in 1756 with Carl Friedrich Eckleff as Master. In 1759, Eckleff started the Chapitre Illuminé "L'Innocente" and began constructing a high-degree system which originally had nine degrees but later came to include ten. In 1760, the Swedish Grand Lodge was founded, replacing "St Jean auxilliaire" as Grand Lodge for the Craft. Grand Lodge at that time had no power over the "Scottish" degrees or Eckleff’s illuminated chapter. In 1774 Duke Karl. later King Karl XIII became Grand Master of both systems whereby all Masonry in Sweden came under the Grand Lodge.
Duke Karl reformed Eckleff’s system and in 1801 launched the Swedish Rite with eleven degrees, which is largely the same system used today.
Duke Karl was elected Grand Master of the Strict Observance in 1776, after Karl von Hund had died. However the selection had political repercussions and Duke Karl was forced to resign the office after just two years. He then set himself to reform the high degrees of the Swedish system, and used the Templar traditions as a basis. Duke Karl used Eckleff’s material and added various material from other sources. The Strict Observance has left clear imprints on the Chapter degrees (VII-X) in the Swedish system.
2. Where is the Swedish Rite worked?
The Swedish Rite is worked by the Grand Lodge of Sweden (with several lodges in Finland), the Grand Lodge of Iceland, the Grand Lodge of Norway and the National Grand Lodge of Denmark. The Grand Lodge of Finland, founded in the 1920s with a charter from the Grand Lodge of New York, today is a totally independent Grand Lodge. It works the three degrees of Craft Freemasonry, translated, depending on the lodge, into either Finnish, English or German. Several lodges under this Grand Lodge work with a Swedish translation of the Finnish (New York) ritual, which should not be confused with the Swedish Rite. The Grosse Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland (one of five recognized by the United Grand Lodges of Germany) works ritual based on Eckleff's writings after 1760, but otherwise bears no similarity to the Swedish Rite.
3. How many degrees are there in the Swedish Rite?
The system has been described as grouped into three divisions:
St. John’s (Craft) degrees:
IApprentice
IIFellow Craft
IIIMaster Mason
St. Andrew’s (Scottish) degrees:
IV-VApprentice-Companion of St. Andrew
VIMaster of St. Andrew
Chapter degrees:
VIIVery Illustrious Brother, Knight of the East
VIIIMost Illustrious Brother, Knight of the West
IXEnlightened Brother of St. John’s Lodge
XVery Enlightened Brother of St. Andrew’s Lodge
Appendant to the system:
R&KMost Enlightened Brother, Knight and Commodore with the Red Cross
There are approximately 69 freemasons in Sweden currently holding the R&K. They are present or past members of the Grand Council or Grand Officers.
In 1811 King Karl established the Royal Order of King Karl XIII. It is a civil order, conferred by the King, only to freemasons holding the XIth degree with the number limited to 33, three of whom must be ordained. Although not a masonic degree, it is considered the highest rank in Swedish Freemasonry. New members are appointed by the King. An annual Chapter is held on Carl-day, January 28th.
4. What is the total membership of the lodges?
Sweden15,100 (14,000 in Sweden and 1,100 in Finland).
Iceland2,800
Norway16,700
5. In what degree is a lodge opened to conduct regular business, vote and ballot?
St John LodgesI
St Andrew LodgesIV/Vth
Provincial Grand LodgeVIII
ChapterVII
6. What degree must a brother hold to vote in lodge?
St John LodgesI (III in Denmark)
St Andrew LodgeIV/Vth degree.
Provincial Grand Lodgeno votes taken
7. In what degree is a lodge opened to receive the Grand Master or his Deputy?
St John LodgesI
St Andrew LodgesIV/Vth
Provincial Grand LodgeVIII
8. What degree must be held for a brother to sit as an officer, Warden or Master of a lodge?
St John LodgesIII
(Wardens of the Lodge must have VII)
(Master of the Lodge must have VIII)
(VI and willing to reach VIII in Germany)
Provincial Grand LodgeProvincial Master must be R&K.
9. What degree must be held for a brother to serve as Grand Master or other Grand Lodge officer?
R&K Knight and Commander of the Red Cross.
10. In what degree is the Grand Lodge opened to conduct regular business, vote and ballot?
(?)
11. To be a member of a Provincial Grand Lodge or a Saint Andrew’s Lodge, does a brother have to maintain membership in a lodge of the lower degrees?
Members don't, as a rule, remain members of a St. John Lodge when they move on to the St. Andrew Lodge.
In the Swedish Rite, the whole Order is considered an integrated system. When a Master Mason is elevated to the IV/V degree, a "letter of transport" is sent to the St Andrew’s Lodge of his choice. in Sweden he ceases to be a member of his Craft Lodge and pays all dues to the St Andrew’s Lodge. The same thing happens on passage from St Andrews to Chapter Lodge. This is not international standard. In Norway, Denmark and Iceland a member continues to be a member of his "mother lodge", the St. John lodge he originally entered.
12. Does a brother petition to join a Saint Andrew’s Lodge or a Provincial Grand Lodge, or is he invited to join?
Progression happens according to a fixed set of rules with a minimum required time in each degree, a minimum number of visits in the held degree, and some other requirements. In Norway only a set period of time is required. A Brother does not petition for advancement; when the requirements are met, the Worshipful Master of his lodge petition for him. Brothers are expected to advance when summoned to receive a higher degree. The R&K degree is a degree of honour conferred on a maximum of 80 Xth degree brothers.
13. Does the King still play an active role or does he delegate his duties to a deputy?
The question has no relevance today, since the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, is no longer Grand Master. Duke Carl became Grand Master in 1770 (Later King Carl XIII from 1809-1818). After him, all Kings were Grand Masters until 1973, when King Gustaf VI Adolf died. Until recently the Pro Grand Master and the Deputy Grand Master were also members of the Royal House.
In 1973, the new King, Carl XVI Gustaf (grandson of Gustaf VI Adolf), didn't want to become a freemason. Instead his uncle, Prince Bertil, became Grand Master. Prince Bertil died in January 1997, and was succeeded by Gustaf Piehl, who was in turn succeeded by Anders Fahlman in September 2001.

IIIlluminated Chapter
1. As a body, does the Illuminated Chapter hold any authority over the national Grand Lodges or are they independent?
The question is no longer relevent as all degrees now fall under the one Grand Lodge.
2. What authority does Grand Chapter hold over the various national Grand Lodges?
The St. John and St. Andrew Lodges are under the Jurisdiction of the Grand lodge, the Chapters are under the jurisdiction of the Grand Master and his Council.
3. What is the total membership of the Illuminated Chapter?
No longer termed the Illuminated Chapter, there are approximately 69 Knight Commanders of the Red Cross (the XIth degree) making up Grand Lodge.
4. Can a freemason ask to join the Illuminated Chapter, or must he be asked? What restrictions are placed on membership?
Elevation to the R&K degree is by invitation only and is usually given when the brother is appointed to a Grand Office.
5. Do the brethren of the Red Cross hold any authority over the several national Grand Lodges?
Brethren holding the R&K degree, are, for the most, present or past members of the Grand Council, Swedish Rite or national Grand Lodge Officers. This is not a requirement.

IIIFurther information
1. Does the Swedish Order of Freemasonry have a website in English?
Most jurisdictions have an internet presence: ^
2. Is this the only ritual worked in Northern Europe?
The Grand Lodge of Finland works three degrees. Most Swedish speaking freemasons in Finland belong to the Grand Lodge of Sweden.
There are a number of lodges in Finland that work in the 33-degree system (Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite). There are also Knights Templars in Finland. There are a few lodges in Denmark called the "League of Lodges of St John" who work according to the "Schroeder Rite", based on Anderson’s Constitutions and designed by Friedrich Ludwig Schröder, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Hamburg (1814-1816). These Craft lodges accept non-Christian members.
The Grosse Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland (one of five recognized by the United Grand Lodges of Germany) works ritual based on Eckleff’s writings after 1760, but otherwise bears no similarity to the Swedish Rite. To sit as an officer, Warden or Master of a lodge, a brother must hold the VI and willing to reach VIII. To be a member of a Provincial Grand Lodge or a Saint Andrew’s Lodge, a brother has to maintain membership in a lodge of the lower degrees. There are no Grand Chapters in the Swedish Rite in Germany.
3. Does the Swedish Rite use the same symbol for recognition?
Although these Grand Lodges use the international symbol for Freemasonry, the square and compasses, more often the Saint George cross is used; possibly to show that it is a Christian society.

Notes
1. Albert G. Mackey. Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. Richmond, Virginia:1966. p. 997.
2. Henry W. Coil. Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia. Macoy Publishing, Virginia:1995. p. 556.

Compiled by the webmaster, the contents of this FAQ do not represent the opinions of, nor is it authorized by, any Grand Lodge, Chapter or masonic body. It is requested that errors or omissions be forwarded to the webmaster. Thanks are extended to Swedish Order of Freemasons - Grand Lodge of Sweden for reviewing the texts in March 2008.

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