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Ordre Martiniste et Synarchique
2. Brief History of the Order
The origin of the Ordre Martiniste et Synarchique is found in the work and teaching of Martinez Pasquales (1727-1774), a French mystic, adept and theurgist. His work was carried on by his pupil, Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin, a French nobleman, in an independent way - evolving a distinctive philosophy. Saint-Martin wrote several philosophical works. His "Of Errors and Truth" has been regarded as his most searching work and most fruitful contribution to the literature of mysticism. Like all his writing, it was issued under the pseudonym of the Unknown Philosopher (le Philosophe Inconnu). Among his numerous writings there were also excellent translations of the writings of Jacob Boehme - the Teutonic Philosopher.
Des Erreurs et de la Vérité
Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin.
A celebration of Masonic science which was attacked by Voltaire. According to J. G. Findel, Saint-Martin gave “the key to all the allegories and mystical fables of the ancients, the source of all religions and political institutions, and a model of the laws which should regulate the universe as well as single persons, and without which no real science could exist.”
The philosophical writings of Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin met with an immediate interest and wide approval. Groups were formed to study his teachings, calling themselves Societies of the Unknown Philosopher. These groups and Lodges, established by Jean Baptiste Willermoz - also an Initiate of Martinez Pasquales - evolved eventually into Temples of Martinism.
After a long period of relative stagnancy that followed the Napoleanic era, the Order was revitalised by the formation, in 1890, of a Supreme Council of the Martinist Order. Under the brilliant and indefatigable leadership of the renowned French mystic Papus (Dr. Gerard Encausse), the Order grew rapidly but again, the World War I (1914 - 1918) curtailed its activities.
Papus died in 1916 and had been succeeded by Charles Detre (Teder), whose Deputy Grand Master was Victor Blanchard. Teder had considered that the Ordre Martiniste would survive better if connected with a Masonic Obedience, of which the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Misraim was the most esoteric.
Teder imposed Masonic prerequisites, e.g., a candidate had to be Master Mason (in the 3rd degree) of Memphis-Misraim before being able to receive the First Degree: the 18th degree, before receiving the 2nd degree and the 30th degree of the Rite of Memphis-Misraim to receive the Third Degree of Martinism.
However, Teder himself died in 1918, and Victor Blanchard was offered the Grand Mastership which he refused, since he considered the Masonic restrictions were a departure from the true spirit of Martinism.
Jean Bricaud then became Grand Master of the Order and moved the Headquarters to Lyon: there it became known as the Ordre Martiniste de Lyon.
At a special meeting composed of I: L: (Free Initiates) adhering to the original concept of Martinism, the Ordre Martiniste et Synarchique was formed with Victor Blanchard as the Grand Master.
Throughout the 1939 - 45 war, many of the secret societies in Europe were persecuted by the Nazis, including Martinism. It is interesting to note that the Ordre Martiniste et Synarchique continued to operate in Switzerland (a neutral country) throughout these troublesome years.
Victor Blanchard remained as Grand Master until his death in 1953, when he was succeeded by Dr. Edward Bertholet (Sar Alkmaion) of Switzerland. It is from Sar Alkmaion that the Brittanic Grand Lodge received its Charter 1967, entrusted to Sar Gulion who is still Grand Master at the present time (1986).

Reprinted from a pamphlet issued by the Britannic Grand Lodge of the Ordre Martiniste et Synarchique c. 1986. Posted in the newsgroup alt.freemasonry by Sar Draconis, 2003/06/11.


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