Primitive Rite of the Philadelphians (Narbonne 1779)
Rite of Misraïm (Venice 1788)
Rite of Memphis (Montauban 1815)
United Rites of Memphis and Misraïm (1881)

Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis Misraim

Sovereign Sanctuary for Bulgaria

To all Illustrious and Enlightened Masons throughout the World.
Union, Prosperity, Friendship, Fraternity.

On the Denomination of The Rite

ANCIENT: One finds the origins of our Rite in the Rite of Mizraim [Venice, 1788] and the Rite of Memphis (Montauban, 1815). In 1881 these two Rites were united.

PRIMITIVE: The actual Rite of Memphis-Mizraim stems from the first filiation, coming from the Primitive Rite of Paris in 1721, which was followed, in 1779, by the Primitive Rite of Philadelphs at Narbonne.

RITE: The Rules and Ceremonies practised in our Tradition.
The Rite is an Initiatic Way in itself.

MEMPHIS: Is a capitol city of ancient Egypt, situated at the point of the Delta of the Nile. It was here that the Rite was created by Initiates in contact with this ancient civilisation.

MIZRAIM: This word is the plural of Egyptian and first appeared in a group of Sociniens in Venice. The Patent and Constitution was given by Cagliostro.

SOVEREIGN SANCTUARY: Specified by the Rite of Memphis-Mizraim, is the government of the Rite, of the Order, and the Obedience.

History of the Rite

More than 200 years old, this Rite still engenders lively interest and enjoys important developments on an international level. Faithful to its founding principles, it affirms itself as a Rite that is traditional, symbolic and spiritualistic, and associated with the principles of tolerance and liberty.

Upon entering into the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis Misraïm, one places a foot on the path of tradition, with respect for human values and tolerance. This Rite is characterized by an initiatic quest founded on:

    ·    A spiritualistic and deist orientation,

    ·    A vocation to transmit the philosophical reflection on symbols of Ancient Egypt and the different esoteric currents Hermetic, Gnostic, Kabbalistic, Templar and Rose+Croix)

    ·    An open search for a better understanding of oneself.

Such is the spirit of traditional Freemasonry for which, in every act, there is both the visible and the invisible, the positive and the negative, already bearing the seeds of the future.

The Oriental Masonic Order of the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and Misraim or Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and Misraim, is a dual Masonic - Illuministic system that contains in itself various forms of the western initiatic tradition. It starts from the esoteric systems of the ancient Egyptian Hyerophants.

Our Worshipful Rite, because of its reference to Misraim (deriving from the word 'Mizr' that signifies 'Egypt' in Hebrew) is also known as Egyptian Rite. Cagliostro's Egyptian Masonry related to the A.P.R.M.M. by its study of mystical and theurgical practices.

The two United Rites of Memphis and Misraim, form in their union an authentic Order and not a simple Rite. The Order was conceived with the purpose of collating in a single organisation, all the wisdom, knowledge of initiates scattered in the numerous Ritual Bodies of higher Masonry and in the Illuministic and Chivalric Orders.
The A.P.R.M.M. is of Chivalric and Illuministic character, deeply rosicrucian and hermetic, with particular cabalistic functions, that does not in its higher degrees have correspondences with the other degrees practised in Ritual Masonry.

The creator of the Egyptian Freemasonry of Egyptian Rite was the Count Alexander of Cagliostro (1749-1796). Alexander of Cagliostro was initiated to the secrets of the Egyptian Freemasonry by the mysterious Master Altothas in 1776, year of the foundation of the Illuminati Order. The summit of the Illuminati Order was constituted by six members: four were known (Weishaupt, von Knigge, Goethe, Herder) and two were secrets (Franklin and Cagliostro).

In effects a secret connection existed between the Illuminati Order of Weishaupt and the Egyptian Freemasonry of Cagliostro that was officially founded in 1785, year of the suppression of the Illuminati Order. Besides, Napoleone Bonaparte was initiated by Cagliostro to the Egyptian Freemasonry and the Masonic Rites of Memphis, of Misraïm and of Memphis-Misraïm come down from it. Gad Bedarride was received into the Rite of Misraim by the Sage Patriarch Ananiah, Grand Egyptian Conservator, who has been identified by the author Gaston Ventura.

It is said that at this time that Cagliostro was in England, elaborating his famous "Egyptian Rite" which he officially founded in 1782. According to his own account, this rite was derived from a manuscript by a certain George Cofton - whose identity has never been discovered - which he bought by chance in London. John Yarker, however, is of the opinion that "the Rite of Cagliostro was clearly that of Pasqually," and that if he acquired it from a manuscript in London it would indicate that Pasqually had disciples in that city. A far more probable explanation is that Cagliostro derived his Egyptian Masonry from the same source as that on which Pasqually had drawn for his Order of Elected Priests, namely, the Kabbalah, and that it was not from a single manuscript but from an eminent Jewish Kabbalist in London that he took his instructions....

It is said that at this time Cagliostro created the Mother Lodge of the Egyptian Rite at Lyons. Cagliostro, it is said, had established the system of Egyptian Freemasonry which consisted of both male and female Lodges, the latter being headed by his wife, Serafina. The fruits of Cagliostro's researches into the occult societies of Europe were a body of knowledge known as the Arcana Arcanorum, or A.·. A.·. He took this term from the original Rosicrucians of the 17th Century, but his corpus consisted of descriptions of magical practices that stressed "Internal Alchemy," so it goes. Cagliostro had learned these Tantrik techniques from German Rosicrucian lodges.

A few years [after 1776] the celebrated Count Cagliostro founded at Strasburg his Egyptian Masonry. [His first Lodge was founded at Lyons, under the name of "Triumphant Wisdom"; but he afterwards extended his scheme, and opened at Paris an androgyne Lodge, which he termed the "Mother Lodge of Egyptian Adoptive Masonry". He afterwards went to Courland, and was so fortunate as to number among his dupes the Countess de Meden, who recommended him to the notice of the Empress Catherine. He was, however, finally exposed and denounced.]

In 1782 a new and attractive Order sprang up, consisting of 90º degrees, which was called the Order of Mizraim, or Le Rite Orientale. It made its appearance in Italy, and was said to have been brought from Egypt by a learned Egyptian, of the name of Ananiah. [Barruel places the introduction of Egyptian Masonry a little earlier. He says, 'A Jutlant merchant, who had lived some time in Egypt, began, in the year 1771, to overrun Europe, pretending to initiate adepts in the ancient mysteries of Memphis. He stopped some time at Malta, where the only mysteries which he taught were the tenets of Manes; and these he sedulously infused into the minds of the people. These principles began to expand, and the island was already threatened with revolutionary confusion, when the Knights very wisely obliged our modern Illuminee to seek his safety in flight. The famous Count Cagliostro is said to have been a disciple of his, as well as some other adepts in the county of Avignon and Lyons.

The Rite began around 1805 amongst Napoleon's soldiers in Egypt who were Freemasons. It was based primarily on the degree work of the Philadelphes of Narbonne as well as several other masonic Rites that were operating in France during this period. The Rite was then introduced to France from Egypt by Samuel Honis in 1815 and also spread to Italy.

It was soon transplanted into France, and flourishes there at 1850s; although it was subsequently shown to have been invented and brought to maturity by two Jewish Masons, called Bedarride [In one of the degrees, detached portions are introduced of the lecture of the Royal Order of Bruce; and therefore it is utterly impossible that this system could have been imported from Egypt, where the above Order was unknown. Before the French revolution, there were some Chapters of it in France. During the ensuing anarchy, some copies of several of the lectures had found their way into improper hands; and it is probable that the Bedarrides had obtained possession of them; although they had never been initiated into the degree; and thus the fragments of these lectures became incorporated into their new system of Misraic Masonry.], and doubts are entertained whether it be so old as the commencement of the present century. [Thory says it was not known in France till 1814, although he acknowledges that it was previously practised in Italy.

Between 1810 and 1813, in Naples (Italy), the three brothers Bédarride (Michel, Marc and Joseph) received the Supreme Powers from the Order of Misraïm and developed the Rite of Misraïm in France. They made it official in Paris in 1814. The Rite was composed of 90 degrees, taken from the Scottish freemasonry, from Martinism and other Masonic currents, and the last four degrees received the name of "Arcana Arcanorum."

In 1815, in Montauban (France), the Mother Lodge of the Rite of Memphis was constituted with the Grand Master Samuel Honis as head, whom followed, in 1816, Gabriel-Mathieu Marconis. In 1838, Jean Etienne Marconis de Nègre, son of this last one, took over the Rite of Memphis. The Rite, for J. E. Marconis de Nègre, was a continuation of the ancient Mysteries practised in the Antiquity, in India and in Egypt. The Constitutions of the Rite said: "... the masonic rite of Memphis is the continuation of the Mysteries of the Antiquity. The Rite taught the first men to pay homage to the divinity... ". The Rite of Memphis reached the 92º
and 95º degrees.

The Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and Misraim is inarguably the most Hermetic Masonic Order in the International Masonic scene. It is the fusion of the esoteric process of the Egyptian Rite or Rite of Misraim that came from Venice at 1801 and the Eastern Rite or Rite of Memphis that was founded at 1839 in Paris. The Rite of Misraim came from Venice at 1801 due to the efforts of Filalete Abraham and immediately spread into Italy and France, Italy and France. The Eastern Rite of Memphis was founded at 1839 in Paris from Etienne Marconis and it was based on a nomenclature that worked through the degrees of Misraim from start, including the Initiations and Rites of the Eastern Rite.

The information about these two Rites are a bit fractioned due to the historical inflexions that both Rites underlay, mostly the Rite of Misraim that in the course of time came across with the political power and authority of other Masonic forces which having lost the true spirit of the Ancient Initiation, rendered elite clubs that could hardly accept the occurrence of an orthodox elite. These forces always tried to absorb the orthodox elite Rites in any way they could, obviously, so that they could restore their lost for ages traditional genuineness. Especially in Italy, the fights that were conducted in the 19th century from the Austrian Government in the Lombardy - Venice and other Governments of different states of the peninsula were very poisonous. During the 20th century, a lot of mud-slinging was spilled from the fascistic established order of Italy.

Nevertheless, the most important documents were saved and spread till our days. Such documents allow us to guarantee that the Rite of Misraim was active at Zakynthos Island at 1782 and at Venice at 1796. In Venice the Rite was put to sleep after the capture of Enetic Democracy from Austria and awakened from Filalete Abraham, which was the name of Byron Tassoni di Modena, on 1801.

Up to 1881, the Rites of Memphis and Mizraim went the same parallel and harmonious way in the same very particular climate; indeed these Rites began to gather together in two appurtenances the Masons of the Grand-Orient of France and those of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite who were interested in studies bearing on Esotericism and Symbolic Masonry, Gnosticism, Kabala, even Occultism and Hermeticism. These two Rites were the inheritors and the Trustees of old initiatic Obediences of the XVIIIth Century: the Philalethes, Philadelphs, the Hermetic Rite, the Primitive Rite, etc. And all this represented to Mizraim: 90
º various degrees, and to Memphis, 95º.

The problem was how to administer and utilise such an incongruous collection. When Garibaldi was appointed first Grand Master-General for life, (Ad Vitam) for the entire world (because to a foreigner, the brothers abroad had not known political persecutions as they had in France) the decision was to set up a kind of classification by no means hierarchic in origin, but which rapidly became so. Indeed the 95
º degrees of the Rite of Memphis-Mizraim must be considered as a pathway, wherein lie old Masonic degree's which were no longer practised and which were not a scale of values either. Giuseppe Garibaldi revitalised the Order, gathered both rites and expanded them to South America through italian and french inmigration.

In 1856 the Rite was established in the USA, Romania, Australia and Switzerland by Jacques Etienne Marconis de Negre. After the Rite was chartered in the USA in 1862, it was the only Rite high-degree Rite in the USA to be recognized by the regular masonic powers and to have a charter of origin. During the Civil War, the Rite in the USA lost so many members that it fell into a decline from which it never recovered.

The agreements of 1863 with the Grand-Orient of France and in 1896 with the Grand Symbolic Scottish Lodge, future Grand Lodge of France did not concern the normal 33
º degrees (Rite of Perfection following the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite). The Superior Workshops of Memphis-Mizraim obligatorily practice the: 4º degree (Secret Master), 9th degree (Elect of the Nine), 13º degree (Royal Arch), 14º degree (Grand Elect of the Sacred Vault and Sublime Mason), 18º degree (Knight R+C), 20º Degree (Knight of the Temple), 28º degree (Knight of the Sun). The 30tº degree, (Knight Kadosh) 31º degree (Grand Inspector), 32º degree (Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret), 33º degree (Sov.'. G.'. Inspector General. The 66º degree (Grand Consecrator) 87º, 88º, 89º and 90º degree called the (ARCANA ARCANORUM).

The Superior degrees that is all degrees above the 33
º degree are conferred as an honourary title upon Masons in recompense for their valour and fidelity to the Rite. The 20º Degree confers the Ancient Strict Observance Templar degrees, of Baron Von Hundt, and the succession of Jean Baptiste Villermoz, the C.B.C.S., Chevaliers Bienfaisants de Cité Sainte.

Many prominent and leading personalities of the esoteric community at the time, were also involved with the Rite. Gerard Anaclet Encausse (Papus,1865-1916), for instance, was Great Hierophant of the M:.M:. from 1913 on until he died in 1916. 
Theosophic Society of H.P. Blavatsky had an 'Inner Order' for "practical work", called the 'Esoteric Section' (or Esoteric School). The Leading members, who resided within the E.S., were also members of the M:.M:. Rite. It was a co-membership! When one aspired to be a member of the inner circle of the Theosophical Society, one automatically had to become a member of the M:.M:. Rite..... Rudolf Steiner, for instance, became the Grand Master of the Rite in Germany while being a member of the Theosophical Society (He left the Rite in 1914).

In 1934 one of the aims of the M:.M:. Convention was "The Return to the fundamental source of the
Misraim Rite". The French Obedience, to which the Belgian branch belonged until 1933, worked the system of John Yarker, called officially The Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry. Yarker's system worked 33º degrees, divided into 3 sections, embracing MODERN, CHIVALRIC, and EGYPTIAN Masonry. In fact the system compressed the Rituals of the 90º working degrees of the Memphis Rite into 30 Rituals. One has to understand that the original system needed the fortune of a kingdom to carry on a Rite of 90º degrees with the necessary splendour. And this has been one of the main reasons that during the 19th century in several cities throughout Europe the original Rite was abandoned. Abandoned because of financial difficulties...

The Rite did, however, continue to be practiced in Europe and was chartered for the jurisdiction of Chile in the 1920's where it is still practiced and where it survived until recent times. The Rite has experienced somewhat of a renaissance recently, and is now being practiced once again in the regular jurisdictions of France, Brazil, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic. Famous people who have been members of the Rite include Kenneth McKenzie, John Yarker, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Salvatore Zola, David McLellan and several members of the Romanian royal family prior to the suppression of Freemasonry as a whole by the Communists in that country.

International Grand Masters:

Jean-Etienne Marconis (1838)
Marquis de Beauregard (1869)
Salvatore Zola (1874)
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Gianbattista Pessina
Francesco Degli Oddi
John Yarker
Theodor Reuss
Gerard Encausse (Papus) (1914)
Charles Detré (1916)
Jean Bricaud
Armando Rombauts (1934)
Constant Chevillon (1934)
Guerino Troiolo (1936)
Henry Dupont
Georges Lagreze (1946)
Robert Ambelain
Gerard Klopel
Cheikna Syllah (1998)
George Vieilledent
Claude Tripet
Alain Dumaine (2004)
Willy Raemaker (2006)

© 2009 Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis Misraim, Sovereign Sanctuary for Bulgaria