Was Freemasonry Born of the Knights Templar?

No, and that is all Ramsay’s Fault

RamseyFrance Chevalier Andrew Michael Ramsay was a Scottish nobleman, exiled in France with the Stuarts. He became, for a short period, tutor to Prince Charles Edward Stuart. The Lodge “Horn” of Westminster had
initiated Ramsay into Freemasonry in 1730, at the same time of the introduction of the Degree of Master Mason.

By around 1737 in France, collaborating with the development of Freemasonry, Ramsay was asked to make a speech to a group started when a great initiation.

That speech, known as “Ramsay’s Prayer” seems to have been edited by Ramsay and distributed to those present when such initiation. He had probably had the intention to publish it, which could have prompted the publication in 1741.

Here some interesting excerpts from the speech:

Our ancestors, the Crusaders, gathered from all parts of Christendom in the Holy Land, wanted to meet, in a single Brotherhood, individuals of all nations… … …. Our founders were not just workers in neither stone,
nor curious geniuses. They were not only qualified architects, engaged in temple building materials, but also religious and warrior princes who planned, built and protected the temples of the Most High.
King Solomon wrote in hieroglyphics our statutes, our highs and our mysteries, and this old book is the original code of our Order. … … After the first destruction of the Temple, Zerubbabel was appointed as Grand Master of the Lodge of Jerusalem and instructed to lay the foundations of the Second Temple, where the mysterious book of Solomon was deposited. … … This book has been lost … … until the time of the Crusades, when a part of it was rediscovered after the surrender of Jerusalem.
Kings, princes and lords returned from Palestine to their own land and established several lodges there
… … Our degrees, our Lodges and our rites were neglected in most places. … … However, its beauty
has been preserved among the Highlanders, whom the kings of France confided during many centuries
the safeguarding of its royal family.

At no time, Ramsay mentions the Temple, but his speech was called the initial idea that Freemasonry was the direct successor of the Templars.

Craft Masonry and the Knights Templar actually coexisted and were related. After all, the Temple required operative masons to build castles, forts, chapels, as well as the Catholic Church, the nobility, bourgeoisie, and any institution or person who needed that something might be built.

However, any relationship beyond this is legend, without a shadow of a trace.The theory that Ramsay was the creator of the Rite of Perfection (or Heredom), which served as the embryo to the Scottish Rite, although advocated by many authors, has no reasonable evidence. Inspiration is different from creation.
Connect the fact Ramsay have written three different levels with the emergence of the first “High Degrees” of France.

However, it seems, the three degrees written by Ramsay were a proposal of Symbolic Degrees inspired by the Medieval Knights degrees to replace the then practiced as a way to “reinforce” the theory of “Templar origins.” There is evidence that he has authorship of the degrees implemented by Karl Gathen in Germany, where they became known as Rite of Strict Observance. It was precisely the fact that this rite did not have a stated authority, and having a high content Templar that buried it.

For one thing, “Ramsay’s Prayer” was used: today there are Templar like degrees in virtually every Masonic rite practiced.

by Kennyo Ismail, Masonic Group – Brazil

District 5 Meeting

York Rite Bodies LogoSeptember 10th
Leesburg Lodge no. 58
200 Richey Road, Leesburg FL

11 AM –Registration, officers meet with Grand Commander
12 PM Lunch
1 PM- Meeting (over by 2:30)

Deputy Grand Commander Visit July 2011

Commandery Banner
Tonight we had the official visit of SK Berlin W. Ruleman Jr., District Deputy Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Florida.

We had a roast beef dinner cooked by our own E.C. Jerry McKinnon, with watermellon and apple pie as dessert.

We also had the following visitors:

  • District Instructor for the Capituler District 5, R E Companion Mike Hartman, PDDGHP

From the United Religious Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple, England:

  • E Kt Robert Ronald Anderson, Provincial Aid-de-Camp
  • E Kt Robert Michael Anderson, Provincial Bodyguard

It was a very nice meeting with 20 Sir Knights in attendance.

Practice for Fall Festival

Sam TishCHANGE PRACTICE DATE:   Now 4 AUG–(vs. 21 JUL).  Scheduling conflict requires this change.

Additional guidelines–see APPENDIX D (red softbound–pp. D-8 thru D-11)–are available for use when conducting the York Rite CHAPTER degree for Past Masters scheduled during our 2011 Fall Festival.  This information will be especially useful for the SD and RWM.  [Use your spare time to review the ritual and guidelines prior to our first scheduled rehearsal now on 04 AUG–6:30 p.m., at EOLA Lodge].  We would like to do this degree from memory.  “The CHARGE is to be read.”  Bring your CHAPTER books.

Dress is casual for all rehearsals.  Companions who have experience with this DEGREE are encouraged to attend and provide guidance.

To our Degree TEAM:  (Jerry FAVOR has RE-scheduled us to “practice” at EOLA Lodge at 6:30 p.m., 1ST THURS of AUG).  Bring your York Rite friends as sideliners.
We have scheduled our first practice at EOLA Lodge (6:30 p.m.–on 4 AUG).   Let’s try to work without books on 4 AUG when we practice our parts for the Degree of Past Masters.

We believe we have a solid team for the DEGREE OF PAST MASTERS (see pp. 43 – 53–RED BOOK).  Volunteers [5 CHAIRS + TILER] are listed below.

SW SOARES, Leibnitz
SD RUDD, Michael
Sam Tish, KYCH

What Is Freemasonry?

Square & Compass LogoProbably the finest definition ever devised for Freemasony is: “It is a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols…”

This system of morality, or ethics, is as old as civilization. One must penetrate the allegorical veils, with the aid of symbolical emblems, and practice the moral precepts which have been therein revealed to prepare ourselves, spiritually, “as living stones for that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Freemasonry is “a Way of Life”.

Freemasonry is a progressive science. A Mason can only advance by taking every step. He must acquire and apply the knowledge available to him on each level and perfect his skills so that each stone designed for that Spiritual Building might be square, level and plumb.

Candidates for Freemasonry must come of their own free will. American Grand Lodges prohibit the solicitation of members. The applicant must have a sincere desire to unite with a fraternity dedicated to “Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth”.

Many centuries ago the craft so successfully protected its trade secrets, consisting primarily of architectural and geometrical lore, that it became known as a secret society. Centuries later, when the fraternity had developed strong attachments to the precepts of Truth, Justice and Liberty, and the religious establishment instituted the “Inquisition”, the Freemasons became a secret society in fact. Today this description no longer applies. What Freemasonry teaches is written out for all to read. Masonic halls are listed in local directories. The members wear emblems publicly. The only secrets of the craft today are the manner in which the degrees are conferred and the means of recognition among the members.

Freemasonry is neither a religious nor political organization. It has been called the “handmaiden of religion” as it encourages all members to be active in the church of their choice. No theological dogmas nor creeds exist in Masonic practice, other than a reverence for God and a spiritual concern for our fellowman. While the Masonic craft does not support political candidates nor issues, it inspires each member to fulfill his civic responsibilities as an American citizen. The discussion of sectarian religion or partisan politics is prohibited in all branches of Freemasonry in the United States except the Christian Orders which are not denominational.

The annals of Freemasonry reveals two parallel lines of development; one is based upon historic fact with documentary support, and the other, an allegorical account that begins with the creation of the world. Many centuries ago the allegorical thread began to interweave with history and produced the fabric of modern Freemasonry.

It is appropriate to mention here that Freemasonry has grown directly from the small bands of builders who erected the first stone buildings on the continent of Europe. At a later date, expert European Masons were brought to England to construct the early castles and churches. They also brought with them the ancient legends, traditions anmd charges (rules) of their trades. These small independent groups acquired the title of “lodges”. Each lodge modified the ancient legends, traditions and charges, with which they were familiar, to suit their own purposes, with the result that no real standards existed within the craft. While no documents remain from the 10th century, we receive a glimpse oth the moral aspects of the ancient craft from the Regius Poem.

Excerpted from: A History and Handbook, The York Rite of Freemasonry, by Frederick G. Speidel