Translation, of the Italian, of a Manuscript, which is itself a translation from the French, or German of an original paper dating from the year 1864.


The Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis is a Masonic system, named after the Ancient Capital of Egypt, which for several tens of years running has had in France, then in Belgium, England and North America a humble extension, but many offshoots was recently (1862) placed on the list of recognized systems by the Grand Orient of France, after having been long cultivated in a few Lodges in Paris, even if unknown to us. This system is consequently even now in activity and looking forward to a greater expansion and, as it is essentially different from other systems already established, a brief account will be given of its history, its organization, its Rites and, so far as these are known, of its tendencies.  For this we base ourselves on the publications of its leaders and on what is contained in the Report of Dr. Razy to the College of Rites of the Grand Orient of France on November 12, 1862 (Bulletin of the Gr. Or., November, 1862, page 419 and ff.).


According to the legends of the Order, the Masonic Order of Memphis was introduced into Europe by Egyptian sage named Ormus, converted by St. Mark in A.D. 46. At same time, (so literally runs the legend of the Order) the Essenes founded a school which met Ormus; the pupils remained until 1118 the Conservators of the Ancient Egyptian Wisdom; but in 1150 the Knights of Palestine carried the Masonic Wisdom to Edinburgh and there founded a Grand Lodge, and it is here that one must seek for the origin of modern Free Masonry.


The history of the Order of Memphis recommences – without further references to link up the older events to those of more recent times - with the year 1814. In this year, in consequence of an official project the Brother Samuel Honis, a native of Cairo, Egypt, brought the Rite of Memphis to France. Messrs. Gabr. Mathieu Marconis, Baron Dumas, the Marquis de LAroque and Hypolite Labrunie founded, on the 15th April, 1815, at Mountaban ( in the Department of Tarn et Gerone) the first Lodge of the system, wich was constituted on May, 1815, under the name of Disciples of Memphis. The Grand Master if this Lodge was Marconis (senior) who, January 21st, 1816, was named Grand Hierophant. But before the close of that year the Lodge already suspended its labours, having declared itself “asleep” on the 7th March, 1816, and, for 22 years the activity of the new Rite remained dormant. On March 21st , 1838, the aforesaid Lodge resumed its labours and already, on April 3rd, of the same year, the Grand Lodge Osiris  was constituted.

The Compilation of Statutes was undertaken and these (following another project of April 7th) were published on January 11, 1839. Three Supreme Councils were installed and Joseph Stephen Marconis (junior) was appointed Grand Hierophant  and Keeper of the Universal Archives of the Order. The organizations of this Supreme Councils of the Order, although they were subsequently altered, is sufficiently worthy of the attention required in order to form a precise idea of them. It was characterised by the Oriental   Mystic Pomp which stamps the whole system.


The Supreme Council is the Mystic Temple; from it proceeds all light, wisdom and doctrine. In its Sanctuary are found the Venerable Arches of its Traditions, the Altar of the highest obligations and the Attributes of all degrees. At the head of the Nine Grand bearers of dignity stands the Hierophant Grand Master of Light, sacred depository of the traditions, Sublime Elect of the Sacred Veil, Member of the Alidee; after him follows the High Dai “governor of the scientific region”; the rest, to whom is added the predicate of “the wise”, have similar esoteric names: Lamas, Zerdust, Helvell, Plist, Quetzal, Cattl, Ized, Ferotolist, this last being the distinctive title of the Secretary. These nine grand bearers of dignity were, in 1843: the before mentioned Marconis (named also J.E. Letrillard); a literary man, H. de Payen; a Prof. and physician, Audibert; a Baron, Hol. Von Poederle; a Chevalier, Garzay; the physician of the Duke of Sussex (Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England) Morrison of Greenfield; a retired Battalion leader, Labrace; and two private gentleman, Fabre  and Schaffner.


The Second Council is the Sovereign Grand Council General, composed of seven members with names of high dignity. It decides on all applications of Lodges, Chapters, Aeropagi and Councils and guides them in their work.


The Third Supreme Council is the Liturgic College, composed of nine enlightened members and charges with watching over the doctrine, and the orderly development of dogmatic, moral and scientific teaching.


The members of these other two supreme Councils were, in 1843, for the most part literary men private gentlemen, with moreover a General, De Melinet. These, who were at the head of the Government, constituted the Supreme Council.


Under them were: in Paris – besides the already mentioned Disciples of Memphis and Osiris - the Lodge Philadelphi, founded by the before named Brother Audibert and Baron Roederle; then in Brussels, the Lodges Bienveillance, 21st, November, 1839, and Sages of Heliopolis, 29th, February, 1840, founded by the banker de Mesmaker, by Hofjuvelier Viterbols and by the Secretary of the Glandis Academy; lastly, in Marseilles, the Knights of Palestine Lodge, 30th December, 1840.


Another Official Report of June, 1843 gives, besides, Lodges as having been founded in London (where a Staff Captain, Menso de Villa, and a Member of Parliament, Baron de Beauvois were at the head), in America, in Smyrna and Buenos Ayres, and also [states] that special Representative Supreme Councils, a sort of Provincial Lodges, have been founded in the above named cities, outside the French State.


Consequently the Order of Memphis appears at that time to have consisted of 3 Supreme Councils, 5 Representative Councils and, including some expected installations, of 11 symbolic Lodges, with 3 Chapters and 2 Aeropagi.


The Memphis Rite proceeded in a manner calculated to procure it access. Its statutes prescribed that Lodges and their Members should maintain the best of relations with the Masons of other systems. It received also brethren of every other Rite, for  “Tolerance stands at the head of its Laws”. It granted all its degrees free of charge; under no pretext could they be bought; they were to be exclusively the possession of those who deserved them. No one could obtain a degree without having written a paper on questions concerning that degree. All this was calculated to awaken affection for the system, but it had also the bad luck to deceive the Police.


On February 25th, 1841, the Prefect of Police requested the members of the New Order to suspend their labours and on May 21st, the Grand Hierophant declared the Rite to be asleep. This took place after another denunciation, 7th of July, 1843. The Order celebrated its second birth on March 5th, 1848. The Chapter Les Sectateurs de Menes was founded by Baron Braunecker, Capt. J. Rousseau and by the painter B. Netter in Paris, 21st May, 1848, and the Lodges Disciples of Memphis came again into activity in November, 1849, many Lodges following suit in this and the two subsequent years.


But the Order also took on a new Organization in 1849, being extended to 90 degrees as was announced: a system of which up to that time there existed, at least beginnings as happens from the things said. These 90 degrees of Wisdom are divided into 3 Orders:                                 

The First Order teaches morality, gives the meaning of Symbols, guides its Adepts to the love of Humanity, teaches the first part of the Story of the Order and reveals the science of Nature. It contains the following degrees:


1-3, symbolical;

4 Secret Master;

5 Master Architect;

6 Honoured Master;

7 Just and Perfect Master;

8 Knight of the Auserwahlter;

9 Auserwalther  Knight of the Nine;

10 Auserwalther Knigth of the 15;

11 Exalted Auserwalther Knight;

12 Knight Grand Master Aerchitect;

13 Royal Arch;

14 Knight of the Sacred Arch;

15 Knight of the Sword;

16 Prince of Jerusalem;

17 Prince of the Aurora and of the Sunset;

18 Knight Rose Croix;

19 High Priest of Jerusalem;

20 Grand Master of the Temple of Wisdom;

21 Noachite Knigth of the Tower;

22 Knight of Lebanon;

23 Knigth of the Tabernacle;

24 Prince of Tabernacle;

25 Knight of the Brazen Serpent;

26 Trinitarian Knight;

27, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Temple;

28, Knight of St. John, or of the Sun;

29, Knight of St. Andrews;

30, Knight Grand Kadosch.


The Second Order teaches Philosophy and History, explains Indian Geometric theorems, fables and the poetic myths of Antiquity, the Zendavesta, the Manu of Harmasasha, the Sacred Vedas and the forth. The ultimate object is to stimulate investigation of  First Principles and Bases and to promote sentiments of humanity and sympathy. The degrees of this Order are the following:


31, Grand Inquisitor;

32, Sovereign Prince of the Mystery;

33, Knight General Grand Inspector;

34, Knight General of the Red Order;

35, Knight Master of the Angel;

36, Knight of the Holy City;

37, Knight Adept;

38, High and Auselwahlter Knight of Truth;

39, Knight Philalethe;

40, Doctor of the Planisphere;

41, Wise Sabaist;

42, Sapient Hermetic Philosopher;

43, Knight of the Seven Stars;

44, Sovereign Lord of the Star;

45, High Priest of Isis;

46, King Hirt der Hutz;

47, Prince of Holy Hill;

48, Sage of the Pyramids;

49, Philosopher of Samothrace;

50, Knight of the Camaso;

51, Knight of the Phoenix;

52, Sublime Skalde;

53, Knight of the Sphinx;

54, Knight of the Pelican;

55, Sublime Knower of the Labyrinth;

56, Priest of Cadmea;

57, Sublime Magus;

58, Brahmin Prince;

59, Priest of Ogigia;

60, Scandinavian Knight.


The Third Order teaches the remainder of the story of the Order. It Applies itself to high philosophy, declares the re-establishment of the fire, the great Revelation of Light, studies the religious legends of the various ages of antiquity and leads to the boldest Theosophical studies. It compromises the following degrees:


61 Knight of the Work of the Seven Colours;

62 Knight of the Temple of Truth;

63 Sage of Heliopolis;

64 Priest of Mithra;

65 Prince of Truth;

66 Sublime Kawi;

67 Most Wise Muni;

68 Architect of the Mysterious city;

69 Sublime Knight of the Holy Veil;

70 Commentator of the Symbol;

71 Orphic Doctor;

72 Custodian of the Three Fires;

73 (wanting); 74, Sovereign Master of Wisdom;

75 Knight of the Golden Bough of Eleusis;

76 Sovereign Grand Master of the Mystery;

77 Supreme Master of the Sloka;

78 Doctor of the Sacred Fire;

79 Doctor of the Sacred Vedas;

80 High Knight of the Gilded Vliesses;

81 High Knight of the Shining Triangle;

82 High Knight of the Fearsome Sadch Sadch;

83 High Knight Theosophist;

84 High Grand Inspector of the Order;

85 High Auserwahlter of the Lybian Chain;

86 High Master of the Shining Bird;

87 High Master of Masonry;

88 High Knight of the Kneph;

89 Auserwahlter of the Mystic City;

90 High Master of the Great Work.


With these 90 Degrees go, as 91 – 93, the three Supreme Councils:


91 Grand Conservator of Rites;

92 The Sovereign Grand Council;

93 The Mystic Temple.


But even these were immediately brought up to five grand Councils named:


91 Grand Tribunal;

92 Grand Liturgical College;

93 Grand General Council;

94 Mystic Temple;

95 Sanctuary.


This is a structure of the Order of Memphis in its complete Organization. As regards the number of degrees, it explained that the three Orders or series are a symbol of the three sides of a right angled triangle and contain the Wisdom of all Masonic degrees; for the first series represents the Apprentice; the second, Fellow Craftsmen; the Third, Master Masons. The 90th degree is perfect because the right angle of a right angled triangle is equal to the other two.

It does not appear to be necessary, however, that in order to pass into a series every one should have obtained all the degrees of the preceding series; he is only required to have worked in a Lodge, or Chamber, of the lower Order and have at least been Initiated in some key degrees. But in any case he must first submit a written treatise for judgment by the Lodge, or Chamber, into which he is to enter. As regard the last five degrees, they are invited, in the General Meetings of deputies from all the Lodges or Chambers, to consider, confer and decide upon, by a majority of Votes, all questions regarding the Order which do not exclusively pertain to the competence of any of the Superior Councils.


The 95th Degrees, Sanctuary, has no direct influence on the Government of the Order. It consecrates itself entirely to Esotericism, and admits to its meetings and to the labours of the Sanctuary an unlimited number of brethren chosen without distinction from all the Orders and without any special privileges being conferred thereby.


No sooner had the Order begun to settle down under this new Organization and to found Lodges, than its start forward, which, in France at any rate, was already effective and running normally, came to an end. On December 21sr, 1851, the Rite of Memphis was again declared to be asleep. Its headquarters were now transferred to England where there had been already founded in London, in 1850, a Representative Council for Great Britain and, on May 7th, 1851, they were constituted under the Presidency of J. Th. Berjean .  The Police had allowed the French Lodges to be closed in France (which was annoyed at having appeared to maintain its declaration of asleep until 1853). On September 30, 1853, the above named Brother Berjean was installed Grand Master of Light of the new Mystic Temple and of the Grand Council General, and as Organ of the Grand Hierophant. The Order thenceforth began again to make progress. Already, on August 23rd, 1854, there was founded in Birmingham a Lodge, L’Avenir under the presidency of E. Chevassus, who later became the Grand Chancellor of the Order. But, even outside Great Britain, Lodges and Chapters of this Rite were founded. In particular in May, 1854, there was constituted in Brussels a Grand Lodge, L’Invisible; in 1856 a similar one in Geneva; and, in New York, through the exertions of  F.C. Pelletier, the Lodge Thabor on September  22nd , 1855; in Ballarat Australia, a Grand Mother Lodge, The Golden Bough of Eleuis, was result of the work of Brother Ballaguy. Thus in 1857 the Order consisted of above mentioned 5 Supreme Councils, of 4 Grand Representative Councils in America (New York), Australia (Ballarat), Belgium (Brussels), and Switzerland (Geneva) and of the before named Lodges in Birmingham, Brussels, New York, and Ballarat, to which are now added the Lodge Friends of Virtue at Geneva and then following 4 Lodges in London : Gimnosophists, Supreme Chapter of the Fraternity of Peoples, Grand Chapter of Disciples of Hermes and the Council of Grand Regulators of  Freemasonry. These formed together 14 Lodges of various degrees; but the report that we have before us brings up this number to not less than 104, for it adds below 90 model Lodges in London, one for each of the 90 degrees. With reference to these 90 Lodges, no one has any other information and, with some foundation, according to the very reports of one of the Sovereign Councils, the General Council in 1857 had already been inactive for a year past, a fact which cannot be reconciled with a florid condition in the life of the Lodges. And one is confirmed in the conclusion that the Order must have been in a poor condition by the fact that, already in 1860, it had arrived at a new Organization.


This is distinguished from the preceding ones as follows:

The 90 degrees are reduced to 30 and there is something more systematic in their grading, even thought it be only nominally so. Each series of 3 degrees forms special class of Masonry; there is a division of the 30 degrees into three series, corresponding to the grades of Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master, so that always the terms of these three series fall into one of the ten classes:


The manifest intention of this new Organization was “by means of this division, derived from the widening of the Work of  System, to give to the Brethren and to the Lodges the possibility of studying usefully, and according to their special faculties, the fruitful principles of Masonic philosophy, and old and new.” Nor shall we are in supposing that, at one time at any rate, it had the object of putting the Memphis System on the Masonic market, so to speak, in a  new form procuring for it better access. In fact we find that Order tended to spread, on the Continent. In Berlin, at the beginning of 1861, an Agent, who nominally sold Jewish certificates of the Lodge of Gymnosophist of London, (this is stated in writing by Serbeth in the Freimaurerzeitung), began an agitation for restricting the limits of that Grand Lodge. A better result was obtained by these efforts in France, where the Memphis Rite once more gained ground. On July 29, 1862, the Lodge Les Sectateurs de Menes having resumed its labours presented a list of Members to the Grand Orient trough Brother Marconis, as Grand hierophant of the Memphis Rite, and asked for recognition. The Lodge remained as it was, but the request for recognition of the Rite was presented to the Grand College of Rites, which in the meeting of the 12th, November of the same year, decided. The above name commission (whose judgment is contained in the Bulletin of the Grand Orient of November, 1862, S. fg.) was of opinion that, in consequences of that petition, Brother Marconis had renounced all the rights and dignities due to him in the Rite of Memphis and, as the Rite has for its object the moral and scientific sides and the propaganda of the Masonic truths which had for long been taught by the Grand Orient, the Commission pronounced on this, that in principle the Rite of Memphis be placed under the obedience of the Grand Orient and permission be given to its Lodges to work in the three symbolic degrees according to their own Rite. An Application for admission to higher degrees of the Rite which, however, according to the Statutes of the Grand Orient, could follow, in principle, only up the 30th, was left undiscussed, attention being only drawn to the fact that such a permission, to work in higher degrees, could only come about if the rules of the Statutes of the Grand Orient were observed. But in February, 1864, this latter question came up again owing to the application of the Lodge Disciples of Memphis, which had meanwhile resumed its labours in Paris, and the Grand College of Rites decided on the above mentioned presuppositions, by forming a Chapter in connection with this Lodge (Bull: of the Grand Orient, March, 1864). Consequently the Rite of Memphis is at present (August, 1864) active in France and possesses the two above named Lodges, together with Chapter, in Paris, and also another Lodge, The Knights of Palestine, in Marseilles.


We don’t know if the above described Organization of 1860, recent as it is, has least in part been changed, but it is almost to be so conjectured, as, in treating of the matter, the Grand College of Rites, in November, 1862, speaks of the 90 degrees of the Rite grouped into 7 classes. According to other observations and to what is known to us of character and doctrine of this Rite, the same really presents itself as a system which has brotherhood for its foundation, which does not clash with the essence of Masonic teaching.


“The Memphis Rite is the continuation of the Ancient Mysteries. Its doctrine has for its foundation Humanity, its, task is the study of the Wisdom which teaches knowledge of Truth. This is the beneficent work of developing the reason and the intuition; it is the education of the qualities of the human heart and the suppression of its Vices; it is the Sublime Institution, above all, which ennobles manners, which covers the earth with its divine emanations and, by love, weaves among men the ties Universal Brotherhood.”

So says the Grand Hierophant Marconis de Negre in the Mystic Sun, published in 1853 in the journal of Universal Freemasonry, and these words may be regarded as typical of what is said on other editions of the Journal. In the Rite of Memphis we should see an attempt on the part of Masonry to strike out a new path, that of the symbols of all periods of culture leading to the Theosophy of early times.” (Lett. The Hierophant, a complete explanation of Masonic Mysteries by J.E. Marconis and E. N. Moutter, Paris, 1840, Closs. Bibl. N. 2083)







Appendices II


Historical Summary and official resignation of the Grand Hierophant S.A. Zola











Translation from the Italian of an Official Document issued from Cairo by the Grand Hierophant of the Memphis Order in 1883.


Official Bulletin of the Egyptian National Grand Orient. To God and Humanity.

Historical Summary Regarding the National Grand Orient of Egypt and the Abdication of the Grand Hierophant G\ M\ Zola.


                                          6th, April, 1883


We Solutore Avventore Zola, Grand Hierophant, Grand Master of Light, Founder of the National Grand Orient of Egypt, etc, etc.

Having for a good eleven years, had to struggle against very great difficulties in order to found, consolidate and reorganize the Ancient and Revered Oriental Rite of Memphis and to propagate it anew in the Valley of the Nile, its ancient cradle; after having been legally and regularity elected to the office of grand Master of the Sanctuary; and thereafter to the Sublime dignity of Grand Hierophant, a dignity up to then  vacant through the abdication of the Ill\ Bro\ Jacques Etienne Marconis, which brought with it the dissolution of the Mystic Temple and of the Sanctuary of the Rite existing up to the end of 1866 in Paris, as appears from the following historical summary and from the documents in support thereof deposited in our Archives, do set forth as follows:





As is known to us all, the Order of Memphis is said to have been introduced into Europe, by an Egyptian Sage named Ormus, converted by the philosopher Marcus (called the Saint) to the philosophic school of the Christ. The Essenes, almost contemporaneously, founded the school of Solomonic Science and held their meetings in [union with] Ormus. His disciples up to 1118 remained the sole depositories of the ancient Egyptian Wisdom, but it is alleged that they then communicated it in part to several Knights of Palestine who, in 1150, arrived in Edinburgh, and there erected a Grand Lodge, making use, in initiations, of the formulas given them. It is believed that the disciples of Ormus remained faithful to the Ancient traditions; the others founded a new Rite.


What, however, is more positive is that in August, 1798, Napoleon the Great and Kleber, although already Masons, received initiation and affiliation in the Rite of Memphis by one, venerable in age and wise in doctrine and manners, who was said to be a descendent of the ancient sages of  Egypt. The initiation took place at the Pyramid of Cheops and they [the Candidates] received for sole investiture a ring, as a characteristic sign of their dignity. Napoleon, with General Kleber and various officers of his army, founded here the first Memphis Lodge in 1798-99. Both Napoleon and his Brethren had to convince themselves that Masonry (namely, the school of Sages) has never really died out in this land, the cradle of the Mysteries and of human knowledge.  It filtered through into the various classes of the Egyptian people who, under various denominations and formulas worked, and still work, the ancient Mysteries, which are [also] ours, namely those of Modern Free Masonry. Napoleon found a fruitful soil and in it got the Ancient Wisdom to sprout again, enriched by all the knowledge of the modern world and rejuvenated by all the hopes of a splendid future.


Bro\ Samuel Honis of Cairo, having been initiated in the said Lodge, received the custody of its Archives and then, owing to political events, it was put to sleep. About 1814 Bro\ Samuel Honis introduced the Rite into France.


This first Lodge was founded at Montauban on the 30th, April, 1815, by Brothers: Samuel Honis, Gabriel Mathieu Marconis de Negre, Baron Dumas, Marquis de Laroque and Hypolite Labrunie. The said Lodge was constituted, under the distinctive title of Disciples of Memphis, on the 23rd, May of that year.


On the 7th, March, 1816, this Grand Lodge declared itself asleep and its Archives were intrusted to Bro\ Gabriel Marconis de Negre, Grand Master, who had been so elected in  the meeting of the Grand Lodge and raised to the Grand Hierophancy by a decision of the same on January 21st, 1816.


On March, 21st, 1838, The Rite of Memphis, after a sleep 22 years, resumed its interrupted labours and, on the 29th, of the same month, its three supreme Councils were constituted.


On April 3rd, of the same year the Grand Lodge of Osiris was founded by the Ill\ Bro\ Jacques Etienne Marconis, son of the deceased Grand Hierophant, depository of the traditions and Archives of the Order.


On May 21st, 1839, was constituted the Chapter of the Philadelphi at the Orient of Paris.


On December 24th, 1839, the Lodge of Knights of Palestine was constituted at the Orient of Marseilles and, on December 30th, 1839, the said Lodge was raised to the rank of Provincial Grand Lodge 90 degrees, Sublime Masters of the Great Work.


On May 21st, 1841, the Grand Hierophant put the Rite to sleep. On March 5th, 1848, it resumed its labours. In May 21st, was constituted the Menes Chapter at the Orient of Paris.


On July 27, 1850,the Chapter and the Areopagus of Disciples of Memphis were founded  in Paris.


The Council of Sublime Masters of the work was installed in Paris on April 5th, 1851. On December 21st,1851, the Rite of Memphis was again put to sleep by order of the Grand Hierophant. It was not, therefore, Bro\ Jacques Etienne Marconis who introduced the Rite of Memphis into Europe as many believe.


Ill\ Bro\ Jacques Etienne Marconis was the true restorer of the Rite and it is to his lights that we owe the bombastic nature (“ampollosita”) of his reform and the various attempts made to propagate it.    


 Ill\ Bro\ J. E. Marconis, after having kept up a serious struggle for 26 years against the Grand Orient of France, being weary of his labours, or perhaps, too, in the interest of Masonic peace, thought it advisable to resign and abdicate his dignity of Universal Grand Hierophant in favour of the Grand Orient of France, ceding the Rite at the same time, as appears from his letters of May 15th, 1862, and those confirming his resignation of the 1st September, 1863; 2nd, March, 1864; 26th, September, 1865; and 15th March, 1866.

Long before negotiating the cession of the Rite to the Grand Orient of France, Ill\ Bro\ Marconis legally and regularly constituted in Cairo the Lodge Menes and in Alexandria founded a Supreme Council of the Order, with the distinctive title of Grand Orient of Egypt, composed of Seven Patriarchs Grand Conservators of the Order, Grand Elects of the Mystic and Traditional Section of Memphis, with authority to confer from the first to the ninetieth degree of Sublime Master of the Great Work and found Lodges, Chapters, Areopagi, Senates and Consistories.


In 1856 he issued to the Grand Orient of Egypt a Patent of Sovereign General Administrative Council of the Order, 94 degree, and of Government of the Order, 95 degree, (Sanctuary of Memphis) giving it full powers to constitute all the corporate sections of the Rite and rule them as a free and independent body. See Patents No I, II, III.


By Patent No II the Grand Hierophant invested Ill\ Bro\ Marquis Joseph de Beauregard with the office of Grand Master, President of the Supreme Council of the 90th degree ; by Patent  No III the Grand Orient of Egypt was, as we have already said, raised to be Sovereign General Administrative Council and Government (Sanctuary) of the Order, composed of a Grand Master and six Patriarchs 95, Grand Conservators of the Order, nominated for 5 years. (Article 7 of section 3, and article 4 of section 1, of the Organic Statutes of the Order).               


Whereas Bro\ Jacques Etienne Marconis was not the owner of the Rite, but merely the successor of the deceased Grand Hierophant and, consequently, the custodian (V. Statutes and Regulations of the Rite published 11th, January, 1839, Section I, Articles1, 4 and 5; Section III, Article 2), therefore the Act of Abdication of Bro\ Marconis in favour  of the Grand Orient of France, not having been countersigned by  the Grand Chancellor of the Rite, as is prescribed by Art.4 of Section I and by Art. 26 of Section III, which require the countersignature of the Grand Chancellor under pain of nullity, that Act is null and as if it had not taken place.


Whereas the procedure of Ill\ Bro\ Marconis is not legal, inasmuch as he cannot cede the Rite which does not belong to him, but which was only intrusted to him as a sacred trust, and whereas in face of the Order such Act is void, as it tends to the dissolution of the Supreme Power of the Rite of Memphis; considering that the resignation of a titular holder, or functionary, cannot dissolve the Body which has entrusted to him that dignity; whereas in France, in consequence of the abdication of the Grand Hierophant, the Mystic Temple, the Sanctuary of Memphis and the Sovereign Grand Council, together with the three lower councils, 93rd, 92nd, and 91st degrees, have been dissolved.


Whereas the Provincial Grand Lodge of the Order of Memphis in the Valley of Marseilles rose up and unanimously protested against such an Act.


The Grand Orient of Egypt, in virtue of the powers conferred upon it by Patent No III, called together all the Patriarchs 95th existing in Egypt (and created such by Bros. Marconis himself) to a meeting of the Sanctuary, and it is only in 1867 that met, and, in virtue of the legal and regular Patent No III founded the first Sanctuary of Paris; Egypt in substitution of the demolished Sanctuary of Paris; Egypt being the possessor of the one and only Patent of that grade and Authority which the Grand Hierophant J.E. Marconis did legally and regularly grant, of Supreme Administrative and Governing Power of the Order of Memphis, almost as a presage of what he himself was about to do, so that the Rite should have in Egypt, its ancient cradle, that which the circumstances of the time perhaps prevented is being any longer able to have in Paris, namely the general seat of the Order.


At the elections for the foundation of the Sanctuary His Highness Prince Halim Pascia, son of the Great Mohamet-Aly was elected Grand Master of the Order. The Sanctuary’s first care was to construct Lodges, Chapters, Councils, etc.

The enthusiasm aroused in Egypt by the foundation of the Sanctuary is easy to understand when in a few weeks the number of its adepts grew to several hundreds .


The Ground Orient of Egypt, as Supreme Power of the Order, prospered until 1868, in which year those who were jealous of the Egyptian Masonic Power, and the personal enemies of the Grand Master, insinuated in the ears of the Khedive, and on his Government, that the Prince, and the Order, had sinister aims and succeeded in getting him exiled from Egypt. The Order soon felt terrible shock of the Grand Master’s departure. The Lodge and Councils ceased to work; the Sanctuary worked clandestinely with a very limited number of Patriarchs and Subl\ Magus 96, the Marquis Joseph de Beauregard- acting as a supplementary Grand Master under mandate received from the Grand Master himself preserved the Rite for some time longer.


In 1869 prudence required that it should again be put to sleep as it had aroused not a few suspicions in the Civil Government.


From its foundation in 179-99 until 1869 the Rite was to succumb many times and, like a new Phoenix, to rise again as many times with its own element. In 1872 we were called to take part in the Rite of Memphis, which about a month earlier had begun to show signs of new life, and on November 21st of that year the Grand Orient of Egypt called together all its Patriarchs to a meeting of the Sanctuary, and on December 21st, nominated us a its provisional Grand Master in the place of His Highness of His Highness Ismail, Khedive of Egypt, to reopen the labours of the Grand Orient of Egypt, an authorization accorded to us as a mark of the confidence and friendship which the Sovereign was pleased to extend to us, we became aware, in assuming the reins of the Administrative and Governing power of the Order, of the  grave and difficult task we had undertaken. The Order had returned to chaos and it was necessary to found, organize and consolidate it. We do not blame our predecessor, as he had not had time to consolidate it, nor yet the time to arrange matters so that his supplementary Grand Master should do so, for he had only for a few days the pleasure of finding himself among his brethren, having been exiled a few days after his nomination as Grand Master of the Order.


Shortly after, the Sanctuary [had] ceased to exist, and I might almost say it never really existed, except in the authentic documents granting it powers to constitute itself as such, for almost as soon as it was born it, like its ancestors, fell asleep again until the 21st November, 1872. From that date to the 20th, December were merely preparatory meetings and, between December 21 and March 20thm we were really able to found and reorganize the Order. On March 21st, 1873, we were unanimously and definitely elected and proclaimed Grand Master of the Sanctuary of Memphis, National Grand Orient of Egypt, and invested it the dignity which, up to 20th, December, 1872, was held by the very Ill\ Bro\ His Highness Prince Halim.


As soon as we had taken definite charge of our Office and of its inherent prerogatives, we dedicated ourselves with all our energies both physical and moral to the consolidation of the Egyptian Masonic Power, which  was definitely proclaimed as founded on March 21st, 1873.


On the 19th April of the same year the Order was more than ever consolidated by the protectorate of the August Sovereign of this historic land. The august Ismail consented to grant his powerful protectorate, promising his full adherence to the development of our peaceful labours, provided that the Order took no part in politics hostile to the progress of Egypt.


WE pledged our word of honour that we should never take part in politics, unless asked to do so by the Head of the State; and that if, one day, the Order, or the Members comprising it, were asked to assist the plans of the Head of the State and his Government, they would do so, provided that such plans tended to the good of the people and to the progress of Egypt.


The August Sovereign, who was a century ahead of his people, quite understood what we said and declared himself satisfied. Thus was established the understanding between Masonic Egypt and the Ruler of Civil Egypt.


While, with the assistance of the Patriarchs Grand Conservators of the Order, we were dedicating ourselves to the reorganisation of the Rite, our August Protector asked us to join with him in smoothing the way and difficulties which opposed the foundation of Judicial Reforms in Egypt. On behalf of the Order, and with its consent, we accepted the grave and difficult, but in every way honourable, task. It is to the National Orient that Egypt very largely owes the result obtained by the foundation of the Institution of Reformed Tribunals, which however cost us twenty thousand pounds.

Nevertheless, in our struggle against all sort of difficulties for nearly two years, we must conscientiously declare that we had the collaboration of the most learned Masons of our Order, but for which we could not have succeeded in the task.


Our action and the result obtained was highly appreciated by the August Sovereign who, in thinking us, was good enough to grant us his Sovereign protection, and it is to the Sovereign support that the Grand Orient of Egypt owes its development, for without the approval of the Khedive for its foundation, and without his protection, the Order would have been tormented by religious quarrels and by the persecution of the civil Government; whereas, under the patronage of the Khedive himself, the most eminent personages became initiated, or were affiliated, to our revered Rite. Even the heads of Islam gave a strong hand, morally, to clear away the prejudices of the Egyptian people; and some of them applied for and obtained initiation. On June 27th, 1873, the Supreme Council of the Order granted us full and unlimited powers, accompanied by unanimous vote of confidence, and on August 15th, the Constituent Assembly approved and confirmed the decision of the Supreme Council.


On the 1st, November of the same year we were raised to the 96, and on 11th, January, 1874, we were, by unanimous vote, authorized to assume ourselves the title of Grand Hierophant in the stead of the abdicated Grant Hierophant J.E. Marconis.


As soon as we obtained the Supreme Dignity of the Rite our first thought was to raise 6 Patriarchs 95, to the degree of the Sublime Magus, 96, and with them to rebuild the ruined Mystic Temple. The Mystic Temple was rebuilt within the Grand College of Rites, which we had previously founded for the complete independence and dogmatic liberty of the Rite.


On May 8th, 1876, by our Decree No77 bis, we reorganized the Grand Orient anew and constituted it a Confederation Diet of Egyptian Masonry.


We found a Symbolic Grand Lodge under the title of National Grand Lodge of Egypt and proclaimed it free and independent of any other Body, both as regards Dogma and Administration. We handed over all powers both of Dogma and Administration to the Supreme Councils of the Scottish and Memphis Rites, declaring and proclaiming them free and independent the one of the other, each to govern itself in accordance with its Organic Statutes, [and] only bound by ties of brotherhood to the Confederative Diet of Masonry of the Valley of the Nile.


In September, 1877, we decreed the transfer of the seat of the National Grand Lodge to Cairo and on May 5th, 1878, it held its first meeting here.


On May 28th, 1879, the National Grand Lodge of Egypt detached itself from the Diet and proclaimed itself sovereign and free and entirely independent of the Federal Diet.


The National Grand Orient of Egypt, Sup\ Council of Patriarchs Grand Conservators of the Order, having gone back to being such in virtue of our Decree of May 8th, a Concordat was stipulated with the National Grand Lodge by which our reciprocal relations and duties were laid down. (V. Concordat.) In 1880 we put the Sanctuary to sleep and decided to limit our labours to the Mystic Temple, working together with our Sublime Magi for the maintenance of the Order and the Rite.


By our Decree of April 17th, 1881, we transferred the seat of the Sanctuary to the Orient of Cairo, and by Decree of the 27th, of the same month we issued to Bro\ F.F.Oddi the Patent of Constitution of the Sanctuary of Patriarchs Grand Conservators and Administrators of the Order, under the distinctive title of: National Grand Orient of Egypt, Sanctuary of Memphis, with powers to call together the 6 other Patriarchs already existing.


By our Decree No 164 of July 20th, 1881, we transferred the seat of the Mystic Temple and the Confederative Diet to Cairo. In the years 1881-82 the Federative Diet was called upon to render the greatest and most signal services to Egypt.


During the events which desolated the country in 1882

And which horrified the World, Freemasonry, through its individual members, took a most active part in the affairs of  the State and served as Adviser to the Ill\ And August Bro\ Teufick, Khedive of  Egypt; and at the moment of extreme peril for the dynasty of Muhamad Ali, we and the Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge, Ill\ Bro\ Raphael Borg, found ourselves with 1.000 men in the place of peril (the Garden of Ismailia ) to defend and protect the life of our Bro\ Teufick. This is not the place to trace the story of those events, we shall do so elsewhere at the proper time; suffice it for the present that you should know that, in those circumstances, too, we had to spend of our own money more than E £3.383 and, not being authorized by the Diet to incur such an expense, it is just that we should bear it alone.


On May 31st, 1875, we were already creditors of E £5.623 (see Official Bulletin, No 45-48, August and September, 1876).


On May 25th, 1879, we were creditors of E £6.892.

The foundation of the Masonic Order in this Valley of the Nile cost us 11 years of anxiety, toil, privations of all sorts and the most cruel suffering.

Now we have as best we could this historical summary, we tell you that despite our good will, and the great sacrifices borne, and our health enfeebled by the toil of so many years of continual labour and suffering, we cannot any longer fulfil the grave duties which such a Dignity carries with it; We consider it indispensable that, in the interest of the Rite and the Order in general, such Supreme Authority do pass into other hands better able than ours are to conduct our Mission to the goal prefixed for it.




Considering too that, by holding also the Office of Sovereign Grand Commander of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, We cannot, in spite of ourselves, work with all the desired indefatigable activity that the two Rites demand and that on careful reflection, we find it inconsistent, and consequently incompatible, that the two powers of different Rites remain any longer in our hands, we have decided to abdicate.


Our Ill\ And beloved Bro\Ferninand Francis Oddi, Sublime Magus 96, who for the last ten years has held the Office of Grand Chancellor of the Order and the Rite, and who, about two years ago, was by us appointed Grand Master of the Sanctuary, has always enjoyed our entire confidence.  As he has always given proofs of abnegation, working with us for the restoration and foundation of the Rite in this Valley, and has at all times manifested a great devotion to the Rite; whereas his lights have greatly contributed to the foundation, consolidation and reorganization of the Order and are the best guarantee of the future of our Ancient and Revered Rite;

                                  We have decreed and do decree:





We have abdicated, and by these presents do abdicate, the Grand Hierophancy in favour of the Ill\ Bro\ Ferdinand Francis Oddi, who is by us regularly and legally so invested in the presence of the Sub\ Magi 96 and the Patriarchs 95, Grand Cons\ Of the Order.


We deliver over to him all the documents in support thereof, so that he may deposit them, after taking cognizance of them, in the Archives of the Mystic Temple, as soon as he shall reopen it.


To the new Grand Hierophant will also delivered by us all the Patents, Briefs and Diplomas in blank belonging to the Rite, as also our Stamp and Seal together with our Patent of Grand Hierophant.


As regards the Archives, a selection will be made of those that concern the Rite they too will be handed over to him. We shall also deliver to him the lithograph Stones for briefs and diplomas, together with such material as pertains to the Sanctuary Grand Orient of Egypt. The new Hierophant in that capacity shall regularly and legally recognize the sums owing to us by the Order.




WE call upon the whole Alliance of the  Order, and all the Masonic Powers scattered over the surface of the Globe, to recognize, from this day forth, as Universal Grand Hierophant of the Oriental Rite of Memphis, Ill\ And beloved Bro\ Ferdinand Francis Oddi.




The present Decree is by Ourselves executed in virtue of Article 4 of the Organic Statutes of the Rite, and is countersigned by the Grand Chancellor, and will be published in extenso, with the historical summary, and sent to all Masonic Powers.

Given from the Orient of Cairo this sixth day od April, One thousand  Eight hundred and Eighty-Three. (1883).

The Grand Hierophant

S.A. Zola 97



The Grand Chancellor

Dr. Dionisio Iconomopulo 96

[Seals of the: (1) Oriental Rite of Memphis

                      (2) Grand Orient of Egypt

                      (3) Grand Hierophant Grand Master of Masonry in Egypt.]


There follow the signatures of the SS. Magi and of the Patriarchs:

Dr. Ellia Rossi, 96

Dr. Alfredo, Conte de Romano, 95

Avo. Teofilo Rossi, 96

A.E. Zanburoglo, 95

Mohamat Moctard, 96

Selim Latif, 96

Dr. Ahmed Hamdi, 95

Ab-Dal-RAzak Mourou, 95

Mohamed Ramzi, 95

Hamed Medi, 95




The Ancient and Primitive Rite

"Preserving the ancient mysteries of masonry"

For additional information on the Regular Masonic Body of the Rite: