Square & Compasses

Masonry in Sweden

From Masonry Universal... issue #5

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|                   The Father of Swedish Freemasonry                  |
|                                                                      |
|The Grand Lodge of Sweden was established in 1759 and at that time    |
|only had control of the Craft degrees. Duke Karl of Soedermanland, who|
|later became Karl the XIIIth, King of Sweden, became the Grand Master |
|of Sweden in 1774 and it was he who decided that all the degrees      |
|should come under the control of the Grand Lodge. By doing so all     |
|Freemasonry that was being practised in Sweden became part of one and |
|the same organisation. This was the act that marked the birth of the  |
|Swedish Rite.                                                         |
|                                                                      |
|A few years later Duke Karl expanded the system to its final 11 degree|
|form. He also composed ritual material and revised the whole system   |
|in the year 1780 (influenced by the Templar Masonry systems of the    |
|German Strict Observance and Starck's Clerics). Therefore we can      |
|confidently call Duke Karl the real father of the Swedish Rite of     |
|Freemasonry.                                                          |
|                                                                      |
|Arni Leosson, EDDA No. 1, Reykjavik, Iceland         arnil@centrum.is |
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|                           The Swedish Rite                           |
|                                                                      |
|Today the Swedish Rite consists of 11 degrees, all of which are       |
|considered part of Freemasonry. The first three Craft degrees, which  |
|in the Swedish System are called St. John's degrees, came to Sweden in|
|1735. A young Swedish diplomat, Count Axel-Wrede Sparr, who had been  |
|stationed in Paris during the Seventeen thirties, set up the first    |
|Masonic lodge in the capital Stockholm (a spurious and unwarranted    |
|lodge). This lodge used the rituals then being practised in Paris and |
|from then on this became the standard form used in Sweden.            |
|                                                                      |
|So for the next 20 years only the Craft degrees were practised in     |
|Sweden. Then in 1756 one Frederick Eckleff, started a "Scottish St.   |
|Andrew's Lodge. This lodge practised two degrees, one combining EA    |
|and FC, and a MM degree. Eckleff, also set up something he called a   |
|Chapter in 1759 which was to work two so called Chapter degrees. The  |
|ritual material for these 4 extra degrees originated in Strasbourg,   |
|France. It is known that a 7 degree system of Freemasonry was being   |
|practised in Strasbourg at this time so evidently what eventually     |
|became the Swedish Rite had its roots in the Strasbourg System.       |
|                                                                      |
|Arni Leosson, EDDA No. 1, Reykjavik, Iceland         arnil@centrum.is |
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