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by W.Bro. WILLIAM ALMEIDA DE CARVALHO 33
THE LAUSANNE CONGRESS
The first try, unsuccessful, to create a union among
the Supreme Councils was the
alliance treat closed in Paris on February 23rd, 1834, in which participated the
Supreme Councils of France, Belgium,
Brazil, and a United Supreme Council of the Occidental Hemisphere, created by a
mulatto of San Domingo - Count Roume of Saint-Laurent, council which vanished
The second try to intend an international union and organization,
foreseen and aborted in 1834, was the Convention that took place in Lausanne in
Switzerland, in the period of 06 to 22 of September, 1875, having as main
objectives the review and reform of the Grand Constitutions of 1786, the
definition and proclamation of principles, and the elaboration of an Alliance
and Solidarity Treaty.
Eleven Supreme Councils were present in this Convention: England (and
Wales ), Belgium, Cuba, Scotland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Peru, Portugal,
and the host Switzerland. Scotland
and Greece, which were represented by the same Bro. left before the event was
over, reason why only nine countries signed the final documents. The Supreme
councils of the United States ( Southern Jurisdiction ),
Argentina, and Colombia gave their assent, but couldn't send representatives.
The Chilean one sent a message stating that it would give its assent to the
resolutions of the Conclave.
After many working meetings in commission, and eleven plenary sessions,
the Conclave was over on September 22, 1875.
The following items were the ones basically discussed :
a) a review of the Grand
Constitutions of 1786, taking off all references to Frederick II, having as
reference the Latin version,
considered as the fundamental document of the A.A.S.R..;
b) the conclusion of a Union, Alliance, and Confederation Treaty of the
c) the proclamation of a solemn Manifest;
d) a Rite Principle Declaration, from which the five first paragraphs
were included in the Alliance Treaty;
e) the adoption of a Scottish Monitor ( Tuileur ), determining for each
degree, from the 1st to the 33rd, specifications on the Lodge decoration, the
titles of the officials, the signs of order
and acknowledgement, the tokens, the batteries, the acclamations, the marches,
the symbolic ages, the sacred and pass words, the jewels, the trestle-boards,
the utensils, etc.
f) the presentation of a roll of the Supreme Councils regularly
acknowledged in the world : The United States ( Northern and Southern
Jurisdictions ), Costa Rica, England, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Scotland,
Colombia, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Portugal,
Argentina, Switzerland, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Brazil did not appear in the
list, and according to Prober "the Brazilian Supreme Council, in reality,
one of the oldest in the world, was not included in the roll of the 22 'acknowledged'
ones, probably as a punishment for not having participated". The record of proceedings
of the tenth session makes reference to the acknowledgment
of Brazil : the Convention
recognizes the existence of a Brazilian Supreme Council, but as there were two
authorities wanting the title, the documents,
for both parts try to reach an agreement, would be sent by the Swiss
Supreme Council. On the contrary, the issue would be
taken to the court created by the article VII of the Alliance Treaty, so
that it could be judged.
A polemic point in the Lausanne Congress was the discussion about the
Grand Architect of the Universe that became the core of the misunderstanding
that separated the French from the Anglo-Saxon Masonry.
The 3rd article of the Alliance and Confederation Treaty stated that the
Supreme Councils would meet in a general Convention in 1878, in Rome or in
London, and in every ten years from that date on. However, as this Lausanne
Convention was not legalized as it was forecasted, only in 1900, as an
initiative of the French Supreme Council, that a new, but very modest Conclave
got together in Paris. Again, the conclave that was supposed to get together in
Brussels in 1902, started on June 10th, 1907, therefore, 32 years the Conclave
of Lausanne, with the pompous title of First International Conference of the
Supreme Councils. Only after this Conclave that regular meetings started to take
place, that were only interrupted by the two World Wars : the 2nd Conference in
Washington - 1912, the 3rd in Lausanne - 1922, the 4th in Paris - 1929, the 5th
in Brussels - 1935, the 6th in Boston - September of 1939, the 7th in Havana -
1956, the 8th in Washington - 1961, the 9th in Brussels - 1967, the 10th in
Barranquilha in Colombia - 1970, the 11th in Indianapolis in the U.S. - 1975,
the 12th in Paris - 1980, the 13th in Washington 1985, the 14th in Mexico, the
15th in Lausanne - 1995, and the 16th will be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2000.
The 7th article of the referred Treaty created a court composed of five
Sovereign Grand Inspector Generals, active members of five Supreme Councils,
with the competence to judge, in lower court, differences that could come up
among the Confederated Supreme
Councils, saving the right of appeal to the Confederation, that would decide, in
higher court, the right of appeal, by majority of votes, in the nearest Conclave
to take place. The five first Councils were designated, but with time, dead
letter was left over. The U.S. was always against a Confederation with the
hilarious argument that a Confederation existed once in their country, and it
took a bloody war to get rid of it, and a Masonic Confederation wouldn't be
welcome due to the disgust the Americans have for this name!
In the review text of the Grand Constitutions, the article II maintained
the lifelong characteristic of the Supreme Council members, in other words, the
Sovereign Grand Inspector Generals would be
named 'ad vitam'.
The article III limited in nine years the mandate periods for the duties
they had been elected for.
article V limited in 33 the number of active members of each Supreme Council.
article X stated that none of the Sovereign Grand Inspector General wouldn't be
able to grant any masonic degrees, diplomas, or patent.
The article XI annulled every Consistory and Councils of
Kadosh of the time. The degrees 30, 31,and 32 could only be granted in
the presence of three Sovereign Grand Inspector Generals.
The article XVI annulled the articles XII, XIII, and XIV of the Grand
Constitutions of 1786, which meant the Supreme Council would lose its sovereign
authority over the Masonry, due to the impossibility to exercise sovereign
masonic powers that Frederick II had the right to, and, also, the loss of the
legitimate power to name a Sovereign Grand Inspectors General to establish a
Supreme Council in the degree 33 in any country, respecting the Grand
The revised version of the Grand Constitutions of
1786 elaborated in Lausanne, were, in reality, followed by every Supreme
Council, including the ones that didn't accept the referred Conclave officially.
It is important to mention that, in 1880, the Supreme Councils of England and of
Belgium denounced the Treaty.
Brazil didn't know how to stand in relation to the Lausanne Congress,
staying in a dubious and confusing position, sometimes accepting and sometimes
refusing it, and its rites maintained according to the legend of Frederick II,
without any critical explanation, causing a confusion among the members of the
The Lausanne Congress had to define the A.A.S.R. principles, especially,
the fundamental symbol of the G.A.O.T.U. There were two tendencies : 1) the
Order tradition : spiritualist and Christian, against 2) the vision of the time
: liberalist and scientific. There was a proposal to establish a commitment, as
we can read about so much in the Treaty, as well as in the Declaration of Principles and in the Manifest.
The continuation of the Conclave began to complicate, when in the session
of the ninth day, the representative of the Supreme Councils of Scotland and
Greece - Br. Mackersy - proclaimed he had to go back to his country. On
September 13th, he sent a note to the Convention informing that he couldn't, in
the name of the powers he represented, give his approval to the Declaration of
Principles, because the statements seemed little spiritualist to him, especially
the definition reserved to the
G.A.O.T.U. - Supreme Force, Creator
Principle - expressions that were not compatible with the faith in a
personal God. Curious enough, is the fact that the Supreme Council of England
sent a circular letter on May 26th, 1876, to its subordinated bodies, signed by its two representatives for
the Lausanne Conclave, with an admonition to the Scottish representative saying
that if he had stayed until the end he
wouldn't have made such a declaration, that the Conclave used expressions that
did not go with a personal God. On the contrary, the issue the Conclave mostly
insisted on was the one to put, as an absolute and fundamental principle of the
A.A.S.R., the faith in the personality of God as the Author, the Creator, the
Supreme Creator, the Grand Architect of the Universe, the Supreme Being.
In 1877, the Grand Orient of France (G.O.F) suppressed, for its Lodges,
the obligation to work "the Glory of the Grand Architect of the Universe",
and then, the begin of the schism that radically divided the French and English
masonries began. Eventhough the A.A.S.R always maintained its Christian
affiliation, and totally rejected the innovations of the G.O.F., we witnessed
the Anglo- Saxon masonry that proposed a personal God for the Christians and for
the Jews, instead of an impersonal Creator Principle, moving away. Regardless
the radicalism of the GOF, the Lausanne proposal was more like the Anderson of
1723, than the one of 1738. The modern tendency is prone to give reason to the
proposals of Lausanne and of Alex Horne. It asserts that whether God is seen as
a personal God or as a Creator Principle or Force is an individual choice, be of
a person or of a group of people.
Those who consider atheists the ones who bring God down to a impersonal Creator
Principle - and here is where Pike stands - they shouldn't in order to be
coherent, since we accepted the fact the Buddhists can be initiated in the
masonry. And, as we know, the Buddhists were never prohibited to become masons.
G.A.O.T.U. discussion had a temporary conclusion in 1877, in the meeting in
Edinburg of the Supreme Councils of Scotland, Greece, the U.S. ( Southern
Jurisdiction ), Ireland, and Central America. Due to the French pondering, the
latter Councils demanded that the interpretation given by the Supreme Council of
England to the definition of the G.A.O.T.U. would have to be acknowledged by the
group of Supreme Confederated
Councils in Lausanne. After an exchange of notes, the two groups - the Edinburg
one and the remaining ones - and under the conciliating pressure imposed by the
Supreme Council of Switzerland, everyone gave in to the demands of the Edinburg
group, in order to fulfill the unity of the A.A.S.R
To summarize, Lausanne maintains the Christian tradition of the A.A.S.R.
in its various degrees , but in terms of principles goes towards a conciliating
position between the deism and theism.
The main positive consequence of the Conclave of Lausanne was the one
that opened the periodical meetings of a great part of the Supreme Councils,
being called from then on Conferences. The only Supreme Councils that did not
join these Conferences were those of England, Scotland, and Ireland. In the
Brussels Conference in 1907, twenty Supreme Councils participated, including the
two jurisdictions of the U.S., and a series of agreements
were accomplished due, more to a pragmatic consensus, than to the
strength of a legal text. It was established the freedom each Supreme Council
would have to adopt the revised version of the Constitutions of 1786, as
proposed in Lausanne. French versions of Lausanne were published, mainly in
Belgium, however, there is a total
ignorance of the Conclave by the English speaking countries, with the exception
of those comments made by Albert Pike about the discussion of the G.A.O.T.U. In
general, the U.S. masonry has no knowledge, whatsoever, of the Lausanne
The main points of the Conclave were the review of the Constitutions of
1786, generally accepted until today, and the proclamation of a Creator
Principle called G.A.O.T.U. The Creator Principle is found, up to today, in the
main documents of the Grant Orient of Brazil and of the Supreme Council.
Another important point was that the Conclave permitted that all
jurisdictions of the Scottish Rite to have identical Constitutions, despite the
difference in rituals. The consensus wasn't established among the first three
degrees : red or blue degrees? And here the division was between the Latins and
the Anglo-Saxons : the Latins wearing a red overall of the Mason Master, and the
Anglo-Saxons continuing with their blue ones. Brazil has followed the
Anglo-Saxon tendency, especially after the rupture of Bhering in 1927, when we
founded the Grand State Lodges.
The Scottish Monitor ( Tuileur ), edited in 1876 by the Swiss Supreme
Council didn't have any compulsory characteristics. A unique document of
references, precise and complete, made many, and, most of the times, deep changes in relation to the tradition
of the Scottish degrees. Needless to say, the Monitor puts on the masonic apron
of the Mason Master in the rite's color, that is , red.
Another aspect of great importance was that the bodies present in the
Conclave followed the deistic definition of the G.A.O.T.U., more like a Creator
Principle than a Supreme Being. They say that the moto - Ordo ab chao - was
reinforced in Lausanne to simply express the relief of the representatives for
their capacity to put some order in the chaos that was a constant before the
The Latin-American masons as well as the French had a long persecution
history from the Catholic Church and, therefore were thirsty for a slight "deistic"
requirement that would put them ready before the anti-clerical attitudes common
in those times. From a South-American point of view, the Lausanne Conclave
represented a referential turning point.
Since 1875, the A.A.S.R., accepting sincerely more
liberal principles and performing the reforms that the status of our
civilization was demanding, stopped being what it had been up to that point,
that is, a mystic association, mostly aristocratic and authoritarian, that,
labeling itself as masonic, put itself, many times, against the real principles
supported by the real masonry. Lausanne represented, even if it hasn't gone deep
in Brazil yet, a true philosophic spirit, that had come to substitute the
existent shapeless mass of mystic-religious doctrines and jesuitic-templaric
legends, of all kinds, that for a long time diverted the masonic intelligences
away from their true path of the Real Art. There isn't in the A.A.S.R. a
Grand Commander, absolute and eternal anymore, dictating absolute rules
to be accomplished by a bunch of trained lambs. It is important now to make this
liberational blow, started in Lausanne, to keep on oxygenating the structures of
the Supreme Councils of the whole world. In this change of centuries, Internet
can be a powerful instrument to give a more participative sense to the A.A.S.R.
If the society in the XVIII century was analogical, superstitious, and
religious, and our society more analytical, rationalistic, and agnostic in the
eyes of Michel Brodsky
P.M. of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, to our eyes Lausanne is more toward the modern
society than to the traditional one, because it starts dismystifying the legend
that Frederick II ruled the Grand Constitutions of the A.A.S.R., it proposes a modern vision of the
G.A.O.T.U., and searches for certain unity in our constant diversity.
Southern Jurisdiction of the United States voted favorably toward
participating in the Conclave, it even assigned Bro. Ebezener S. Shaw from
California as a representative, but he fell ill, and couldn't show up. He
died on February 2nd, 1876. Albert Pike was in favor of the participation
too, and even wrote a few articles but, right after he repented and decided
not to participate in the Confederation ( this word had a terrible meaning
in the U.S. in those times ), and that is how the incipient participation of
the Southern Jurisdiction ended.
is referred to the French version in 1813, with its first publication in
1832. The Latin version, considerably bigger than the French, appears in
1834, from the hands of Roume of Saint-Laurent, and it had three documents :
1) New Secret Institutions, 2) the Constitution itself and, 3) an Appendix
in three articles describing the Order standard, the distinctive badges of
the Grand Sovereign General Inspectors and the Grand Stamp of the Order.
Kurt, History of the Supreme Council in the Degree 33 of Brazil, vol. I/1832
to 1927, Livraria Editora
Kosmos, Rio de Janeiro, 1981, pg. 162.
Alex, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum,
vol. 80, 1967, pg. 301.
M. L., Why Was the Craft De-Christianized? in Ars Quatuor Coranatorum, vol. 99, Annals of the Quatuor Coronati
Lodge no.2076, London, 1986, pg. 152.