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JOHANN AUGUST STARCK (Schwerin 1741 - Darmstadt 1816)
The Templar Legend and the Clerics


Johann August Starck was a central figure of the XVIIIth Century whose intelligence and culture were outstanding. His non-masonic writings are so remarkable that Runkel regarded him as ‘the father of the comparative history of religions’. Together with Carl Gotthelf von Hund, Carl Friedrich Eckleff, Estienne Morin and Jean-Baptiste Willermoz, Starck belongs to the founders of rites and rituals still practised in side degrees of contemporary Freemasonry.

Last but not least, his name – spelled Stark – is found as one of the signatories of the Grand Constitutions of 1786.




Johann August Starck, born October 28, 1741, was the only son amongst the five children of Samuel Christfried Starck (d. 1769), president of the Lutheran consistory in Schwerin. From 1760 he studied Eastern languages with Michaelis at the University of Göttingen where he became acquainted with Büsching and promoted as a doctor in theology. Between 1763 and 1765 he taught at the Petrinum school at St. Petersburg, then travelled to England and France. From November 1765 he was in Paris and worked at the King’s Library in the department of Eastern languages upon some forty manuscripts of old translations of the Hebrew Bible, copied a whole Coptic Glossarium and made extracts from an Syriac-Arabic one.

In the middle of August 1766, on the news that his father was sick, Starck returned to Schwerin and worked as assistant headmaster in Wismar, a small Swedish neighboring town, nowadays German. In May 1768 he went back to St. Petersburg as private secretary to Prince Wiäsemskoi. On the recommandation of Büsching, he was appointed one year later Professor Extraordinarius Orientalium, then professor of theology at Königsberg where he married Albertine Schulz in 1774. As a result of attacks against his theological writings, Starck left Königsberg in 1777 and taught philosophy at the College of Mitau (then Swedish) near Riga. In 1781, he was named first preacher at the court of Darmstadt where he spent the rest of his life.

According to a contemporary writer, ‘His wife looks intelligent and sensible, but speaks little. Their house is so beautiful and shows so much taste that one feels comfortable as soon as one enters it. Their union is a happy one, although childless which they make good with their common love for birds and dogs’. In 1811, Starck received the title of Freiherr (Baron) on the occasion of his thirtieth jubilee. Since no children were born out of his marriage, he adopted two male relatives of his wife four years before his death which occured in Darmstadt, March 3, 1816.



While studying at Göttingen, Starck was made a Mason in a French military lodge in 1761. His masonic contacts in St. Petersburg are mainly supported through circumstancial evidence, he doesn’t seem to have been masonically active in England or in France.

Arriving at Wismar toward the end of 1766, Starck found Baron von Vegesack and Johann von Böhnen in the process of founding a Lodge and joined them on the suggestion of the former. Vegesack first applied for a Warrant to the Lodge in Hamburg, became the answer that ‘things had changed a lot in the Order for some time, Hamburg could not warrant Lodges as it used to before’ and was refered to Herr von Schröder oder Dr. Behrmann at Rostock. Vegesack’s Lodge, zu den drei Löwen (the three Lions), was eventually warranted at Wismar as a Strict Observance daughter of zu den drei Sternen (the three Stars) at Rostock, seat of the sub-priorate Ratzeburg, and installed February 17, 1767, by Dr. Behrmann.

The founders heard then for the first time about the Strict Observance’s Unknown Superiors, Eq. ab Ense and a Struthione (von Hund and Schubart). Local friends of Vegesack revealed him the secret of the Strict Observance, namely that it was the continuation of the Templar Order. However, writes Starck, it was nothing new for the three of us. On their behalf, Starck wrote a letter six weeks later to the Provincial Master (von Hund), introducing himself as a former Officer of a Lodge abroad which ought to be brought into the Strict Observance’s realm since its leaders were familiar with the innermost secrets of the Order. On April 17, he made a short visit to the Prefect of Eckhorst, Ernst Werner von Raven, explained his wish to have the Wismar Lodge become independent within the Strict Observance under specific conditions. Since his two Brethren as well as himself were already possessed of the highest masonic degrees, he asked that they be recognized as such by the Strict Observance, according to the right which their ancestors, the Clerics, did have and which the three of them still possessed. He wrote the next day a letter to Raven summarizing their talk and asked him to forward it to the Provincial Master.

The Council of the VIIth Province agreed to their requests, which resulted in the Wismar brethren signing an Actus Agnitionis on July 2, acknowledging von Hund as Provincial Master ad Albim et Oderam on secular matters, upon the condition that the spiritual rights (Jura stolæ) of the Clerics remain untouched. Starck sent it enclosed in a letter to von Hund at the end of which, at von Hund’s request, he set down the Order’s names of the Wismar Clerici:

Brother v. V.....k’s name as a Clericus ordinarius is: Jacobus a Leone insurgente. Brother v. B....n: Augustus ab Hippopotamo. M. Johann August Stark: Archidemides ab Aquila Fulva. When later Herr von Raven became a member of the Clericis, his name was: Theodosius a Margarita and he was Prior Clericorum.

Although the Provincial Council’s answer recommended the greatest secrecy, rumors circulated. In a letter to a friend, a Brother von Sehrohr asked:

Who has ever knighted Vegesack a Leone insurgente ? Frightful things nobody can give me information about. What can Vegesack know about the Provincial Master, we installed him here only up to the 4th degree inclusively ? In God’s name give me full information as soon as possible, until I am properly instructed and informed I shall not acknowledge any a Leone insurgente.

Seerohr’s letter fell into Vegesack’s hands whose answer, to my knowledge, has not been reprinted since 1788:

Allow me, as your most sincere friend, to say that your crystal-clear note is the reason why I shall not engage myself further into nothing whatever for a long time; pardon my sincerity if I add that one must behave differently with tested friends and not convey the impression of using sensible Brethren who deserved well of the H. O. as rungs of a ladder upon which others (I let their selection undecided) climb.

I was received in the Order of the Templars in France in 1749, for which reason I am rather familiar with the Inner Order; long before you received the weak light of the first masonic degree, most venerable friend. You may well make fun of the Ph-l-s-ph-c-l [Lodge]. Do you know what is C-p-t-l-m- Cl-r-c-r-m Or-d-n-s T-mpl-r-o-r-m ? Are you aware of its prestige, of its privileges ? Then it won’t have escaped your notice that these happy few not only don’t care much for hulls but also see further than our Brethren the Kn-ghts.

I shall not discuss the reasons of your belief or unbelief, time will see to that; just let me assure you that we are neither weaklings to be threatened by a mother nor so young and our wings so tender that they may be cut off with a blunt knife.

Our mother wanted to neglect us badly and the gentlemen R-R-r of the B. R-----rg disregarded us as would an elephant looking over a weak-sighted mole; the latter will find out they made a considerable mistake, the former will acknowledge her wrongs, and then all concerned will have to do penance on the spot and mend their ways.

You see, most venerable friend, I have always been quite open with my friends. My character never changes. It will always be a true pleasure for me to embrace you as a Brother Knight, and since you have set a restriction, I shall inform you as soon as all misunderstandings have dissipated — You don’t want me to sign with the name I received when I entered the H. O. ; I obey, I may however sign myself as I wish to, that is, as your ever most truely faithful Order’s Brother.

Friederich von Vegesack

Wismar, August 5, 1767

Nettelbladt mentioned twice that Vegesack had been ‘instructed’ (unterrichtet) in 1749 by Count de la Tour du Pin and modern writers made fun of the claim. However the veracity of Vegesack’s above statement is established since a recently discovered set of documents showed both Count de La Tour du Pin and Baron von Vegesack among the ‘illustrious Grand Masters’ belonging in 1750 to a branch of a masonic body located in French Brittany, the Sublime Order of Elected Knights, which practised a Templar degree.

Starck wrote two further letters to von Hund which convinced him that it would be to the advantage of the VIIth Province if his military Templar branch re-united with the clerical one. At the Provincial Council’s request, Schubart evaluated Starck’s letters. In spite of his reluctant report, von Hund sent his friend von Prangen and the Province’s Secretary Jacobi, who was not yet twenty-three, to Wismar where they arrived February 9, 1768, and remained several weeks. He had provided them with special powers and detailed instructions which led to the conclusion of a preliminary treaty, in which a most important article stipulated ‘sine qua non’ that ‘no member of the Roman Catholic church and especially no former or present member of the Jesuits’ Order could be made a member of the Order of Freemasonry once the Clerics have united with the Strict Observance’. Jacobi witnessed the ceremony during which Prangen was consecrated a Clericus Ordinis by Starck and described it in the tenth section of his manuscript Kurze Übersicht (1796). Starck let Prangen copy clerical rituals and documents.

In 1770, from Königsberg, Starck sent to von Hund a list of further documents pertaining to the Clerics, which he completed during his second stay in St. Petersburg. At about that time, von Hund introduced the Eques Professus as the supreme dignity of the Strict Observance’s system. A formal Pactum Fundamentale between the Clerics and the Strict Observance was signed May 27, 1772, a few days before the opening of the Convent of Kohlo. Its tenth article stipulated that the Clerics shall deliver certified copies of their rituals which were then adopted by the Strict Observance and replaced former ones.

The union was broken six years later. May 10, 1778, shortly before the opening of the Convent of Wolfenbüttel, Starck sent a letter to Raven in which he agreed with the decision of the congregation at Ratzeburg to suspend relations with the Strict Observance but keep the Clerical Chapter secretly active. The same year Starck founded a small secret group, the Sieben Verbündeten (the Seven Allies), and never engaged again officially in masonic activities.



1784 saw the beginnings of the so-called ‘crypto-catholicism’ dispute which grew out of various letters and articles issued in literary reviews, especially the Berlinische Monatsschrift founded in 1783 by Dr. Biester and Gedike, and out of many books. Most of these writings were anonymous. The argument, which at first had nothing to do with Starck, began with the alleged secret influence of the Jesuits’ Order upon protestant circles and developped in attributing them the salvation of the Strict Observance by the Clerics. The Monatsschrift was foremost in the story together with Nicolai and Bode.

In January 1785, the Monatsschrift published an anonymous letter in which mention was made of ‘a theologian well-known for his writings, about whom it is said almost openly that he is not only affiliated to the Jesuits but actually belongs to the Jesuits of the fourth class who must take special vows in order to be sent on special missions’. The August issue brought out an anonymous epistle (Sendschreiben) which described the Rosicrucians as nearly identical with the Clerics who appeared some twenty years before. The theologian mentioned January last had been sent to rescue the wavering Strict Observance, his name was ‘Archimedes’ and he wore a tonsur, which proved he was a disguised - a ‘crypto-catholic’ - priest.

Toward the end of 1785 appeared an anonymous book allegedly translated from the French, Saint Nicaise oder eine Sammlung merkwürdiger maurerischer Briefe, für Freymäurer und die es nicht sind (Saint Nicaise or a collection of remarkable letters for Freemasons and those who are not). It was a romantic novel written as a series of eleven short letters with a long masonic biography said to be that of the author inserted between letters 5 and 6. Headed ‘For my Gaston’ and signed ‘Your father who will always love you, Sainct Nicaise’, it was to be handed over to ‘Gaston’ when he becomes a Mason after his father’s death. It included offensive personal remarks about von Hund, Schubart and the Strict Observance but did not say a word about the Clerics and Starck’s name wasn’t mentioned once. As soon as Saint Nicaise came out, Schubart wrote to a friend: ‘Vengeance is not my cup of tea. But I shall not be able to prevent others from avenging me’. This was an understatement.

Out of a blue sky, one of von Hund’s oldest friends, Kessler von Sprengseysen, became convinced that Starck was the author of Saint Nicaise and decided to defend von Hund’s memory with an anonymous book of his own, Anti-Saint-Nicaise, which appeared in January 1786. The engraving on the title-page showed a tonsured clergyman, a likely allusion to the Monatsschrft’s tonsured protestant theologian. In the preface, the author sneeringly addressed Saint Nicaise as ‘Your Holiness’ and wrote he believed to have recognized the Clerics on Nicaise’s heraldic arms. However he was to make a direct allusion to Starck which began, page 157, with the following words:

The following story will make my reader familiar with Saint Nicaise’s true reasons for attacking Herr von Schubart and the Strict Observance in such an extraordinary way. In the middle of 1767, that protestant minister, so aptly described in the August 1785 issue of the Berlinische Monatsschrift, appeared and offered to share the secrets he claimed to have received from Auvergne with the system of the Strict Observance. [...]

After Schubart declined to go to W. [Wismar], the then residence of that minister, a certain P. [Prangen] was sent in his place. When he returned and made his report, Schubart, with an open mind, realized, as other Brethren did, that the J... [Jesuits’] Order was hidden behind all that, for which reason one shouldn’t have dealings with [the Clerics].

The next pages underlined Schubart’s remarkable foresight and the evils which had befallen the Strict Observance because of the Clerics. Kessler was to explain somewhat naively in his next book how this episode had suddenly come to his mind:

I had come as far as page 157 when a letter from an honest man, an old friend, was forwarded to me by the Biester News [read Monatschrift], which confirmed what I could remember from that time and this is the reason why I narrated some more about the Clerics.

When a review of Anti-Saint-Nicaise appeared in the Allgemeine Literatur Zeitung and mentioned that the book’s preface was written in a way to suggest that Saint Nicaise, the tonsured protestant theologian and the ‘D. S...’ [meaning Dr. Starck] mentioned in the Monatschrift were one and the same person, Kessler confidently believed it had been written by a friend of Starck if not by Starck himself. In June, he issued a second anonymous book, Archidemides or Anti-Saint-Nicaise’s second part, one third of which was devoted to a painstaking refutation of the review. The rest of the book included a golden mine for historians, namely most letters written by Starck in 1767 amongst some two hundred pages of documents bearing upon the Clerics’ early ties with the Strict Observance (see Annex IV.). Kessler explains he received them as originals or certified copies from that honest man, his old friend - who had already refreshed his memory earlier - together with a letter from March 1, 1786, signed ‘v. K’, from ‘P.’, which he reproduced as his first document.

Within a matter of days, Jacobi - the former Province’s Secretary sent by von Hund to Wismar in 1768 - wrote a letter to Starck in which he stated that the documents belonged to Schubart. Jacobi thought it was likely that Schubart had sent them to the author of Anti-Saint-Nicaise on the pretence of defending the Order but in fact because he was enraged with the parts of Saint Nicaise in which his honor and judgment were questioned.

In its May issue, the Monatsschrift had brought out a further attack against the protestant minister, that ‘Jesuit of the fourth class’, requesting him to come out in the open and defend himself ‘inasmuch he feels able to do so’. It gladly reviewed Archidemides in July, being at last able to print the name of the tonsured minister it had alluded to for more than a year. Starck immediately decided to sue the review. He sent letters to Frederic and to his chief minister von Herzberg, July 26, together with a formal complaint. The King died three weeks later, August 17, and Starck renewed his claim by Frederic-William II in October. He then began to write ‘über Krypto-Katholicismus, two thick volumes of 608 and 1002 pages issued in June and October 1787, which included a systematic though not very well-ordered refutation of all the arguments brought out in the Monatschrift against the Roman Catholic church said to plot against protestantism, the Jesuits supposed to have secretly invaded Freemasonry and himself accused of having been an instrument of both.

Starck’s book raised one more Kessler’s product: Abgenöthigte Fortsetzung des Anti-St. Nicaise (Necessary Continuation of Anti-St. Nicaise) appeared in 1788 under his name. Faithful to his technique, he discussed sentence for sentence each page where Starck mentioned his name. He made however a remarkable concession by admitting twice to have commited an essential mistake: ‘He [Starck] is not the author [of Saint Nicaise], I admit it now that I am better informed. But the editor ??? At least he doesn’t deny that.’ Unfortunately, Kessler did not explicit the information which brought his change of mind. Nevertheless the evil was done. His late admission was overlooked by subsequent historians. With very few exceptions, even nowadays, all ascribe Saint Nicaise, that cheap novel, to the remarkable protestant theologian who in 1787 eventually lost his process against the Monatschrift.

Starck denied all his life he was the author of Saint Nicaise. If he wasn’t, who was ? One small clue may have been overlooked.

The epistle (Sendschreiben) published in the August 1785 issue of the Monatschrift had made an odd little mistake and named the protestant theologian ‘Archemides’ instead of Archidemides. The same mistake appeared three times in an anonymous book published around Easter 1786, Beytrag zur neuesten Geschichte des Freymaurerordens in neun Gesprächen (Contribution to the recent History of the Masonic Order in nine Dialogues). The author was Adolf Franz Ludwig Friedrich Knigge. He might well be the author of Saint Nicaise as well. The vein of both books is pleasant and light, quite different from Starck’s heavy style. The way both are conceived - eleven letters, nine dialogues - shows a sense of clarity, miles away of Starck’s often tedious repetitions and endless chapters devoid of paragraphs. In spite of all his qualities, culture and intelligence, Starck doesn’t seem to have been gifted with a great sense of humour and it seems hardly believable that he was the author. In short, I believe Saint Nicaise was intended as a practical joke which, as it sometimes happens, turned out badly.

The reactions which accompanied the crypto-catholicism dispute brought out many interwoven questions which have not been satisfactorily answered since, the main one being the amount of sincerity to be ascribed to Starck’s writings. A new element in that controversy came out in 1994 with the publication of some thirty hitherto unknown letters written by Starck to Lavater between 1809 and 1815. Here is what Starck wrote in the second one:

If you wish now to have my own testimony, I can tell you that in Petersburg in 1763 - in the year before von Hund and Johnson came out - I made the personal acquaintance of the last Grand Master of the Templar Order, named a Sole aureo in the Magister Ordinis’ list. This was Count Belford who had flown to Russia after the Scottish rebellion, a man aged about sixty, then affected with gout, who lived at the house of Grand Chancellor Voroncov and was supported by him.

The result which can and must be drawn from all this is: the Masonic Order has a historical secret, namely that the Templar Order is hidden under the veil of Masonry.

Starck’s last sentence suggests to take a look, once more, at the old theme of the legendary thread between Templarism and Masonry, at those Templar legends which appear to have come up in Masonry within a few years in very different locations.




We know that a Templar theme was worked in a French Chapter about 1750 but there is almost no information about how it arrived there. It was not an isolated occurence: adressing the Convent of Wilhelmsbad in 1782, Willermoz stated that

since 1752, in my capacity as WM of a Lodge in Lyons, I taught those I promoted to the fourth degree that they herewith became successors to the Templars and to their knowledge; I repeated it ten years long the way I had learned it from my predecessor who himself had learned it from an ancient tradition the origin of which he ignored.

It reappeared in France in the Spring of 1761 when Jean-Baptiste de Barailh returning from the Seven Years War introduced it in Metz from where it spread to Paris. According to a report written by Meunier de Précourt to the Grand Lodge in Paris, De Barailh had received the degree directly from the Count of Clermont, the then Grand Master. This could be true according to a manuscript discovered in Vienna by René Guilly:

April 28, 1773. Br\ de Lutzelbourg is commanded by Br\ a Spica aurea to communicate to the Brethren who are to become members of the Chapter the arms and mottos attributed to them in the Order ; the name of the last but one General Grand Master, known as Br\ a Sole aureo who was King James Stuart, said The Pretender, succeeded by his son who appointed Knight Vickland as Legate a latere by whom the late Prince of Clermont, General Chevert and several Brethren in Germany and Italy were received [in the Order] as stated in acts, legalized, drawn up and protocoled in Irland and Scotland, certiified conformed copies of which were deposited in the archives of the VIIth Province by Mylord Chesterfield.

As early as 1758, Baron von Hundt attempted to make his reform palatable to the French by letting initiate into it the Count of Clermont, Grand Master of Masonry in France, who at that time was in command of the French army in Germany, M. de Chevert and several other French generals [...] Clermont did not think it was either prudent or possible to bring the reform to France ; he was even heard saying that it was something too earnest and too grave, not meant for French brains. Accordingly, the question of the reform in France did not come up as long as he lived.


W. J. Chetwode Crawley, a remarkable historian of Irish Freemasonry, was the author of a series of three papers issued in 1913 in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, ‘The Templar Legends in Freemasonry’. He supported the idea that ‘the Rite of Strict Observance [was] based on the so-called Degree of Vengeance’ - which it was not - and saw accordingly ‘an essential difference’ between that rite and ‘the proper Degree of Masonic Knight Templar, practised by the English-speaking Craft’ which started in Ireland about 1758-1760 :

Between 1760 and 1780, the Knight Templar Degree had taken such hold on the Irish Craft that it seems to have been accepted as a Masonic Degree throughout Ireland. [...] In the Midland Counties of Ireland, Lodge No. 296, warranted 24th June, 1758, for the Town of Tipperary, has been shown by Sir Chas. A. Cameron, C.B., to have provided itself with Bye-Laws, presumably of the same date as the constitution of the Lodge, which recognised the Knight Templar Degree.

He reproduced the oldest-known Irish Version of the Knight Templar legend from a manuscript dated ‘Cork, 13th November 1793’, a few extracts of which are worth quoting:

A brief account of the most noble Sacred and Illustrious Order of Knights Templars translated from an authentic Ancient Manuscript found in the year 1540, in a square oak box, under the High Altar of the Templar’s Church in London, immediately after the suppression of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem by Henry the Eighth, the 25th of May in the above-mentioned year.

J: C: St. C—

These Knights of St. John were successors to the Templars, after their expulsion by Edward the Second in the year 1312, the time this Manuscript was written and deposited.

When found, it was carefully convey’d to the hands of Jacob Ulric St. Clair, of Roslin, in Scotland, whose family had the Honor of Heredetry Grand Master of that Kingdom confer’d on them, and in which it continued uninterrupted for upwards of two centuries.

William St. Clair of Roslin, in the year 1736, gave it to his nephew, John St. Clair, M: D: of Old Castle, in the County of Meath, then studying at Glasgow, from whom and by whose assistance I took this Copy in the year 1784.


Here follows an Historical Account of the Order, their rise, progress and Sufferings, sign’d by Hugo de Paganis and Godfrey de St. Andemer, Grand Masters, and 157 Knights. [...]

This Order was originally founded by Pope Galasions the first A. D. 1119, it is evident from certain ceremonies forming part of the Rules of Knights Templars that Galasions was a Free Mason, who in Conjunction with St. Bernard formed those Rites and Ceremonies which constitute the Order of Knight-hood.

Army Lodges

The Strict Observance started in Germany in 1751 but its expansion was stopped by the Seven Years War (1756-1763) during which French and British Lodges attached to foreign regiments were active in Germany:

While the British Regiments [...] were serving on the Continent, before, after, and during the continuance of, the Seven Years War, the Rite or System, called The Strict Observance, was in existence. This was based upon the fiction that at the time of the destruction of the Templars a certain number of Knights took refuge in Scotland, and there preserved the due succession of the Order. For various reasons also, these Knights were said to have joined the Guilds of Masons in that Kingdom, and thus to have given rise to the Society of Masons. The great doctrine laid down for the followers of the Rite was "that every true Mason is a Knight Templar." [...]

Lodges in British Regiments [...] must have constantly worked side by side with the Lodges under the Strict Observance - which for twenty years at least, pervaded all Continental Europe. During the military operations, moreover, in which the allied Army was engaged, many prisoners were made on both sides, and that the Masons among them fraternised in each case with their captors, must be taken as a certainty.

Since the various Irish historians quoted above believe that the Knight Templar degree started in Ireland about 1750-1760, it is more than likely that British military Lodges worked the degree while in Germany.

Some French prisonners were responsible for the creation of a Chapitre de Clermont at Berlin, July 19, 1760. Its French rituals were modified by Rosa. Johnson appeared in 1763 and introduced himself as the Great Prior of the Order of the Temple in Jerusalem, a Leone magno, arriving from Scotland. He entered in correspondence with von Hund and both met in May 1764 at Altenberg. Until the first days of the Convent, von Hund and the group around him believed Johnson. Then he was considered a fraud, emprisoned and eventually died in gaol.



When Starck comes to discuss Templars and Clerics in über Krypto-Katholicismus, he argues that both themes were current in German Freemasonry before 1764, that is before the Convent of Altenberg, after which the Strict Observance spread out in large parts of Europe. He reminds the reader that in Rosa’s system, Templars were a main theme of the Philosophe Sublime degree, experienced Knights were termed spiritual, Clerici and Equites (Latin for Knights) were words of the same meaning. He then calls the author of the Beytrag as his own witness although ‘he belongs to those who smell Jesuitism everywhere’. This is what Knigge wrote in the pages mentioned by Starck:

At the time of the Crusades, Christian Knights, especially the Templars, met and united with a few wise men, which explains how their knowledge came down to the Templars. [...] Very knowledgeable Masons still live in hiding In Scotland, they descend from the Chevaliers-prêtres [Knight Priesters] who flew away there after the Templars were exterminated [...]

The Templar Order was met with in the degrees under a historical and symbolical aspect only until Johnson declared [in Altenberg, May 1764]: ‘The plan of the Superiors consists in actually continuating these Knightly Orders; Freemasonry is nothing else but the propagation of the Templar Order; after the Templars were exterminated, the Chevaliers-prêtres flew to the Scottish isles with their knowledge and treasures and decided to continue their Holy Order under the mask of Masonry’.

Which shows, writes Starck, that Chevaliers-prêtres already existed not only in both Rosa’s and Johnson’s systems, but in the old Swedish one as well according to a Swedish Mason.


Schubart’s 1767 report opened with a question: ‘Could the Wismar brethren have received their tradition and documents from the Chapter in St. Petersburg then under the direction of Obrist Melesino ?’ Schubart wrote he thought it likely ‘according to certain facts’ which unfortunately he did not specify. His question was nevertheless remarkable since neither St. Petersburg nor Melesino were mentioned once in the documents he had to evaluate. Even if Schubart was aware that Starck spent a couple of years in St. Petersburg, how did he know about Melesino’s Chapter ?

Lieutenant-General Melesino (1726-1797) was a Greek soldier serving in the Russian army. About 1765, he founded in St. Petersburg The Silence, a Lodge upon which was grafted a Chapter whose last and seventh degree, Magnus Sacerdos Templariorum, is headed with the following words: ‘gradum capitularem sequitur et primus gradus Capituli invisibilis dicitur, vel Clericatus’. In the course of the ceremony, partly held in Latin, the candidate is adorned with the cross of the priestly Templars. During the explanation of the first mystical tracing-board, he is told that all the masonic degrees he previously received are called the Novitiate and whereas military Templars’ rewards consist in commanderies and bailiwicks, those of the spiritual Templars are abstract sciences.

Some forty years later, in a letter written to Nettelbladt in September 1809, Starck mentioned that Chapter, but not Melesino:

To be sure, I had great relations with the remains of the Scottish Chapter in Petersburg, accordingly I became afterwards actually everything in my hands, not only what they had, but also what a worldwide famous Brother of that Chapter, who died in 1764, collected in Italy, France and Scotland; however I was not the only and main actor [in Wismar]: Vegesack also had uncommon knowledge: I still own the copy of the patent which Count de la Tour du Pin drew up for him as a Cleric and Böhnen was a member of the Swedish Chapter.



A masonic student who would contemplate the possibility, and go as far as to sustain the opinion, that Templars transmitted a tradition to Freemasons who transmit it further, would at the very least be frowned upon nowadays. Three centuries ago, the situation was a little different.

One of the arguments of the anonymous attack against Starck in the July 1786 issue of the Monatschrift - the first two Anti-Saint-Nicaise had by then appeared - was that an unlearned man of good will may believe that the Templar Order continued in secret for 450 years within Freemasonry but that a cultivated man like Starck could not. Starck wrote the argument would hold if he had been the only cultivated man of his time to sustain that belief, but such was not the case by far. In order to make his point, he enumerated a dozen professors and doctors who held responsible positions in Rosa’s, Johnson’s and von Hund’s Templar successive systems.

Starck was a Freemason possessed of an unusually high degree of culture, familiar with ancient civilizations and dead languages, a deeply religious protestant theologian at heart. Freemasonry appealed to him as it still does to many men of our generation, but his views of what Freemasonry really is may shock some - though not all - contemporary members of the Craft: ‘Freemasonry is a nursery in which the Order picks out those receptive for its most intimate secrets’. ‘The Order’ within, part of, but distinct from, Freemasonry.

Whatever Starck saw, heard or experienced when he lived in St. Petersburg must have impressed the young man of twenty-three he was then. The books he wrote before and after he stopped all official masonic activities in 1778 show he never changed his mind about the Order. His affectionate correspondence with Nettelbladt testifies to his emotion when this fairly new Mason, aged twenty-nine, sent him a first letter full of admiration and respect in 1808. The letters he exchanged with Diethelm Lavater in the following years reflect his conviction that he had received a secret tradition which exists in Freemasonry and attempted to transmit it further through the channel of the Strict Observance.

Whoever asserts Starck lied, or invented that tradition, should find a reason why, up to his death, he supported the same idea of the Order of Freemasonry which inflicted so many blows upon him.



Starck’s Clerical records are enumerated in one letter from Starck quoted by Schröder, in the book of Nettelbladt and in the series of articles by Merzdorf. I have copied their enumerations as they are given in these three sources.

1. Documents enumerated by Starck in his letter to von Hund, November 25, 1770.


Lehrl. Grosm.


Hoher Schotte, für die so zum geistlichen Nov. bestimmt sind.


1. Weltliches Noviciat.

2. Weltliche Aufnahme zu Rittern und Armigeris.

3. Regula St. Bernh.

4. Historia O. im Auszuge von älteren und neueren Zeiten.

5. Einige andre dahin gehörige Stücke, als la Maniere de tenir Chapitre etc.


1. Noviciat.

2. Regula Initiationis Noviciorum.

3. Art Novicen Sessiones zu halten.

4. Novizen-Scheine.

5. Andre zum Nov. gehörigen Sachen.

6. Abbreviata Reg. Nov.

7. Rituale Banni.

8. Erklärung und Unterricht für einen Nov.

9. Ueber die Hieroglyphen des Mr. Ordens.

10. Ueber die Ceremonien bei der Init. eines Nov.

11. Historia Ord. contracta, latein.

12. Auszug aus der neueren Geschichte.


1. Rituale Consecrationis.

2. Rituale Lyturgi über 9 Feste des O.

3. Rituale Instit. M. Magistri.

4. de Convocatione Capitulorum, Denominatione Prioris vacantis Capituli etc.

5. Regula Canon. regul.

6. Commune ad Vesperas, ad Completorium, Benedictiones Mensae, ordo refulgentium, et Registrum de Canonibus Capitulorum.

7. Sepultura, cum Rituali lyturgico pro ffr. Cler. et militibus defunctis.

8. Magna Historia Ord.

9. Neuere Geschichte von 1314 sqq.

10. Formula Brevium Patenticum. Registra Capit. Prov. Bretaniae, Occit. Avern. Ital. et Regula minor mitigata.

11. Kreuze, Sigille und andre Zeichnungen.

12. Matricula Prov. Bretanicae.

13. Lucis sacrarium fr. Radulphi a Sto. Mannia.

14. Nosce te ipsum fr. Gaufridi.

15. Liber fr. Gualdi ex Provincia Italica etc.

2. Some Clerical records remained in Wismar until 1809. Nettelbladt (1779-1843) discovered them there in 1805 in the hands of a Brother Schultesius. He explained this to Starck in his letter from November 16, 1808, and said he had copied the Historia ordinis contracta and various rituals. Starck did not ask Nettelbladt to send them back, as stated by Merzdorf. On the contrary, Starck’s letter from August 15, 1809, shows he allowed Nettelbladt to keep them.

In his book, Nettelbladt writes that the Clerical documents he had in his possession were entitled Acta ritualia reverendi Ordinis sti. Templi Hierosolymitani — Clericalia. — I. Noviciatus. II. Canonicatus regularis. Ut in capitulis, magno Aberdeenensi in Scotia, Prov. Brit. — cap. Dionensi, prov. Averniae — cap. Aveniensi, prov. Occitaniae, et cap. Florentino, prov. Italiae hodiernum in usu est. and stamped in red with the letters ‘I. U. T.’ (in virtute tua).

1. Secret documents

    1. Character magico cabbalistico Sophicus antiquus, quo artis Mysteria continentur, mit der Explication.
    2. Tabula Chaeremonis sac[erdotis]. et Philos[ophi]. memph[ici]. de mysteriis.
    3. Philosophia Hermetica, auctore Frederico Gualdo.
    4. Lucis sacrarium per fratrem Rudolphum de sto Mauricio.

2. Historical documents

    1. Lectio de Mysteriis in festo Mysteriorum.
    2. Chronicon Ordinis humilis fratris Ugonis a sta. fide, M. Cap. Can. reg. R. O. St. T. Hier. prioris indigni in civitate Acconensi.
    3. Kurzgefasste Nachrichten von der geistlichen Branche [oder den regulirten Chorherren d. h. R. O. d. h. T. zu J. aus dem grossen O. G. litt. N.].
    4. Magna historia Ordinis, wovon jedoch nur der erste Theil abgeliefert ist.

3. Other documents

I. Liturgia

    1. Liturgia festi Mysteriorum. 1 / 12 November
    2. Liturgia in festo fundationis ordinis. - Trinitatis
    3. Liturgia in festo institutionis Canon. regul. - 8 / 19 August
    4. Liturgia in festo de acceptatione Regulae can. reg. - 10 / 21 August
    5. Liturgia in commemoratione proelii Hettinensis sive ad Tiberiam - 23 Juni / 4 Juli
    6. Liturgia in commemoratione ob captam sanctam civitatem - 26 November / 6 December
    7. Liturgia in comm. excidii Accon. et am. terrae sanctae - 18 / 29 Mai
    8. Liturgia in comm. excidii Saphedini - 26 April / 7 Mai
    9. Liturgia fr. Petri de Rononia in commem. destructione Ordinis nostri - 18 / 29 März

II. Rituale liturgicum in Institutione magni mag. Onis.

III. Regula Andr. Montisbarrensis.

IV. Das Rituale der Eröffnung und Schliessung der Capitel - der Einweihung desselben - und der Wahl und Installation eines Priors.

V. Vorschrift, was bei kranken und sterbenden Brbn., auch bei Begräbniss derselben, zu beobachten ist.

VI. Delineationes crucis magnae et parvae, filamenti, annuli, sigilli, magni, subtanei. cinguli, birrhi et pilei, stolae et Baffumeti, quibus usu est O. templ. et quidem reg. Can. ejus ordinis.

3. Dr. Merzdorf (1812-1877), out of various archives the location of which he does not specify, managed in 1872 to put together what he describes as a complete set of the Clerical Records which he listed thus:


A. Rituale Initiationis.

B. 1. Unterricht eines neuen Novicii.

2. Erklärungen von den Ceremonien bei der Aufnahme.

C. 1. Abbreviata regula Noviciorum.

2. Von der Art, wie Novicensessionen gehalten werden.

3. Von den Novicenscheinen.

4. Von anderen zum Noviciat gehörenden Sachen.

5. Rituale Banni.

D. 1. Epitome historiae ordinis (auch historia ordinis contracta).

2. Auszug aus der neueren Geschichte des Ordens.

Anhang. Nosce te ipsum. lat u. deutsch.


A. Rituale Consecrationis Can. Regul.

B. Rituale Liturgicum.

1. Festum Mysteriorum.

2. Festum fundationis ordinis.

3. Festum institutionis canon. regul.

4. Festum de accepta regula canon.

5. Commemoratio proelii Hettinensis.

6. Commemoratio ob captam sanctam civitatem.

7. Commemoratio proelii Acconensis et amissae terrae sanctae.

8. Commemoratio excidii Saphedini.

9. Liturgia fr. Petri de Bononia super destructione ordinis.

C. 1. Liturgia in institutione magni magistri ordinis.

2. Commune officium ad Vesperas.

D. 1. de modo convocandi, habendi et claudendi capitula.

2. de denominatione prioris capituli.

3. de denominatione ad vacantiam in capitula.

4. de initiatione sacrarii canon. regular.

E. 1. Sacramentale can. regul. in consecratione ad mysteria oridinis

2. Regula can. regul. ab Andrea Montibarr. praescripta.

F. 1. Commune ad completorium.

2. Benedictiones mensae.

3. Ordo refulgentium.

4. Registrum de canonibus ordinis in cap. Magn. constabilitis.

G. 1. Von dem, was man in vorigen Zeiten bei kranken und sterbenden Brüdern beobachtet.

2. Ordo assistentium in moribundis.

3. Observanda de sepultura fratrum.

H. Chronicon ordinis fr. Hugonis a sta fide (auch magna historia ordinis genannt).

I. 1a. Character magico-cabbalistico-sophicus antiquus, quo actis mysteria continentur.

1b. Explicatio characteris etc.

2a Tabula Chaeremonis sac. et philos. memph. de Flysteriis.

2b. Explicatio tabulae etc.

K. Formularien.

L. 1. Delineationes crucis magnae et parvae, filamenti. annuli etc.

2. Explication du Fr. J. B. de Superville sur les croix et le Baffumet de l'anc. ordre.

M. Philosophia Hermetica auct. Fr. Gualdo. ital. u. deutsch.

N. Kurzgefasste Nachricht von der geistl. Branche oder den regulirt. Chorherrn d. H.O.d.T.v.J.

O. Hierologium.


1. [Starck] Lectio de mysteriis. s. a.

2. Starck commemoratio am Feste d. Geheimnisse über den hohen Werth derselben 1782.

3. Starck commemoratio... de mysteriis ordinis 1784.

4. Eustath. a Scarabeo (Schröter) meteorologische Bestimmung der Planeten und ihr. Einfluss auf die Erde.

5. Lucis sacrarium a fr. Rad. de sto Mauricio. auch d. Sta Mannia.

6. Einweihung in die Hermetischen Geheimnisse.

7. Magia divina, das Clericat des T. O.

8. Munios in Indien, Offenbarung dessen, was mein Geist und was Natur ist.







I mentioned at the beginning of this paper that ‘Stark’ is one of the signatories of the Grand Constitutions of 1786 but I do not intend to discuss the arguments submitted by Albert Pike in his Historical Inquiry. When the interested student reads pages 158 and 164 ff. of that famous piece of writing, he should keep in mind that Pike admitted to know many printed matters of that time only from hearsay since they were ‘not within his reach’.

Pike however translated the beginning of Starck’s biography as issued in the Biographie Universelle and wrote in his summary of the following paragraphs that while in Paris Starck ‘abjured protestantism on the 8th of February, 1766’. Since Starck strongly denied to have ever changed religion, this calls for a short comment.

The entry Starck of the Biographie universelle ancienne et moderne was written by a catholic priest named abbé Picot, editor of a publication entitled L’Ami de la Religion. The relevant part of the entry says: ‘

Starck arrived October 1765 in Paris and after proper instructions and preparation pronounced his abjuration in the Saint-Sulpice church, February 8, 1766. This results from a register of abjurations received in Saint-Sulpice from 1686 until 1791, a manuscript register which is still kept and which we had under our own eyes.

Bode, who hated the ground Starck walked on, wrote in his diary that he went to that church June 30, 1787, and looked in vain for a proof of Starck’s abjuration. The register of abjurations appears to have been destroyed or to have disappeared during the subsequent French Revolution.







Some ten years ago, my friend René Guilly (1921-1992), an expert in the field of the rituals of the Rectified Scottish Rite, discovered in Germany a ninety pages long set of rituals in French, certified in parts by Starck. He ascertained ‘their striking analogies with the rituals of the Strict Observance used in Lyons in 1775 and those agreed upon at the Convent des Gaules [1778]’ and wrote: ‘It is, to say the least, curious and interesting to find him thus partly at the source of the French Rectified Scottish Régime and even possibly, who knows ?, of its esoteric "calling"’. Like most French masonic scholars, he could not read German well and was unfamiliar with particulars of the history of German Freemasonry.

The explanation is a simple one. La Candeur, a French Lodge founded in 1763 in Srasbourg, felt so strongly about the recent events inside French Freemasonry which led to the interdiction of Grand Lodge meetings in 1767 that it applied to the ‘Modern’ Grand Lodge for an English Warrant and became Nr. 429, dated May 2, 1772. But within a matter of days, when one of its members, Antoine Joseph, Count of Lützelburg (b. 1739), returned from Saxony, the Lodge heard for the first time about the Strict Observance. It wrote a letter to Dresden which von Hund let Major von Weiler answer, June 5. After a formal request came from Strasbourg, June 25, Weiler sent preliminary information about the Provinces of the Order and the special way of dating. August 8, von Hund himself wrote to Strasbourg that he had decided to ‘re-establish’ the Templar Province of Burgundy and that Weiler would come in person to proceed with its formal installation, which he eventually did in September 1773.

In the mean time, La Candeur dispatched letters to Bordeaux, Montpellier and Lyons, announcing that it now belonged to ‘the Reform of Dresden’. Its first letter to Lyons, written November 6, 1772, explained:

Filled with respect and admiration for the acts of virtue and of benevolence through which Masonry is known in Germany, having heard that its reformation was completed after eight years of work […], we aspired to enter the sanctuary in which the knowledge and workings of more than two hundred Lodges are deposited; we succeeded after exerting ourselves to the uppermost and are fortunate enough to have been recently admitted within that reform with distinctions and privileges which flatter us all the more that they grant us the means and power to let Brethren who would inform us of their wish share our fortune.

Willermoz (1730-1824) sent a guarded answer in his capacity as PGM and present Keeper of the Seals and Archives of Lyons’ Grand Lodge. He explained at length Lyons’ negative position regarding the Grand Lodge in Paris and merely asked for further details. Eventually, Willermoz wrote to Dresden and after many letters exchanged with Weiler, the latter returned to France and ‘re-established’ the Province of Auvergne in July 1774 in Lyons.

The new rituals adopted by the Strict Observance at Kohlo were translated into French at Dresden by Benard and the set discovered by René Guilly certified March 16, 1774. It is nearly identical with the rituals annotated in Weiler’s handwriting, as showed by the Minutes (now at the Lyons’ Town Library) of the sittings he presided in Lyons since July 21, while instructing the young Chapter of the new IId Province. The Starck rituals, considerably modified by Willermoz and the Strasbourg Brethren, were approved at the Convent of Wilhelmsbad (1782), but Willermoz kept on ‘improving’ some of them until 1809.

In September 1773 in Strasbourg as well as in Lyons in August 1774, Weiler confered the Eques Professus on members of both Chapters. Deeply modified by Willermoz, it was in its new form of Grands Profès confered on thirteen Brethren, among whom Jean de Türckheim, during the Convent des Gaules held at Lyons, November 25 to December 10, 1778.

In a letter from May 25, 1810 to Willermoz, Jean de Türckheim stated he engaged into an intimate acquaintance with Starck who had taken an unusual liking for him. ‘He belonged to our Society’ wrote Türckheim to Diethelm Lavater in October 1817. Revived in France and in Switzerland in 1811 and a little later in Germany, Grands Profès are still discreetly active in our days in a way Starck might have approved of.












March 1

v. K. / author of the book





March 31

Stark / von Hund





April 18

Stark / v. Raven





May 2/3

Stark / v. Raven






Patent in French delivered by Pylades to Starck, dated 1766




[July 6]

Stark / von Hund





July 2


Anerkennungs-Akt in Latin followed by a German translation




October 22

Stark / von Hund





October 26

Stark / von Hund





October 30

Mylius / Schubart





[November 14]


Schubart’s Report




November 8

v. Prangen / Schubart





November 17

Schubart / v. Prangen





December 18

v. Hund / Consil. Prov.





December 7

v. Prangen / Schubart





December 12

Schubart / v. Prangen





December 19

v. Prangen / Schubart





December 29

Schubart / v. Prangen





December 30

v. Prangen / Schubart





January 18

v.Hund / Cons.Prov.





March 29


Donation of Unwürde by von Hund to the Order





First chapter of the High Order’s Constitution [by Mylius]




[June 6]

Schubart / Prefectures

(Dated after Kloss Bibl. Nr. 2293)



1786 ?


Schubart / Author of Archidemides




Table of documents transcribed in Archidemides











October 28






Vegesack member of the Sublime Order of Elected Knights




February 7

No. 205 warranted – Banner with Templar motto


27th Foot - Ireland



Seven Years War



February – July

Clermont commands French army




June 24

No 296 warranted – Bye Laws recognize KT ?


Tipperary - Ireland


December 25

Eckleff founds Chapitre Illuminé








July 19

French prisonner creates Chapter of Clermont





Made a Mason




De Barailh brings KH degree from Germany




September 13

Précourt / Willermoz describes KH


Metz - Lyon



End of Seven Years War





St. Petersburg



Convent – Speech Johnson – Kessler and Précourt knighted



1765 ?


Melesino founds Chapter - Death of Natter


St Petersburg


March 24

Sir Edward Gilmore KT






Works at the King’s Library



February 8


Alleged conversion to catholicism





Leaves Paris for





Meets Vegesack and Böhnen



February 17

Three Lions installed




March 31


First Letter to v Hund



July 2


Signs Actus Agnitionis



August 5

Letter Vegesack / Seerohr




November 14

Schubart’s Report




February 9

Jacobi and Prangen arrive in






Leaves Wismar for

St. Petersburg


June 6

Schubart resigns



August 28

KT degree conferred




September 28


Arrives in



November 24

Count of Brühl Eques Professus


Hof Lösnitz


November 25


Lists documents in letter to von Hund



May 27

Pactum Fundamentale




June 25

Formal request of La Candeur


Strasbourg / Dresden



Vth Province Burgundy installed by Weiler




March 16

Starck’s rituals certified





IId Province Auvergne installed by Weiler





Marries Albertine Schulz




Leaves Königsberg for





Clerics leave the Strict Observance




Founds The Seven Allies




Named First Preacher




First anonymous attack against Starck in Monatschrift





Saint Nicaise (1st ed)



January 1

Letter Schubart / Baron Hirschen










Saint Nicaise (2nd ed)



March 1

[Schubart] sends documents to Kessler


Würchwitz - Berlin – Sonnenberg



Knigge’s Beytrag









June 14

Letter Jacobi / Starck




Monatschrift reviews Archidemides




July 26


Sues Monatschrift

Darmstadt - Berlin


August 17

Death of Frederic



April 23

Death of Schubart






Issues KK I

Frankfurt & Leipzig


June 30

Bode looks for proof of Starck’s conversion






Issues KK II

Frankfurt & Leipzig




Looses process




Kessler’s 4th book





Fessler’s papers




Jacobi Kurze Übersicht




Schröder Materialien



October 26


1st letter from Nettelbladt

Rostock - Darmstadt


October 23


1st letter to D. Lavater

Darmstadt - Zurich



Made a Freiherr



March 3






*Anon., 1785 Saint Nicaise oder eine Sammlung merkwürdiger maurerischer Briefe, für Freymäurer und die es nicht sind. - Aus dem Französischen übersetzt.

Anon. [Christian Friedrich Kessler von Sprengseysen], 1786. Anti-Saint-Nicaise. Ein Turnier im XVIII. Jahrhundert gehalten von zwey T. H. als etwas für Freymaurer und die es nicht sind. Leipzig.

Anon., 1786. Saint Nicaise oder eine Sammlung merkwürdiger maurerischer Briefe, für Freymäurer und die es nicht sind. - Aus dem Französischen übersetzt. - Zweite Auflage. Mit berichtigenden Anmerkungen von einer deutschen Hand.

Anon. [Knigge, Freiherr Adolf Franz Ludwig Friedrich], 1786. Beytrag zur neuesten Geschichte des Freymaurerordens in neun Gesprächen. Berlin.

Anon. [Christian Friedrich Kessler von Sprengseysen], 1786. Archidemides oder des Anti-Saint-Nicaise zweyter Theil. Mit der Silhouette des Verfassers. Leipzig.

*Anon. [Christian Friedrich Kessler von Sprengseysen], 1787. Scala algebraica oeconomica oder Des Anti-Saint-Nicaise dritter und letzter Theil. Leipzig.

Johann August Starck, 1787. Über Krypto-Katholicismus, Proselytenmacherey, Jesuitismus, geheime Gesellschaften und besonders die ihm selbst von den Verfassern der Berliner Monatsschrift gemachte Beschuldigungen mit Acten-Stücken belegt. 2 vol. Frankfurt und Leipzig.

Christian Friedrich Kessler von Sprengseysen, 1788. Abgenöthigte Forsetzung des Anti-St. Nicaise als eine Beleuchtung des von dem Herrn Oberhofprediger, Consistorialrath und Definitor D. Stark herausgegebenen Krypto-Katholicismus in sofern er die Strikte Observanz, ihre verehrungswürdigste Obere und mich anzugreifen für gut gehalten hat. Leipzig.

Carl Heinrich Ludwig Jacobi, 1796. Kurze Übersicht einer Geschichte der Fr Mry und des T Os in Deutschland, insbesondere der zu dem sogennanten System der Stricten Observanz gehörigen Bbr. von dem Jahr 1742, anfangend. Extracts in Merzdorf 1873: 65-80 and Dotzauer 1991: 53-58 & 78-82.

Friedrich Ludwig Schröder, 1803-1806. Materialien zur Geschichte der Freymaurerey seit der Wiederherstellung der großen Loge in London, 5717. 4 vol.

Lenning [-Mossdorf]. Encyclopädie der Freimaurerei. 3 vol. I. (1822), II. (1824), III (1828). Leipzig.

Christian Carl Friedrich Wilhelm, Freiherr von Nettelbladt. 1836. Geschichte Freimaurerischer Systeme in England, Frankreich und Deutschland. (Private circulation) - 1879. Berlin: Ernst Siegfried Mittler & Sohn. - 1984. Unveränderter Neudruck. Vaduz, Liechstenstein: Sändig Reprint Verlag Hans R. Wohlwend.

Ignaz Aurelius Fessler, [1803] (First publication 1848). ‘Die Stricte Observanz. (Aus Feßler's schriftlichem Nachlaß)’. Freimaurer-Zeitung (Leipzig) 23: 177-184, 24: 185-190, 25: 193-198, 26: 204-208, 27: 213-216, 28: 221-224, 29: 230-232, 30: 237-240, 31: 245-248.

*J. G. Findel, 1861-1862. Geschichte der Freimaurerei von der Zeit ihres Entstehens bis auf die Gegenwart. - 1870. 3. Auflage.

Allgemeines Handbuch der Freimaurerei. 3 vol. I. (1863), II. (1865), III (1867). Leipzig.

Heinrich Lachmann, 1866. Geschichte und Gebräuche der maurerischen Hochgrade und Hochgrad-Systeme. Manuskript für Engbünde. Braunschweig. - 1974. Reprint Graz (Austria).

*Albert Pike, 1872. Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. – New edition 1904.

Theodor Merzdorf, 1873. ‘Maurerische Abhandlungen’. [Das Clericat und das Schwedische System. Das Clericat. Die Einführung des Tempelherrn von Prangen.]. Latomia 29: 1-80. Leipzig.

Jean-Emile Daruty, 1879. Recherches sur le Rite Ecossais Ancien Accepté. - 1988 and 2001 Reprints. Demeter, Paris.

Carl Ludvig Henning Thulstrup, 1892. Meddelanden fran Svenska Stora Landslogens arkiv och bibliotek. - [Quoted in this paper after the German translation, Flensburg 1984.] Mitteilungen aus dem Archiv und der Bibliothek der Schwedischen Großen Landesloge.

Steel-Maret, 1893. Archives Secrètes de la Franc-Maçonnerie. - 1985 Reprint. Slatkine, Genève-Paris.

Allgemeines Handbuch der Freimaurerei. 2 vol. I. (1900), II. (1901). Leipzig.

Aigner-Abafi, 1902. Johnson, ein Hochstapler des XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Frankfurt am Main.

Jean Blum, 1912. J.-A. Starck et la querelle du crypto-catholicisme en Allemagne 1785-1789. Paris.

Julius F. Sachse, 1919. The History of Masonic Knights Templar in Pennsylvania 1797-1919.

Ernst Gustav Krüger, 1922. ‘Johann August Starck, der Kleriker. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Theosophie im 18. Jahrhundert’. Festgabe von Fachgenossen und Freunden Karl Müller zum siebzigsten Geburtstag dargebracht: 244-266. Tübingen.

Boris Telepneff, 1922. ‘Freemasonry in Russia’. AQC 35: 261-292.

— 1928. ‘Johann August Starck and his Rite of Spiritual Masonry’. AQC 41: 238-284.

Pericle Maruzzi, 1928. 'Notizie e Documenti sui Liberi Muratori in Torino nel secolo XVIII'. Bollettino Storico-bibliografico subalpino. Anno XXX: 115-213 & 397-514. Torino.

Ernst Gustav Krüger, 1931. ‘Johann August Starck und der Bund der Sieben’. Festgabe zum 60. Geburtstag von Wilhelm DiehI: 237-259. Darmstadt.

— 1931. 'Starck im Licht der Briefe Petersens'. Festgabe zum 60. Geburtstag von Wilhelm Diehl: 260-270. Darmstadt.

Ferdinand Runkel, 1932. Geschichte der Freimaurerei in Deutschland. 3 vol. Berlin.

René Le Forestier, 1970. La Franc-Maçonnerie Templière et Occultiste aux XVIIIe et XIXe siècles. Paris.

Antoine Faivre, 1970. Addenda Bibliographiques et Notes to René Le Forestier 1970.

Klaus-Jürgen Stock, 1979. ‘D. Johann August Starck. Betrachtungen zur Wirkung eines unzeitgemäßen Vorläufers heutiger Naturphilosophie auf dem Wege zur Einheit des Weltbildes’. Zirkelkorrespondenz 2 (Februar 1979): 40-78.

Etienne Gout, 1986. ‘Splendeur et misère du Chevalier Kadosch au temps de la première Grande Loge de France’. Sources 5981-5986 (Grand Collège des Rites, Paris): 143-155.

Hermann Schüttler, 1988. ‘Das Klerikat’. TAU II: 7-16. Bayreuth.

Winfried Dotzauer, 1991. Quellen zur Geschichte der deutschen Freimaurerei im 18. Jahrhundert unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Systems der Strikten Observanz. Franfurt am Main, Bern, New York, Paris: Peter Lang.

Arndt Wolf, 1992. ‘Johann August Starck und das Klerikale System’. TAU I / II: 102-110. Bayreuth.

Werner G. Zimmermann, 1994. Von der alten zur neuen Freimaurerei. Briefwechsel und Logenreden von Diethelm Lavater nach 1800, mit der Biographie D. Lavaters von Heinrich Meier, herausgegeben und eingeleitet von Werner G. Zimmermann, im Auftrag der Modestia cum Libertate, Zürich.

André Kervella et Philippe Lestienne, 1997. ‘Un haut-grade templier dans les milieux jacobites en 1750: l’Ordre Sublime des Chevaliers Elus aux sources de la Stricte Observance’. Renaissance Traditionnelle 112: 229-266. Clichy.

Alain Bernheim, 1997. ‘Avatars of the Knight Kadosch in France and in Charleston’. Heredom 6: 149-217.

— 1998. ‘La Stricte Observance’. Ars Macionica (Bruxelles) 8: 67-97.

— 1998. ‘That "Strict Observance" Paper’. AQC 110: 192-207.

— 2001. ‘Notes à propos du Rite Ecossais Rectifié’. [to appear in Ars Macionica (Bruxelles) 11].

General remarks about the bibliography

The second volume of Starck’s über Krypto-Katholicismus was printed by different printers at the same time for the sake of expediency. Which is the reason why its 1002 pages include four successive paginations, each beginning with 1. Accordingly, references to specific pages of that volume are given in this paper as, for instance, II [1] followed with the page number.

The most reliable and comprehensive study written in English on Starck, is that of Telepneff 1928. Many references in foot-notes to the relevant sources listed in the Bibliography.

With the notable exceptions of Nettelbladt, Runkel, Krüger and Stock, German sources are hostile to Starck.

The same hostility is found in the two main French sources, Blum and Le Forestier. Both are biased. Blum often quotes from second-hand sources works he never saw.

The best source on Johnson, a key-actor of the years 1763-64, is that of Aigner-Abafi 1902, largely based upon MS then deposited in the archives of the Amalia Lodge at Weimar.

Many entries of the Lenning’s Encyclopädie (1822-28) reproduce very rare documents, often quoted in original French or English, which were not overtaken in the subsequent editions issued under the title of Allgemeines Handbuch (1863-67 and 1900-01). The latter editions are invaluable for their reliable dates and biographies of German Masons, but the earlier one is more complete and detailed than the second.