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The Swedish Rite is a variation or Rite of Freemasonry is a branch of Freemasonry that is common in Scandinavian countries and is different from other branches of Freemasonry in that it insists on its members being professing Christians.
The Swedish Rite is common in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. A slight variation is common in parts of Germany under the Große Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland. Also other craft masonic bodies are working in the nordic countries (see further under freemasonry in Sweden and freemasonry in Denmark). However only one Grand Lodge in each country is working the Swedish Rite, each of which governs its own jurisdiction. Although fully independent, the Scandinavian Grand Lodges work closely together to keep their rituals as similar as possible.
The Rite is divided into three divisions: St. John's (Craft) degrees (I–III), St. Andrew's (Scottish) degrees (IV–VI) and the Chapter degrees (VII–X). In addition one may attain the XIth degree, although only a very few gain this. Progression from one degree to the next is not automatic. A brother not only has to be in regular attendance, but also has to show that he has a certain proficiency and knowledge of Freemasonry. The Swedish Rite demands members be Christian and not just that they believe in a supreme being. Like other Regular Masonic jurisdictions, only men are allowed membership.
Since 7 November 2006 all laws of the Swedish Order of Freemasons are publicly available on the Internet. Among others, the laws prohibit any member to gain advantages outside the lodge by using the lodge as an instrument. The laws also stress the charity works of the members and the observance of the Golden Rule.
- St. John's degrees
- I Apprentice
- II Fellow Craft
- III Master Mason
- St. Andrew's degrees
- IV/V Apprentice and Companion of St. Andrew (one degree)
- VI Master of St. Andrew
- Chapter degrees
- VII Very Illustrious Brother, Knight of the East
- VIII Most Illustrious Brother, Knight of the West
- IX Enlightened Brother of St. John's Lodge
- X Very Enlightened Brother of St. Andrew's Lodge
- Grand Council honorary degree
- XI Most Enlightened Brother, Knight Commander of the Red Cross
The officers of the lodges under the Swedish Rite are somewhat different from officers of Craft Masonry. The lodges are managed by a Worshipful Master, who will be assisted by one or typically several deputy masters; all are elected by the brethren of the lodge. The two offices of first and second "guarding" brother are also elected and can best be compared to the Senior and Junior warden of Craft Masonry. Additional officers appointed by the Worshipful Master include a Master of Ceremonies, a Secretary, a Treasurer, a Speaker, an Introducer and some more. Officers generally stay in office for several years and are often assisted by substitute officers, who can (and do) take their place at regular lodge meetings.
Grand Lodges using the rite
The Swedish Rite is used by:
- The Swedish Order of Freemasons (Svenska Frimurare Orden), with lodges in Sweden and Finland.
- The Norwegian Order of Freemasons (Den Norske Frimurerorden)
- The Danish Order of Freemasons (Den Danske Frimurerorden)
- The Icelandic Order of Freemasons (Frímúrarareglan á Íslandi)
An earlier version of the rite, the Zinnendorf Rite, is used by:
- Grand Landlodge of the Freemasons of Germany (Große Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland)
- Grand Lodges using the Swedish Rite
- Danish Grand Lodge
- Icelandic Grand Lodge
- Norwegian Grand Lodge
- Swedish Grand Lodge
- Grosse Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland
- Other links
- THE SWEDISH CONSTITUTION, Nordic Esotericism in Baroque Splendour, by W.Bro Alex G. Davidson, last retrieved 16 April 2006