Thursday, November 5, 2009

Los Angeles Freemasonry - Loge Art et Lumiere

Most people that are knowledgeable about Freemasonry are aware of the Grand Orient of France. The GO de France came into being in 1728 as the Premiere Grand Lodge of France, making it one of the oldest Masonic jurisdictions in the world. It adopted the name, Grand Orient of France, in 1773.

The GO de France has had a long and interesting history. As the largest Masonic body in France, the Grand Orient has frequently been involved in issues relating to social progress, human rights, and the separation of Church and State.

France at one time had the second largest empire in the world. As a result of this, Grand Orient lodges exist in many parts of the globe, or were the foundation of what today are self-governing Grand Orients and Grand Lodges in Africa, Asia, and the New World.

At present, the GO de France does not initiate women and is a male jurisdiction, however the Grand Orient played an important role in the origin of many mixed-gender and feminine obediences, and recognizes and admits visitors from both types of bodies.

In 1877, the Grand Orient of France removed the requirement that a person must believe in God to enter the Order. This was due to a desire on the part of the GO de France to return to the spirit of early Freemasonry, as well as to support the complete freedom of conscience of the individual.

As the Grand Orient of France became increasingly progressive in its stances towards freedom of conscience, acceptance of woman as Freemasons, and active participation in social reform, the Anglo-American Grand Lodges, Conservative, increasingly secular in their orientation, and politically reactionary, severed relations with the GO de France and its supporters.

Today these make up the two main variations of Freemasonry in the world. While Anglo-American Freemasonry is dominant in the U.K. and North America, Liberal Cosmopolitan Freemasonry is dominant in Europe, Africa, and South America. Both types exist in Asia as well.

Several Masonic Rites are practiced by the various lodges that make up the GO de France, the majority however work the French Modern Rite, which evolved from the Modern Rite introduced to France by the "Modern" Grand Lodge of England in the 18th Century.

The Grand Orient of France, in 1973, issued a Patent for the French Modern Rite to the Grand Loge Feminine de France, (the Women's Grand Lodge of France), which now also uses the Rite.

There are five lodges of the GO de France currently working in North America; Loge Atlantide in New York, Loge Pacifica in San Francisco, Loge Lafayette in Washington D.C., Loge Force et Courage in Montreal, Canada, and Loge Art et Lumiere in Los Angeles.

I have posted a link to the Grand Orient of France in North America's website, which of course, is in French. Art et Lumiere meets regularly in West Los Angeles and, while working in French, is actively involved in assisting other progressive lodges in the area, including those that work in English.

Here is a link as well to a brochure in English that is available in pdf format at the Grand Orient of France's website:

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