Translation José Filardo, reviewed by John Slifko
by Paulo César Gaglianone
Supreme Council of the Modern Rite
Orient of Rio de Janeiro, 1994
Freemasonry was introduced into Brazil at a time when the country was a Province of the Portuguese monarchy. That is why it is important to return to an historical review of the context of Freemasonry in Portugal.
Freemasonry in Portugal dates back roughly to 1730 with the influx of the first lodges stemming from France and England (Clavel, 1843).
In 1738, Pope Clement XII forbid Catholics to hold positions in Masonic Lodges, and the king of Portugal, D. John V in a parallel fashion threatened Masons with penalties. (Thory – “Histoire de La Fondation du Grand Orient de France”). In fact, neither the Pope’s Bull, nor the King’s decree prevented Masonic activities in Portugal.
Later, during the government of King Joseph I (1750-1777) the Portuguese Lodges worked secretly.
Thereafter, until the French Revolution, Portugal felt considerable influence from the lodges of Paris, with the bans of D. João VI and S. Maria I’s not being at all effective.
Around 1793, lodges existed in Coimbra and Porto, and several students from overseas provinces, including some from the State of Brazil joined them. (Livy and Ferreira, 1968).
The Grand Orient Lusitano was founded in 1800, with the Grand Masters Judge Sebastião São Paio, and then, in 1803, General Gomes Freire de Andrade (The Return of Freemasonry, Angel Maria de Lera, foreword by Armando Adão e Silva, 1986).
In 1807, Junot conquered Portugal forcing the Portuguese Court to seek shelter in Brazil. “So, the Freemasonry of Brazil was linked to Portugal since the eighteenth century. While the headquarters of the Portuguese monarchy was in Lisbon, Freemasonry felt that revolutionary movements were easier in Brazil, hence the Plots (Inconfidências) Mineira (1789) and Bahia (1799). With the relocation of the Portuguese monarchy to Rio de Janeiro, in 1817 a revolution emerged both in Brazil (Pernambuco) and Portugal (led by Gomes Freire de Andrade).” (Livio and Ferreira, 1968).
The scene was set that the triumphant liberal revolutions in the English colonies of North America, in France, and in Spanish America was also about to explode in the Portuguese Nation.
In the early years of the nineteenth century, the Masonic lodges spread considerably in the provinces of Pernambuco, Bahia, and Rio de Janeiro. Some under the auspices of the Grand Orient Lusitano other under the Grand Orient of France. The Lodge “Virtude e Razão,” for example, was installed in Salvador, in 1802, working under the Modern Rite.
“It should be remembered that the Independence of Brazil, far from consisting only in the Cry of Ipiranga on September 7, 1822, had its start before, with the Constitutional Revolution in 1820 in Porto, Portugal, by way of protest against the recolonization measures.” (Armando Adão e Silva, preface; The Return of Freemasonry, 1984).
The Grand Orient of Brazil was founded on June 17, 1822. Joaquim Gonçalves Ledo and José Clemente Pereira were prominent leaders in this movement, both coming from the Commerce and Arts Lodge, founded in November 15, 1815, under a charter of the Grand Orient of Ile de France.
Thus, the “Commerce and Arts” lodge, which was subdivided into “União e Tranquilidade” and “Esperança de Nictheroy”, formed the basis of the Grand Orient of Brazil, which received the Charter from the Grand Orient Lusitano of Portugal. Its first Grand Master General was Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva.
“The Comério e Artes Lodge and those originated therefrom worked initially under the Adonhiramite Rite” and the “Grand Orient of Brazil was soon recognized by the Grand Orient of France, of Britain and of the United States” (Melo, Masonic Centenary Book).
According to Lima (At the Backstage of the Mystery): “The Brazilian Freemasonry is a spiritual daughter of the French Freemasonry. From France came the Modern Rite with which the Grand Orient came of age, and ten years later, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. ”
The Grand Orient of Brazil was closed by D. Pedro I, Regent Prince, and restored in 1832 by Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva.
The Grand Orient of Brazil, restored in 1832 adopted the Modern Rite and the Constitution of the Grand Orient of France in 1826, adapted by Gonçalves Ledo and promulgated on October 24, 1836 (Viegas, 1986). The Modern Rite, therefore, became the Official Rite of Grand Orient of Brazil, in the work of its Legislative and Administrative Bodies, i.e., for the operation of its High Bodies.
Commercio e Artes Lodge Nr. 1, thereafter adopted the Modern Rite (later, through Decree 2405 of August 13, 1974, this lodge changed from the Modern Rite to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite).
The Lodge “Seis de Março de 1817”, of the State of Pernambuco regularized on October 7, 1832 with the GOB, also worked the French Rite (Albuquerque, Freemasonry and the Greatness of Brazil).
The French Rite manuals published by the GOB are dated 1834, and the Chapter of this Rite was established in 1835.
On September 1st, 1839, another Constitution was drafted, which was soon replaced by another in 1842. In 1841, the Grand Orient of Brazil was again recognized by the Grand Orient of France (Viegas, 1986).
Already during the Republic, between 1891-1901, the Grand Master Antonio Joaquim de Macedo Soares, with Henrique Valadares as Secretary-General, infused Brazilian Freemasonry with considerable French influence, “considering itself within the spirit of the law of separation of Church and State, emphasizing the French Rite, which eliminated the Bible from the Altar of Oaths, and suppressed references to the Great Architect of the Universe “(Viegas, 1986). The constitutional reform of 1877 only involved the jurisprudence of the Grand Orient of France, but the Grand Orient of Brazil, where the French Rite had been adopted, followed that Obedience.
In 1927, there was a major split in the GOB with the invention of the Grand Lodges, which worked under the Scottish Rite. This was a critical moment.
“The Grand Lodge of England, which consider as essential conditions to the Masonic life the belief in God and in an afterlife, and that broke with the Grand Orients of France and Belgium in defense of those principles, led the Grand Orient of Brazil, in 1935 to an indissoluble treaty of alliance, confirming the cordial relations between the two bodies.” (Viegas, 1986).
Today (1994), the Grand Orient of Brazil has 33 Lodges and 11 Chapters, currently working the Modern Rite. To date, except in Brazil, lodges working the Modern Rite do not exist in South America.
The Modern Rite played an important role in Brazil, of a positive nature in the national transformations, in the phase of the Independence, during the Brazilian Reign and in the Proclamation of the Republic, in the quest for more perfect society and the triumph of the fraternal ideal.