The Jurisdiction of the High Grades of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in Quebec

With respect to the high grade structures in Canada, it was not until 1845 that the Northern Jurisdiction delivered its grand charter to the Supreme Council of England and the country of Wales, which in turn in 1874 created the Supreme Council of Canada. This council exercised authority over the structures of the rite, which had preceded it since 1838 in Hamilton and London in Ontario; St. John, New Brunswick, in 1868; Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1870; and Toronto and Montreal in 1873. However, similar to what we know of its position in Great Britain, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite remained a Scottish authority of relatively modest importance in a Canadian environment dominated by the tradition of the Ancients—which is to say the Emulation Rite—as well as the York rites and those of the Royal Arch.

The complexity of the liberal Masonic landscape in Quebec is again visible in the high grades, even if it is less so in the symbolic lodges. The ephemeral French-speaking Supreme Council of Canada, created with a grand charter from the Supreme Council of France, maintained relations with the Scottish authority of the GODF that was the Grand College of Rites until 1999. Following its collapse in 2000, a new jurisdiction appeared that had received its grand charter from the Supreme Council, Grand College of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite–Grand Orient of France. It signed the Geneva Declaration of May 7, 2005, and has been entered, in the capacity of an observer, in the international meetings of the Scottish high grades.

From its merger in December 2013 with the Supreme Council of the Universal Grand Lodge of Quebec has resulted the new Unified Supreme Council of Canada, which, at the end of a process nearing completion, will exercise jurisdiction over four lodges of perfection, three sovereign chapters, three philosophical councils, and a consistory numbering a few more than one hundred brothers and/or sisters. Also in relationship with the Supreme Council for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite 33rd Degree—George Washington Union and its perfection lodge in Montreal, Les Pléiades, the two authorities apply rules of interlodge visits and dual affiliations. As a result, they should form a pole of stability, the center of the Union of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, propitious for a harmonious development and offering all of its members, both men and women, their preferred path into unity and fraternal concord.

The universe of Quebec, and most particularly Montreal, which is both English- and French-speaking, is formed from a convergence of paradigms in which the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite proves again to be the most apt at fulfilling its universal mission and serving what many have gladly labeled, not without reason, Masonic Esperanto.

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