PAPUS and L’Ordre Martiniste


Mike Restivo (Sar Ignatius, Initiatèur Libre)

It was explained previously that after the death of Saint-Martin in 1803, the S.I. Initiation continued to be transmitted from person to person within the framework of a very loosely knit organization. During the 19th Century, the esoteric teaching of Martinez Pasquales had therefore been transmitted:

a) In the bosom of a small number of Quabalistic Areopagoi composed of 9 Elus-Cohens, each, who refused to conform with the decision to close the Order and remit the archives to the Order of the Philalethes of Msr. Savlette de Lange.

b) By some Freemasons of the Scottish Rectified Rite who had received the secret Instructions of the Profession Grades from J.B. Willermoz under the auspices of the Rite of the Knights Beneficent of the Holy City, now absorbed as a degree of the Scottish Rectified Rite.

c) By the Philosophes Inconnus (i.e. Unkown Superiors) of Louis-Claude de- Saint-Martin and of the societies styled “Friends of Saint-Martin” composed of S.I.’s who were in harmony with his philosophy and functioning in small semi-public groups.

In this last catagory consider two distinct lines of succession:

Saint-Martin had initiated among others, the Abbé de Lanoüe and Msr. Chaptal, Comte de Chanteloup. The Abbé initiated J.A. Hennequin, who in turn initiated Henri de la Touche, who initiated Msr. A. Desbarolles, Comte d’Hautercourt, who initiated Mme. Amélie de Boise-Mortmart. This Sister initiated one Pierre Augustin Chaboseau.

Chaptal, initiated a Brother whose identity has never been discovered, but who initiated in turn, Henri Delaage. When on his death-bed, Msr. Delaage initiated Dr. Gérard Encausse, better known by his literary pseudonym of PAPUS. This was in 1880.

In those days, Dr. Encausse, A. Chaboseau and several other young intellectuals were in the habit of lunching together while discussing matters of interest. It was thus that Papus and Chaboseau discovered that they had both received the S.I. Initiation. This coincidence, Papus took as a sign to begin the work of creating an organization that would gather in its fold all those who had received the “mysterious legacy”, in his words, and who would serve as a centre of study of the Martinist Doctrines and as a means to propagate the movement. Both men exchanged Initiations to consolidate their lines of succession.

In 1884, was drafted the constitution of this organization which was given the name of “Ordre Martiniste” (i.e. “Martinist Order”). In 1890, it was decided to place the Order under a Supreme Council of 12 members with Papus as President and Grand Master. The 12 original members of the first Supreme Council were:

Papus, A. Chaboseau, Stanislas de Guaïta, Chamuel, Barlet, Sédir (i.e. Yvon Leloup), Paul Adam, Maurice Barrès, Jules Lejay, Montière, harles Barlet, aques Burget, and Joseph Péledan. Very soon, two of these resigned; Barrès and Péledan, and were replaced by Dr. Marc Haven (Lalond) and Victor-Emile Michelet.

In 1893, The Martinists of Lyons were handed the archives and records of J. B. Willermoz and of the Cohen Temple of Lyons, which the widow of Joseph Pont, successor of Willermoz, had left to Brother Cavarnier.

It is interesting to note the other esoteric interests of some of the members of the Supreme council, as it would explain the various tendencies that were to develop as time went by. Stanislas de Guaïta was Grand Master of the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Croix, to which Papus and other Martinists belonged. Péledan after resigning from the upreme Council, subsequently created the Order of the Rose-Croix Catholique (ie. “Catholique” as in “Universal”, not as in “Roman Catholic”). Some of the Supreme Council’s members were Freemasons, although Papus was not a Freemason, as no Grand Lodge in France or England would accept him, fearing that his organization was a quasi-Masonic body of irregular Masonry, which although technically untrue at the Order’s inception, was beginning to become so, all too quickly. [Cf. the document “Protocol of the Union of Martinist Orders”]. Papus was a member of a Ahathoor Temple #7, in Paris, of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, whose Imperator (i.e. chief officer ) was Samuel Liddle MacGregor Mathers. [He was one of the founders of the Golden Dawn in England, in 1887.]

It should be expalained that at the end of the Century, the main Masonic Obediences of France, particularly the Grand Orient, were predominately humanistic and philosophical. On the fringes of mainline Masonry, were smaller Obediences of a more esoteric and spiritual nature. Most contemporary Martinists were associated with one or more of those Rites and High Grades. In particular, The Ancient and Primitive Rite of Masonry comprising 33 degrees [This is not to be confused with the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the same number of degrees.] had amalgamated with the Oriental Rites of Memphis and Mizraim, composed of 90 and 96 degrees respectively, to form an organization which many Martinists were to become connected. Furthermore, the Universal Gnostic Church and other organizations were represented among the members of the Supreme Council.

The Martinist Order had a period of flurishing activity in France and in other countries. Papus was an indefatigable worker, and he introduced the Order even in the Russian Court, where Martinism had been known and associated with Rosicrucianism, for over a century. The Tzar Nicholas II was said to be Master of a Lodge held within the Royal Palace.

In 1908, Papus and Charles Detre, known by his Initiate name of TEDER, organized in Paris, France, a congress of Esoteric Masonic Rites and High Grade Masonry. In 1911, the Supreme Council issued a decree recognizing the Universal Gnostic Church as the “official” church of Martinists. In 1914, Papus and Teder, came to an agreement with Dr. Ribeaucourt, Grand Master of the Scottish Rectified Rite, to create a Martinist Grand Chapter, which would be composed exclusively of High Degree Masons, and which would act as a “bridge” between the Martinist Order and the Scottish Rectified Rite. Unfortunately for this project, the First World War broke out before it could be implemented. The death of Papus, of tuberculosis, in 1916 at the battle front, while serving the French army, and the change of Grand Mastership of the Scottish Rectified Rite, brought an end to this initiative. Papus played a vital part in furthering Martinism, creating an Order of the same name, and keeping it united during his lifetime. Upon his death, the Martinist Order was to lose its unity:

Papus was succeded by Teder, who died two years later in 1918. He was succeeded by Jean Bricaud. Bricaud decided to admit only Master Masons, of any Obedience, to the Martinist Order. The headquarters of the Order was transferred from Paris to Lyons, France. The Order now becomes known as “L’Ordre Martiniste de Lyon”/ “the Martinist Order of Lyons”. The Martinist Order “of Paris” passes into history, not to be revived until 1951, by Dr. Philippe Encausse, son of Papus.

The Masonic prerequisite for membership displeased some Martinists, who did not recognize the new regime, particulary the women Martinists who were exluded by definition [Mainline Freemasonry did not and does not accept women candidates for the Blue Lodge Degrees, including that of the third degree of Master.], unless members of a Co-Masonry Obedience, which accepted both men and women members. The unaligned Martinists pursued their activities independently of the Martinist Order of Lyons. They were called “Free Martinists” and their Initiators were called “Free Initiators”.

Return to the Home Page