The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is the final and the only result of a complex reform that involves various Masonic Systems which developed separately one from another during the XVIII century in the range of the so called Scottish Regime. This regime originated from the advent of the Scottish Masters since about 1738 and continued with the Chapters of Clermont (1754), the Emperors of the Orient and the Western world (1758) which put in practice rituality defined as the Rite of Perfection or the Rite of Heredom. The aim of the reform, that unified all in one single Order, was aside from these veins, also minor branches with more recent manifestation among which the Primitive Rite and others.
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is the rituality that characterises a particular Masonic Body which it adopts and makes his. This Masonic Body is called “The Supreme Council of the Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the 33 rd and Last Level of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite”.
The first Supreme Council (SC) called Mother of the World was founded in Charleston, Carolina, USA on the May 31st 1801 and presently has headquarters in Washington DC, USA.
In some ten years the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, under the impetus of the SC of Charleston, practically spread to all the world through further Supreme Councils which were formed in national territorial Jurisdictions, each independent and autonomous, jealous of their very sovereignty.
The Scottish Rite in Italy
The SC of Italy, that today is denominated “the Supreme Council SS.GG.II.GG. of the 3 rd and Last Level of the Free Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Italian Jurisdiction – Grand Orient of Italy – Palazzo Giustiniani” as shown in a manuscript handed down as the Verbal of the Foundation, also called the “Seal of Foundation” which was founded and installed ritually in Milan on March16th 1805 by the Count Alexandre Francois Auguste De Grasse Tilly S.G.C. of the SC of France (1804), duly assisted by the French and Italian Brothers, with Licenses conferred by the SC Mother of the World of Charleston. The SC of Italy was a direct emanation of this Ritual Body.
In the same constitutional act of the SC of Italy, it is formally declared that it “creates and constitutes by its sovereign authority a General Grand Lodge in Italy under the name of G.O. Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite“. The Grand Orient of Italy, thus founded, was ritually installed on June 20th 1805 by the same founders of the SC of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
The SC of Italy with headquarters in Milan, had jurisdiction only in the territory of the Italian Kingdom and the Sovereign Grand Commander was the Vice King Eugenio Beauharnais.
Subsequently, on the not yet unified Italian territory, other SS.CC ‘s were formed among which (in Naples) a SC called of the two Sicilies (1809), a SC of Palermo (1860), a SC of Naples (1860). Following the unification of Italy initially a SC was formed with the fusion of the SC Milan with that of Turin (1862), then with the transfer of the capital to Florence another SC of this city (1864) was formed. A further SC was established in 1870 in Rome, permanent Capital of the Kingdom. Following numerous agreements and with much difficulty, the unification between the various SS.CC in a single SC of Italy was achieved with headquarters in Rome.
From a schism which occurring 1908, a second SC was born called “Piazza del Gesù” which since 1912 was recognized by many SS.CC. of the world opposed to that of 2Palazzo Giustiniani”. The fascist period, during which all Masonic activity in Italy was prohibited, actually eliminated the problem of this atypical duplication between the historical continuity and the possession of recognition of the various Jurisdictions.
The separation between the Jurisdictions of the Grand Orient of Italy and the SC was sanctioned in 1922. The conference of Paris of the SS.CC. of the world, held in 1929, authorized this principle for all the SS.CC.
Upon recommencement of Masonic activity in 1943, after the failures of unification attempts, those who possessed the Supreme Level of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, formed two SS.CC. of “Palazzo Giustiniani” and “Piazza del Gesù”.
From 1960 to 1973, the residual incomprehension between the two historical blocks of Italian Masonry were settled. Since then, in spite of other efforts of schism, in particular that of 1977 which failed owing to the loyalty of the Scottish Brothers of Italy and the wisdom of SS.CC. of the rest of the world, the SC of “Palazzo Giustiniani” represents the regularity for 54 Supreme Councils in the world.