Supreme Council
of the Ancient and Accepted  Scottish Rite
Unity Within the Universality of the A.A.S.R.


Let’s take a look at the issue of AASR unity in the context of European unity.

Above the door of the European Union’s central headquarters, there is an outstanding slogan:  “Unity in Diversity.”  That’s a wonderful idea, and it is being implemented successfully in many areas.  At the same time, however, there is greater or lesser economic and political competition in Europe today – competition which can be quite chaotic.  Accordingly, Europe is losing its importance in the global world.

Albeit to a lesser extent, a similar situation can be seen in Freemasonry.  Differing systems and rituals represent multicultural wealth, but the competition among various systems is often based on a battle among various people with certain ambitions.  That has been true historically, and it is true today.  Each member wants to establish his own type of Freemasonry.  This represents a desire to expand the relevant person’s influence.

In quantitative terms, the most important changes in AASR in Europe have occurred over the last 20 years – since the collapse of Communist regimes.  Let’s take a look at some statistics which illustrate this fact.

During the first years of the 1990s, only eight Supreme Councils were installed in Europe prior to the collapse of Communist regimes.  During the next 20 years, 10 Supreme Councils were established, and four were reinstated.  In other words, a new Supreme Council was installed only once every 10 years during the “slow” years, while six new or reinstated Supreme Councils appeared each decade during the “fast” years.

The increase in the number of Supreme Councils was unprecedented in terms of its scope.  It could be said that these new Supreme Councils are specifically that which has created the greatest threats against AASR unity.

And yet we do not agree to such an unambiguous judgment.

First of all, in which countries have there been the harshest debates about unity in recent years?  Old and new countries will be among them.

Second, why was the development of AASR forced in the new countries, with quality being sacrificed on the altar of quantity?  One of the decisive factors was the competition among older Supreme Councils in terms of which one would be first.

Third, there is a lack of unity in Freemasonry in those countries in which this is a new thing, and that is seen in disharmony among various systems.  If we look at all of this in greater depth, however, then we see that the problem has been inherited from countries which have restored Freemasonry in the new countries.

These are not fatal problems, however, just as long as we work in the direction of strengthening unity.

What is our not particularly extensive experience on the way toward unity?

For the fourth year now, we are organising joint annual meetings for the Supreme Councils of the three Baltic States – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

First of all, this represents a way of saving resources for our numerically small Supreme Councils and for our foreign guests.

Second, we strengthen our unity even further in this way, and we get to know each other in a better way.

Despite their geographic proximity, the three Baltic States and their Supreme Councils all have different traditions.

Lithuania is a distinctly Catholic country, while Estonia is a Protestant country.  Latvia merges both traditions.  In Estonia, the tradition of Freemasonry is Christian in nature, while in Latvia and Lithuania, it is universal.

Third, participation in joint events allows every participant, including the youngest member from the Scottish Rite, to take part in practice and to feel a sense of international unity.

Fourth, the seminars which take place under the auspices of the annual meetings in the Baltic States allow us to promote an understanding of unity in the context of Freemasonry, as well as the European and global world.  The themes at the last two seminars – one in Rīga, the other in Tallinn, have been devoted to the relationship between Christian and universal traditions in Freemasonry.  Of key importance in the unity between these two traditions is not just the AASR, but also European Freemasonry and European culture as a whole.

Europe must understand and nurture the Christian foundations of its culture.  At the same time, however, this firm foundation must ensure that Europeans are knowledgeable and open toward other spiritual experiences.  That is the top issue when it comes to the existence of contemporary Europe.  For Freemasons, it is an issue concerning the co-existence and synergy of Christian and universal tradition.  Both traditions are vitally important for Europe so that it can strengthen its own foundations and so that it can be open to co-operation with the global world on the basis of firm foundations.

Over the last two years, there has been talk about a confederative Supreme Council for Europe.  This is a good idea, but only if it is implemented perfectly.  The AASRs of Europe, however, are not prepared to ensure this very quickly.

We understand the problems which have encouraged discussions about the establishment of such an institution, but we must also understand that the establishment of a new institution for higher governance will not resolve the problem of unity in and of itself.  Ill-considered steps in this direction can only create new disagreements.  There are mistakes in the bureaucratic system of the European Union which we can see as lessons.

This is our proposal:  We must think about how best to use existing opportunities in support of AASR unity.

First of all, we are thinking about the conferences of AASR Supreme Councils in the EU and its associate countries.  As new members, we have been delighted to obtain knowledge and good ideas from these conferences.  At the same time, however, we see that the potential of the events in terms of strengthening unity has not been used to a full extent.  The conferences could be more purposeful, and the decisions that are taken could be more compulsory.

These conferences offer opportunities to travel and to meet with others, but they should not be just an extra which participants can choose or refuse.  As a numerically small Supreme Council, we are interested in ensuring that conference-related expenditures are differentiated – a base price and an extra price.  That will ensure that more time will be devoted at conferences to content-based debates about the problems and the unity of the AASR.

Second, the annual meetings of individual Supreme Councils in the various countries should be used to discuss essential issues during periods of time between the conferences.  The Paris meeting has already become an unofficial European conference of sorts.  Other Supreme Councils could take on that role each year on the basis of rotation.  The meetings of the Baltic Supreme Councils could also be a part of this chain.  All that is necessary is to structure this system properly.

Here is our proposal:

1)  Strengthen the importance of European conferences in terms of facilitating the unity of the AASR;
2)  Between conferences, make more purposeful use of the annual meetings of individual Supreme Councils in terms of strengthening unity.

Bro. Ilmārs Latkovskis, 33°,
Sovereign Grand Commander
of the Supreme Council for Latvia