The Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (Rosicrucian Society of the United States) was formed on September 21, 1880, by three Colleges chartered within the previous ten months by the Society in Scotland. It is entirely autonomous and in no way connected with any other institution.
The Society is in amity with the only other similar societies in the wold–Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (England) and Societas Rosicruciana in Scotia (Scotland).
Membership, which is by invitation, is predicated on Masonic affiliation and Christianity. The Society is not merely another degree of Freemasonry which may be acquired and outside of the normal “workings” of the Craft.
The Masonic qualification assures the membership that the neophyte has given proof of that fidelity and privacy which characterizes a member of that Fraternity. The Christian qualification is required because the character of the Grade rituals is completely Christian, and would not be understood or appreciated by those of other faiths. This character is emphasized in the Ceremony of Admission and it will be noted that a certain community outlook and understanding among the members (called Fraters) is necessary.
The governing body of the Society is known as The High Council composed of Fraters of the Third Order (IX and VIII), plus any College Celebrant not a member of the Third Order. The head of the Society is titled The Supreme Magus, IX degree, elected each triennium. The subordinate bodies are termed “Colleges” each being headed, in the United States, by a Chief Adept, IX, appointed for life by the Supreme Magus. Membership in a college has been restricted to 72. New members are required to select a distinctive “Latin Motto” and state that they are not a member of a non-Masonic Rosicrucian organization as a matter of ethics. The Society is not interested primarily in increasing its membership, but is always happy to consider such brethren whose interest in the Society’s aims is sincere and whom it considers to be in sympathy with the movement.
Masons in the United States learning about the development of Masonic Rosicrucianism in England and Scotland, became interested in organizing a similar body in the United States as early as 1878, as indicated by the granting of a Charter to Dr. Jonathan J. French to organize a College in the state of Illinois. Unfortunately, Dr. French died later that year so the College did not survive. Interest, however, did no wane, as Brothers Charles E. Meyer, Melita Lodge No. 295, Daniel Sutter, Phoenix Lodge No. 230 and Charles W. Parker, Philadelphia Lodge No. 72, all of Philadelphia, PA were admitted to the Zelator degree in Yorkshire College while on a Masonic Pilgrimage to England on July 25, 1878. Brother Mark Merckle, member of Hermann Lodge No. 1251, Philadelphia was admitted subsequently to Metropolitan College, London. These four brethren served as the nucleus for the Pennsylvania College which received a charter from S.R.I.S. on December 27, 1879. This was followed by charters issued to New York on April 9, 1880; Massachusetts, May 4, 1880; Maryland, May 10, 1880; and Vermont on September 22, 1880. Vermont was never active. Members from Philadelphia and New York met in Philadelphia, PA on April 21, 1880 and formed a Grand High Council, then known as Soc.Ros. Republican Americae. Nineteen representatives of the Colleges, PA(5), NY(5), MA(4), MD(4), and VT(1) were present at the first meeting of High Council held on September 21, 1990 at Boston, MA. Charles E. Meyer from PA was elected the first Supreme Magus. The Massachusetts College only has had a continuous existence. The others were erased and subsequently reorganized.
Colleges have the power to confer the following grades:
First Order: Consisting of Four Grades
These are classified as the Learning Grades.
Second Order: Consisting of Three Grades:
Fifth Grade………..Adeptus Minor
Sixth Grade……….Adeptus Major
These are the Teaching Grades.
The jewel of these two orders is a bar with the letters S.R.I.C.F. from which is suspended a green ribbon with the grade achieved embroidered in Roman numerals and the jewel.
The Third Order consists of Two Grades conferred by the Supreme Magus
The jewel is the same as the VII except the ribbon is gold with a suspended jewel.
The jewel is a mitre from which is suspended a red ribbon and jewel.
These are the ruling grades, conferred only by or with the permission of the Supreme Magus. The Official publication “The Rosicrucian Fama” was first published by the late Harold V.B. Voorhis,S.M. 1950-1979. The Fama is published bi-annually and is distributed through the College Secretaries.
The See of The Supreme Council is in Washington, D.C.
Masonic Rosicrucian Jurisdictions (1990)
United States – Colleges are located in the following States: AL, AK, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MS, NJ, NY, NC, North Star (MN),OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV and WI. There are two colleges in NY: Long Island in NYC and New York in Syracuse, and one College at large (Supreme Magus); one in Canada, Ontario, Toronto, Province of Ontario, and two in the Far East; Hong Kong and Okinawa in the Perfecture of Okinawa, Japan. The membership in 1990 was 1400.
England has 50 active Colleges with an approximate membership of 2000 (1990).
Scotland has 5 active Colleges with a membership of 300(1990)
The reference document for this information is a pamphlet titled: An Introduction to Masonic Rosicrucianism issued by The Supreme Magus, S.R.I.C.F., William G. Preacher, M.D.,IX, 1990
Web Master’s Note
We are grateful to Larry Bodine, KYCH, PIGM, PGC for permission to reprint the above article.