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Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia

Today in Masonic History we discuss Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia.

Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (S.R.I.A.) is a Masonic esoteric Christian order which formed in the 19th century.

The S.R.I.A claims it's origins as being inspired by the Rosicrucian Brotherhood, although there is no provable link between the two organizations. The Rosicrucian Brotherhood was founded by Christian Rosenkreuz in medieval times. The original order was made up of 8 doctors who pledged to give care to all people for free. Their doctrine was built on "built on esoteric truths of the ancient past", which, "concealed from the average man, provide insight into nature, the physical universe and the spiritual realm."

In the early 17th centuries two "manifestos" for the Rosicrucians were published. The first was Fama Fraternitatis RC (The Fame of the Brotherhood of RC). The second was Confessio Fraternitatis (The Confession of the Brotherhood of RC). It claimed that the philosophy that was found in the manifestos came from the Moors. The writers claimed that the philosophy and science was held secret for 120 years until the "intellectual climate" might be ready to receive it. The release of the manifestos is considered by some as the start of the "Rosicrucian Enlightenment."

The S.R.I.A. was founded in 1867, and was derived from an existing Rosicrucian order in Scotland. It was formed after Robert Wentworth Little and two other Freemasons were admitted to the Scottish Order. They then petitioned to create the order in England.

The S.R.I.A. requires membership in a Grand Lodge that has amity (mutual recognition between two Grand Lodges allowing members of the respective Grand Lodges to visit their subordinate lodges) with the United Grand Lodge of England. It also requires a belief in the fundamental principles of the Trinitarian Christian faith.

The S.R.I.A. has for it's structure three orders. The first order is called a college and equates to a Masonic Lodge and consists of Grades I-IV. There is a minimum 6 months between each Grade and members are encouraged to present a paper that may be of interest to the College. The second order equates to a provincial Grand Lodge and consists of three Grades. The third order consists of two Grades. Those grades are only given upon the approval of the Supreme Magus, the head of the order.

Three members of the S.R.I.A. would go on to form the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The Golden Dawn, although using similar structure and having a similar purpose, changed it's membership requirements to allow women, non-Christians and non-mason to join.