A brief History of Freemasonery in Luxembourg
After Freemasonry had been brought to the former Duchy of Luxembourg by Austrian troops and their military lodges, the first local lodges, namely “La Parfaite Union” in Luxembourg and “La Constance” in Marche-en-Famenne were founded in 1770 and 1778 under the Provincial Grand Lodge of the Austrian Low Countries. However, as a result of an edict of the emperor Joseph II from Austria restricting the number of lodges and putting them under strict supervision (“Freimaurerpatent”), the aforesaid lodges, with both civilian members from the civil service, the bourgeoisie or the low nobility and brethren from the armed forces, closed down after 1786.
The Duchy of Luxembourg having meanwhile been annexed by France, freemasonry was reintroduced under Napoleon by military lodges once again, and on May 28th 1803, the civil lodge “Les Enfans de la Concorde Fortifiée” with members from the same social backgrounds as before, was founded under the Grand Orient de France. After the fall of Napoleon the former Duchy of Luxembourg, which in the process acquired the status of a Grand-Duchy, became a dominion of the King of the Netherlands, whereas the newly founded lodge, which kept on working in French according to the “rite français moderne” and has remained active up to the present day, passed under the jurisdiction of the Administrative Grand Lodge for the Southern Provinces under the Grootoosten der Nederlanden. In 1820, it moved to the former guildhall of the cloth-merchants, purchased by the brethren in 1818, and until the withdrawal of the Prussian garrison from the fortress of Luxembourg in 1867, shared the new lodge-building with the military lodge “Blücher von Wahlstatt”.
In the wake of the Belgian revolution of 1830 the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg gained its political independence in 1839. In 1844 the “Enfans de la Concorde fortifiée” lodge, several of whose members had become senior officials of the new state, did the same in the Masonic world by proclaiming itself “Loge Centrale” for the Grand-Duchy, i.e. a sovereign Masonic body with all the prerogatives of a Grand Lodge.
After the foundation in 1848 of the military lodge “L’Espérance” by members of the Luxembourg armed forces stationed in Echternach, this “Loge Centrale” changed its denomination into “Suprême Conseil Maçonnique” with jurisdiction both over the now two craft lodges and the Chapter of the higher degrees. Although “L’Espérance” disappeared around 1859, the “Suprême Conseil Maçonnique” remained in existence until in 1926 it split up into a “Grande Loge” and a “Grand Chapitre” which in 1935 became fully autonomous bodies bound by a treaty of amity. During this period Freemasonry in Luxembourg underwent the same process of secularisation as the Grand Orients of France and of Belgium while establishing fraternal bonds with most of the other constitutions in continental Europe and striving in this context to reconcile the French and German brethren after the war of 1870.
After the Second World War the Grand Lodge of Luxembourg and its lodge “Les Enfans de la Concorde Fortifiée” resumed their work which had been forcibly interrupted during Nazi occupation and in 1947 and 1948 first the former lodge “La Parfaite Union” and then the lodge “Saint Jean de l’Espérance” were reawakened. At the same time the Grand Lodge of Luxembourg restored in its rituals the invocation of the GAOTU and the displaying of the Bible as the symbol of the Book of the Sacred Law in order to return to the traditional tenets of regularity and thus to draw nearer to Anglo-Saxon freemasonry. In the same process, the Grand Lodge of Luxembourg adhered in 1949 to the principles laid down in the Winterthur Declaration and signed in the 1954 Luxembourg Convention, but was then shaken by an internal division leading to the foundation in 1957 of the Grand Orient de Luxembourg which since then went its own separate way in Masonry. In 1969 the Grand Lodge of Luxembourg finally gained recognition by the United Grand Lodge of England and is at present recognised by most of the regular Grand Lodges around the world. In 1974 the English-speaking lodge “Friendship” and in 1997 the German-speaking lodge “Zur Bruderkette” were consecrated under its constitution.
The pre-war “Grand Chapitre” underwent an evolution similar to that of the Grande Loge de Luxembourg, which in the long run lead to the foundation on October 16th, 1976 of the Supreme Council for Luxembourg of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.