In the majority of Supreme Councils throughout the world the letters H\ E\ are subtended to documents signed by the Grand Secretary General or Grand Treasurer General. In recent years some Supreme Councils departed from this practice, which has caused some concern. The Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council for France, M \P\. Bro. Henri Baranger has expressed grave concern about the departure from what was accepted practice on the part of some Supreme Councils and has expressed the hope that they will soon return to previous practice.


The word 'Empire' comes from the Latin “Imperium”; which means 'Authority' or 'Command'.

 It had a very special meaning in Rome as a Republic; firstly it was given to a man of consular rank and military prowess and secondly only over a region where there was trouble which was multi regional and multi national.


Possibly the best known example of an Imperium is that granted to Gnaeius Pompeius Magnus to clear the Mediterranean (the middle of the earth) from piracy. Although he had been a highly successful General and consul because he came from a plebeian family Pompey was despised by the patrician senate who considered that clearing the Mediterranean of piracy was an impossible task. Rome was highly dependent on its shipping trade which traversed the Mediterranean from North to South and West through the pillars of Hercules then North to the tin mines of Cornwall and South to the Congo. Pompey confounded his critics by clearing piracy from the sea and then from the shores of Cyprus and Rhodes. After Pompey's success the Mediterranean became known as Mare Nostrum (our sea) a name which Benito Mussolini was to attempt to revive two thousand years later.


It was natural for the Senate when two kings, Mithridates and Tsigane, rebelled against Roman power, to grant another Imperium to Pompey; this time to take an army and quell this multi national and multi regional strife. Pompey quickly conquered Syria and Palestine then continued his conquest south into Nabatea as far as Petra, the city designated by a poet as 'rose red PETRA, half as old as time itself'.


On his way through Jerusalem, Pompey visited the Temple causing consternation among the priests when he walked through the Holy of Holies. Being accustomed to Roman Temples he expected to see some Graeco Roman statue in there but his comment was 'there is nothing here'. Clearly by this time the Ar1< of the Covenant had been lost.


Pompey had now proved himself. He retuned to Rome and became a member of the Triumvirate with Julius Caesar and Crassus.


The Roman people had never forgotten how centuries before they had driven out the kings. It was this sensitivity over power which led them to believe that Julius Caesar was becoming a dictator and which brought about his assassination on the Ides of March in 44 BC in the Senate House at the foot of Pompey's statue. The ensuing war led Marcus Antonio’s with Octavian, Caesar's nephew and nominated heir, to defeat Brutus and Cassius at the battle of Phillipi. Subsequently Octavian, feeling that Mark Antony's love affair with Cleopatra was causing him to neglect his duty to Rome and to him, took up arms against Mark Antony and defeated him at the battle of Actium.








On his return to Rome, Octavian took the name of Augustus and declared himself a god. There is still in Rome a column which is headed Res Gestae Oivi Augusti. He became the first Emperor of the Roman Empire.


There had been previous Emperors but they had not been called such. The Roman Emperors continued to call themselves divine until Constantine, who considered it better to make his name famous as the head of the Christian Church and God's Lieutenant on earth. In the year 324 AD he set up the Council of Bishops at Nicea. This Council laid the foundations of the Christian Church, as we know it. Formulated at the Council was the Nicean Creed still used in church services to day. The Western Empire did not have a long life before the barbarians brought about its downfall. The Eastern Empire was to remain in Constantinople until it was over-run by the Turks in 1453 AD.


The concept of a Western Roman Empire was to remain in the minds of the German Princes in the centre of Europe and in the minds of Popes who saw the need for a strong military presence to suppor1 the Church.


About the end of 799 AD Pope Leo II nominated the head of the Carolingan family, Charlemagne (The Great), to be Holy Roman Emperor. On Christmas Day in 800 AD Charlemagne took the Crown from the hands of the Pope and placed it on his own head. This action was to cause the seed of contention down the centuries. Does the Papacy rule or does the Secular exercise control?


The first Holy Empire, so called, began in 867 AD when 'Otto the Great' formed the Holy Roman Empire.


In about 1254 AD the title became 'sacrum Romanum Imperium'. The title Holy Roman Empire was to last for almost one thousand years. The land it covered was what is now Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, parts of Sicily, Romania and Spain. It existed only in name except when a strong man such as Frederick Barbarossa became Holy Roman Emperor.


From the 13th century, the Holy Roman Emperor was usually a German Prince; the Empire was called 'Holy Empire of the German Nation'. For most of its life after that time the title remained with some member of the Austrian house of the Hapsburgs until in 1806 AD following his victory at the battle of Austerlitz, Napoleon insisted that he be acknowledged as the first prince of Europe.


More than any other person Frederick the Great limited the power and influence of the Holy Empire. He was never Holy Roman Emperor; he had been raised in a strict Lutheran family. The ensign of the Prussian Kingdom was a double-headed eagle.


It is estimated that by the middle of the eighteenth century there were some three hundred degrees in Europe, some of these were worked but mostly they were only on paper. The only document which has any force insofar as the Order is concerned to-day, constituted 'The Sovereign grand Council 25°', which authorised Etienne Moran to travel to the West Indies and thence to the United States.







On 31 May 1801, eleven Masons, five Protestants, two Catholics and four Jews met to form what is now the Supreme Council, Southern Masonic Jurisdiction USA, The Mother Supreme Council of the World. They used as their authority a document, which we now refer to as The Grand Constitutions of 1786. There is now some agreement that the Grand Constitutions were very likely written in 1801 by two Frenchmen; Comte de Grass "Tilly and his father-in-law De La Hogue, and back dated to 1786 to give authority of Frederick and to predate the French Revolution. We shall probably never know the true story. What we do know is that every Supreme Council in the world has its roots in The Mother Supreme Council of the World. The Southern Masonic Jurisdiction formed Supreme Council in France in 1804, which in turn spawned the Supreme Council for Scotland. In 1813 in accordance with the Grand Constitutions the Supreme Council Northern Masonic Jurisdiction was formed. This Supreme Council in 1845 granted a petition to establish the Supreme Council for England and Wales. Scotland and England were to establish the Supreme Council for Australia in 1985. The Ancient and Accepted Rite has spread throughout the world, the most recent Supreme Council to be formed being 'The Supreme Council for Togo land' which was consecrated and dedicated by the Supreme Council for France on 5 August 2000 AD.


In the Grand Constitutions of 1786 reference is made to an Illustrious Secretary of the Holy Empire. All Supreme Councils now appoint a Grand Secretary General who conducts correspondence on behalf of his Supreme Council and who signs and seals he other formal documents. The Grand Secretary General and the Grand Treasurer General are privileged to add the letters H\E\, after their names. May they long continue to enjoy that privilege which inspires in us a sense of relationship with past history and a sense of belonging to a moral empire, which spans the world. In this way we recall the inscription on the old customs house in Philadelphia,


 "Ideas are like stars, you cannot hold them in your hand but like the mariner of old on the waste of waters you set your eyes on them and following them you reach your destiny.


M\III\Bro. Kenneth R. McInnes 33° H\E\




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