The Rose+Croix of the Orient
Les Rose+Croix d' Orient

A. Identity

Who were the Rosicrucians of the Orient (or Brethren of the Orient or Asiatic Brethren)?
What is their relation (if any) with the Rosicrucians of the 17th century or with the modern rosicrucian orders?

We quote from the introduction of the famous "Sacramentaire du Rose+Croix" (their Theurgy manual published by the late Robert Ambelain, who -- according to an article by Marcel Roggemans -- was the leader of the Order):
from the
Robert Ambelain

Translated from the French by Theodoulos (c) 2001

A. About the Order

The reader that would like to study the history of the rosicrucian movement (the genuine one, of the 17th and 18th centuries, and not some modern american "recostitutions" /1), will be interested in reading the book by Sedir: History and Doctrine of the Rose+Croix. To this we will add the work by Wittemans: History of the Rose+Croix, the small book by Serge Hutin: History of the Rose+Croix, our study: Templars and Rose+Croix. Thus, the not initiated reader will be sufficiently informed about the subject.

/1: Nevertheless, these orders are good schools of occultism, and their members are adequately prepared to enter into the traditionalinitiatic orders. (Note by Ambelain).

Their program can be summarized like this:
  • treatment of the sick,
  • anonymous help to individuals, to societies and even states (when their cause was legitimate), 
  • political action aiming at the establishment of a Universal State -- firstly European, then World-wide,
  • religious action aiming at the re-establishment of a cleansed Cristianity, that would be closer to its source and would abandon the common exoteric imagery,
  • the Reintrgration of Man anf of the Nature into their primitive state.
This program was entrusted to less mysterious (i.e. less secret) organizations, that were closer to the profane world. Among these movements we will mention Martinism and  Free - Masonry. As strange may appear this affirmation of ours, it is a fact that the two branches of Free - Masonry -- the rationalist and the spiritualist -- cooperate for the achievement of the general program of the Rose+Croix, in the political and sociological level. Martinism, on the other hand, is entrusted with a particular task that is more occult and esoteric.

For the realization of their vast plan, that extents in several centuries, the Rose+Croix used all traditional occult knowledge:

  • Alchemy and Spagyry
  • Magic
  • Theurgy
  • Astrology
-- knowledge both natural and supernatural. Their doctrine combines the Christian Gnosis and the jewish Kabalah. Indeed, they are Christian Kabalists.

Their legendary founder, Christian Rosenkreutz, that allegedly lived in the 13th century in Germany, until now seems to "escape" every serious historic research. As a matter of fact, this name is a hieronyme, a sacred name.
In hebrew, roz (rosah) means "secrets"; rosen signifies "prince", while koroz means "herald". So, this name alludes to Keraziel, the "Herald of God", the Angel of Proclamation in the jewish angelology.
The name Rosenkreutz is German in appearence only; in fact, it is a name of ministry -- a transformation of the hebrew rosah koroz, which means "Herald of Secrets" or "Secret Herald". And this characterises perfectly the ministry or function of the Rose+Croix.

But what is this secret; 

This name signifies God Himself in the esoteric scriptures: the Siphra Tzeniutha, the Talmud and the Holy Scripture, and particularly in the Book of Daniel (2.9) where it is stated that "God Himself is His Secret". So, Rosah Koroz is God's Herald, and the vehicle of Angel Keraziel.

We also observe thar Rosen means "Prince", which gives us a very similar signification: "Prince - Herald", Rosen Koroz
Regarding the "Prince of the Royal Secret" in Free Masonry (Rite of Heredom and Scotish Rite), there is an evident relation with the primitive rosicrucian plan and its political realizations (...).

In the magazine "Initiation et Science" (1963, #57), Gerard Heym speaks about the Order of Asiatic Brothers or Knights of Saint John the Evangelist. This Order was re-organized in 1750 and then again in 1780; its See used to be in the city of Thessaloniki (Greece). This Order is none other than the Rosicrucian Brethren of the Orient.
Dr. Encausse (Papus) had received a lineage of them by a member of the Supreme Council of the Martinist Order, who himself had received a lineage in the city of Cairo (Egypt), before 1914. Inside Martinism of that era, no one else had such a lineage, not even Teder (Papus' successor).

We may state that the continent of Asia is completely irrelevant to this Order of esoteric chivalry. Actually, the letters ASIE reveal a quality; they constitute an abreviation or a seal. In fact, the Candidate -- on entering the Order -- received the ordination of Eques A Sancti Ioannis Evangelista (the initials are: EASIE).



B. Origins

In "Le Sanctuaire de Memphis" ("The Sanctuary of Memphis", published in 1849), Jacques - Etienne Marconis de Negre states the following, regarding the origin of this order.

(This is obviously the masonic tradition regarging the origin of the Rosicrucians of the Orient...).

The Sanctuary of Memphis
Jacques - Etienne Marconis de Negre

Translated from the French by Theodoulos (c) 2001

 ... the Brethren of the Orient, whose founder was an Egyptian wise man, named Ormus, that had been converted  to  Christianity by Saint Marc. Ormus purified the doctrine of the Egyptians with the teachings of Christian religion.

Meanwhile, the Essenians and other Jews had founded an School of the Solomonic Science; this School was united to the one by Ormus.

Untill 1118, Ormus' disciples were the only depositories of the ancient Wisdom of Egypt (purified by Christianity), as well as of the Templar Science. These were known as Knights of Palestine or Rosicrucian Brethren of the Orient, that the (Masonic) Rite of Memphis regards as its immediate founders.

In 1150, eighty-one of them arrived at Sweden, having Garimont as their leader, and presented themselves to the archbishop of Upsala, to whom they bequeathed the heritage of Masonic knowledge. These eighty-one Masons established Free-Masonry in Europe.

After the death of Jacques de Molay, the Scottish Templars, apostats at the king's (Robert Bruce's) instigation, gathered under the standards of a new Order that this prince had instituted. The receptions in this Order were based in those of the Order of the Temple. Here is the origin of the Scottish Masoic Rite -- and of the other Masonic Rites as well.
The Scottish Templars were excommunicated by Larmenius in 1324.

This date agrees with the one given by Br. Chereau, regarding the separation of the Masons of Edimbourg with the Masons of Memphis: 1322,  which is two years earlier.

The Masons of Memphis  rested faithful to the ancient traditions; the others founded a new Rite, called Rite of Heredom de Kilwinning or of Scotland.

Thus, from the late 14th century, two Rites exist: the Rite of Memphis or of the Orient and the Scottish one. Both continue to attract followers all over Europe.


However, this is not the only tradition regarding the origins of  the Order.

Mark Stavish, in his book "Kabbalah and the Hermetic Tradition", writes:
Claiming connection with an ancient Order of a 'Rosicrucian character', dating back to 1643,  and having Heinrich Khunrath, Alexander Sethon, Sendivogius, and Boehme among its ranks, the Society of Unknown Philosophers also linked itself to "Les Freres d' Orient" created in Constantinople in 1090. The teachings of this society were conveyed from teacher to disciple and their principle unifying form was the distinction of receiving "The Initiation" which gave them the right to be known as "Unknown Superiors" or "Superieurs Inconnus" or S.I. as it is written.


C. The Doctrine

According to R. Ambelain, the Doctrine of the Brethren of the Orient can be summarised in six points:

Points taken from the
I N T R O D U C T I O N of the
by Robert Ambelain

1. Creation

God is Eternal, Infinite and Absolute, without any need; being Perfect, He is also infinitely Benign and Wise, as well as Almighty.
2. The preexistence of the Souls

3. The Temptation and the Original Sin

4. Redemption of Man

5. Redemption of  Nature

6. The Apocatastasis or Final Reintegration

D. Offshoots

to be continued...

General Table of the Martinist Lineage
The "Brethren of the Orient" are considered as the source of Martinism
(Taken from the site of the Ordre Martiniste)

Note: This table presents only the main (or better - known) martinist lineages. There are others as well (for example, the Russian ones).