This Rite was established in 1872, by a Congress of Freemasons assembled at Wilhelmsbad, in Germany, over whose deliberations Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, presided as Grand Master. It was at this Convention that the Reformed Rite was first established, its members assuming the title of the Beneficent Knights of the Holy City because they derived their system from the French Rite of that name. It was called the Reformed Rite, because it professed to be a reformation of a Rite which had been established in Germany about a quarter of a century before under the name of the Rite of Strict Observance. This latter Rite had advanced a theory in relation to the connection between Freemasonry and the Order of Knights Templar, and traced the origin of our institution to those Knights at the Crusades This hypothesis the Convention at Wilhelmsbad rejected as unfounded in history or correct tradition. By the adoption of this Rite, the Congress gave a death-blow to the Rite of Strict Observance.
The Reformed Rite is exceedingly simple in its organization, consisting only of five Degrees, namely: 1. Entered Apprentice; 2. Fellow Craft; 3. Master Mason; 4. Scottish Master; 5. Knight of the Holy City. The last Degree is, however, divided into three sections, those of Novice, Professed Brother, and Knight, which really gives seven Degrees to the Rite.
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