Continuing the brief introdution to Danish freemasonry (see the list of rulers) …
The Danish Order of Freemasons historically has utilised three distinct rituals, all of which are overtly Christian (not counting the early days, 1743-1765, when freemasonry was decentralised, and the lodges likely used ritual from English influence):
1765-1782: Strict Observance
The Strict Observance (or: Order of the Interior) was founded by Karl Gotthelf, Reichfreiherr von Hund und Altengrotkau (ca. 1750) in Germany where it spread rapidly, finding a strong footing in noble society. One of von Hund’s companions, Johann Christian Schubart, met with Count Danneskiold-Laurvig, the Grand Master of Denmark, who invited him to Copenhagen to convince the Danish brethren to join the SO. He succeeded, and von Hund became de facto the Grand Master of the Danish “province” of German chivalric freemasonry. The system collapsed upon von Hund’s death in 1776 and floundered until the convent of Wilhelmsbad in 1782.
Note: Even today the Danish Order still uses von Hund’s motto (“U.U.U.”), and Denmark has retained the degree of Noviciate, which doesn’t otherwise exist in the Swedish Rite.
1782-1858: Rectified Rite
Following the Convent of Wilhelmsbad Denmark introduced the Rectified Rite. Notice the lack of “Scottish” – it seems that only the first three degrees were imported, but I know of at least one “Scottish” lodge in Denmark, so I am not sure how that fits in. Finding information about this period has proven surprisingly difficult; the rite simply doesn’t appear to be held in very high regard among our Masonic historians. I shall endeavour to add to this section later – I hope to compare Danish rituals from this period with what is practised elsewhere, even today, as Rectified Scottish Rite/Rite Écossais Rectifié.
1858-today: Swedish System
This ritual was created (in Sweden, yes) by Carl Fredrik Eckleff, even as von Hund was propagandating the Strict Observance; it was later picked up by Duke Karl of Sudermania (later King Karl XIII of Sweden), who made major revisions in 1780 and as late as 1800. It was, as SO, a form of chivalric freemasonry. It was introduced in 1852 through St. John’s Lodge Kosmos in Elsinore, north of Copenhagen, just a short trip across the sound from Sweden, as the local brethren were overwhelmed by the depth and beauty of the system. King Frederick VII of Denmark, Grand Master at the time, allowed them to use the system and was soon won over himself. In 1858 he founded the Grand Lodge of Denmark (not in the sense of a bureaucratic system, but as the highest templar degrees being worked in full).
Pictures: von Hund’s charter, written in ciphre, signed by the “Unknown Superiors”; it is kept in the archives in Freemasons Hall in Copenhagen. And Duke Karl.