Modern Martinism emerged in late 19th century France and was founded as L'Ordre Martiniste by the Spanish-born French physician, hypnotist and spiritualist Papus (Dr Gérard Encausse). He was also a member of the esoteric Rite of Memphis-Misraïm, which is an Egyptian form of Freemasonry developed by Count Alessandro di Cagliostro.
Under Papus's leadership, the Order grew rapidly. However, Papus died in 1916 and was succeeded by Charles Detre (Teder), who cultivated an Order (known as L'Ordre Martiniste-Martinéziste of Lyons) that became more Masonic in its philosophy. Teder's Deputy Grand Master was Victor Blanchard, who later refused the Grand Mastership on Teder's death in 1918, since he considered the Masonic restrictions were a departure from the true spirit of Martinism.
The Patriarch of L'Église Gnostique Universelle (the Universal Gnostic Church), Jean Bricaud, succeeded Teder as Grand Master and moved the headquarters of the Order to Lyons where it became known as L'Ordre Martiniste de Lyon. Bricaud developed the Masonic connection further by ensuring that a Masonic affiliation was a requirement for membership of the Order.
In 1921 with Victor Blanchard (Sâr Yesir) as Grand Master, a group of Martinists founded a separate Order, L'Ordre Martiniste et Synarchique (OMS), which did not require a Masonic membership. During the tyranny of World War II, the light of Martinism was almost extinguished in Europe, but the initiatic traditions were maintained in secret in Switzerland which remained neutral during these years. Blanchard remained Grand Master of the OMS until his death in 1953 and was succeded by Dr Edouard Bertholet (Sâr Alkmaion) of Switzerland.
Subsequently in 1958, Louis Bentin (Sâr Gulion) received a charter from Bertholet to form a branch of the OMS in England and became Grand Master of the Britannic Grand Lodge of the OMS.
The Hermetic Order of Martinists (HOM) was inaugarated by a group of British Martinists on 14 March 1978 with the late British Freemason and Esotericist, Desmond Bourke (Sâr Olibius) as the first Grand Master. Bourke was a senior member of the Societas Rosicruciana In Anglia and a member of the OMS. Through his strong friendship with Bentin, Bourke was granted a restricted charter for the HOM by Sâr Gulion. The teachings of the HOM closely follow those of the OMS.
Our Grand Masters are as follows:
Since its inception, the Order has grown steadily and numbers over 500 members.