Martines de Pasqually (1710? - 1774) is definitely a mysterious character. His name might only be a hieronym, in which case his real identity has yet to be uncovered. His origins are no less mysterious, though we can note Robert Amadou's hypothesis that Martines was most likely a Spanish Jew, marrano or half-marrano.
He was probably born in France circa 1710 in or near Grenoble, but French was not his mother tongue. He lived for a while in the military before devoting all his time to his Order. He died in 1774 in Saint-Domingue, while dealing with profane business. Martines, who Saint-Martin admitted was the only mortal he had never figured out completely, and to whom Jean-Baptiste Willermoz, another disciple of his, knew no second, remains enigmatic more than two centuries after his death. Many of his contemporaries judged him hastily, but not the Unknown Philosopher, who saw him as a master, in fact, as his first master.
Martines de Pasqually considered himself a Roman Catholic, and followed, even commended, the rites of the Church of Rome, and his sincerity is dependable. However, his theology was not strictly roman, but rather from primitive Judaeo-Christianity, anterior to the first great councils of the one and undivided Church.
Martines’s followers, now and back then, can only be, them too, Judaeo-Christians. Some were and are more Jewish than Christian, others more Christian than Jewish (most élus coens were Roman Catholics), but their first and foremost reference book was always and still is the Judaeo-Christian Bible: Old and New Testaments. The martinist is forever a man of the Bible.
With its corollary theurgical paths, martinism presents itself in the West, as a branch of Judaeo-Christian esoterism, depository of the doctrine of Reintegration. That doctrine must be studied, understood and assimilated whether moving on or not to a theosophia practica. Because no one can engage in theurgy without a deep theoretical understanding of the relations that exist between God, man and the universe.
The martinist doctrine, which is an illuminism, was transmitted by Martines de Pasqually to the Order of mason Knights elect coens of the universe (Ordre des Chevaliers maçons élus coens de l’univers, which will be refered to as Elus Coens hereafter), of which he presented himself as the “grand sovereign” or one of the seven grand sovereigns, and to which he consecrated his life while refuting being its founder. In no later than 1760, Martines de Pasqually started recruiting in masonic lodges of the south of France. But before Martines, there is no trace of that order, even in a non-masonic form. Obviously, Martines did organise his school, which does not exclude the involvement of predecessors, archives or even of colleagues as he himself claimed.
The coen Order incarnates that society that, in the words of a coen prayer, was formed since the beginning. It is an avatar of the spiritual and informal Order of the Eternel’s elect, which is why Martines claimed not to have founded it. Although the coen Order took a masonic form in the XVIIIth century, it would have taken other forms in different times and different places. And Martines deliberately placed his school under the patronage of Joshua.
Externally, or even exoterically, the Order of the élus coens took the appearance of a Masonic society, since the Masons were one of the few societies tolerated by the roman catholic Church. Additionally, because ever since its origin, it is a privileged vehicle of Judaeo-Christian esoterism. Thus, Martines naturally selected his first disciples in Masonic lodges, and his order initially presented itself as a Masonic “higher degree” system.
However, for Martines de Pasqually, ordinary masonry is “apocryphal”, and any Mason whom is not coen is only a pseudo-mason. Profound differences between classical Masonry, even mystical, which he tried to reform in vain, and coen Masonry, as well as the need for independence of the Order, brought Martines to put some distance between his Order and the Masonry of his time.
According to the Statuts generaux of 1767[1], the Order comprises the following degrees, which are divided into seven classes: apprentice, companion, master (1st class); elect master (2nd class); apprentice coen, companion coen, master coen (3rd class); great architect (4th class); knight of the Orient (5th class); commander of the Orient (6th class); reau-croix (7th class)[2].
These degrees were conferred through complex initiation rituals in which the candidate redrew certain sections of the Scriptures, for example, and especially through an essential ordination that was to make him a receptacle of intermediary spirits between God and man, angels of light.
Therefore, the élus coens are not ordinary freemasons. For Martines they are in fact real masons: chosen priests (which is what élu coën means), capable of celebrating the primordial cult in the temple that they contribute to build. However, the coen’s priesthood shouldn’t be mistaken for that of the kohanim of the Old Covenant, nor with the priesthood of the Church since the apostolic days.
Indeed, the endeavour of the coen Order goes much further than that of most rites of mystic freemasonry. The élu coen Vialetes d’Aignan explains this endeavour in his speech for the reception of the chevalier Guibert the 24th march 1788. It is, he says, “an order that, having for goal to bring man back to his glorious origin, leads him by the hand, by teaching him to know himself and to consider his relationships with the entire nature, of which he was to be the centre had he not fallen from his origin, and finally to recognise the Supreme Being from which he is emanated” [3].
According to Martines, the doctrine of reintegration and the corresponding theurgy were transmitted to him through many generations since Enoch. That lineage is that of the elect, small or great, of the Eternal. But what is this doctrine of reintegration? The word reintegration itself is the key: it means rehabilitation, restitution of a lost power and our return to the place from which we were expelled.
Martines gave his teachings orally and through the instructions for each degree of the Order. Further, he produced the Treatise on the reintegration of beings, his only work, which he never completed. It is an extensive commentary of the bible, an 18th century midrach that completes the numerous Order’s instructions with the doctrinal bases essential for any coen.

[1] Pre-edition by Robert Amadou, Institut Eleazar, then CIREM.
[2] See the series “The seven seals of the elect coens”, Serge Caillet, in press in Renaissance traditionnelle, as from n°122, April 2000, that analyses the ritual and doctrinal content of each grade: Introduction, n°122, April 2000, pp. 100–113; I. La classe du porche, n°125, January 2001, pp. 41–63; n°126, April 2001, pp. 74—88; n° 127/128, July–Octobre 2001, pp. 193–209; II. Maitre élu, n° 133, January 2003, pp. 30–53; III. Les grades “coëns”, n° 141, January 2005, n° 38–57.
[3] “Discours coen ”, in Louis-Claude de Saint Martin, Théosophie et théologie, Paris, Documents martinistes, n° 13, 1980, p. 69.