After his death in 1803, this initiation and his teachings and ceremonies were propagated in small circles. In 1888 two young students who were both initiated in this tradition, Augustin Chaboseau and Papus, met each other in medical school and they decided to bring all Martinists together. To this end they created a mystic school, the Ordre Martiniste. This movement was very successful and in 1891 a Supreme Council of 21 members was formed. Papus was elected first president of this council and grand master of the order. Under his tireless leadership the order grew rapidly and around 1900 there were hundreds of members in many countries. In 1905, the Tzar Nicholas II of Russia invited Papus to Tsarskoïe Selo to ask for advice upon the deep domestic difficulties he was facing with revolutionaries.
The first World War was disastrous for the Order. Papus died on the battlefield while fulfilling his duties as a doctor and many other leaders of the order died too. After the war, the order was as good as extinct and the surviving members went into different directions. Many French Martinists believed Karl Wilhelm Naundorff's claims to the French throne. They joined the Synarchy movement and formed the Ordre Martiniste et Synarchie (OMS).
In 1931 Augustin Chaboseau got together with Victor-Emile Michelet and Lucien Chamuel (the other two surviving members of the original Supreme Council of 1891) to bring new life to the order they had began together with Papus. In order to emphasise the difference they felt between the traditional martinism they had to offer as founders of the original Martinist Order and the many new groups that had sprung up, they gave the name Ordre Martiniste Traditionnel (OMT) to their movement. Victor-Emile Michelet was elected grand master and Augustin Chaboseau succeeded him in 1939 until his death on January 2, 1946. Though he had received his Martinist initiations in the OMS, AMORC Imperator Ralph Maxwell Lewis was asked by the OMT in 1939 to bring martinism to the U.S.A. and he was given the necessary charters and other documents.
The second World War was as disastrous for the Order in Europe as the first. The Nazi regime suppressed all 'occult' groups and many Martinists died in concentration camps. The OMT in Europe and its American branch, the Traditional Martinist Order (TMO) still exist, but are reserved exclusively for members of the Rosicrucian Order AMORC. Martinism is now fast growing in popularity and with the advent of Internet many new orders have grown worldwide.
Martinist philosophy is based on the "Treatise on the reintegration of beings" by Martines de Pasqually and the writings of two of his students: Louis-Claude de Saint Martin and Jean-Baptiste Willermoz. The teachings focus on Christian mysticism, Jewish mysticism, and Kabbalah.
The Martinist system constitutes of three degrees, called Associate, Initiate (or Mystic) and S...I... (Supérieur Inconnu). Referring to the third degree, Papus called the Martinist initiation "a small legacy of two letters and a few points". For this, Martinists are sometimes called the six-point brothers. R+CMO, a Martinist order, claims that it has access to a fourth degree which is about Theurgy.