Information Concerning Masonry
and Canadian Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M.
within the UNITED GRAND LODGES of
have been elected to receive the Three Degrees of Masonry. We congratulate you
on your acceptance and welcome you as one about to enter our ranks. We hope that
you are earnestly seeking the truth our Fraternity has to offer.
have made an important step, one which we are sure you will value not only now,
but for many years to come. Masonry is a unique institution that has been a
major part of community life in America, Europe and major parts of the world
where the influence of European Culture has been felt for over 250 years.
or more properly, Freemasonry, is the world’s largest and oldest
fraternity...and one that continues to be an important part of many men’s
personal lives and growth. Your decision to enter the ranks of Freemasonry had
to be your own, without the undue influence of others. That makes your
membership in Masonry one of your own choice, which is significant. Men join
Masonry for a variety of reasons, each valid and important.
of men have travelled this path before you, nearly all receiving a benefit from
their efforts. A large majority of these men had little knowledge or concept of
the Fraternity, or what it could mean to them. For this reason we wish to give
you certain thoughts and information which we feel you are entitled to receive
before the conferral of the degrees.
begin with, you should thoroughly understand that Freemasonry is entirely
serious in character. Contrary to what you may have heard, there is no horseplay
or frivolity in our degrees; their primary purpose is to teach, to convey to you
a knowledge of the principles of our institution. You should, therefore, prepare
yourself to approach the degrees with an open mind, determined to absorb as much
as possible, without fear of ridicule or indignity.
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is large and diversified enough, to provide what you are seeking. Masons are men
who have joined together to improve themselves.
is accomplished through the principle’s and ceremonies of the fraternity.
endeavour to extend Masonic lessons into their daily lives in order to become
positive influences in their homes, communities, nation and throughout the
base their efforts on morality, justice, charity, truth and the laws of God.
are over 3 million Masons in the United States of America. Worldwide, membership
encompasses millions of men who believe and support the same fundamental
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is modern Freemasonry? Masonry, as mentioned before, is many things to many
people. Many years ago in England it was defined as “a system of morality,
veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols.” It is a course of moral
instruction using both allegories and symbols to teach its lessons. The legends
and myths of the old stone cutters and masons, many of them involved in building
the great cathedrals of Europe, have been woven into an interesting and
effective way to portray moral truths.
Masonry, the old tools and ways of the craftsmen are used to help dramatically
portray those moral truths. For example, the 24 inch gauge and the common gavel.
as the ruler is used to measure distance, the modem Mason uses it as a reminder
to manage one of his most precious resources: time. And, as the gavel is used to
shape stones, so it is also the symbol for the necessity of all of us to work to
modern definition is: “Freemasonry is an organized society of men,
symbolically applying the principle of Operative Masonry and architecture to the
science and art of character building.” In other words, Masonry uses ageless
methods and lessons to make each of us a better person.
has a basic philosophy of life that places the individual worth of each
man high on its pedestal, and incorporates the great teachings of many ages to
provide a way for individual study and thought.
has great respect for religion and promotes toleration and equal esteem
for the religious opinions and beliefs of others.
provides a real working plan for making good men even better.
is a social organization.
has many important charitable projects.
has a rich worldwide history.
is a proven way to develop both public speaking and dramatic abilities,
and provides an effective avenue for developing leadership.
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MASONRY STANDS FOR
stands for some important principles and beliefs.
The primary doctrines of Freemasonry
are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. Its cardinal virtues are Temperance,
Fortitude, Prudence and Justice. These principles or beliefs cover a broad
field, actually supplying the pattern to meet every experience in human life.
is a strong supporter of constitutional government... of quality public
education...of the freedom of religion and expression... of the equality of all
men and women... of the need for strong moral character... and of meaningful
and the organizations that are within the Masonic family, contribute millions of
dollars every year to helping those with sight problems or aphasia, physically
disabled children, speech & learning disorders, and those with severe burns.
Local Lodges work to help their communities and individuals within those
charity is always given without regard to race, sex, religion, creed, or
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MISSION OF FREEMASONRY
mission of Freemasonry is to promote a way of life that binds like minded men in
a worldwide brotherhood that transcends all religious, ethnic, cultural, social
and educational differences; by teaching the great principles of Brotherly Love,
Relief, and Truth: and, by the outward expression of these, through its
fellowship, its compassion and its concern, to find ways in which to serve God,
family, country, neighbours and self.
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IS THE PURPOSE OF FREEMASONRY?
put, the overall purpose of Masonry is to provide a way to help each member
become a better person. We do not propose to take a bad man and make him good;
rather, our aim is to take the good man and make him better.
try to place emphasis on the individual man by:
Strengthening his character.
Improving his moral and spiritual outlook.
Broadening his mental horizons.
try to impress upon the minds of our members the principles of personal
responsibility and morality; to give each member an understanding of and feeling
for Freemasonry’s character; and to have every member put these lessons into
practice in his daily life. We try to build a better world by building better
men to work in their own communities. Freemasonry believes in universal peace
made possible by teaching its doctrine through the Brotherhood of Man and the
Fatherhood of God.
rather see a sermon, than to hear one, any day. I’d rather one should walk
with me, than merely show the way.
I can soon learn to do it, if
you’ll let me see it done; I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue
too fast may run!
All the speeches you deliver, may
be wise and true, But I’d rather get my lessons by observing what you do.
Though I may not understand you,
and the fine advice you give, There is no misunderstanding how I see you act
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Lodge is a meeting place for Masons. This place may be used by Masons for
regular business meetings, degrees, social activities, other Masonic groups, or
even community activities. Lodge buildings are prominently marked, and are often
recognized as special landmarks in most cities and towns of the United States as
well as in Europe and countries in the free world.
local Lodge is a group of Masons granted a charter by the Vereinigte Grosslogen
von Deutschland (VGLvD) (The United Grand Lodge of Germany). There are specific
guidelines set by the Grand Lodge as to how this local Lodge may function and
what it can and cannot do. These guidelines are set forth in the Code of the
A.C.G.L. and the Bylaws of the Lodge. The leaders of the Lodge are elected by
the Lodge membership each year.
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are not sure at what point in time our craft was born. Hundreds of Masons have
investigated this question, but no conclusive answer has been found, and perhaps
never will be. We do know that the earliest written record of the term “Master
Mason” appears in the Regius manuscript, written about 1390 and now kept in
the British Museum. Its mention of the “Master Mason” refers to the stone
masons of the Middle Ages. The tools’ of the stonemason date back, of course,
to the earliest periods of history and are lost in the mists of time. This is
also true of the geometry and geometric symbols used in the craft of building.
are other theories concerning the development of Freemasonry. Some are so absurd
that they will not be mentioned here. The most favoured, after the one above, is
that Freemasonry was developed by the Order of the Christian Knights Templar
when they were disbanded by a Papal Bull and forced to flee from France. Brother
John J. Robinson was one, but not the first, who presented this theory in his
excellent book “Born in Blood”.
the ages Freemasonry, as we now know it, slowly took form. It has evolved into a
comprehensive and effective form of fraternal teaching of basic morals, truths
and personal fulfillment. It ranks the development of the individual’s
reasoning capabilities highly and encourages the questioning mind.
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TWO TYPES OF MASONRY
are actually two kinds of Masonry. One we call “Operative” and the other
Masonry can be traced back to the Middle Ages and beyond. Operative Masons,
formed groups with Lodge structures similar to ours today. We have officers
similar to theirs. Men were admitted only after they had served a number of
years of apprenticeship, usually seven years. This is the origin of the first or
Entered Apprentice degree. In Operative Masonry, Masons actually did the
physical labour of building. They were the best at their craft, and they kept
secret their methods of building.
the organization became what is called Speculative Masonry, men were accepted
into the Craft without being actual builders, that is, they were spiritual
builders. Speculative Masonry adopts the terms and concepts, of the actual
builders, but substitutes men for stone and mortar, and works toward
self-improvement rather than the actual construction of buildings.
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did the words “Free” and “Accepted” originate?
ancient craftsmen were very skilled and their craft was considered to be
indispensable to the welfare of both church and state. They were the men who
built castles and cathedrals. For this reason, they were not placed under the
same restrictions as were other workers. They were ‘free” to do their work,
travel, and live their lives in a manner which was in line with their duties. No
one could become an Apprentice unless he was free born.
Masons organized into “guilds”, something akin to a trade union, and
individual companies or groups of Masons contracted for specific construction
the England of that time, various crafts (carpenters, distillers, pewterers,
ironworkers, etc.) also organized into guilds, but most of the population worked
under bond to the owners of the land on which they lived.
word “Accepted” also goes back to the time of the Operative Mason.
the later years of the Middle Ages, there were few educated outside the
monasteries of the church. The “accepted” mason was originally a man who, in
a lodge operative in origin or still partly so in character, was for all
practical purposes of membership accepted as a mason. From this practice grew in
course of time the use of the words “accepted” and “adopted” to indicate
a man who had been admitted into the inner fellowship of Symbolic Masons.
Candidates were “accepted” into freemasonry no earlier than the
mid-seventeenth century. We first meet the phrase “free and accepted” in
the late 1600’s the demand for the type of architecture that lent itself to
the guild type of operation was declining. Architecture itself was changing; and
the number of men, as well as the number of operative lodges, were declining.
Increasingly, Masonry adopted the legends and habits of the old operative
lodges, for spiritual and moral purposes. As time went on, there became many
more “Accepted” members than there were Operative members. Sometime in the
eighteenth century, the “Accepted Masons” outnumbered the “Operative
Masons” and Masonry became exclusively a speculative organization rather than
an operative one.
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OF THE GRAND LODGE
1717 four Lodges in London met together and decided to form a Grand Lodge,
possibly for no other reason than to strengthen and preserve themselves. In 1723
they adopted a Constitution. Their success led to the establishment of still
other Grand Lodges. In 1725 some of the Lodges in Ireland formed a Grand Lodge
and a similar body was instituted in Scotland in 1736.
the original Grand Lodge in England did not remain without rivals, and at one
time in the eighteenth century three Grand Lodges existed in England in addition
to the one organized in 1717. Two of these died out without influencing the
history of Masonry in general, but the third had a great part in the spread and
popularizing of Masonry throughout the world. It called itself the “Ancient”
or “Antient” Grand Lodge. Members of the other Grand Lodge were as a
consequence called “Moderns”. The two surviving Grand Lodges were long and
vigorouss rivals, but they finally united in 1813 into the present United Grand
Lodge of England.
from one of these two Grand Bodies in England, or from those of Ireland or
Scotland, all other Grand Lodges in the world today are descended.
of Grand Lodges in the United States also vary. Some Grand Lodges are called A.
F. & A. M. which means Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. The most commonly
used title, like that used in the U.S.A. is F. & A. M., or Free and Accepted
Masons. The Grand Lodge of South Carolina is an exception in that it is A.F.M.
was established in France sometime between 1718 and 1725. The first lodge in
Spain was established in 1728. A lodge was established in Prague (The Czech
Republic) in 1729, in Calcutta (India) in 1728 and in Naples (Italy) in 1731.
came to Poland in 1734 and Sweden in 1735.
growth of Freemasonry and its ideals and beliefs came not without opposition.
are taught that all men are equal - we meet upon the level.
freedom of thought and action, as well as morality and ethics, are the concepts
and ideals upon which our order is founded.
teachings are a condemnation of autocratic government, who in turn condemn
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HISTORY IN THE UNITED STATES
was inevitable that Freemasonry should follow the colonists to America and play
a most important role in the establishment of the thirteen colonies. Freemasonry
was formally recognized for the first time in America with the appointment by
the Grand Lodge of England of a Provincial Grand Master in New York, New Jersey,
and Pennsylvania in 1730.
Masons worked under foreign jurisdiction until 1731, when the first American
Grand Lodge was established in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
of the most romantic portions of all Masonic history lies in the story of the
part played by Freemasons in the formation of the United States of America.
Without exaggeration, we can say that Freemasonry and Masonic thinking
contributed most significantly to the founding of this great Republic. Many of
the signers of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the drafters of the
Constitution, were members of the Fraternity.
Washington was a staunch Freemason.
was the first of fourteen Masonic Presidents and the only one to serve as
Worshipful Master of a Lodge and President at one and the same time. The others
after Washington are Monroe, Jackson, Polk, Buchanan, Andrew Jackson, Garfield,
McKinley, both Teddy and F. D. Roosevelt, Taft, Harding, Truman, and Ford – of
whom Truman and Andrew Jackson served also as Grand Masters.
the struggle for independence many well known patriots, such as Paul Revere,
Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Marquis de Lafayette, and Baron von Steuben
were members of the Craft. No doubt Freemasonry was responsible for and shared
much of their thinking and opinions.
has been written about the participation of the Fraternity in the Revolution and
the founding of America, and it is an episode of which we can be proud. Ever
since that period, Freemasonry has grown and flourished, following closely the
growth and expansion of the United States.
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HISTORY IN CANADA
possesses ten political divisions known as “Provinces” with each having a
Provincial Government. Nine of these provinces have regular Grand Lodges.
in the tenth Province Newfoundland are still governed by the Grand Lodges of
England and Scotland. The masonic scene in Canada can in a broad sense be
described as an amalgam of American and British practices and customs.
first settlers in Canada were the French. Quebec became a French Colony in 1608.
It remained so until 1763, when all of Canada became a British possession.
geopolitical history of Canada is rather confused, but it is enough to say here
that the several Provinces underwent various groupings, separations and
became a Dominion in 1867, uniting Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and
Ontario. Other Provinces later joined.
first lodges in Canada emerged about 1740 in Nova Scotia, and about 1750 in
Quebec. Many of the earliest lodges were military lodges.
came from both the United States and Britain.
1858, a Grand Lodge of Canada was formed in Ontario, claiming jurisdiction over
the whole of Canada, which at that time comprised Ontario and Quebec.
Canadian Independence, and the progressive formation of other Provinces, other
Grand Lodges were erected accordingly.
original Grand Lodge became the “Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of
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HISTORY IN TURKEY
is documented reference to the existence of lodges in Turkey in 1738.
lodges appear to have emanated from various European sources. There is also
evidence of a Scottish lodge being formed at Aleppo about 1748. A Supreme
Council of the Ottoman Empire was erected in 1861, probably under auspices of
the Grand Orient of France. It was extinct by 1871. However, the expansion of
the Craft came slowly. Various Ottoman Sultans issued edicts suppressing
repression became particularly harsh during the reign of the Sultan Abdulhamid
II (1876-1909). Many Turkish Masons were forced to flee the country.
this repression did not appear to extend to lodges warranted from foreign
English lodge (Oriental No. 988) was formed in Turkey in 1856, and another ten
English lodges were established between 1860 and 1870. Ireland, Scotland and the
Grand Orients of Italy and France also had lodges in Turkey in this period.
English-speaking lodges had expired by the First World War, although a few held
on until 1938.
the coming of constitutional government to Turkey, Turkish masonry was revived
in 1909, in the form of a resurrected Scottish Rite Supreme Council warranted
from Egypt. The Supreme Council sponsored the National Grand Orient of Turkey,
constituted by 14 lodges then holding either French, Italian or Spanish
charters. It modelled its constitution on that of the Grand Orient of France.
The Grand Orient enjoyed a period of sustained expansion, erecting 65 lodges up
until 1935. However the political climate in Turkey had been deteriorating, and
the Grand Orient became dormant in 1935.
Turkish Supreme Council revived in 1948, and controlled Turkish Craft lodges
until it divested control to the Grand Lodge of Turkey, founded in 1956 on a
regular basis. The Turkish Grand Lodge was recognized by England in 1970 and
today enjoys fraternal relations with most regular Grand Lodges around the
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HISTORY IN GERMANY
arrived in Germany from England, and probably France, in the first half of the
eighteenth century. The first recorded lodge was one erected in Hamburg in 1737,
in which the King of Prussia Frederick the Great was initiated. Several other
lodges followed, all originally holding warrants from London. From 1750, and for
some thirty years German Masonry spread under the influence of one Baron Von
Hund. By the First World War there were no fewer than eight Grand Lodges in
Germany, with three more being formed in 1930. These eleven Grand Lodges, with
their locations and years of Foundations are as follows:
The Grand Mother Lodge of the Three World Globes, at Berlin (1740)
The Grand Lodge of Prussia. (1760)
The National Grand Lodge of German Freemasons, at Berlin (1770)
The Grand Lodge of Hamburg. (1743)
The Grand Lodge of the Sun, at Bayreuth (1741)
The Mother Grand Lodge of the Eclectic Union, at Frankfurt. (1742)
The National Grand Lodge of Saxony, at Dresden (1811)
The Grand Lodge ‘Concord’ at Darmstadt (1846)
The Grand Lodge ‘Chain of German Brotherhood’ at Leipzig (1924)
The Grand Lodge ‘Freimauererbund’ at Nuremberg, later at
The Symbolic Grand Lodge at Hamburg, later at Berlin (1930)
first three of the Grand Lodges, all based at Berlin, were called the Old
Prussian Lodges. They generally enjoyed the protection of the Prussian Kings and
admitted only men professing the Christian Faith. The Grand Lodges numbered four
to nine, admitted men of any monotheistic faith and have been called the
Humanitarian Lodges. All the first nine Grand Lodges recognized each other and
enjoyed fraternal relations. The last two Grand Lodges were not recognized by
the other nine, evidently because they did not conform to several of the ancient
landmarks of the order. By 1930 there were an estimated 100,000 freemasons in
Germany, indicating that Freemasonry was wider spread in that country than in
any other Continental country at the time. The rise to power of the Nazis in
1933 saw this happy situation quickly reversed. By 1935, all lodges in Germany
were dissolved and their property confiscated by the Nazi German Government.
Thereupon, Freemasonry remained completely suppressed until the end of the
Second World War in 1945. After the War, the Craft rapidly re-established itself
in West Germany.
remained suppressed in East Germany under Soviet Rule until the reunification of
Germany in 1989. In 1949 representatives of 151 German Lodges met at Frankfurt
and founded the United Grand Lodge of German Freemasons.
complete unity was still not achieved as former members of the old Grand Lodges
which were working under the Swedish Rite system which presented them with
governmental and ritualistic difficulties. However by protracted negotiations
the United Grand Lodges of Germany were founded in 1958 with a membership of 264
Lodges of the Grand Lodge AF & AM along with 82 Lodges of the Grand Lodge of
Order of Freemasons (FO) at that time. Particular attention should be paid to
the word Lodges since the basis of the unity was a Magna Charta which passed
sovereignty to the United Grand Lodges, but maintained the two forming bodies as
Grand Lodges. There still remained outside the Union the original Grand Lodge of
the Three World Globes, which had been resuscitated at West Berlin. This
situation was rectified after the Union, when it joined the United Grand Lodges
as a Fellow Member Grand Lodge. Meanwhile since the end of the Second World War
a large number of English-speaking Lodges had been founded in Germany by
stationed American, Canadian and British troops. These Lodges formed themselves
into two Provincial Grand Lodges, namely the American Canadian Grand Lodge A.F.&
A.M., and the Grand Lodge of British Freemasons whereupon they both affiliated
with the United Grand Lodges. In 1970, the status of the three latterly joining
Grand Lodges was changed under an amended Magna Charta. Each Grand Lodge with
the exception of the Three World Globes, is represented by two members in a
Senate governing body of the United Grand Lodges of Germany (VGLvD). The Three
World Globes has one member which represents them. Thus German Masonry has an
unique system of five largely independent Grand Lodges bonded together under the
roof of the United Grand Lodges of Germany.
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the United Grandlodges of Germany (VGLvD)
purpose of this paper is to describe the present structure of the VGLvD (acronym
for: Vereinigte Grosslogen von Deutschland) as it exists today (2000).
German Freemasonry can trace its origins back to September 13, 1740, when the
“Grosse National Mutterloge zu den drei Weltkugeln” (translation: Grand
National Mother Lodge of the Three World Globes) was established as the first
Grand Lodge in Germany, by Frederick The Great, who served as its first Grand
Master. It still proudly exists today as part of the VGLvD.
VGLvD can best be described as a federation of five grand lodges, united to form
one sovereign Grand Body for Germany. This unification originally was designed
to accomplish two basic goals; first, to facilitate the need to regain
recognition for German Freemasonry after the debacle of World War II, second, to
unite different Masonic ‘systems’ existing in Germany under one common roof.
Prior to the war, there were a number of active Grand Lodges in Germany. After
the war, the partition of Germany and the near-decimation of Masonic membership
in Germany over the preceding decade resulted in efforts to consolidate the
somewhat varying ‘systems’ existing within the remnants of Freemasonry in
detailed discussion of these developments would be too lengthy for inclusion in
this brief paper; suffice it to say that the VGLvD was formed, and the
constituting Grand Lodges united under the terms of what is called the “Magna
Charta” (pronounced Karta) of German Freemasonry. The Magna Charta, the
‘constitution’ of the VGLvD. can perhaps be more appropriately termed
articles of confederation’.
Magna Charta has been amended several times, and under its authority, laws and
regulations for the government of the VGLvD have been adopted. Following is a
listing of the five constituent or ‘partner’ Grand Lodges which comprise the
VGLvD, shown in the order in which they became signatories to the Magna Charta
of Freemasonry in Germany:
Grossloge A.F.u.A.M. von Deutschland
referred to simply as “AFAM., and currently composed of between 8,500-9,000
members, this Grand Lodge was established through consolidation of surviving
members of seven, pre-World War II Grand Lodges.
Grosse Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland 1958:
referred to as “FO” (referring to Freimaurer Orden”) it should be more
accurately abbreviated as VvD”. Currently composed of approximately 3,600
members, the FvD is part of a complete ‘system’ of Masonic degrees based on
the so-called Swedish or Scandinavian Rite. Christian dogma is highly stressed
within the FvD system, especially in its advanced degrees, which in some ways
can be equated with the American York Rite system.
Grosse National-Mutterloge “Zu den drei Weltkugeln” 1958:
oldest Grand Lodge in Germany, it is often referred to simply as “3WK”
world globes). Time, and the partition of Germany (we must remember its greatest
strength was in Prussia.) have taken its toll, and current membership is
currently at about 800 members. This Grand Lodge’s system also includes
additional steps or degrees known as “Erkenntnisstufen” (Steps of
Grand Lodge of British Freemasons in Germany:
very simply referred to as “the Brits”, “BFG” this Grand Lodge is
composed of approximately 1,200 members. Its membership is composed
predominantly of British Forces personnel, with the result that more than half
the total membership is not physically resident in Germany.
American Canadian Grand Lodge A.F.&A.M. 1970:
referred to simply as “ACGL” this jurisdiction is composed of approximately
6,500 Master Masons (we mention MMs only because membership figures for each of
the other German-speaking jurisdictions include Entered Apprentices and
Fellowcrafts). Composed predominantly of members of the American and Canadian
Forces or government personnel stationed in Germany, subject to constant
turnover resulting from reassignments, most of its current membership is not
physically resident in Germany.
almost every other jurisdiction, reference to the Grand Lodge is always simply
“the Grand Lodge”. Here in Germany, we almost always use the acronym or
nickname - even for the VGLvD itself. This may be a natural result of the
proliferation of Bodies, or simply the result of the German penchant for
abbreviating everything, a habit which comes quite naturally to military and
government personnel as well.
1995 Türkay Lodge # 995 was chartered by the VGLvD under the ACGL and
consecrated in Frankfurt am Main. This Lodge usually works in the Turkish
mentioned this document clearly states the constituent Grand Lodges are
autonomous; they govern their own internal affairs. The Magna Charta also
contains rules for electing a Grand Master and one Deputy Grand Master;
regulations for the regular convening of a Communication (called ‘Konvent’
in German; a word akin to the English convention); and-various other rules for
the government-of the VGLvD. There are no Grand Wardens in the VGLvD, but a
Grand Treasurer and a Grand Secretary are part of the so called
Master’s Bureau). The governing organ of the VGLvD is the ‘Senate’,
composed of members elected or appointed by their respective Grand Lodges, based
on a proportionate membership representation, and in the interest of continuity
most are normally re-elected or appointed for successive terms. Several
committees exist, which are appointed or confirmed by the Senate.
the VGLvD is recognized and acknowledged as the sovereign Grand Lodge in
Germany, each constituent Grand Lodge enjoys recognition as the result of its
membership in the VGLvD. Fraternal relations with other Grand Lodges, including
any exchange of representatives, are strictly within the sphere of
responsibility of the VGLvD. Generally, correspondence between Grand Lodges must
be channeled through the VGLvD, except when this authority is delegated. A prime
example of this delegation may be noted in the fact that the ACGL has conducted
its vast correspondence direct to all other jurisdictions, as the VGLvD is
neither administratively nor financially in a position to handle the
administrative requirements of the ACGL.
the five partner Grand Lodges are autonomous and govern their internal affairs
without interference, specific restrictions are placed on their activities. As
‘subordinate’ Grand Lodges, those matters normally construed as the inherent
right or responsibility of in the ‘sense of absolute responsibility and
matters normally construed as the inherent right or responsibility a sovereign
Grand Lodge (in the sense of absolute responsibility and authority for a
territorial jurisdiction), they cannot individually pre-empt the prerogatives or
rights of the VGLvD. As the VGLvD is the guarantor of recognition with all other
Grand Lodges, it bears the ultimate responsibility of ensuring that all lodges
working under its sovereign authority are regular.
effect, a ‘federal’ or ‘collective’ voice exists for recognized
Freemasonry in Germany, and as the result of this ‘partnership’ in the VGLvD.
each partner is involved in the decision-making process in regard to those
matters and laws affecting all Freemasons in Germany.
to say, as in any federal system, efforts to effect better coordination among
the partner Grand Lodges, as well as efforts to establish greater uniformity in
respect of certain Masonic procedures are among the many subjects that
constantly involve the Grand Master and the Senate. On-going attempts to define
and regulate these and other important Masonic matters are undertaken at the
regularly scheduled meetings of the Senate and the several Senate committees.
Konvent is the regularly convened Communication of the United Grand
of Germany. As currently regulated, the Konvent is convened every three years
for the purpose of electing a new Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master, who
serve for a three-year period. Each Lodge is entitled to one vote at the Konvent,
and that vote can only be exercised by the Master, one of the Wardens in
succession, or by a proxy as specified in the regulations governing the Konvent.
Konvents may be called at any time, but these would be more ceremonial in
nature, with legislation normally not introduced except in emergency
Grand Master of the VGLvD, together with the Senate, determines when and where
Konvents may be called in the intervening years. The triennial Konvent is
normally held in the City of Berlin, the official domicile or seat of the VGLvD.
As this is written, Most Worshipful Brother Prof. Alfred F. Koska of Berlin and
Vienna, Austria is Grand Master of the VGLvD, having been elected in 1997. At
the Konvent scheduled for October, 2000 his successor for the next three years
is scheduled to be elected and installed.
is hoped the foregoing will be of some assistance to Brethren who are not
familiar with the German language (most good source books are in German) to
better understand the complexities of the organization of the Masonic fraternity
structure that is unique in the world of Freemasonry; one that has proved
exceedingly workable, and stands as a living monument to the ability of Masons
to exemplify that vital Masonic ideal of “..who best can work and best
agree”. It is obvious that in a brief review such as this, one can, at best,
do little more than gloss-over the subject. In line with the axiom that a
picture is worth a thousand words, the organizational chart which follows
illustrates graphically the foregoing text.
Jess Minton, PGM
Grand Secretary American Canadian Grand
within the VGLvD
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WE ARE NOT
are not a secret society!
secret society is generally one that wraps itself in a cloak of absolute
means no one knows who the members are, where they meet what they do or what
they stand for.
is not Masonry at all! Masonry may have “secrets,” but it is not a secret
secrets are few in number, and deal with the general method of initiation, the
ways we recognize each other, and very little else. These parts of the ritual,
which are called the esoteric side of Masonry, have been handed down by word of
mouth for centuries.
purposes, ideals, and principles may be learned by anyone who inquires.
are numerous books on these subjects which are available to the public.
often has public notices in the newspapers, and our members are usually numbered
among the more prominent citizens in the community.
are not a Religion!
as an organization, is understanding and tolerant of all religious thoughts.
has no specific creed, no promise of salvation, no dogma, no priesthood.
are no requirements as to religious preference in becoming a Mason.
does ask you to state your belief and trust in a Supreme Being. Nonsectarian
Prayers are a common part of all our ceremonies, but are not offered to a
ritual does incorporate lessons and examples from the Bible, but they are given
as representative illustrations.
does not require you to belong to a church, synagogue or mosque although many
Masons are very active in their religious organizations, and among our members
are leaders of many denominations.
accepts your right to belong to any church or religious organization of your
choice and does not infringe on that right. Neither does Masonry try to be a
substitute for your church.
wants to unite men for the purpose of brotherhood; not as an organized religion.
Masonry is considered the greatest supporter of religion. It continuously
encourages its members to be active in the faith of their choice
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WE DO NOT DO
religion and partisan politics are not discussed in Lodge, and there are very
good reasons why. When we meet in a Lodge, we are all on a common level, and are
not subject to the classes and distinctions of the outside world. Each Brother
is entitled to his own beliefs and may follow his own convictions. Our objective
is to unite men, not to divide them. These two subjects can cause honest
differences of opinion which might well cause friction among Brothers. No member
running for political office has any right to expect the support of any other
member because of Lodge affiliation. This does not mean, however, that matters
which concern themselves with the nature of government or individual freedoms
are not proper concerns of Masons as good citizens.
will be subjects concerning the Lodge’s business that have to be discussed.
discussions should be kept within the bounds of propriety, and everyone should
show tolerance for the opinion of the other. Every Master wants harmony in his
Lodge; and, once a matter has been put to vote in the Lodge, and a decision
made, the decision should be accepted by all members regardless of how they
teaches every Mason to be a good citizen and to perform his civic duties.
do not try to keep anyone from expressing his opinion, or from serving his city,
county, state, or nation in an honourable manner. Anyone who serves in political
office should not act politically as a Freemason; nor, in the name of
Freemasonry in exercising his rights.
sum up: As a Mason you will never introduce into the Craft any controversial
sectarian or political question; and in your life as a member of the state you
will ever be loyal to the demands of good citizenship.
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OF A PETITIONER
Grand Lodge has decreed, “A petitioner for the degrees of Masonry must be a
man, at least 21 years of age, able to understand the English language, a
believer in a Supreme Being, and of good moral conduct.”
addition it is generally understood that there are internal and external
qualifications necessary to become a Mason. The internal qualifications refer to
those not apparent to the world and include his attitude toward the Fraternity
and his motives and designs in seeking entrance into it.
outward qualifications refer to his physical fitness to participate in the
degrees and perform the duties of a member, his reputation in the community and
his financial ability to conform to the requirements of membership.
applicant must act of his own free will, he must first be prepared in his heart
and must act un-influenced by friends or unbiased by mercenary motives.
petition shall be signed by three Master Masons who are members in good standing
in a recognized Freemasons Lodge, or by one Master Mason in good standing who is
member of the ACGL Lodge being petitioned (2.62, The ACGL Code). The petitioner
must have resided in Germany for a minimum of six months. All petition fees must
accompany the petition.
must be a free man in the fullest sense. He must be a peaceable citizen, loyal
to his country and its law.
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have asked to join the Masonic Lodge, or “Symbolic Lodge”, or “Blue
Lodge”. It is the base of all other organizations that require Masonic
affiliation, one or more of which you, or a member of your family, may want to
join sometime in the future.
are not sure where the name “Blue Lodge “originated, one theory is because
blue is generally regarded as the colour used to characterize friendship.
Colours have a large place in the traditions of the Craft. Today it is generally
agreed that the American usage is derived from English Freemasonry. We know that
the United Grand Lodge of England, in choosing the colours of its clothing was
guided mainly by the colours associated with the Noble Orders of the Garter and
the Most Noble Order of the Garter was instituted by Edward III in 1348, its
colour was light blue. Freemasonry’s colours were not derived from ancient
symbolism. The clothing of three groups of degrees is related to mainly three
colours; the Craft of symbolic degrees with blue; the Royal Arch with crimson;
and other degrees with green, white and other colours, including black.
Worldwide, in many cultures, blue symbolizes immortality, eternity, fidelity,
prudence and goodness.
Freemasonry in particular, blue is symbolic of universal brotherhood and
friendship and “instructs us that in the mind of a Mason, those virtues should
be as extensive as the blue arch of Heaven itself. “
of the organizations, the York Rite and the Scottish Rite, expand on the
teachings of the Blue Lodge, or basic Masonry, and further explain its meaning.
Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, commonly called the Shrine,
is not formally connected with Masonry, but has, as its own requirement, the
restriction of its membership to members of the York Rite and/or Scottish Rite.
organization is socially-oriented, and has as its major project the funding and
operation of nearly two dozen hospitals for crippled and burned children.
Order of the Eastern Star, White Shrine of Jerusalem and the Amaranth admit both
men and women. Research Lodges do academic study on Masonry.
Masonic Service Association, whose headquarters is in Silver Spring, MD, issues
Masonic publications and sponsors visits to patients at our Veterans hospitals.
are several organizations. The International Order of De Molay (For young men)
and Jobs Daughters, The International Order of Rainbow Girls for young people.
In addition, the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm
(Grotto), Tall Cedars of Lebanon and many other concordant and appendant Masonic
bodies in the United States of America will welcome you and your family as
members once you become a Master Mason. All you will need is the time, finances
and energy to participate.
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of all, relax.
of the ceremonies of Masonry are serious and performed in a dignified manner.
is no horseplay, no hazing.
the Lodge with an attitude which will help you appreciate the serious and solemn
ceremonies that you will experience.
degrees, or teaching lessons, are done in the form of short plays, in which you
play a part, prompted by a guide. The language is beautiful, and the content
both meaningful and interesting.
you receive each degree it is suggested that you dress respectfully, as in a
business setting. When you arrive at the Lodge for your degree you will be asked
to wait a short time in an outer room while the Lodge prepares to conduct the
small committee will meet with you formally. You will be asked a series of
questions to ascertain your motives and confirm your free choice in joining our
Fraternity. You will then be prepared to receive the degree by temporarily
exchanging your street clothes for the plain garment of a candidate.
degree itself will be given by a team of Masons. Listen to the content of what
is being said. These are spiritual lessons given with great dignity.
should have no worries about entering a Masonic Lodge. The degrees are simply
lessons and you will be treated as the friend and brother that you are becoming.
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you take each degree, you will be required to show that you understand what has
been said and portrayed. This step is called “the proficiency”. The
proficiency is evidence that the candidate is qualified for advancement, just as
in the days of operative masonry, when the worker had to show that he was
qualified to do more complicated tasks.
the A.C.G.L. candidates are asked to memorize a portion of the degree work and
state it to one or more members of the Lodge as per ACGL Code 2.78.
Code 2.78 Proficiency and Advancement:
brother may not be Passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft or subsequently raised to
the Sublime Degree of Master Mason within this Jurisdiction without first
exhibiting suitable proficiency in the preceding Degree. Such proficiency must
be ascertained by examination in open Lodge or by a Committee of three Brethren,
one of whom must be a member who has exhibited proficiency in that Degree in
open Lodge. All three members of the Committee must certify to a Brother’s
proficiency prior to authorizing the Brothers’s advancement. A complaint
registered with the Master concerning any Candidate for a Degree, shall have the
effect of blocking the Brother’s advancement until the complaint has been
investigated and disposed of in proper manner.
proficiency is simple, but requires some study. A mentor will be assigned to you
to help you learn the material, answer any questions that you may have, and see
that you pass smoothly through the process of becoming an informed Mason and an
active Lodge member. You are expected to meet with your mentor as often as
necessary in order to acquire a basic knowledge of Masonry.
booklet similar to this one will be given to you at the end of each degree. It
will contain an explanation of the degree and will explain the symbols and
actions in each part of the degree.
addition, you will be required to memorize a portion of each degree, so that you
will be able to visit other Lodges. It will be written in a brief memory-aid
you so desire, there will be optional material along with a list of voluntary
projects for you to participate in that will help you become more comfortable
and familiar with your new Lodge and fraternity. As in all endeavours, you will
receive as much from the experience as you put into it.
you pass the proficiency, you will be given the next degree.
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DUTIES AS A MASON
will become a full member of the fraternity when you have received the three
degrees, proved your proficiency in each of them, and signed the by-laws of your
Lodge. In assuming the obligations of the degrees and signing the by-laws, you
enter into an agreement with the Lodge, wherein you bind yourself to perform
certain duties, and the Lodge binds itself to protect you in certain rights and
your duties will be loyalty to Masonry, faithfulness to your superior officers,
and obedience to Masonic laws. These are fundamental conditions of membership.
a Mason, it will be your duty to maintain membership in some Lodge. If necessary
or expedient you may transfer your membership to another Lodge.
in a Lodge necessarily requires some monetary obligation. Dues should be paid
promptly as an imperative condition of membership. While the Lodge is not an
organized charity, it teaches love and charity for all mankind and especially
for Brother Masons, their widows and orphans. It will therefore be your duty to
stand ready to lend a helping hand to a Brother Mason in sickness or distress,
and to aid in the charities of the Lodge, after you become a Master Mason so far
as your conscience will guide and your means permit.
you are a Master Mason and present at your Lodge when a ballot is taken on a
petition for degree, you must vote. Voting on a petition for membership is not a
right or privilege to be exercised at your choice, but an obligation and a duty.
This is only another way of saying that the responsibility for deciding who
shall be Masons rests on every member. You may be summoned by the Worshipful
Master to attend a meeting of your Lodge for some special purpose, or to
discharge some duty required of you as a Mason and, unless circumstances at the
time make it impossible, it will be your duty to obey.
Lodge differs from any other organization in many fundamental respects; duties
and obligations may not be laid down or taken up at pleasure and membership is
not a mere gesture of honour or an idle privilege. A member may not stand aside
until an opportunity occurs to secure something from it for his own selfish
purpose, nor may he evade his responsibilities by shifting his burdens to more
willing shoulders. The Mystic Tie that binds him to his fellows holds him fast.
among strangers you will have certain means of recognition by which to prove
yourself to another Mason and to prove him to you, to enable you to establish
Fraternal relations with men whom you might never have met. To know that
wherever you go in the world and whatever your financial or social position, you
will find Brothers ready to extend to you the hand of fellowship, is one of the
greatest of all the privileges of membership.
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REWARDS AS A MASON
you go through the degrees, receive the work, decide that Freemasonry is a fine
institution and then do nothing about the teachings presented to you, then you
are wasting our time as well as your time and money. If you recognize the
opportunity which is yours, take the various doctrines and truths presented to
you, study them, analyze them, contemplate their meanings, and apply them to
your own life, then your investment of time and money will be richly rewarded.
not adopt a double standard of conduct, whereby you apply Freemasonry to a part
of your life, but feel that it doesn’t apply to other phases. The thoughtful
Freemason will apply the teaching of our Institution to each and every phase of
his life, and we sincerely hope that you will see fit to follow such a practice.
This great opportunity for self-improvement is one that you should grasp to such
an extent that the principles of Freemasonry will eventually spread through
every facet of your life; when you do you will have allowed Freemasonry to
become one of the greatest of your personal experiences.
a member of a Lodge you will be eligible for any office in it. It will be your
right to visit other Lodges in this or other Grand Jurisdictions, provided
always that the Worshipful Master is willing to admit you after you have been
properly identified. In case of sickness or distress you have the right to apply
for relief, but is strictly at the discretion of the Lodge to grant.
statements are not exhaustive. We have just touched the fringe of a great theme,
but it is our hope, with such light as may have been given you, that you will go
forward -with a livelier understanding of what Masonry will mean to you and also
of what you mean to Masonry.
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come ye all, each one of you
In brotherhood unite.
All Masons we; a bond to share
Of all that is upright.
‘Tis truth we seek, we are as one
Upon the level meet No dogma have,
one God a must
And heaven next replete.
A brotherhood of man we serve
A fatherhood of God.
The “Golden Rule,” a way of life
We lack a false facade.
No matter what our stations be
If high, or low - between,
Through brotherhood in Masonry
So much there is to glean.
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