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Introduction to Freemasonry

Introduction to Freemasonry

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Published by: coloane85U on Oct 13, 2012
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INTRODUCTION TO FREEMASONRY
Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. Masonryis dedicated to “the Brotherhood of Man under the fatherhood of God.” Today it numbersabout 1.5 million members in the United States and approximately 4 million world wide.Masons represent virtually every occupation and profession, yet within the Fraternity allmeet as equals. Masons come from diverse political ideologies, yet meet as friends.Masons come from varied religious beliefs and creeds, yet all believe in one God.One of the most fascinating aspects of Freemasonry is how so many men from somany different walks of life can meet together in peace, always conducting their affairs inharmony and friendship calling each other “Brother.”Freemasonry uses the tools and implements of ancient architectural craftsmensymbolically in a system of instruction designed to build character and moral values in itsmembers. Its singular purpose is to make good men better. Its bonds of friendship,compassion, and brotherly love have survived even the most divisive political, military,and religious conflicts through the centuries. Freemasonry is a fraternity which encouragesits members to practice the faith of their personal acceptance. Masonry teaches that each person, through self-improvement and helping others, has an obligation to make adifference for good in the world.The beginnings of Freemasonry in the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia andWallachia (which would unite to form Romania in 1859) date to the 18th century and theactivities of the humanist scholar Anton Maria del Chiaro, secretary to voivodes ConstantinBrâncoveanu (ruled Wallachia 1688-1714) and Constantine Mavrocordatos (alternatelyruled both domains between 1730 and 1769). In 1734 or 1737, del Chiaro founded the firstMasonic Lodge in the Principalities at Galaţi. Shortly thereafter, Mavrocordat founded alodge at Iaşi while ruler of Moldavia. During the same period in Transylvania, knownFreemasons included László and János Kemény, Count Gabriel Bethlen and Baron Samuelvon Brukenthal. In 1753 lodges were set up at Kronstadt, Hermannstadt and at the military***********************************************************************RADULESCU Andreea – Elena, STIT, anul III, EN-SP1
 
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garrisons of Sepsiszentgyörgy and Csíkszereda. On 23 February 1783 Horea, who led a peasant revolt the following year, gave a Romanian-language speech at the TrueUnderstanding Lodge in Vienna, in which he used a series of Masonic symbols (it is highlylikely that he was initiated). In 1795, by imperial decree, Masonic activity was outlawed inthe Habsburg empire, including Transylvania. In Wallachia, the first lodge was very likelyestablished by Jean Louis Carra, secretary to voivode Grigore III Ghica (October 1768- November 1769).In advance of the Wallachian Revolution of 1848, a Freemason-inspired secretsociety known as Frăţia ("The Brotherhood") was set up. Ion Ghica, Nicolae Bălcescu,Christian Tell, Dimitrie Bolintineanu, Cezar Bolliac, Constantin Daniel Rosenthal, C. A.Rosetti, Dimitrie and Ion Brătianu, Alexandru G. Golescu and others belonged to Frăţiaand were at the forefront of the revolution. Freemasons such as Vasile Alecsandri, MihailKogălniceanu and Alexandru Ioan Cuza were active in the revolution in Moldavia thatyear. The union of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1859 featured involvement by Freemasonsfrom the Principalities and from exile. Cuza, domnitor of the new polity, governed onMasonic principles but nevertheless came into conflict with certain prominent boyars, who,like him, belonged to the Steaua Dunării Lodge in Bucharest. These individuals,dissatisfied with Cuza's actions, organised a plot to dethrone him, but when this wasuncovered in 1865, the prince shut down the Lodge without taking measures against the plotters. Thus Cuza dissolved his own Lodge on the pretext that its establishment in nineyears earlier had not been officially approved. Not coincidentally, the three officers who presented Cuza with his act of abdication the following year were Freemasons. TheJunimea literary society, connected with Steaua Dunării and publishing journals such asGazeta de Iaşi (1867), Convorbiri literare (1867), Gazeta literară (1871) and Constituţiunea(1886), played an important cultural role.Romania's Lodges were unified on 8/20 September 1880, when the National Lodgewas founded with Constantin Moroiu as Grand Master. Conflict ensued between the National Lodge and certain Moldavian Lodges, as the former indirectly refused to admitJews, who were concentrated in Moldavia. Cuza's successor, Carol I, refused suggestionsthat he become a Freemason and take the reins of the National Lodge, indeed ordering theclosure of the Lodge in Brăila, which counted wealthy Jewish and Greek merchants among***********************************************************************RADULESCU Andreea – Elena, STIT, anul III, EN-SP2
 
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its members. Romanian Freemasons helped promote international recognition for theUnion of Transylvania with Romania in 1918.On 12 November 1925 the Great Orient of Romania, which functioned alongsidethe Grand National Lodge. In 1934, these two merged with the Grand Symbolic Lodge of Transylvania to form the United Romanian Freemasonry, led by Mihail Sadoveanu andunder American obedience. During the 1930s, Freemasonry was openly attacked inRomania, chiefly by A. C. Cuza, head of the National-Christian Defense League; the IronGuard; and the Romanian Orthodox Church. On 11 March 1937, the church's Holy Synodapproved an anti-Masonic study prepared by Nicolae Bălan, Metropolitan of Transylvania;this targeted Jews, who "have a preponderant, even a dominant role in Freemasonry" andconcluded that "Freemasonry is a secret global organisation in which the Jews have asignificant role; it has a quasi-religious rite, fighting against the religious-moral concepts of Christianity, against the monarchic and national principle, in order to establish aninternational secular republic. It is an expression of moral decay, of social disorder. TheChurch condemns Freemasonry as a doctrine, as an organisation and as a method of occultworkings". As a result of these attacks, Romanian Freemasonry dissolved itself in 1937.Masonic historiography blames King Carol II, himself a Freemason, for having taken adecision to shut down the group with the support of Patriarch Miron Cristea (another Freemason) in order to rule as absolute monarch (which he began to do the following year).***********************************************************************RADULESCU Andreea – Elena, STIT, anul III, EN-SP3

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