Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dr. Rob Morris - Poet Laureate of Freemasonry

Dr. Rob Morris
Dr. Rob Morris was a prominent American poet and Freemason. He also created the first ritual for what was to become the Order of the Eastern Star.

Early life

Many references state that Rob Morris was born on August 31, 1818, near Boston, Massachusetts. However, there is some evidence that he was born Robert Williams Peckham, in New York, and that he adopted the name of his foster parents after the death of his birth parents, later shortening his name to Rob to avoid confusion with another poet named Robert Morris. He grew up in New York, where he (apparently) also went to college.
He worked as a teacher for 10 years before moving to Oxford, Mississippi, where he continued teaching at Mount Sylvan Academy, a school established by Freemasons. While living in Oxford, he met Charlotte Mendenhall, whom he married on August 26, 1841.

Eastern Star

The Red School Bulding
Birthplace of OES
After he became a Mason on March 5, 1846, he became convinced that there needed to be a way for female relatives of Masons to share in some measure in the benefits of Freemasonry. While teaching at the Eureka Masonic College ("The Little Red Brick School Building") in Richland, Mississippi in 1849-1850, he wrote Eastern Star's first ritual, titled The Rosary of the Eastern Star. He organized a "Supreme Constellation" in 1855 to charter Star chapters. In 1866, because of his planned travel abroad, he handed over the organizational authority of Eastern Star to Robert Macoy.
The "Little Red Brick School Building in Mississippi" is owned by the Grand Chapter of Mississippi and is maintained as a Shrine in honor of Dr. Morris' writing of the Ritual in Mississippi.
He later served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky in 1858-9.Upon given a job as professor of the Masonic University, he moved to La Grange, Kentucky in 1860.


Over the years, he wrote over 400 poems, many of which were devoted to Eastern Star and Masonry. While traveling in the Holy Land, he wrote the words to the hymn "O Galilee". In 1854, he wrote "The Level and the Square", which may be his best-known poem.

Poet Laureate

Because of his many works on Masonic subjects, on December 17, 1884, he was crowned the "Poet Laureate of Freemasonry", an honor which had not been granted since the death of Robert Burns in 1796.


Morris Memorial
His health began to fail in 1887, and in June 1888, he became paralyzed. He died on July 31, 1888, and is buried at La Grange, Kentucky. The Rob Morris Home is kept as a shrine to Rob Morris by the Kentucky Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. When the news of his death was sent to all parts of the world, profound grief was expressed at his passing as his whole life had been devoted to the uplifting of humanity. He was buried in the cemetery in La Grange, Kentucky, where admiring friends from all over the world have erected a tall marble shaft in his memory. On one side of the shaft is the Square and Compasses and on the other side is the Five Pointed Star.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I suppose there are more Masons who are ignorant of all the principles of Freemasonry than there are men of any other class who are chargeable with the like ignorance of their own profession. There is not a watchmaker who does not know something about the elements of horology, nor is there a blacksmith who is altogether unacquainted with the properties of red-hot iron. Ascending to the higher walks of science, we would be much astonished to meet with a lawyer who was ignorant of the elements of jurisprudence, or a physician who had never read a treatise on pathology, or a clergyman who knew nothing whatever of theology. 

Nevertheless, nothing is more common than to encounter Freemasons who are in utter darkness as to everything that relates to Freemasonry. They are ignorant of its history -- they know not whether it is a mushroom production of today, or whether it goes back to remote ages for its origin. They have no comprehension of the esoteric meaning of its symbols or its ceremonies, and are hardly at home in its modes of recognition. And yet nothing is more common than to find such socialists in the possession of high degrees and sometimes honored with elevated affairs in the Order, present at the meetings of lodges and chapters, intermeddling with the proceedings, taking an active part in all discussions and pertinaciously maintaining heterodox opinions in opposition to the judgment of brethren of far greater knowledge. Why, it may well be asked, should such things be? Why, in Masonry alone, should there be so much ignorance and so much presumption? If I ask a cobbler to make me a pair of boots, he tells me that he only mends and patches, and that he has not learnt the higher branches of his craft, and then he honestly declines the offered job. If I request a watchmaker to construct a mainspring for my chronometer, he answers that he cannot do it, that he has never learned how to make mainsprings, which belongs to a higher branch of the business, but that if I will bring him a spring readymade, he will insert it in my time piece, because that he knows how to do. If I go to an artist with an order to paint me an historical picture, he will tell me that it is beyond his capacity, that he has never studied nor practiced the comportion of details, but has confined himself to the painting of portraits. Were he dishonest and presumptuous he would take my order and instead of a picture give me a daub. It is the Freemason alone who wants this modesty. He is too apt to think that the obligation not only makes him a Mason, but a learned Mason at the same time. He too often imagines that the mystical ceremonies which induct him into the Order are all that are necessary to make him cognizant of its principles. There are some Christian sects who believe that the water of baptism at once washes away all sin, past and prospective. So there are some Masons who think that the mere act of initiation is at once followed by an influx of all Masonic knowledge. They need no further study or research. All that they require to know has already been received by a sort of intuitive process. 

The great body of Masons may be divided into three classes. The first consists of those who made their application for initiation not from a desire for knowledge, but from some accidental motive, not always honorable. Such men have been led to seek reception either because it was likely, in their opinion, to facilitate their business operations, or to advance their political prospects, or in some other way to personally benefit them. In the commencement of a war, hundreds flock to the lodges in the hope of obtaining the "mystic sign," which will be of service in the hour of danger. Their object having been attained, or having failed to attain it, these men become indifferent and, in time, fall into the rank of the non- affiliates. Of such Masons there is no hope. They are dead trees having no promise of fruit. Let them pass as utterly worthless, and incapable of improvement. 

There is a second class consisting of men who are the moral and Masonic antipodes of the first. These make their application for admission, being prompted, as the ritual requires, "by a favorable opinion conceived of the Institution, and a desire of knowledge." As soon as they are initiated, they see in the ceremonies through which they have passed a philosophical meaning worthy of the trouble of inquiry. They devote themselves to this inquiry. They obtain Masonic books, they read Masonic periodicals, and they converse with well-informed brethren. They make themselves acquainted with the history of the Association. They investigate its origin and its ultimate design. They explore the hidden sense of its symbols and they acquire the interpretation. Such Masons are always useful and honorable members of the Order, and very frequently they become its shining lights. Their lamp burns for the enlightenment of others, and to them the Institution is indebted for whatever of an elevated position it has attained. For them this article is not written. But between these two classes, just described, there is an intermediate one; not so bad as the first, but far below the second, which, unfortunately, comprises the body of the Fraternity.

This Third class consists of Masons who joined the Society with unobjectionable motives, and with, perhaps the best intentions. But they have failed to carry these intentions into effect. They have made a grievous mistake. They have supposed that initiation was all that was requisite to make them Masons, and that any further study was entirely unnecessary. Hence, they never read a Masonic book. Bring to their notice the productions of the most celebrated Masonic authors, and their remark is that they have no time to read-the claims of business are overwhelming. Show them a Masonic journal of recognized reputation, and ask them to subscribe. Their answer is, that they cannot afford it, the times are hard and money is scarce. And yet, there is no want of Masonic ambition in many of these men. But their ambition is not in the right direction. They have no thirst for knowledge, but they have a very great thirst for office or for degrees. They cannot afford money or time for the purchase or perusal of Masonic books, but they have enough of both to expend on the acquisition of Masonic degrees. It is astonishing with what avidity some Masons who do not understand the simplest rudiments of their art, and who have utterly failed to comprehend the scope and meaning of primary, symbolic Masonry, grasp at the empty honors of the high degrees. The Master Mason who knows very little, if anything, of the Apprentice's degree longs to be a Knight Templar. He knows nothing, and never expects to know anything, of the history of Templarism, or how and why these old crusaders became incorporated with the Masonic brotherhood. The height of his ambition is to wear the Templar cross upon his breast. If he has entered the Scottish Rite, the Lodge of Perfection will not content him, although it supplies material for months of study. He would fain rise higher in the scale of rank, and if by persevering efforts he can attain the summit of the Rite and be invested with the Thirty- third degree, little cares he for any knowledge of the organization of the Rite or the sublime lessons that it teaches. He has reached the height of his ambition and is permitted to wear the double- headed eagle.

Such Masons are distinguished not by the amount of knowledge that they possess, but by the number of the jewels that they wear. They will give fifty dollars for a decoration, but not fifty cents for a book. These men do great injury to Masonry. They have been called its drones. But they are more than that. They are the wasps, the deadly enemy of the industrious bees. They set a bad example to the younger Masons - they discourage the growth of Masonic literature - they drive intellectual men, who would be willing to cultivate Masonic science, in toothier fields of labor - they depress the energies of our writers - and they debase the character of Speculative Masonry as a branch of mental and moral philosophy. When outsiders see men holding high rank and office in the Order who are almost as ignorant as themselves of the principles of Freemasonry, and who, if asked, would say they looked upon it only as a social institution, these outsiders very naturally conclude that there cannot be anything of great value in a system whose highest positions are held by men who profess to have no knowledge of its higher development.

It must not be supposed that every Mason is expected to be a learned Mason, or that every man who is initiated is required to devote himself to the study of Masonic science and literature. Such an expectation would be foolish and unreasonable. All men are not equally competent to grasp and retain the same amount of knowledge. Order, says Pope -Order is heaven's first law and this confest, Some are, and must be, greater than the rest, More rich, more wise. All that I contend for is, that when a candidate enters the fold of Masonry he should feel that there is something in it better than its mere grips and signs, and that he should endeavor with all his ability to attain some knowledge of that better thing. He should not seek advancement to higher degrees until he knew something of the lower, nor grasp at office, unless he had previously fulfilled with some reputation for Masonic knowledge, the duties of a private station. I once knew a brother whose greed for office led him to pass through all the grades from Warden of his lodge to Grand Master of the jurisdiction, and who during that whole period had never read a Masonic book nor attempted to comprehend the meaning of a single symbol. For the year of his Mastership he always found it convenient to have an excuse for absence from the lodge on the nights when degrees were to be conferred. Yet, by his personal and social influences, he had succeeded in elevating himself in rank above all those who were above him in Masonic knowledge. They were really far above him, for they all knew something, and he knew nothing. Had he remained in the back ground, none could have complained. But, being where he was, and seeking himself the position, he had no right to be ignorant. It was his presumption that constituted his offense. A more striking example is the following: A few years ago while editing a Masonic periodical, I received a letter from the Grand Lecturer of a certain Grand Lodge who had been a subscriber, but who desired to discontinue his subscription. In assigning his reason, he said (a copy of the letter is now before me), "although the work contains much valuable information, I shall have no time to read, as I shall devote the whole of the present year to teaching." I cannot but imagine what a teacher such a man must have been, and what pupils he must have instructed.

This article is longer than I intended it to be. But I feel the importance of the subject. There are in the United States more than four hundred thousand affiliated Masons. How many of these are readers? One- half - or even one-tenth? If only one-fourth of the men who are in the Order would read a little about it, and not depend for all they know of it on their visits to their lodges, they would entertain more elevated notions of its character. Through their sympathy scholars would been encouraged to discuss its principles and to give to the public the results of their thoughts, and good Masonic magazines would enjoy a prosperous existence.

Now, because there are so few Masons that read, Masonic books hardly do more than pay the publishers the expense of printing, while the authors get nothing; and Masonic journals are being year after year carried off into the literary Aceldama, where the corpses of defunct periodicals are deposited; and, worst of all, Masonry endures depressing blows. The Mason who reads, however little, be it only the pages of the monthly magazine to which he subscribes, will entertain higher views of the Institution and enjoy new delights in the possession of these views. The Masons who do not read will know nothing of the interior beauties of Speculative Masonry, but will be content to suppose it to be something like Odd Fellowship, or the Order of the Knights of Pythias -only, perhaps, a little older. Such a Mason must be an indifferent one. He has laid no foundation for zeal. If this indifference, instead of being checked, becomes more widely spread, the result is too apparent. Freemasonry must step down from the elevated position which she has been struggling, through the efforts of her scholars, to maintain, and our lodges, instead of becoming resorts for speculative and philosophical thought, will deteriorate into social clubs or mere benefit societies. With so many rivals in that field, her struggle for a prosperous life will be a hard one. The ultimate success of Masonry depends on the intelligence of her disciples.

by Albert G. Mackey 33rd Degree *This essay was first published in 1875.

Monday, June 27, 2011

What is a Moon Lodge?

In earlier times Maryland had a number of Moon Lodges - today Charity Lodge No. 134 is the only one left maintaining that tradition.
A check of Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia informs us that in the past, Moon Lodges: Population was more rural and there were no electric lights even in the cities. In the 18th century, the almanac was a common household authority and Freemasons, like others, measured their time and to some extent regulated their activities by it. Lodge By-laws often fixed the stated meetings on, just before or just after the Full Moon, thus, making 13 stated meetings per year.
There was a very practical reason for fixing meetings around the night of a Full Moon for, in rural communities, which predominated n the 18th century, there would be no natural illumination to guide the members to and from lodge over several miles of rough road.' While many Grand Lodges have since legislated Moon Lodges out of existence, others have clung to the old custom, preferring the inconvenience caused by confusion as to just when the moon is full, to sacrificing what has had the force of an "ancient usage and custom." It is interesting to realize the first mention of Moon Lodges was in the Cooke Manuscript of 1410, one of the oldest documents belonging to the Masonic Craft. It is understood moon lodges were first mentioned in a ritual in "The Whole Institute of Masonry," published in 1724. By 1767 there were five numbered lodges governed by the moon operating under the Grand Lodge of England. By the year 1776, this amount had increased to nine of 499 lodges in England which included the Provincial Lodges located in the English Colonies abroad.
The Minutes of Aitcheson's Haven Lodge in Scotland, beginning in 1598 show frequent meetings at odd dates, and although some of them may well have been chosen because they were on or near the nights of the full moon, there are no surviving regulations to suggest that those nights were deliberately chosen for that purpose. The same applies to the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No. 1, whose minutes go back to 1599. Meetings of this lodge were also held frequently and at regular intervals. The only regular or fixed-meeting was on St. John's Day in winter to elect the Warden, which, at that time was then the Scottish title for the Master of the Lodge. During the Colonial days around 1717, Moon Lodges were noted to be operating in Philadelphia, Boston, and also in Tennessee. By 1825, of the 75 instituted Connecticut lodges, many were Moon Lodges of which a number were located near fishing and whaling harbors. In 1951 Grand Lodge of Missouri had 18 Moon Lodges within their Jurisdiction; Grand Lodge of Indiana listed nine; and, in 1972 Grand Lodge of Maryland boasted one Moon Lodge. Between the years 1946 and 1958 moon lodges dropped from 119 to 52 in Kentucky. By the turn of the century, there were over 3,000 moon lodges operating, but by 1972 the number had dwindled to less than 500 spread amongst 30 jurisdictions within the United States. During this period of time; in those old horse and buggy days, brethren were known to have walked eight to ten miles or more to attend meetings. Some traveled by horseback, horse and buggy, and even by boat. Some were unable to make the long trip home during the night were given shelter, allowing them to leave after breakfast to return home the next morning.
Occasions were experienced when the low time allowed brothers to walk to attend his lodge, and, after the meeting, because of high tide, had to await the next low tide. Bristol Lodge No. 25 celebrated its 200th Anniversary in 1980. It all began back in February 1780 with a letter signed by nine brethren and sent to the Right Worshipful Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania asking that a Warrant be issued to hold a lodge in the Town of Bristol [or five miles around], and on the 15th March the Warrant was issued. In those days Bristol was a full days trip north of Philadelphia on the road en-route to New York.
Quite often we hear a remark about 'the good old days'. When moon lodges began, there were no illuminated two or four lane blacktop highways and very few gravel roads. Most consisted of two dirt ruts leading through bush and fields and seldom in a straight line. While the main roads may have been gravel, the side roads and towns roads had dirt roads. There was no train or bus service, nor any cars for that matter. After dark a candle or coal oil lamp was used for illumination: no electricity. If fortunate, everyone bathed in a galvanized wash tub on Saturday nights.
In the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Iowa around 1870 every Masonic home had a Masonic moon calendar drawn by a brother from that state. The calendar was a 13-month one showing only the date and month of the full moon throughout the year. Occasionally the brothers realized there were times when there was no full moon in February: such as occurred in 1893, and this caused quite a bit of a storm. As lodges usually met on a specific day such as the last Saturday of the month, visitors in this particular month arrived to find no Lodge meeting taking place, and so, the various Grand Lodges began eliminating the Moon Lodges.
The present Secretary of Bristol Lodge stated: 'The continuance of this practice of meeting on Saturday evenings on or before the full moon, reminds us of our heritage and tradition, and does provide some distinction when conversing with other members of the fraternity.' One has to have a great deal of respect for our brothers who decided to get together and form a lodge under such conditions. No wonder they spent a few hours after the meeting enjoying a few beers and socializing with a sing-song. There were few occasions when they saw one another, except at Lodge meetings. As the Grand Lodges began to eliminate the moon lodges, it is interesting to realize the brothers would then began to open their lodges in the early afternoon, allowing their membership to arrive at their homes before darkness set in. It is also realized Moon Lodges were also held in various unnamed Canadian Jurisdictions.

This is an interesting article which is taken from the web page of Charity Lodge No. 134 in Maryland.
With Compliments
Bro Tofique Fatehi

Friday, June 24, 2011

Universal Brotherhood Day - 24th June

June 24 is quite significant Masonically.
June 24 On this date in 1717, what is referred to as  the premiere Grand Lodge was formed in London, at  the  Goose and Gridiron Ale-house.
This date is the first entry, for 1731, of a Lodge meeting in the colonies that became the United
 States, in an account book of St. John's Lodge in Philadelphia
On this date in 1734, Benjamin Franklin became Grand Master of what would be known as the "Moderns" Grand  Lodge in Pennsylvania.
On this date in 1791, the African Grand Lodge of  North America was organized in Boston. It later became the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
On this date in 1797, the second Grand Lodge for African Americans was founded in Philadelphia 
On this date in 1820, the Grand Lodge of Maine was formed.
Sunrise Rituals (Stonehenge, UK) 
It is also UFO Day and St. John the Baptist's Day  (patron of auto routes, candlemakers, health spas, road workers, wool workers) 
St. Jean Baptiste's Day (patron of Quebec) 
Fairy Day - Festival of Contagious Magic
It is also National Forgiveness Day which is appropriate for the Reconciliation between the Several Constitutions in India
With Compliments
Bro Tofique Fatehi

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Short Talk to an Entered Apprentice

Initiation is an analogy of man's advent from prenatal darkness into the light of human fellowship, moral truth, and spiritual faith.

From the Latin "initium" a beginning, a birth, a coming into being. It is a very common human experience. We are initiated into a new world when we first go to school, adolescence is initiation into manhood, we undergo an initiation when we plunge into business or our professions' marriage is an initiation into a new experience, a new way of living, a new outlook on life' the acceptance of a religious experience is an initiation' a new book may initiate us into a new interest. Initiation is everywhere and in one or another form comes to every man.

THE first, or Entered Apprentice degree of Masonry, is intended, symbolically, to represent the entrance of man into the world, in which he is after wards to become a living and thinking part. Coming from the ignorance and darkness of the outer world, his first craving is for light—not the physical light , but the moral and intellectual light which emanates from the primal Source of all things—from the Grand Architect of the Universe—the Creator of the sun and of all that it illuminates. Hence the primary object of the first degree, is to symbolize that birth of intellectual light into the mind, and seeking for the light which is to guide his steps and point him to the path which leads to morality.

A candidate for the Entered Apprentice Degree who is not sincere will have a very disagreeable time in Freemasonry. But the hidden meaning of the rite is perhaps even more important than the explained meaning. The initiate must possess his soul in patience. He is not yet wholly admitted to the temple which is Freemasonry. He is not permitted to do as Master Masons do, or to know what Master Masons know. For the whole Masonic significance of the rite he must wait until it is his privilege to receive the Sublime Degree of Master Mason.

The b f represents the inability of the candidate to learn the secrets of Freemasonry in an improper way. Essentially it represents a state of ignorance. In the first degree it is removed after the candidate declares his wish to seek the ‘light’ of Freemasonry. A further significant teaching of this symbol is its introduction to the idea of dependence. Masonry teaches us, simply but unmistakably, at the first step as at the last, that we live and walk by faith, not by sight; and to know that fact is the beginning of wisdom. Since this is so, since no man can find his way alone, in life as in the lodge we must in humility trust our Guide, learn His ways, follow Him and fear no danger.

The preparations to which the candidate must submit, before entering the Lodge, serve allegorically to teach him, as well as to remind the brethren who are present, that it is the man alone, divested of all the outward recommendations of rank, state, or of riches, which Masonry accepts, and that it is his spiritual, or moral worth alone, which can open for him the door of the temple.

The c t is representative of the bond to the fraternity. In early Freemasonry it was used as a symbol representing the candidates submission to the authority of Freemasonry, humility, servitude and even a possible penalty should the candidate betray the trust placed upon him.

The initiate takes an obligation of secrecy; if he will carefully consider the language of that obligation, he will see that it concerns the forms and ceremonies, the manner of teaching, certain modes of recognition. There is no obligation of secrecy regarding the truths taught by Freemasonry, otherwise it would not lawfully have  been written. 

Sometimes the question is asked by people, "Why have any secrets? If what you know and teach is worth so much, why not give it to the world?" Secrecy is a common fact of everyday life. Our private affairs are ours, not to be shouted from the housetops. Business secrets are often of value in proportion to the success of keeping them. Diplomacy is necessarily conducted in secret. Board meetings of companies, banks, business houses, are secret. A man and his wife have private understandings for no one else to know. From all of us some things are secret and hidden that might be open and known - if we would take the trouble to learn. Fine music is a secret from the tone deaf. Mathematics is a secret from the ignorant. Philosophy is a secret from the commonplace mind. Freemasonry is a secret from the unworthy - and for the same reasons!

The secrecy of Masonry is an honorable secrecy; any good man may ask for her secrets; those who are worthy will receive them. To give them to those who do not seek, or who are not worthy, would but impoverish the Fraternity.

It is sometimes suggested that Freemasonry pretends to possess valuable secrets merely to intrigue men to apply for them through curiosity. He who seeks Freemasonry out of curiosity for her secrets must be bitterly disappointed. In school the teacher is anxious to instruct all who seek the classroom in the secrets of geometry, but not all students wish to study geometry and not all who do wish have the inclination. Freemasonry is anxious to give of her secrets to worthy men fit to receive them but not all are worthy, and not all the worthy men seek enlightenment.

Freemasonry has been aptly described as "the gentle Craft." Its teachings are of brotherly love, relief, truth, love of God, charity, immortality, mutual help, sympathy. To the initiate, therefore, the penalty in his obligation comes often with a shock of surprise and sometimes consternation. The only punishments ever inflicted by Freemasons upon Freemasons are reprimand, suspension, and expulsion from the Fraternity. The initiate who violates his obligation will feel the weight of no hand laid upon him. He will suffer no physical penalties whatever. The contempt and detestation of his brethren, their denial of the privileges of Freemasonry, are the only Masonic penalties ever inflicted.

There are three lights of Masonry the VSL, the Square, and the Compass. The VSL, our Great Light in Masonry, is opened upon our altars. Upon it lie the other Great Lights - the Square and the Compass. Without all three no Masonic lodge can exist, much less open or work. Together with the warrant from the Grand Lodge they are indispensable.

The charity taught in the lodge is charity of thought, charity of the giving of self. The brotherly hand laid upon a bowed shoulder in comfort and to give courage is Masonic charity. 

In the Entered Apprentice's Degree the initiate is taught the necessity of a belief in God; of charity toward all mankind, "more especially a brother Mason"; of secrecy; the meaning of brotherly love; the reasons for relief; the greatness of truth; the advantages of temperance; the value of fortitude; the part played in Masonic life by prudence, and the equality of strict justice.

He is charged to be reverent before God, to pray to Him for help, to venerate Him as the source of all that is good. He is exhorted to practice the Golden Rule and to avoid excesses of all kinds. He is admonished to be quiet and peaceable, not to countenance disloyalty and rebellion, to be true and just to government and country, to be cheerful under its laws. He is charged to come often to lodge but not to neglect his business, not to argue about Freemasonry with the ignorant but to learn Masonry, from Masons, and once again to be secret. Finally he is urged to present only such candidates as he is sure will agree to all that he has agreed to.

The above talk was given by me in Lodge Kohinoor #139 on 23 Feb 2011, Wednesday. I am not the author of this piece but have taken bits and pieces of various articles of many renowned masonic experts and joined them together. All errors are entirely mine.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Legend of the Quatuor Coronati

The Legend of the Quatuor Coronati is very interesting to Freemasons because in the legend, as in the Arundel MS.—a transcript of the more important portions of which follows—the Quatuor were originally four Craftsmen by name Claudius, Castorius, Simphorianus, and Nicostratus, "mirificos in arte quadrataria," which though it is translated the "art of carving," is literally "the stone-squarer’s art," or the art of stone-squaring. They are distinctly called "artifices," artificers, although as the legend shows us, to the four artificers are joined four milites; whilst one Simplicius, converted to Christianity by the four during the progress of events narrated by the legend, is added to the stone-squarers, making nine in all. They are declared to be Christians, "occulte," secretly. Diocletian ordered an image of Æsculapius to be made, and after a contest and dialogue with "quinque Philosophi" Simphorianus, who appears to be the leader and spokesman, adds Simplicius to the number—now five—and refuses, on their behalf and with their consent, to make the image. They are brought before Lampadius the Tribune, who after reference to Diocletian orders them to be stripped and beaten with scorpions, "scorpionibus mactari," and then, by Diocletian’s order; they were place in "loculi plumbei," leaden coffins, and cast into the Tiber.

A certain Nicodemus is said to have raised the coffins and taken them to his own house; levavit says the legend.

Two years afterwards Diocletian ordered the soldiers to pay homage to a Statue of Æsculapius, but four "Cornicularii," or wing-leaders of the city militia, refused. They were ordered to be put to death in front of the image of Æsculapius by strokes of the Plumbata, "ictu plumbatarum." and their bodies cast into the streets to the dogs, where they lay five days.

The Arundel Legend is taken from a fine MS. of the 12th century, in the British Museum. Its proper reference is Ar: MSS., 91, f. 2186. There is another copy of the legend in the British Museum, Harleian MSS., No. 2802, f 99. There is also a short notice of the Quatuor Coronati in Regius MS., 8, c, 7 f 165, of the 14th century.

A variation on the legend:

When in 298 A.D. the Emporer Diocletian was building his baths on the necks of the Quirinal and Virminal hills he included within its vast circuit a temple to Æsculapius, the god of health. He ordered the five sculptors, Claudius, Nicostratus, Sinforianus, Castorinus, and Simplicius to execute the decorative work and make the statue of Æsculapius. Being Christians they refused to fashion the statue of a pagan god, and in consequence they were put to death on the 8th November, 298. Three were beheaded and two were scourged to death. Other artists were found who executed the work for the Emporer. On the return of Diocletian to Rome in 300, finding the works completed, he issued an order for their dedication, and commanded that all the soldiers in Rome should be present, who, as they marched past, were to throw incense over the alter of Æsculapius. As soon as this command was propagated, four brothers, who were master masons, and held the position of Corniculari, or wing-leaders of the city militia, met to decide what they should do under the circumstances. These brothers were named Severus, Severianus, Carporferus, and Victorianus, who, besides being Masons, had embraced the christian faith. They all agreed to abstain from throwing the incense over the alter, it being against their principles to assist in any way at pagan ceremonies of a religious nature. This determination they made known to their centurion, who communicated it to the tribune, Lampadius, who reported the matter to Diocletian. The emporer ordered them either to sacrifice or suffer death. They, steadfast to their faith, suffered death by being scourged with leaden thongs. Their bodies were then enclosed in leaden cases and thrown into the river Tiber. A brother, Nicodemus, recovered their bodies from the river, and they were interred by the side of the five sculptors previously martyred, and other saints, in the catacombs on the Via Labricana, which from the four Master Masons are to this day known as the Catacombs of the Quattro Coronati.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

SOS Village - Jaipur (Donation of Blankets by Lodge Kohinoor #139)

Due to the extreme weather conditions Brethren of Lodge Kohinoor #139 decided donating blankets to the children of SOS Village in Jaipur to which all  the brethren of Lodge Kohinoor #139 donated with open hearts.

The blankets were procured and handed over to the management of the SOS Village for distribution amongst the children.

Visiting the village was an experience in itself which one cannot be compared to any other experience. It truly humbles you to see the way these children are being reared with whatever resources the management has to become responsible citizens of our country.

The Village is situated on a vast piece of prime property very generously donated by the Atal family of Jaipur.
The atmosphere is very homely and all the children are divided into families of 10 each and supervised by a mother who is literally more than that for the kids. 



The Residential quarters for the children are very spacious and clean. Each family has a separate housing quarter with their separate kitchen, dining room and bed rooms. All the families join to form a huge communal group which is full of love and compassion for all the members of the SOS Village.

The children assemble every evening for prayers and are joined by all the caretakers and visitors are introduced to the children during this assembly. 

After the prayers the children greet everyone courteously.
The visit was really an eye opener. The children are treated very very nicely and we really bow to the dedication and sincerity of the staff members who despite all odds bring up the kids with lots of love and care.

The Village provides educational, recreational and professional facilities for children of all age groups. They guide the elder children skillfully towards professional courses and higher education which can make them face the world with dignity and professional skills.

The Director Mr. Puri and his team deserve huge applause for their dedication towards proper upbringing of the kids.

Lodge Kohinoor Members
We from Lodge Kohinoor #139 would like to thank all of them very humbly and from the bottom of our hearts for providing us with an opportunity to help them in whatever small way that we could. 

Some parting shots that left us speechless.

See You soon Friends
Gods Wonderful creations
 Hermann Gmeiner (Founder SOS Village International)
With just 600 Austrian Schillings (approx. 40 US dollars) in his pocket Hermann Gmeiner established the SOS Children's 
Village Association in 1949, and in the same year the foundation stone was laid for the first SOS Children's Village in Imst, in the Austrian state of Tyrol. His work with the children and development of the SOS Children's Village organization kept Hermann Gmeiner so busy that he finally decided to discontinue his medical degree course.
In the following decades his life was inseparably linked with his commitment to a family-centred child-care concept based on the four pillars of a mother, a house, brothers and sisters, and a village. Given his exclusive focus on the need to help abandoned children, the rest of his biography reads like the history of SOS Children's Villages themselves. He served as Village Director in Imst, organized the construction of further SOS Children's Villages in Austria, and helped to set up SOS Children's Villages in many other countries of Europe.
By 1985 the result of Hermann Gmeiner's work was a total of 233 SOS Children's Villages in 85 countries. In recognition of his services to orphaned and abandoned children he received numerous awards and was nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize. However, he was always at pains to stress that it was only thanks to the support of millions of people that it had been possible to achieve the goal of providing abandoned children with a permanent home, and that still applies today.
Hermann Gmeiner died in Innsbruck in 1986. He is buried at SOS Children's Village Imst.
SOS Children's Villages is currently active in 132 countries and territories. 438 SOS Children's Villages and 346 SOS Youth Facilities provide more than 60,000 children and youths in need with a new home. More than 131,000 children/youths attend SOS Kindergartens, SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools and SOS Vocational Training Centres. Around 397,000 people benefit from the services provided by SOS Medical Centres, 115,000 people from services provided by SOS Social Centres. SOS Children's Villages also helps in situations of crisis and disaster through emergency relief programmes. The emergency clinic in Mogadishu (provides app. 260,000 check-ups and treatments a year) is one example of a huge long-term relief project.