Sunday, February 17, 2008

A world-wide brotherhood

I am proud to be a Freemason, a world wide brotherhood, with roots going back 400 years in time. The first lodges met in taverns and inns, and as the brotherhood grew in size and importance, the first masonic temples were built. In Scandinavia, Iceland, the UK and America the freemasons have built large wonderful buildings. I always try to find a masonic building as I travel, and here are a few from different countries.

The masonic temple in Oslo

Stamhuset is the larges masonic building in Norway and headquarter of Norwegian freemasonry. It is located by Stortinget, the Norwegian Parliament, close to Karl Johans gate, Oslos main street.

Besides the Royal Palace and a few other buildings, it is one of the largest and stately buildings in the Norwegian capital. It was built in the late 19th century. It replaced the old lodge building by Akershus fortress.

Stamhuset is the home of the oldest lodge in Norway, St. Olaus til den Hvide Leopard (Saint Olav to the white leopard), dating back to 1749.

The home of the Grande Lodge of England

A few years ago, I visited London, and during a day off, I decided to find the home of the United Grand Lodge of England.

It was June 24th 1717, on the day dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, that four lodges met in Goose and Gridiron Ale House in St Paul’s churchyard and formed the Grand Lodge of England.

There is a long way from the humble Ale house to this magnificent head quarter of British freemasonry. I left the underground at Covent Garden, and found it in 60 Great Queen St, nearby.

The Lodge building in Hamar

There are freemasons everywhere, in London as well as Hamar, where you find this masonic building.

Last Saturday I went to enjoy waffles and coffee served every Saturday from 12 AM to 2 PM. I was taken there by two fellow masons from Hamar, and I was shown the wonderful banquet room.

So if you want to enjoy coffee in a masonic lodge, you know where to go.

A truly world wide movement

When I say that the freemasons belong to a world wide community, here is the best example. A Chinese Masonic Temple in the United States.

As I walked by shops selling crispy duck, Chinese medical remedies, and dim sum parlour, I found the entrance of this Chinese Lodge, right opposite to my favourite Chinese restaurant in Boston, the Pearl of China.

Here you do not find the magnificent domes, columns and ornaments of European masonic temples. Here you just enter this gate and the Lodge is located on the 3rd floor.

The Lodge at Fredriksberg - Copenhagen

As I arrived at Hotel Sct. Thomas, what did I get as the nearest neighbor - you guessed a building belonging to the local St. Andreas Lodge. This is certainly not the main headquarter of the Danish Freemasons, as the masonic movement are as strong here as in Norway and Sweden, and this building certainly belongs to one of the smaller lodges in the Copenhagen area.

America - a Masonic Heartland

America is certainly a Masonic heartland. Freemasons were among the heroes from the American Revolution.

John Hancock and Paul Revere were in the forefront of the Boston Tea Party. Several of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were masons, as well as the first American president George Washington.

The headquarter of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is located by Boston Common and the lodge goes as far back as 1733, 16 years before the first lodge was founded in Norway.

More on freemasons here

Paul Revere was a freemason, and his house is the oldest building in Boston and is now a museum. Read more here

The freemasons assembled at the Green Dragon Tavern in Boston before the revolution. Read more on the Green Dragon here.

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