Date of Origin: Late 16th Century – Present (though claims itself to be more than 6,000 years old which is explained bellow).
Historic Significance: Diminishing of religious dominance in Europe and shift to secularism and philosophy of the origin of the universe, of the self and of the living beings.
Origin: A hierarchical fraternity (male brotherhood organization) that provides a space for members to meet, network, learn, discuss and push forward the collective ideas into action while keeping all the inner goings of the organization in secret. The Dominance of Britain and France over major parts of the world through colonies assisted in the wide spread of the fraternity. This lead to the transfer of the Fraternity to the United States, other European countries and the colonies world-wide.
Founders: Politically/Socially Involved Figures, Philosophers, Royal Counselors, Financiers, Traders, Army men. Mostly which had financial/social power and ambitions to go beyond the grip of the religious figures and kings as the representatives of God on Earth.
- Researches, studies, books, press and media publishing. This aims at pushing forward their ideas/plans through all kinds of academic material, novels, researches, business magazines, media, press…etc.
- Rituals, ceremonies, handshakes and symbols involving allegory to actual masonry(building & construction), Geometry, the Zodiac, Judaism and myths. Due to linking to those myths, geometry and old building skills(art of masonry) the fraternity gives itself a mythical start date of 4,000 years before Christ. This aims at creating a spiritual/intellectual attachment, discipline, commitment and loyalty of the members to the organization as something of an older presence than any other organization/state/country.
- Charity, social services (home shelters, educational scholarships, medical assistance, philanthropy through public organizations) this aims at both helping the community and gaining the public’s support and sympathy as people of good heart and intentions.
Organizations Directly Related or Allied to Masonry:
Name of Organization: Knights Templar
Date of Origin: 1199 AD – 1314
Historic Significance: Crusades from 1095 – 1314
Motto: Not for self, but for God
Founders: Christian French knight Hugues de Payens & his relative Godfrey de Saint-Omer
Work: Western Christian military order said to be nine in number at the beginning– had the mandate of protecting Christian pilgrims who were en route to the Holy Land to visit the shrines sacred to their faith.
End: King Philip IV had the Templars arrested on October 13, 1307 for becoming corrupt, misusing their wealth and power, and for blasphemy.
In 1312 the Templars were officially dissolved by Pope Clement V at the Council of Vienne. Although the Templars were not found guilty of the crimes they were charged with, it was felt that the reputation of the Order had fallen to so low a state as to warrant dissolving the Order.
On March 18th, 1314 the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake, for having recanted his earlier confessions of guilt.
The remaining Knights Templar after the suppression joined the Hospitallers and changed the naming to Knights of Rhodes or also known as Knights of Malta* which still exist until today as a philanthropic organization that focuses on medical assistance.
(*) Information about the Knights of Malta are given in a previous post.