THE ORIGINS OF FREEMASONRY

Written by Vladimir Moss

THE ORIGINS OF FREEMASONRY

By the time of the death of Rousseau in 1774 all the essential elements of the antichristian system that was about to burst upon the world with unparalleled savagery in the French revolution had already appeared in embryonic form. And by the time the American revolution had triumphed in 1781 it was clear that the world could be turned upside down. However, the old despotic order still reigned in Europe; and with rulers such as Frederick the Great in Prussia and Catherine the Great in Russia turning in practice against the Enlightenment ideas they embraced in theory it was clear that the “mystery of iniquity” needed a new stimulus to recover its momentum and propel it towards its goal. That stimulus came in the form of an element that was already well known to European history, but which only now began to acquire a dominant position in politics - Jewish power. One major channel of Jewish influence was finance; a second was Freemasonry, which because of its close links with Jewry and Judaism is often called “Judaeo-Masonry”.

Now since belief in the existence of a Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy against civilisation is often taken as evidence of madness, or at any rate of political incorrectness, it is necessary to assert from the beginning that, as L.A. Tikhomirov rightly says, “it is strange to attribute to the Masons the whole complexity of the evolution of human societies. One must not have the idea that people lived happily and in a healthy state, but then the Masonic organisation appeared and corrupted them all. It is necessary to know the laws of the development of societies, which would be such as they are if the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem had never taken place. In general the study of Masonry can be fruitful only on condition that it is conducted scientifically. Only such a study is capable of clarifying the true level of influence of this or that secret society on the evolution of peoples and states.”[1]

While Tikhomirov has no doubts about the existence of the Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy, he nevertheless insists that the blame for the destruction of modern society lies “most of all not on some premeditatedly evil influence of the Masons or whatever other organisation, but on the false direction of our own constructive activities.”[2] And again: “There has never been a man or a society which has not been corrupted through his own free will.”[3] In other words, the Masons would have no power over society if society had not voluntarily abandoned its own defensive principles and institutions.[4]

In the late eighteenth century, these principles and institutions were: the hierarchical principle, respect for tradition and the institutions of the Church and the Monarchy. The Masons did not originate the attack on these principles, traditions and institutions – the roots of anti-authoritarianism in both Church and State go back at least to the eleventh-century Papacy. What they did was to use an already existing sceptical and rationalist climate of opinion to intensify and give direction to the revolutionary movement, “the mystery of iniquity”.

The Foundation of Freemasonry

Some have seen the origins of Freemasonry as far back as the Babylonian Exile, when the Pharisees were, it is said, forced to use what came to be called Masonic symbols, gestures and handshakes in order to communicate with each other. Since there is next to no hard evidence for this, we shall not discuss it, nor any of the other theories of the very early origins of Freemasonry.

According to Masonic theory, “Free”, “Speculative” or “Symbolic” Masonry began when the meeting-places, or lodges, of the “Operative” Masons, the stoneMasons who built the medieval cathedrals, gradually began to decline in importance with the decline in their craft, and they were joined by intellectuals who used the lodges for their own intellectual, and often heretical or occult, activities. One of the first modern “speculative” Masons was the English antiquarian and astrologer, Elias Ashmole, who was initiated in 1646 and died in 1692.[5] Another early Mason was Sir Christopher Wren.

The Masonic writer Christopher Hodapp writes: “The Great London Fire had destroyed much of the city [of London] in 1666, and rebuilding it took decades. Freemason Christopher Wren had designed an astonishing number of the new buildings, and construction projects were everywhere. One of the biggest was the rebuilding of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It started in 1673 and took almost 40 years to complete. Operative Masons came from all over England to work on the project, and many joined the Lodge of St. Paul. By 1710, the great cathedral was complete, and many lodges disbanded as Masons returned to their hometowns. By 1715, there were just four London city lodges left.”[6]

Even at this very early stage, Masonry aroused suspicion. Thus in 1698 a certain Mr. Winter circulated a leaflet in London warning “all godly people in the City of London of the Mischiefs and Evils practised in the Sight of God by those called Freed Masons… For this devilish Sect of Men are Meeters in secret which swear against all without their Following. They are the Anti Christ which was to come, leading Men from fear of God.”[7]

The traditional official birthday of Masonry is July 24, 1717, when the four remaining London lodges met in a pub in St. Paul’s churchyard and created a Great Lodge as their ruling centre.[8] The first grandmaster was a nobleman, and the leaders of English Masonry to the present day have tended to be members of the royal family. Consonant with this royal connection, there was nothing revolutionary in a political sense in early English Masonry. Thus when Dr. James Anderson, a Presbyterian minister and master of Lodge number 17 of London, drew up the Constitutions of Masonry in 1723, great emphasis was laid on the Masons’ loyalty to King and country: “A mason is a peaceable subject to the civil powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be concerned in plots and conspiracies against the peace and welfare of the nation. If a brother should be a rebel against the state, he is not to be countenanced in his rebellion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy man; and if convicted of not other crime, though the brotherhood must and ought to dismiss his rebellion, and give no umbrage or ground of political jealousy to the government for the time being; they cannot expel him from the lodge, and his relation to it remains indefeasible.”[9]

The members of the order, writes O.F. Soloviev, called themselves “men of good will, peace-lovers, builders of the future just construction of society and at the same time patriots of their own fatherlands, law-abiding subjects and citizens, as is emphasized in all the constitutional documents. They went towards the highest ideals not through the preaching of abstract truths, but by serving their own peoples. They did not wall themselves off by an invisible wall from their compatriots, but completely shared their destiny with all their woes and sufferings. They were distinguished by a striving to help those around them, to draw a middle line between extremes and introduce at any rate a little humanism into the bonds of war that have been inevitable up to now.”[10]

That was the theory. But in the order’s secrecy, in the religiosity of its three degrees, and in its subversive political influence, a great danger to the powers that be was discerned; and in 1736 Pope Clement XII anathematized it. Moreover, “it was gradually revealed that the ritual humility of Symbolical Masonry had ceased to satisfy the leaders of the ‘obediences’, scions of the ruling dynasties and nobility, who strove to elaborate the inner decoration of the lodges and especially the rituals. The desired basis for reform was found in the specially transformed legend of the fate of the knightly order of the Templars, whose leader de Molay and his fellows had perished on the gallows in Paris in 1517 in accordance with the inquisitors’ false [?] accusations of terrible heresies. The Templars began to be portrayed as the immediate forerunners of the ‘free Masons’, which required the introduction of several higher degrees into their order, to signify the special merits and great knowledge of individually chosen adepts. One of the initiators of the reform, the Scottish nobleman A. Ramsay, declared in 1737: ‘Our forefathers the crusaders wanted to unite into one brotherhood the subjects of all states’, so as in time to create ‘a new people, which, representing many nations, would unite them in the bonds of virtue and science’. After the introduction of several higher degrees with luxurious rituals, a series of associations formed several systems, including the highly centralized system ‘of strict observance’ with rigorous discipline for its adepts, that was significantly developed in the German lands, in Russia and in Sweden.”[11]

And so, within twenty years of its official birthday, Masonry had developed from a talking-shop for liberal intellectuals into a new religion tracing its roots to the Templars and beyond. This reinforced suspicions about its antichristian nature. At this point, however, the noble membership of the order proved useful. The Masons were saved from persecution by their success in recruiting members from the aristocracy, whose names were immediately published to show how “respectable” Masonry was. Moreover, a ban was placed on political discussions in the English lodges.

But if English Masonry by and large respected this ban, this was certainly not to be the case with its daughter lodges in Europe and America. Moreover, the Constitutions clearly witnessed both to Masonry’s revolutionary potential and to its religious nature. This is particularly obvious when in one and the same breath they both disclaim any interest in religion and then claim to profess “the best [religion] that ever was, or will or can be… the true primitive, catholic and universal religion agreed to be so in all times and ages.”[12]

What was this religion? In some formulations it is like the Deism that was becoming fashionable in England, in which God, “the Great Architect of the Universe”, is seen as creating and activating the laws of nature, and then playing no further part in history. In others it is closer to Pantheism. Thus the Constitutions speak of “the law of Nature, which is the law of God, for God is Nature. It is to love God above all things, and our neighbour as ourself…”[13]

Closer examination reveals Masonry in its developed form to be a kind of Manichaean dualism, in which two gods are recognized: Christ and Satan, of whom the one, Christ, is hated, and the other, Satan, is adored. As the famous American Mason, Albert Pike, wrote: “To the crowd we must say: we worship a God, but it is the God one adores without superstition. To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the brethren of the 32nd, 31st and 30th degrees: all of us initiates of the high degrees should maintain the Masonic religion in the purity of the Luciferian doctrine. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonai, the God of the Christians, whose deeds prove his cruelty, perfidy and hatred of man, his barbarism and repulsion for science, would Adonai and his priests calumniate him? Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonai is also God… religious philosophy in its purity and youth consists in the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonai.”[14]

“We have the testimony of Copin Albancelli,” wrote Tikhomirov, “whom we can in no way suspect of making up things, when he declares positively that he had genuine documents about this in his hands. I, he says, had the opportunity several years ago to find a proof that there exist certain Masonic societies which are satanic societies, not in the sense that the devil used to come personally to preside at their meetings, as that charlatan Leo Taxil says, but in the sense that their members confess the cult of Satan. They adore Lucifer as being supposedly the true God and are inspired by an irreconcilable hatred against the Christian God.’ They even have a special formula casting ‘curses’ on Him and proclaiming the glory of and love for Lucifer…”[15]

Freemasonry and Ecumenism

Another important feature of Masonry is ecumenism. As religious passions cooled round Europe after the end of the religious wars, the Masons took the lead in preaching religious tolerance. But they went further: they said that religious differences did not matter, and that underlying all religions there was a “true, primitive, universal religion”.

The origins of ecumenism go back to Asia Minor in the second century, to Apelles, a disciple of the heretic Marcion. As the Athonite Elder Augustine writes: “Apelles, the head of the numerous sect, venerable both for his life and for his age, wanted to undertake the pacification and unification of all the shoots of the heretic Marcion under a single rule and authority. With this aim he exerted all his powers to come into contact with all the leaders of the sects, but had to admit that it was impossible to persuade each sect to abandon its unreasonable dogmatic teaching and accept that of another. Having come away from his attempts at mediation with no fruit, he decided a bridge had to be built, a way of living together peaceably, or a mutual tolerance of each other, with a single variety of ‘faith’…

“Starting from this point of view, he established an atheist dogma of unity, which has been called, after him, ‘the atheist dogma of Apelles’, with the notorious slogan: ‘… We don’t have to examine the matter thoroughly, everyone can remain in his faith; for those who hope on the Crucified One,’ he declared, ‘will be saved so long as they are found to have good works.’ Or, to put it more simply: ‘it is not at all necessary to examine the matter – the differences between us – but everyone should retain his convictions, because,’ he declared, ‘those who hope on the Crucified One will be saved so long as they are found to practise good works!… ‘ It would be superfluous to explain that this atheist dogma of Apelles was first formulated by the heretic Marcion himself (whom St. Polycarp, the disciple of the Apostle John, called ‘the first-born of Satan’) and is entirely alien to the Christians. We Christians love the heterodox and we long for a real and holy union with them – when they become sober and believe in an Orthodox manner in our Lord Jesus Christ, abandoning their heretical and mistaken beliefs and ‘their distorted image of Christ’ (see Eusebius, History, bk. 5, 13-15; Dositheus of Jerusalem, Dodecabiblon, bk. 2, chapter 13, para. 3).”[16]

Apelles’ dogma was condemned at the Fifth Ecumenical Council, but, like all the early heresies, it reappeared at a later date. Thus in the year 384, Symmachus, the pagan leader of the Roman Senate, wrote to the Emperor Theodosius the Great, appealing to him to be tolerant towards the pagans because, as he said, many paths led to God… Again, the twelfth-century Arab philosopher and doctor Avveroes pleaded for a kind of union between Christians, Jews, Muslims and pagans that was avidly discussed in western scholastic circles.[17]

The variant of Apelleanism known as uniatism – that is, the union between Roman Catholicism and other religions – appeared after the schism of 1054. As Elder Augustine explains: “After the canonical cutting off of the Latins from the Church as a whole in 1054, that is, after their definitive schism and anathematisation, there was also the acceptance, or rather the application, of the atheist dogma of Apelles. The Catholic (=Orthodox) Church of Christ condemned the heresies of the Nestorians, Monophysites and Monothelites in the (Third, Fourth and Sixth) Ecumenical Councils. It anathematised the heretics and their heretical teachings and declared those who remained in the above-mentioned heresies to be excommunicate. The apostate ‘church’ of Rome took no account of the decisions of these Ecumenical Councils, but received into communion the unrepentant and condemned Nestorian, Monophysite and Monothelite heretics without any formality, with only the recognition of the Pope as Monarch of the Church. And not only the heretics, but also many others after this, were received into communion with only the recognition of the Monarchy of the blood-stained beast that presided in it.”[18]

However, Apelleanism in its modern, ecumenist variety is a product of the Protestant Reformation. Thus the Anglican Settlement of the mid-sixteenth century was a kind of Protestant Unia, the Anglican Church being allowed to retain some of the outward trappings of Catholicism – but without its central pivot, the papacy, which was replaced by obedience to the secular monarch as head of the Church. Being a politically motivated compromise from the beginning, Anglicanism has always been partial to ever more comprehensive schemes of inter-Church and inter-faith union, and many leaders of the ecumenical movement in the twentieth century were Anglicans.[19]

In 1614 there appeared the first modern ecumenist, George Kalixtos, a man famous, according to Elder Augustine, “for the breadth of his knowledge and his ‘eirenic’ spirit in tackling various questions, including ecclesiastical ones. Propelled by this spirit, he declared that there was no need of, nor did he even seek, the union of the various Churches… Nevertheless, he did demand their mutual recognition and the retaining of reciprocal ‘love’ through the reciprocal tolerance of the manifold differences of each ‘Church’…”[20]

The ecumenism of Masonry was linked to the crisis of faith in the Anglican church in the early eighteenth century, and in particular to the loss of faith in the unique truth and saving power of Christianity. Thus “in 1717,” wrote William Palmer, “a controversy arose on occasion of the writings of Hoadly, bishop of Bangor, in which he maintained that it was needless to believe in any particular creed, or to be united to any particular Church; and that sincerity, or our own persuasion of the correctness of our opinions (whether well or ill founded) is sufficient. These doctrines were evidently calculated to subvert the necessity of believing the articles of the Christian faith, and to justify all classes of schismatics or separatists from the Church. The convocation deemed these opinions so mischievous, that a committee was appointed to select propositions from Hoadly’s books, and to procure their censure; but before his trial could take place, the convocation was prorogued by an arbitrary exercise of the royal authority…”[21]

Hardly coincidentally, 1717, the year in which Hoadly’s heretical views were published, was the same year in which the Grand Lodge of England was founded. And we find a very similar doctrine enshrined in Dr. Anderson’s Constitutions: “Let a man’s religion or mode of worship be what it may, he is not excluded from the order, provided he believe in the glorious architect of heaven and earth.” “A Mason is obliged, by his tenure, to obey the moral Law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient Times Masons were charged in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet, ‘tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, but whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguish’d; whereby Masonry becomes the Centre of Union and the Means of Conciliating true Friendships among Persons that must have remained at a perpetual Distance.”[22]

A new and extremely deceptive concept was here introduced into the bloodstream of European thought: “that Religion in which all men agree”. There is no such thing. Even if we exclude the “stupid Atheists” and “irreligious Libertines” (of whom there are very many), we still find men disagreeing radically about the most fundamental doctrines: whether God is one, or one-in-three, or more than three, whether He is to be identified with nature or distinguished from it, whether He is evolving or unchanging, whether or not He became incarnate in Jesus Christ, whether or not He spoke to Mohammed, whether or not He is coming to judge the world, etc. Upon the answers to these questions depend our whole concept of right and wrong, of what it is “to be good Men and true”. Far from there being unanimity among “religious” people about this, there is bound to be most radical disagreement...

The Grand Orient

Ecumenism may be described as religious egalitarianism, the doctrine that one religion is as good as any other. When combined, as it was in the lodges of Europe and America, with political and social egalitarianism, the doctrine that one person is as good as any other, it made for an explosive mixture – not just a philosophy, but a programme for revolutionary action. And this revolutionary potential of Masonry became evident very soon after it spread from England to the Continent…

Now 1717, the year of the foundation of the Great Lodge of England, was also important as being the date of an Anglo-French treaty by which the Catholic Stuart pretender to the English throne was expelled from France and the Protestant Hanoverian dynasty was recognized by the French government. This facilitated the spread of Freemasonry to France and the Continent.

As a result, writes Viscount Leon de Poncins, it “evolved in a distinctly revolutionary and anti-religious sense. The Grand Orient of France led this movement, followed, with some reserve, by the Grand Lodge of France, and became the guide of the Grand Orients of Europe and South America. Freemasonry in the United States, while maintaining its union and friendly relations with the Grand Lodge of England, occupies an intermediate position between English Freemasonry and the Grand Orients of Europe. Some of its branches are nearer the English conception, and others the European…

“English Freemasonry in 1723 was in no way Christian; it was rationalist, vaguely deistic and secretly gnostic. The latter source of inspiration is still active, but it had encountered the conservative, traditional spirit of England. Most English FreeMasons were men who were scarcely concerned with philosophical or metaphysical preoccupations. The revolutionary and anti-Christian inspiration which constituted the essence of contemporary Freemasonry everywhere, encountered a veiled and instinctive resistance in English Masons. The pact which Freemasonry tacitly concluded with the Protestant monarchy, to fight against Catholicism [and the Catholic Stuart pretenders to the English monarchy], which it considered its principal enemy, contributed to restrain the revolutionary tendencies of English Freemasonry, whereas they developed freely in Europe and South America, and rather more timidly in the United States. In short, the revolutionary virus in Freemasonry is more or less inactive in England, where Freemasonry is more an excuse for social reunion than an organisation claiming to remake the world.”[23]

This difference between English and Continental Masonry has been denied by some writers. And of course, from a religious point of view, at least until Grand Orient Masonry officially adopted atheism in 1877 and was “excommunicated” by the Grand Lodge of England, there was little significant difference between the two. Nevertheless, from a political point of view the distinction is both valid and important; for English Masonry, linked as it was with the nobility and the monarchy from the beginning, dissociated itself from the revolutionary activities of its brother lodges on the Continent, and as late as 1929 reaffirmed the ban on discussion of politics and religion within the lodge.

It was Continental Masonry, springing from the Grand Orient of France, that was the real revolutionary force in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe and beyond, as we see especially in the 30th degree of the Scottish rite, the Kadosch degree. Here the myth that forms the core of the earlier degrees, the murder of Hiram or Adoniram, the supposed architect of Solomon’s Temple, is replaced by the myth of Jacques de Molay, the last great master of the order of the Templars, who was burned alive on the orders of King Philippe the Fair of France and Pope Clement V in 1314, and who was supposed to have founded four Masonic lodges on his deathbed. The initiates of the Kadosch degree avenge the death of the Templars’ leader by acting out the murder of the French king and the Pope.

“The Kadosch adept,” writes V.F. Ivanov, “tramples on a crown as a symbol of tyranny in general, and then tramples on the papal tiara as a symbol of violence over the free human conscience.

“The king and the pope are symbols, and by these symbols we are given to understand the struggle to the death against ‘civil and ecclesiastical despotism’.”[24]

This vengeful rite was not just theatre, but a prelude and preparation for real revolutionary action. Thus in 1784 in Wilhemsbad a pan-European congress of Masons in which the mysterious proto-communist sect of the “Illuminati” took a leading role, decided on the murder of Louis XVI of France and Gustavus Adolphus III of Sweden. Both sentences were carried out…

However, the Continental Masons managed to conceal their murderous intentions under a cover of good works and conviviality. This was enough to fool even those who should have been best informed. Thus Louis XVI’s queen, Marie Antoinette, wrote to her sister Maria Christina in 1781: “It seems to me that you attach too much significance to Masonry in France; it has by no means played the same role in France as in other countries, thanks to the fact that here everybody belongs to it and so we know everything that goes on there. What danger do you see in it? I understand that it would be possible to fear the spread of Masonry if it were a secret political society, but, you know, this society exists only for good works and for entertainments; there they do a lot of eating, drinking, discussing and singing, and the king says that people who drink and sing cannot be conspirators. Thus it is impossible to call Masonry a society of convinced atheists, for, as I have heard, they constantly speak about God there. And besides, they give a lot of alms, educate the children of the poor or dead members of the brotherhood, give their daughters in marriage – I truly see nothing in bad in all this. The other day the Princess de Lambal was elected great mistress of one lodge; she told me how nice they are to her there, but she said that more was drunk than sung; the other day they offered to give dowries to two girls. True, it seems to me that it would be possible to do good without all these ceremonies, but, you know, everyone has his own way of enjoying himself; as long as they do good, what has the rest to do with us?”[25] However, one year into the revolution she had discovered that Masonry had a great deal to do with them. On August 17, 1790 she wrote to her brother, the Austrian Emperor Leopold II: “Forgive me, dear brother, believe in the tender sentiments of your unhappy sister. The main thing is, keep away from every Masonic society. In this way all the horrors that are taking place here are striving to attain one and the same end in all countries.”[26]

Freemasonry and the Jews

To what extent is the term “Judaeo-Masonry” appropriate? The characteristics of Masonry that we have examined so far are purely western in origin. However, when we examine the rites and religious practices of Masonry, and especially of its higher degrees, a strongly Jewish element is immediately apparent. As an example, let us take the Masonic practice of wearing aprons. Michael Hoffman, following John L. Brooke, writes: “The Babylonian Talmud claims that the forbidden tree in the Garden, from which Adam ate was a fig: ‘Rabbi Nehemiah holds that the tree of which Adam ate was the fig tree ‘ (BT Berakoth 40a). The Kabbalah teaches that the leaves of this fig tree conveyed powers of sorcery and magic (Zohar 1:56b Bereshit). Consequently, in the rabbinic mind, the aprons worn by Adam and Eve, being made from the leaves of the fig tree, were garments that gave the wearers magic powers. These aprons made from fig leaves had the power to give the bearer to enjoy ‘the fruits of the world-to-come’ (BT Bava Metzia 114b). It is with this rabbinic understanding that FreeMasons and Mormons wear these aprons in their own rituals.”[27]

Moreover, there is a significant personal input of Jewry into Masonry, especially at the highest levels. For the three symbolical degrees of Masonry are supplemented by thirty higher levels, which in turn are crowned by what has been called “invisible Masonry”. And “all this impenetrably dark power is crowned, according to the conviction and affirmation of [the former Mason and investigator of Masonry] Copin Albancelli, by still another level: the Jewish centre, which pursues the aims of the universal lordship of Israel and holds in its hands both visible Masonry with its 33 degrees and the invisible degrees of invisible Masonry or ‘Illuminism’…”[28]

“It is true, of course,” writes Bernard Lazare, “that there were Jews connected with Freemasonry from its birth, students of the Kabbala, as is shown by certain rites which survive. It is very probable, too, that in the years preceding the outbreak of the French Revolution, they entered in greater numbers than ever into the councils of the secret societies, becoming indeed themselves the founders of secret associations. There were Jews in the circle around Weishaupt, and a Jew of Portugese origin, Martinez de Pasquales, established numerous groups of illuminati in France and gathered around him a large number of disciples whom he instructed in the doctrines of re-integration. The lodges which Martinez founded were mystic in character, whereas the other orders of Freemasonry were, on the whole, rationalistic in their teachings…. There would be little difficulty in showing how these two tendencies worked in harmony; how Cazotte, Cagliostro, Martinez, Saint-Martin, the Comte de Saint Germain and Eckartshausen were practically in alliance with the Encyclopaedists and Jacobins, and how both, in spite of their seeming hostility, succeeded in arriving at the same end, the undermining, namely, of Christianity.

“This, too, then, would tend to show that though the Jews might very well have been active participants in the agitation carried on by the secret societies, it was not because they were the founders of such associations, but merely because the doctrines of the secret societies agreed so well with their own.”[29]

Thus Freemasonry was not controlled by the Jews, according to Lazare, but Judaism and Masonry had a great deal in common: Anti-Christianity, a taste for a Kabbalistic type of mysticism, revolutionary politics and many members of Jewish blood.

But this is only the beginning. It is when one enters into the details of the rites, especially the rites of the higher degrees, that the resemblances become really striking. “The connections are more intimate,” wrote a Parisian Jewish review, “than one would imagine. Judaism should maintain a lively and profound sympathy for Freemasonry in general, and no matter concerning this powerful institution should be a question of indifference to it…

“The spirit of Freemasonry is that of Judaism in its most fundamental beliefs; its ideas are Judaic, its language is Judaic, its very organisation, almost, is Judaic. Whenever I approach the sanctuary where the Masonic order accomplishes its works, I hear the name of Solomon ringing everywhere, and echoes of Israel. Those symbolic columns are the columns of the Temple where each Hiram’s workmen received their wages; they enshrine his revered name. The whole Masonic tradition takes me back to that great epoch when the Jewish monarch, fulfilling David’s promises, raised up to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, a religious monument worthy of the creator of Heaven and earth – a tradition symbolised by powerful images which have spread outside the limits of Palestine to the whole world, but which still bear the indelible imprint of their origin.

“That Temple which must be built, since the sanctuary in Jerusalem has perished, the secret edifice at which all Masons on earth labour with one mind, with a word of command and secret rallying-points – it is the moral sanctuary, the divine asylum wherein all men who have been reconciled will re-unite one day in holy and fraternal Agapes; it is the social order which shall no longer know fratricidal wars, nor castes, nor pariahs, and where the human race will recognise and proclaim anew its original oneness. That is the work on which every initiate pledges his devotion and undertakes to lay his stone, a sublime work which has been carried on for centuries.”[30]

This talk of universal fraternity in the rebuilding of the Temple is deception. “As for the final result of the messianic revolution,” writes Batault, “it will always be the same: God will overthrow the nations and the kings and will cause Israel and her king to triumph; the nations will be converted to Judaism and will obey the Law or else they will be destroyed and the Jews will be the masters of the world. The Jews’ international dream is to unite the world with the Jewish law, under the direction and domination of the priestly people – a general form… of imperialism…”[31]

However, it remains true that the main aim of Freemasonry, as of Judaism, is to rebuild the Temple of Solomon. And this alone should be enough to warn us of its Antichristianity, insofar the Lord decreed that “not one stone [of it] shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24.2). Moreover, every attempt to rebuild it has been destroyed by the Lord, as happened when Julian the Apostate tried to rebuild it in the fourth century.

The rites of Freemasonry themselves declare that the secret aim of the rebuilding of the Temple is to undo the work of Christ on the Cross. Thus the 18th or Rosicrucian Degree[32] speaks of the ninth hour of the day as “the hour when the Veil of the Temple was rent in twain and darkness overspread the earth, when the true Light departed from us, the Altar was thrown down, the Blazing Star was eclipsed, the Cubic Stone poured forth Blood and Water, the Word was lost, and despair and tribulation sat heavily upon us. It goes on to exhort the Masons: “Since Masonry has experienced such dire calamities it is our duty, Princes, by renewed labours, to retrieve our loss.”

The Reverend Walter Hannah, an Anglican clergyman, has justly commented on this: “For any Christian to declare that Masonry experienced ‘a dire calamity’ at the Crucifixion, or that Masons suffered a ‘loss’ at the triumphant death of our Saviour on the Cross which the Excellent and Perfect Princes of the Rose Croix of Heredom can by their own labour ‘retrieve’ seems not only heretical but actually blasphemous. The only interpretation which makes sense of this passage would appear to be that it is not the death of our Lord which is mourned, but the defeat of Satan.”[33] Indeed, for “the eclipse of the Blazing Star” can only mean the defeat of Satan, while the Cubic Stone pouring forth Blood and Water can only mean the triumph of Christ on the Cross - Christ, Who is “the Stone that the builders rejected” which became “the chief Corner-Stone” of the New Testament Church (Matthew 21.42), having been rejected as “the wrong shape” by the leaders of Old Israel. As the Apostle Peter said to the Sanhedrin: “This [Christ] is the Stone which was rejected by you builders [Jews, Masons], which has become the chief Corner-Stone” (Acts 4.11). Any Temple which does not have Christ as the chief Corner-Stone is an abomination to God and will be destroyed by Him just as the Old Testament Temple was destroyed; for “whoever falls on this Stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to power” (Matthew 21.44). It is in the same Rosicrucian Degree that initiates are told to walk over the Cross of Christ…[34]

And so Masonry is revealed as a web of deceit whose outer layers are liberalism, scientism, and rationalism; whose inner layers are the overthrow of the existing world order in both Church and State; and whose innermost sanctum is the most explicit Antichristianity.

Freemasonry and the American Revolution

The first major historical event in which the hand of Masonry is clearly discernible is the American revolution. The first lodges had been established in Boston and Philadelphia by 1730[35], and several of the leaders of the American revolution were Freemasons, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Hancock, James Madison, James Monrose, Paul Revere, John Paul Jones and La Fayette.[36] However, many of the leaders of the British forces were also Freemasons, and “of the 7 Provincial Grand Masters [of American Masonry], 5 supported George III, and condemned revolutionary agitation against the established authority.”[37]

This confirms the point made above, namely that English, as opposed to Continental Masonry, was not revolutionary (or not so revolutionary) in character; while American Masonry, being a mixture of the two (Lafayette represented French Masonry, and Franklin was also influenced by the French), had leading representatives on both sides of the conflict. But it was not simply a question of English versus Continental Masonry: the movement in general had the unexpected property of spawning, as well as most of the leaders of the revolution, several of the leaders of the counter-revolution. Hence the paradox that Tom Paine, one of the leading apologists of the revolution, was not a Freemason, while his reactionary opponent, Edmund Burke, was; that the anti-revolutionary Comte d’Artois and King Gustavus Adolphus III of Sweden were Freemasons, while the ultra-revolutionary Danton and Robespierre were not; that Napoleon, the exporter of the ideals of the revolution, was not a Freemason (although he protected it), while the reactionary generals who defeated him – Wellington, Blücher and Kutuzov - were.

One reason for this paradoxical phenomenon was a distinction discussed in a famous essay by Sir Isaiah Berlin between two concepts of freedom prevailing in eighteenth-century thought: freedom as a negative concept, freedom from restrictions of various kinds, and freedom as a positive concept, freedom to do certain things. [38] English liberalism and the English Enlightenment, following Locke, understood freedom in the negative sense; whereas the French Enlightenment, as well as Counter-Enlightenment writers such as Rousseau, tended to understand it in the positive sense – which was also the more revolutionary idea. Those who joined the ranks of the Masons were lovers of freedom in a general sense; but when some of them saw how the Rousseauist, positive concept of freedom led to Jacobinism and all the horrors of the French revolution, they turned sharply against it. Some still remained members of the lodge, but others broke all links with it.[39]

Another reason had to do with the decentralised, diffuse organisation of Masonry, and its very broad criteria of membership. This meant that a very wide range of people could enter its ranks, and precluded the degree of control and discipline that was essential for the attainment and, still more important, the retention of supreme political power. Masonry was therefore the ideal kind of organization for the first stage in the revolutionary process, the dissemination of revolutionary ideas as quickly as possible through as large a proportion of the population as possible. But if “the mystery of iniquity” was to achieve real political power, this first stage has to be succeeded by a second in which a more highly disciplined and ruthless, Communist-style party took over the leadership. Such a take-over is discernible in both the French and the Russian revolutions. In France the Masonic constitutionalists, such as Mirabeau and Lafayette, were pushed aside by the anti-democratic, anti-constitutionalist Jacobins or “Illuminati”, while in Russia the Masonic constitutionalists, such as Kerensky and Lvov, were pushed aside by Lenin and Stalin…

The American revolution was unique in that the first stage has not been succeeded by the second – yet…

The first power in the West clearly to see the threat of Masonry to both Church and State was the Vatican – which, of course, had little influence in America. Catholicism made no radical distinction between English and French Masonry. In 1738 Masonry of all kinds was condemned by Pope Clement XII, in 1751 - by Benedict XIV, in 1821 – by Pius VII, in 1825 – by Leo XII, in 1829 – by Pius VIII, in 1832 and 1839 – by Gregory XVI, in 1846, 1864, 1865, 1873 and 1876 – by Pius IX, and in 1884 – by Leo XIII. The latter’s bull, Humanum Genus declared of the Freemasons: “Their ultimate aim is to uproot completely the whole religious and political order of the world… This will mean that the foundation and the laws of the new structure of society will be drawn from pure Naturalism.”[40]

The Popes were right. And yet the papacy was powerless to stem the tide of naturalism and unbelief that was sweeping Europe on the eve of the French Revolution. Nor could the revolution planned by the Grand Orient of Paris be prevented by the intrigues of the Great Whore of Babylon, for the simple reason that she had started the whole long process of apostasy herself: from Papism to Humanism to Protestantism, from Deism to the Enlightenment and Freemasonry, and on into the still more bloody and blasphemous future – it had all begun in Rome, when the first heretical Popes broke away from the Orthodox Church and the Byzantine Autocracy. The Papacy was therefore compromised; and if deliverance from the rapid growth of Masonry was to come it could only come from the Orthodox Church and that Autocracy that now stood in the place of Byzantium – the Third Rome of Russia…

Russian Masonry

However, Russia, too, became infiltrated by Freemasonry in the eighteenth century. It began in the reign of Peter the Great, who undertook a programme of westernization that was supported and propelled by the spread of Masonic ideas among the aristocracy, in whose hands the real power rested after the death of Peter. So before examining Peter’s reforms, it will be useful to examine the beginnings of Masonry in Russia.

“There is no doubt,” writes Ivanov, “that the seeds of Masonry were sown in Russian by the ‘Jacobites’, supporters of the English King James II, who had been cast out of their country by the revolution and found a hospitable reception at the court of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich.

“Independently of the Masonic propaganda of the Jacobite Masons, the Russians had learned of the existence of the mysterious union of free stoneMasons during their journeys abroad. Thus, for example, Boris Petrovich Sheremetev had got to known Masonry during his travels. Sheremetev had been given a most triumphant meeting on Malta. He took part in the great feast of the Maltese order in memory of John the Forerunner, and they had given him a triumphant banquet there. The grand-master had bestowed on him the valuable Maltese cross made of gold and diamonds. On returning to Moscow on February 10, 1699, Sheremetev was presented to the Tsar at a banquet on February 12 at Lefort’s, dressed in German clothes and wearing the Maltese cross. He received ‘great mercy’ from the Tsar, who congratulated him on becoming a Maltese cavalier and gave him permission to wear this cross at all times. Then a decree was issued that Sheremetev should be accorded the title of ‘accredited Maltese cavalier’.

“’The early shoots of Russian Masonry,’ writes Vernadsky, ‘were particularly possible in the fleet, since the fleet had been created entirely on western models and under western influence.

“’In one manuscript of the Public library the story is told that Peter was received into the Scottish degree of St. Andrew, and ‘made an undertaking that he would establish this order in Russia, a promise which he carried out (in the form of the order of St. Andrew the First-Called, which was established in 1698)…

“’Among the manuscripts of the Mason Lansky, there is a piece of grey paper on which this fact is recorded: ‘The Emperor Peter I and Lefort were received into the Templars in Holland.’

“In the Public library manuscript ‘A View on the Philosophers and the French Revolution’ (1816), it is indicated that Masonry ‘existed during the time of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich. Bruce was its great master, while Tsar Peter was its first inspector.’”[41]

Why did Russians join the lodges? According to Sir Geoffrey Hosking, it was because they “became a channel by which young men aspiring to high office or good social standing could find acquaintances and protectors among their superiors; in the Russian milieu this meant an easier and pleasanter way of rising up the Table of Ranks… “[42] There were deeper reasons, however. “Freemasonry,” as Walicki points out, “had a dual function: on the one hand, it could draw people away from the official Church and, by rationalizing religious experience, could contribute to the gradual secularisation of their world view; on the other hand, it could attract people back to religion and draw them away from the secular and rationalistic philosophy of the Enlightenment. The first function was fulfilled most effectively by the rationalistic and deistic wing of the movement, which set the authority of reason against that of the Church and stood for tolerance and the freedom of the individual. The deistic variety of Freemasonry flourished above all in England, where it had links with the liberal movement, and in France, where it was often in alliance with the encyclopedists. The second function was most often fulfilled by the mystical trend, although this too could represent a modernization of religious faith, since the model of belief it put forward was fundamentally anti-ecclesiastical and postulated a far-reaching internalisation of faith founded on the soul’s immediate contact with God.”[43]

Russian aristocrats, though not uninfluenced by the rationalist side of Masonry, were especially drawn by its mystical side. For while their faith in Orthodoxy was weak, they were by no means prepared to live without religion altogether. “Finding myself at the crossroads between Voltairianism and religion”, wrote Novikov, “I had no basis on which to work, no cornerstone on which to build spiritual tranquillity, and therefore I fell into the society.”[44]

The conversion of Tsar Peter to Masonry, if it is a fact, was the fulfilment of the fervent hopes of western Masons such as the philosopher Leibnitz, who in 1696 had written to Ludolph: “If only the Muscovite kingdom inclined to the enlightened laws of Europe, Christianity [sic] would acquire the greatest fruits. There is, however, hope that the Muscovites will arise from their slumbers. There is no doubt that Tsar Peter is conscious of the faults of his subjects and desires to root out their ignorance little by little.”[45] According to K.F. Valishevsky, Leibnitz “had worked out a grandiose plan of scientific undertakings, which could be achieved with the help of the Muscovite monarch and in which the greatest German philosopher marked out a role for himself. Leibnitz studied the history and language of Russia.”[46] And it was Leibnitz, together with his pupil Wolf, who played the leading role in the foundation of the Russian Academy of Sciences.[47]

Masonry continued to grow until the reign of Elizabeth, when “’…German influence began to be replaced by French,’ an investigator of this question tells us. ‘At this time the West European intelligentsia was beginning to be interested in so-called French philosophy; even governments were beginning to be ruled by its ideas… In Russia, as in Western Europe, a fashion for this philosophy appeared. In the reign of Elizabeth Petrovna a whole generation of its venerators was already being reared. They included such highly placed people as Count M. Vorontsov and Shuvalov, Princess Dashkova and the wife of the heir to the throne, Catherine Alexeyevna. But neither Elizabeth nor Peter III sympathised with it.

“Individual Masons from Peter’s time were organising themselves. Masonry was developing strongly…”[48]

Nevertheless, “in society people began to be suspicious of Masonry. Masons in society acquired the reputation of being heretics and apostates… Most of Elizabethan society considered Masonry to be an atheistic and criminal matter…

“The Orthodox clergy had also been hostile to Masonry for a long time already. Preachers at the court began to reprove ‘animal-like and godless atheists’ and people ‘of Epicurean and FreeMasonic morals and mentality’ in their sermons. The sermons of Gideon Antonsky, Cyril Florinsky, Arsenius Matseyevich, Cyril Lyashevetsky, Gideon Krinovsky and others reflected the struggle that was taking place between the defenders of Orthodoxy and their enemies, the Masons.”[49]

It was in Elizabeth’s reign that the Secret Chancellery made an inquiry into the nature and membership of the Masonic lodges. The inquiry found that Masonry was defined by its members as “nothing else than the key of friendship and eternal brotherhood”. It was found not to be dangerous and was allowed to continue, “although under police protection”.[50]

Masonry was particularly strong in the university and among the cadets. “The cadet corps was the laboratory of the future revolution. From the cadet corps there came the representatives of Russian progressive literature, which was penetrated with Masonic ideals….

“Towards the end of the reign of Elizabeth Petrovna Masonry openly revealed its real nature. At this time a bitter struggle was developing in the West between Austria and Prussia for the Austrian succession. In 1756 there began the Seven-Year war, in which Russia took an active part.

“The Mason Frederick II was again striving to subject Russia to his influence.

“This aim was to be attained completely by means of the defeat of the Russian army and her capitulation before the ‘genius’ commander.

“And one has to say that everything promised victory for Frederick II over the Russian army.

“He had a very well trained, armed and provisioned army with talented officers.

“Frederick was undoubtedly helped by the Masons – Germans who had taken high administrative and military posts in Russia.

“The noted James Cate, the great provincial master for the whole of Russia, was a field-marshal of the Russian army, but in fact carried out the role of Frederick’s spy; in 1747 he fled [Russia] to serve him and was killed in battle for his adored and lofty brother.

“In general the Russian army was teeming with Prussian spies and Russian Mason-traitors.

“The Russian army was deliberately not prepared…

“And at the head of the Russian army the Masons placed Apraxin, who gave no orders, displayed an unforgivable slowness and finally entered upon the path of open betrayal.

“The victory at Gross-Egersford was won exclusively thanks to the courage and bravery of the Russian soldiers, and was not used as it should have been by the Russian commander-in-chief. Apraxin had every opportunity to cross conquered Prussia, extend a hand to the Swedes in Pomerania and appear before the walls of Berlin. But instead of moving forward he stopped at Tilsit and refused to use the position that was favourable for the Russian army… Apraxin was only fulfilling his duty of a Mason, which obliged him to deliver his lofty brother, Frederick II, from his woes…

“But this was not the only help extended to Prussia by the Russian Masons. In 1758, instead of Apraxin, who was placed on trial, Fermor was appointed as commander-in-chief. He was an active Mason and a supporter of Frederick II. Fermor acted just like Apraxin. He displayed stunning inactivity and slowness. At the battle of Tsorndof the commander-in-chief Fermor hid from the field of battle. Deserted and betrayed by their commander-in-chief the Russian army did not panic…

“With the greatest equanimity the soldiers did not think of fleeing or surrendering…

“Frederick II had everything on his side: complete gun crews, discipline, superior weapons, the treachery of the Russian commander-in-chief. But he did not have enough faith and honour, which constituted the strength and glory of the Christ-loving Russian Army.

“The help of the dark powers was again required: and the Russian Masons for the third time gave help to Frederick II.

“At first it was suggested that Fermor be replaced by Buturlin, whom Esterhazy quite justly called ‘an idiot’, but when this did not happen, they appointed Peter Saltykov to the post of commander-in-chief. The soldiers called him ‘moor-hen’ and openly accused him of treachery. At Könersdorf the Russian commanders displayed complete incompetence. The left wing of the Russian army under the command of Golitsyn was crushed. At two o’clock Frederick was the master of Mulberg, one of the three heights where Saltykov had dug in. By three o’clock the victory was Frederick’s. And once again the situation was saved by the Russian soldiers. The king led his army onto the attack three times, and three times he retreated, ravaged by the Russian batteries. ‘Scoundrels’, ‘swine’, ‘rascals’ was what Frederick called his soldiers, unable to conquer the Russian soldiers who died kissing their weapons.

“’One can overcome all of them (the Russian soldiers) to the last man, but not conquer them,’ Frederick II had to admit after his defeat.

“The victory remained with the Russian soldiers, strong in the Orthodox faith and devotion to the autocracy….”[51]

Frederick was saved because Elizabeth died unexpectedly in 1761 and was succeeded by Peter III, a grandson of Peter the Great who nevertheless preferred the Germany he had been brought up in to Russia. As Nicholas Riasanovsky writes: “Having lost his mother in infancy and his father when a boy, Peter was brought up first with the view of succeeding to the Swedish throne, for his father was a son of Charles XII’s sister. After Elizabeth’s decision, he was educated to succeed to the throne of the Romanovs. Although he lived in Russia from the age of fourteen, Peter III never adjusted to the new country. Extremely limited mentally, as well as crude and violent in his behaviour, he continued to fear and despise Russia and the Russians while he held up Prussia and in particular Frederick II as his ideal. His reign of several months, best remembered in the long run for the law abolishing the compulsory state service of the gentry, impressed many of his contemporaries as a violent attack on everything Russian and a deliberate sacrifice of Russian interests to those of Prussia. While not given to political persecution and in fact willing to sign a law abolishing the security police, the new emperor threatened to disband the guards, and even demanded that icons be withdrawn from the churches and that Russian priests dress like Lutheran pastors, both of which orders the Holy Synod did not dare execute. In foreign policy Peter III’s admiration for Frederick the Great led to the withdrawal of Russia from the Seven Years’ War, an act which probably saved Prussia from a crushing defeat and deprived Russia of great potential gains. Indeed, the Russian emperor refused to accept even what Frederick the Great was willing to give him for withdrawing and proceeded to make an alliance with the Prussian king.”[52]

Peter III was succeeded (or murdered) by his wife, the German princess Catherine the Great. Catherine not only tried to emancipate the Jews: she also allowed the Masons to reach the peak of their influence in Russia. In her reign there were about 2500 Masons in about 100 lodges in St. Petersburg, Moscow and some provincial towns.[53]“By the middle of the 1780s,” writes Dobroklonsky, “it had even penetrated as far as Tobolsk and Irkutsk; Masonic lodges existed in all the more or less important towns. Many of those who were not satisfied by the fashionable scepticism of French philosophy or, after being drawn by it, became disillusioned by it, sought satisfaction for their heart and mind in Masonry”.[54]

Fr. Georges Florovsky writes: “The freeMasons of Catherine’s reign maintained an ambivalent relationship with the Church. In any event, the formal piety of freemasonry was not openly disruptive. Many freeMasons fulfilled all church ‘obligations’ and rituals. Others emphatically insisted on the complete immutability and sacredness of the rites and orders ‘particularly of the Greek religion’. However, the Orthodox service, with its wealth and plasticity of images and symbols, greatly attracted them. FreeMasons highly valued Orthodoxy’s tradition of symbols whose roots reach back deeply into classical antiquity. But every symbol was for them only a transparent sign or guidepost. One must ascend to that which is being signified, that is, from the visible to the invisible, from ‘historical’ Christianity to spiritual or ‘true’ Christianity, from the outer church to the ‘inner’ church. The freeMasons considered their Order to be the ‘inner’ church, containing its own rites and ‘sacraments’. This is once again the Alexandrian [Gnostic] dream of an esoteric circle of chosen ones who are dedicated to preserving sacred traditions: a truth revealed only to a few chosen for extraordinary illumination.”[55]

Hartley writes: “Freemasonry only became popular amongst the nobility in the reign of Catherine II. This was partly because freemasonry was one of many manifestations of the cultural influence of western and central Europe on the nobility at the time, and partly because, after their freedom from compulsory service in 1762, they had the leisure and opportunity to become involved in private social activities of this nature, both in the capitals and in the provinces.

“Russian lodges were based on English, German or Swedish systems. Ivan Elagin, an influential figure at court in the early years of Catherine II, founded the Russian Grand Provincial Lodge in 1771, modelled on the English system, which involved progression through three degrees within the lodge. Some 14 lodges were opened in St. Petersburg, Moscow and the provinces based on this model. Many Russians, however, were attracted to lodges which had more complex degrees and mystical elements. Baron P.B. Reichel established the Apollo lodge in 1771, which depended on the Grand Lodge of Zinnendorf in Berlin, and soon controlled 8 lodges in German-speaking Riga and Reval. In 1776 the Reichel and Elagin lodges merged and accepted the leadership of the Berlin lodge, and Elagin became the grand master of the new united Grand Provincial lodge. Almost immediately, members of this new lodge became influenced by the Swedish Order of the Temple, a lodge which comprised ten degrees, and whose elaborate robes and knightly degrees particularly appealed to a Russian nobility which lacked knightly orders and traditions of medieval chivalry. In 1778 the first Swedish-style lodge, the Phoenix, was set up in St. Petersburg, followed in 1780 by the Swedish Grand National lodge under the direction of Prince G.P. Gagarin. In the early 1780s there were 14 Swedish lodges in St. Petersburg and Moscow and a few more in the provinces. Most of the Elagin lodges, however, did not join the Swedish system, partly because a direct association with Sweden at a time of diplomatic tension between Russia and Sweden seemed inappropriate.

“Adherents of freemasonry continued to seek new models to help them in their search for further illumination or for more satisfying rituals and structures. I.G. Schwartz, a member of the Harmonia lodge in Moscow, founded by Nikolai Novikov in 1781, brought Russian freemasonry into close association with the strict observance lodge of the grand master Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. The lodge became the VIIIth province of the Brunswick lodge, under the acting head of Prince N. Trubestkoi. It is not known how many of the Elagin lodges joined the VIIIth province. Within the VIIIth province there emerged a small esoteric group of Masons who were heavily influenced by the Rosicrucian movement, knowledge of whose charters and seven degrees had been brought back to Russia from Berlin by Schwartz. Masonic and Rosicrucian literature spread through Russia, largely as a result of the activity of the private printing press set up by Novikov (until the 1790s when Masonic publications were censured and banned). Lodges were also set up in the provinces, particularly when provincial governors were Masons. Governor-General A.P. Mel’gunov, for example, opened a lodge in Iaroslavl’. Vigel’ founded a lodge in remote Penza in the late eighteenth century. Even where there was no lodge, provincial nobles could become acquainted with masonry through subscriptions to publications such as Novikov’s Morning Light.

“Who became Freemasons? The Russian historian Vernadsky estimated that in 1777 4 of the 11-member Council of State, 11 of the 31 gentlemen of the bedchamber, 2 of the 5 senators of the first department of the Senate, 2 of the 5 members of the College of Foreign Affairs and the vice-president of the Admiralty College were Masons (there were none known at this date in the War College). A large number of the noble deputies in the Legislative Commission were Masons. Members of the high aristocracy and prominent figures at court were attracted to freemasonry, including the Repnins, Trubetskois, Vorontsovs and Panins. Special lodges attracted army officers (like the Mars lodge, founded at Iasi in Bessarabia in 1774) and naval officers (like the Neptune lodge, founded in 1781 in Kronstadt). There were Masons amongst the governors of provinces established after 1775 (including A.P. Mel’gunov in Yaroslavl’ and J.E. Sievers in Tver’), and amongst senior officials in central and provincial institutions. Almost all Russian poets, playwrights, authors and academics were Masons. Other lodges had a predominantly foreign membership, which included academics, members of professions, bankers and merchants….

“Catherine II had little sympathy for the mystical elements of freemasonry and their educational work and feared that lodges could become venues for conspiracies against the throne. In the 1790s, at a time of international tension following the French Revolution, Catherine became more suspicious of freemasonry, following rumours that Grand Duke Paul… was being induced to join a Moscow lodge. In 1792 (shortly after the assassination of Gustavus III of Sweden), Novikov’s house was searched and Masonic books were found which had been banned as harmful in 1786. Novikov was arrested and sentenced, without any formal trial, to fifteen years imprisonment, though he was freed when Paul came to the throne in 1796. In 1794, Catherine ordered the closure of all lodges.”[56]

Catherine was not wrong in her suspicion that the Masons were aiming at the Russian throne. Already in 1781, at their convention in Frankfurt, the Illuminati “had decided to create in Russia two capitularies ‘of the theoretical degree’ under the general direction of Schwartz. One of the capitularies was ruled by Tatischev, and the other by Prince Trubetskoj. At a convention of the Mason-Illuminati in 1782 Russia was declared to be ‘the Eighth Province of the Strict Observance’. It was here that the Masons swore to murder Louis XVI and his wife and the Swedish King Gustavus III, which sentences were later carried out. In those 80s of the 18th century Masonry had decreed that it should strive to destroy the monarchy and the Church, beginning with France and continuing with Russia. But openly, ‘for the public’, and those accepted into the lower degrees, the Masons said that they were striving to end enmity between people and nations because of religious and national quarrels, that they believed in God, that they carried out charitable work and wanted to educate humanity in the principles of morality and goodness, that they were the faithful citizens of their countries and kings…”[57]

However, Russia did not follow the path of France at this time because eighteenth-century Russian Masonry, unlike its contemporary French counterpart, was not very radical in its politics. And Masonry remained in the formative stage until the French revolution in 1789. But then it exploded upon the world in a way that nobody, least of all the Russian tsars, could ignore; and it would be up to Russia to crush the Masonic revolution as it forced its way into the capital of the Third Rome in 1812…

December 4/17. 2010.

Vladimir Moss.



[1] Tikhomirov, “K voprosu o masonakh” (“Towards the Question on the Masons”), Khristianstvo i Politika (Christianity and Politics), in Kritika Demokratii (A Criticism of Democracy), Moscow, 1997 pp. 330-331 (in Russian).

[2] Tikhomirov, “V chem nasha opasnost?” (“In What does the Danger to Us Consist?”), Khristianstvo i Politika (Christianity and Politics), op. cit., p. 333.

[3] Tikhomirov, “Bor’ba s Masonstvom” (“The Struggle with Masonry”), Khristianstvo i Politika (Christianity and Politics), op. cit., p. 336.

[4] Cf. Archpriest Lev Lebedev: “In evaluating the role of the Jewish core of World Masonry, two extremes are possible: the complete denial of any Judaeo-Masonic secret plot and secret leadership of world processes, and the extreme exaggeration of the degree and size of this leadership (when it seems that ‘they’ are everywhere and everything is ruled by ‘them’)… In fact, it is all not like that. The life of the world, even the development of its scientific-technical and industrial civilization is a very weird and changeable combination of elemental, ungovernable processes and planned, governable processes. In the final analysis everything is truly ruled by the Providence of God, but in such a way that the free will of man is not abolished. For that reason in their successful moments it can seem, and seems, to the Judaeo-Masons, who really are striving for ever greater subjection of the processes of global life to themselves, that to an ever greater degree it is by their own, human powers that everything is achieved…” (Velikorossia (Great Russia), St. Petersburg, 1999, p. 407 (in Russian))

[5] Jasper Ridley, The FreeMasons, London: Constable, 1999, p. 22; G. Toppin, “Starred First”, Oxford Today, vol. 12, 1, Michaelmas term, 1999, pp. 32-34.

[6] Hodapp, FreeMasons for Dummies, Indianapolis: Wiley, 2005, pp. 30-31.

[7] Ridley, op. cit., p. 32.

[8] The original lodges were numbers 1 to 4. However, in Scotland, the Kilwinning Lodge, which called itself “the Mother Lodge of Scotland” and claimed to go back to 1140, rejected the claims of the English Grand Lodge and called itself Lodge no. 0 (Hodapp, op. cit., p. 26).

[9] Ridley, op. cit., p. 40.

[10] O.F. Soloviev, Masonstvo v Mirovoj Politike XX Veka (Masonry in World Politics in the 20th Century), Moscow, 1998, p. 15 (in Russian).

[11] Soloviev, op. cit., p. 17. Thus Piers Paul Read writes: “Andrew Ramsay, a Scottish Jacobite exiled in France who was Chancellor of the French Grand Lodge in the 1730s, claimed that the first FreeMasons had been stoneMasons in the crusader states who had learned the secret rituals and gained the special wisdom of the ancient world. Ramsay made no specific claim for the Templars, probably because he did not wish to antagonise his host, the King of France; but in Germany another Scottish exile, George Frederick Johnson, concocted a myth that transformed ‘the Templars… from their ostensible status of unlearned and fanatical soldier-monks to that of enlightened and wise knightly seers, who had used their sojourn in the East to recover its profoundest secrets, and to emancipate themselves from medieval Catholic credulity’.

“According to the German FreeMasons, the Grand Masters of the Order had learned the secrets and acquired the treasure of the Jewish Essenes which were handed down from one to the other. James of Molay [the last Grand Master of the Order], on the night of his execution, had sent the Count of Beaulieu to the crypt of the Temple Church in Paris to recover this treasure which included the seven-branched candelabra seized by the Emperor Titus, the crown of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and a shroud. It is undisputed that in evidence given at the trial of the Templars, a sergeant, John of Châlons, maintained that Gérard of Villiers, the Preceptor of France, had been tipped off about his imminent arrest and so had escaped on eighteen galleys with the Templars’ treasure. If this were so, what happened to this treasure? George Frederick Johnson said that it had been taken to Scotland, one of his followers specifying the Isle of Mull.” (The Templars, London: Phoenix Press, 2001, pp. 303-304)

[12] Ridley, op. cit., p. 41.

[13] Ridley, op. cit., p. 41.

[14] Pike, in A.C. de la Rive, La Femme et l’Enfant dans la Franc-Maçonnerie Universelle (The Woman and the Child in Universal Freemasonry), p. 588 (in French).

[15] Tikhomirov, Religiozno-Filosofskie Osnovy Istorii (The Religious-Philosophical Foundations of History), Moscow, 1997, p. 448 (in Russian).

[16] Monk Augustine, “To atheon dogma tou Oikoumenismou Prodromou tou Antikhristou”, Agios Agathangelos Esphigmenites, 120, July-August, 1990, pp. 21-21 (in Greek).

[17] Monk Augustine, “To atheon dogma tou Oikoumenismou Prodromou tou Antikhristou”, Agios Agathangelos Esphigmenites, 121, September-October, 1990, pp. 33-34 (in Greek).

[18] Monk Augustine, “To atheon dogma tou Oikoumenismou Prodromou tou Antikhristou”, Agios Agathangelos Esphigmenites, 120, July-August, 1990, pp. 21-22 (in Greek).

[19] V. Moss, “Ecucommunism”, Living Orthodoxy, September-October, 1989, vol. XI, № 5, pp. 13-18.

[20] Monk Augustine, “To atheon dogma tou Oikoumenismou Prodromou tou Antikhristou”, Agios Agathangelos Esphigmenites, 121, September-October, 1990, pp. 33-34 (in Greek).

[21] Palmer, A Compendious Ecclesiastical History, New York: Stanford & Swords, 1850, p. 165.

[22] In accordance with this principle, Jews were admitted to the Masonic lodges as early as 1724 (Ridley, op. cit., p. 40).

[23] Vicomte Léon de Poncins, Freemasonry and the Vatican, London: Britons Publishing Company, 1968, p. 116.

[24] Ivanov, Russkaia Intelligentsia i Masonstvo: ot Petra I do nashikh dnej (The Russian Intelligentsia and Masonry: from Peter I to our Days), Harbin, 1934, Moscow, 1997, p. 64 (in Russian).

[25] Ivanov, op. cit., p. 82.

[26] Ivanov, op. cit., p. 83.

[27] Michael Hoffman, Judaism Discovered, Independent History and Research, 2008, p. 198.

[28] Tikhomirov, op. cit., p. 443.

[29] Lazare, Antisemitisme (Antisemitism), pp. 308-309; De Poncins, op. cit., pp. 71-72.

[30] La Vérité Israélite (The Israelite Truth), 1861, vol. 5, p. 74; De Poncins, op. cit., pp. 75-76.

[31] G. Batault, Le Problème Juif (The Jewish Problem); De Poncins, op. cit., pp. 77-78.

[32] Rosicrucianism was founded as a separate order in Masonry in 1757 in Frankfurt-on-Main, and counted among its leading adepts the charlatans Johann Welner, Saint-Germain and Caliostro.

[33] Hannah, Darkness Visible, London: Augustine Press, 1952, p. 203.

[34] H.T. F. Rhodes, The Satanic Mass, London: Jarrolds, 1968, p. 219-220.

[35] Ridley, op. cit., p. 91.

[36] Ridley, op. cit., pp. 108-109.

[37] Ridley, op. cit., p. 100.

[38] Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958.

[39] Thus Wellington never entered a lodge after his membership lapsed in 1795, and in 1851 wrote that he “had no recollection of having been admitted a Freemason…” (Ridley, op. cit., p. 161)

[40] De Poncins, op. cit., p. 31. The bull went on: “In the sphere of politics, the Naturalists lay down that all men have the same rights and that all are equal and alike in every respect; that everyone is by nature free and independent; that no one has the right to exercise authority over another; that it is an act of violence to demand of men obedience to any authority not emanating from themselves. All power is, therefore, in the free people. Those who exercise authority do so either by the mandate or the permission of the people, so that, when the popular will changes, rulers of States may lawfully be deposed even against their will. The source of all rights and civic duties is held to reside either in the multitude or in the ruling power in the State, provided that it has been constituted according to the new principles. They hold also that the State should not acknowledge God and that, out of the various forms of religion, there is no reason why one should be preferred to another. According to them, all should be on the same level…”

[41] Ivanov, op. cit., pp. 95-96. Keith founded his Russian lodge in 1741-1742, and left Russia in 1747. One contemporary Masonic source writes: “One Russian tradition has it that Peter became a Mason on trip to England and brought it back to Russia. There is no hard evidence of this…” (Richard I. Rhoda, “Russian Freemasonry: A New Dawn”, paper delivered at Orient Lodge no. 15 on June 29, 1996, http://members.aol.com/houltonme/rus.htm)

[42] Hosking, Russia: People & Empire, London: HarperCollins, 1997, pp. 164-165.

[43] Andrezev Walicki, A History of Russian Thought, Oxford: Clarendon, 1988, p. 19.

[44] Novikov, in Janet M. Hartley, A Social History of the Russian Empire, 1650-1825, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 232.

[45] Ivanov, op. cit., p. 110.

[46] Valishevsky, Petr Velikij (Peter the Great), in Ivanov, op. cit., p. 120.

[47] Ivanov, op. cit., p. 137.

[48] Ivanov, op. cit., pp. 160, 161, 162-163.

[49] Ivanov, op. cit., pp. 165, 166.

[50] Rhoda, “Russian Freemasonry: A New Dawn”, op. cit.

[51] Ivanov, op. cit., pp. 169, 170, 171-172.

[52] Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 248.

[53] Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A History of Russia.

[54] Dobroklonsky, op. cit., p. 664.

[55] Florovsky, op. cit., pp. 155-156.

[56] Hartley, op. cit., pp. 233-235. “I made a mistake,” said Catherine, “let us close our high-brow books and set to the ABC” (quoted in Dobroklonsky, op. cit., p. 662).

[57] Lebedev, op. cit., p. 243.

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