Monday, September 11, 2006

What About….Freemasonery?

Most Americans, as often as they see a dollar bill, are unaware that the strange pyramid on the reverse side is a Masonic symbol and that George Washington, the "father of our country" was a Mason. What is Masonry? Few people could give more than a vague (and not very accurate) answer. It is, in fact, the largest secret society in the world, numbering nearly six million members, among whom are many men prominent in business, politics and the arts.

Until quite recently I had never known a Mason. In the first six years of my pastoral activity in the missions I had never met an Orthodox Christian who was a Mason, or catechized anyone who had ever been one. Evidently Freemasonry has rarely been attractive to the average American convert to Orthodoxy, who sees the Masonic Lodge as a silly collection of "mumbo-jumbo" and "high pooh-bahs." My own acquaintance with it was purely academic. Until this year, when my "book-knowledge" on the subject had cause to take on a definite form. Let me relate.

One day I received a call from an older man of Greek background who wished to join our parish. He made an appointment to come and talk to me. Although I noticed that he wore a distinctive ring, I failed to recognize the emblem until he casually mentioned that he belonged to the "Blue Lodge." When I asked what this was, he said, "It's a local Masonic Lodge." "Demetrios," I replied, "I can't admit you to the Sacraments if you area Freemason." "Why not?" he asked. "Because Masonry is anti-Christian and has been condemned by both the Greek and Russian Churches in this century." "That's funny," he said, "because I know many Orthodox who are my 'lodge brothers,' even a bishop!"

Read the rest here.

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