WHAT IS FREEMASONRY?

Evidence of the existence of Freemasonry in Cyprus dates back to the 18th century, mainly in the city of Larnaca where the island's port and consulates were located. Freemasonry is mentioned for the first time in 1751 in a manuscript of Petros Karidis from Nicosia, and then in 1817, in a circular of the Archbishop, where it is also condemned. Also, a serious indication of the presence of Freemasons on the island are the tombstones with engraved Masonic Symbols, which are located in the precinct of the Holy Temple of Saint Lazarus and date back to the 19th century.

It is speculated that in Larnaca there were so few Brothers that in order to hold a meeting with the required quorum, they had to charter ships to the city with Freemasons as members of the crew. After the events of 1821 and the active involvement of Freemasons in the Greek Revolution, in Cyprus under Turkish occupation, we have no further references and unfortunately, no records beyond the above survive. Cypriot students abroad and especially in Athens, had been initiated into Freemasonry but upon their return to Cyprus, they did not have the ability to create Lodges. One of them was Dr. Ioannis Karayiorgiadis, who had been initiated into Freemasonry in the Lodge "A' Panellinion" in Athens in 1865. With the arrival of the English in Cyprus in 1878 and the establishment of the first English-speaking Lodge, "Saint Paul", in 1888, Brother Karayiorgiadis became a member of it. Later, in 1893, with the contribution of English and Greek Freemasons, he established the Lodge "Zenon", the first Greek-speaking Lodge under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Greece. This was followed, in due course, by the establishment of new Greek-speaking Lodges, in order, in Larnaca, Nicosia, Paphos, and Famagusta.

 

OUR WORLDVIEW

Freemasonry (Masonry) is one of the oldest, non-religious, Brotherhoods. This description aims to explain Masonry as practiced by the Grand Lodge of Cyprus and to address some misconceptions. Masonry, as a philosophical, progressive, and philanthropic endeavor, aims at the moral and spiritual improvement of its members through self-knowledge, the pursuit of truth, solidarity, and the application of moral principles. Its members are taught these principles through a series of tasks that follow ancient forms and use customs and symbols of ancient stonemasons as allegorical guides.

The basic qualification for admission and acquisition of membership is faith in God and His revealed will. Members can be men of any race or religion who meet this basic requirement and are of good character.

Masonry is not a religion, nor a substitute for religion. It accepts men belonging to various religions who follow their own faith. For this reason, it forbids religious discussions during the meetings of its members, in any masonic space. There is no particular God for Masonry. The God of every Mason remains the One of his Religion. In order not to have dogmatic rivalries or religious differences among Masons, God is referred to by the general term of the Great Architect of the Universe. The Book of Law that exists during masonic work is a testament to faith in God and depending on the prevailing religion in each country, this is most commonly the Holy Bible, sometimes the Quran for Muslims, the Vedas for the Brahmins, etc.

The Three Great Principles:

  • Brotherly Love
    Every true Mason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others, as well as kindness and understanding.
  • Relief
    Masons are taught to practice philanthropy and to care not only for themselves but also for the community, doubly, with charity and beneficence.
  • Truth
    Masons strive for truth, aiming at high moral principles and trying, throughout their lives, to achieve them. Masons believe that these principles represent the way to ensure a higher quality of life for all people.

FREEMASONRY AND SOCIETY

It must be understood by every member of Freemasonry that their participation does not in any case exempt them from their duties towards the society to which they belong. Their new duties call them to be exemplary in fulfilling their obligations as a citizen. Their Masonic duty permeates through their personal, public, or professional life, as well as their love for their homeland.
Freemasonry requires from its members respect for the laws of the country where they work and live.
The principles of Freemasonry in no case conflict with the duties of its members as citizens, in their work, at home, or in their public life, on the contrary, they should enhance their public and private responsibilities. Therefore, there is no confusion between Masonic and social duties.
The exploitation of Masonic status for the promotion of personal and professional interests, either for themselves or for other Freemasons, is condemnable and rejected, because it is contrary to the promises they made for their admission to Freemasonry.

The duty of the citizen must always take precedence over obligations towards other Freemasons and any attempt to cover a Freemason for dishonest or illegal actions, contradicts this basic duty and therefore, is subject to disciplinary action.

PHILANTHROPY

Since its foundation, Freemasonry has been interested in children, the sick, and the elderly. Large amounts of money, coming exclusively from Freemason contributions and donations, are allocated for philanthropy.

USE OF STATUS

A Freemason should not exploit their status to promote professional and personal interests. This is clarified several times during the early Masonic career, so no one can claim to be ignorant of it. A Freemason who violates this rule is relieved from active service or is even expelled.
According to the Constitutional Charter: "Devotion to the family, respect for social institutions, love for the homeland, and the fulfillment of civic duties are sacred to the Freemason, without opposing the love they owe to all people, in the spirit of global brotherhood and justice".

SECRECY

The secrets of Freemasonry are related to the traditional ways of recognition. No other secrets exist, and for this reason, it is not a secret organization. Like any other company, it considers that some of its internal affairs need not be publicized. Its members are free to acknowledge their status if they wish to do so and they do it when reliably asked.
Its Constitution and the Rules of its operation are known to the State, which can exercise administrative or financial control.

FREEMASONRY AND POLITICS

Freemasonry is not a political organization, has absolutely no relationship with political parties and political discussions in Masonic meetings are strictly prohibited.

OTHER MASONIC BODIES

Freemasonry is practiced in each country under the responsibility of a "properly established and functioning" independent Grand Lodge. In our country, such is the Grand Lodge of Cyprus, of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

There are other Masonic Types around the world, the most important of which are the Scottish Type and the York Type. These are governed by separate Supreme Councils and include higher degrees, which Masons follow, as they wish, parallelly and independently from the main Masonic degrees of the Apprentice, Fellow, and Master.
The proper operation of the Supreme Councils presupposes their recognition by the Grand Lodge of the territory in which they are located.

There are sometimes also other self-proclaimed lodges or parasonic organizations that do not meet the required characteristics or have not been properly established or allow or encourage their members' participation in politics or accept women as their members. These lodges and organizations are not recognized by the Grand Lodge of Cyprus.

CONCLUSION

The Mason is encouraged to perform his duties, first to God (by whatever name he is known) through his faith and religious practice, then to his family, and finally to his fellow humans, through philanthropy and solidarity.

Also, the Mason constantly strives to achieve his moral and spiritual improvement.

  • Freemasonry is neither a secret organization nor a religion and does not get involved in politics.
  • Like many other societies, it considers some of its internal matters as personal issues of its members.
  • There are no secrets about its purposes and principles. Its constitution and operating rules are known to those interested.
  • The secrets of Freemasonry have to do with traditional ways of recognition. Its work is not secret, but it is not made public.
  • In normal discussions, only a few things about Freemasonry may not be mentioned.
  • When reliable reasons require it, Masons are free to declare their status and should be proud of it.

WHAT IS FREEMASONRY?

Evidence of the existence of Freemasonry in Cyprus dates back to the 18th century, mainly in the city of Larnaca where the island’s port and consulates were located. Freemasonry is mentioned for the first time in 1751 in a manuscript of Petros Karidis from Nicosia, and then in 1817, in a circular of the Archbishop, where it is also condemned. Also, a serious indication of the presence of Freemasons on the island are the tombstones with engraved Masonic Symbols, which are located in the precinct of the Holy Temple of Saint Lazarus and date back to the 19th century.

It is speculated that in Larnaca there were so few Brothers that in order to hold a meeting with the required quorum, they had to charter ships to the city with Freemasons as members of the crew. After the events of 1821 and the active involvement of Freemasons in the Greek Revolution, in Cyprus under Turkish occupation, we have no further references and unfortunately, no records beyond the above survive. Cypriot students abroad and especially in Athens, had been initiated into Freemasonry but upon their return to Cyprus, they did not have the ability to create Lodges. One of them was Dr. Ioannis Karayiorgiadis, who had been initiated into Freemasonry in the Lodge “A’ Panellinion” in Athens in 1865. With the arrival of the English in Cyprus in 1878 and the establishment of the first English-speaking Lodge, “Saint Paul”, in 1888, Brother Karayiorgiadis became a member of it. Later, in 1893, with the contribution of English and Greek Freemasons, he established the Lodge “Zenon”, the first Greek-speaking Lodge under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Greece. This was followed, in due course, by the establishment of new Greek-speaking Lodges, in order, in Larnaca, Nicosia, Paphos, and Famagusta.

OUR WORLDVIEW

Freemasonry (Masonry) is one of the oldest, non-religious, Brotherhoods. This description aims to explain Masonry as practiced by the Grand Lodge of Cyprus and to address some misconceptions. Masonry, as a philosophical, progressive, and philanthropic endeavor, aims at the moral and spiritual improvement of its members through self-knowledge, the pursuit of truth, solidarity, and the application of moral principles. Its members are taught these principles through a series of tasks that follow ancient forms and use customs and symbols of ancient stonemasons as allegorical guides.

The basic qualification for admission and acquisition of membership is faith in God and His revealed will. Members can be men of any race or religion who meet this basic requirement and are of good character.

Masonry is not a religion, nor a substitute for religion. It accepts men belonging to various religions who follow their own faith. For this reason, it forbids religious discussions during the meetings of its members, in any masonic space. There is no particular God for Masonry. The God of every Mason remains the One of his Religion. In order not to have dogmatic rivalries or religious differences among Masons, God is referred to by the general term of the Great Architect of the Universe. The Book of Law that exists during masonic work is a testament to faith in God and depending on the prevailing religion in each country, this is most commonly the Holy Bible, sometimes the Quran for Muslims, the Vedas for the Brahmins, etc.

The Three Great Principles:

● Brotherly Love
Every true Mason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others, as well as kindness and understanding.

● Relief
Masons are taught to practice philanthropy and to care not only for themselves but also for the community, doubly, with charity and beneficence.

● Truth
Masons strive for truth, aiming at high moral principles and trying, throughout their lives, to achieve them. Masons believe that these principles represent the way to ensure a higher quality of life for all people.

FREEMASONRY AND SOCIETY

It must be understood by every member of Freemasonry that their participation does not in any case exempt them from their duties towards the society to which they belong. Their new duties call them to be exemplary in fulfilling their obligations as a citizen. Their Masonic duty permeates through their personal, public, or professional life, as well as their love for their homeland.
Freemasonry requires from its members respect for the laws of the country where they work and live.
The principles of Freemasonry in no case conflict with the duties of its members as citizens, in their work, at home, or in their public life, on the contrary, they should enhance their public and private responsibilities. Therefore, there is no confusion between Masonic and social duties.
The exploitation of Masonic status for the promotion of personal and professional interests, either for themselves or for other Freemasons, is condemnable and rejected, because it is contrary to the promises they made for their admission to Freemasonry.

The duty of the citizen must always take precedence over obligations towards other Freemasons and any attempt to cover a Freemason for dishonest or illegal actions, contradicts this basic duty and therefore, is subject to disciplinary action.

PHILANTHROPY

Since its foundation, Freemasonry has been interested in children, the sick, and the elderly. Large amounts of money, coming exclusively from Freemason contributions and donations, are allocated for philanthropy.

USE OF STATUS

A Freemason should not exploit their status to promote professional and personal interests. This is clarified several times during the early Masonic career, so no one can claim to be ignorant of it. A Freemason who violates this rule is relieved from active service or is even expelled.

According to the Constitutional Charter: “Devotion to the family, respect for social institutions, love for the homeland, and the fulfillment of civic duties are sacred to the Freemason, without opposing the love they owe to all people, in the spirit of global brotherhood and justice”.

SECRECY

The secrets of Freemasonry are related to the traditional ways of recognition. No other secrets exist, and for this reason, it is not a secret organization. Like any other company, it considers that some of its internal affairs need not be publicized. Its members are free to acknowledge their status if they wish to do so and they do it when reliably asked.
Its Constitution and the Rules of its operation are known to the State, which can exercise administrative or financial control.

FREEMASONRY AND POLITICS

Freemasonry is not a political organization, has absolutely no relationship with political parties and political discussions in Masonic meetings are strictly prohibited.

OTHER MASONIC BODIES

Ο Τεκτονισμός ασκείται, σε κάθε Χώρα, με την ευθύνη μιας “κανονικώς ιδρυθείσης και λειτουργούσης” ανεξάρτητης Μεγάλης Στοάς. Στη Χώρα μας τέτοια είναι η Μεγάλη Στοά της Κύπρου, των Αρχαίων Ελευθέρων και Αποδεδεγμένων Τεκτόνων.

Υπάρχουν, ανά τον κόσμο και άλλοι Τεκτονικοί Τύποι, κυριότεροι απ’ τους οποίους είναι ο Σκωτικός Τύπος και ο Τύπος της Υόρκης. Αυτοί διοικούνται από ξεχωριστά Ύπατα Συμβούλια και περιλαμβάνουν επιγενόμενους βαθμούς, τους οποίους παρακολουθούν, εφ’ όσον επιθυμούν, οι Τέκτονες, παράλληλα και ανεξάρτητα απ’ τους κύριους τεκτονικούς βαθμούς του Μαθητού, του Εταίρου και του Διδασκάλου.
Η κανονική λειτουργία των Υπάτων Συμβουλίων, προϋποθέτει την αναγνώριση τους από τη Μεγάλη Στοά της επικράτειας στην οποία αυτά βρίσκονται.

Υπάρχουν ενίοτε και άλλες αυτοαποκαλούμενες στοές ή παρατεκτονικές οργανώσεις οι οποίες δεν ανταποκρίνονται στα χαρακτηριστικά που απαιτούνται ή δεν έχουν ιδρυθεί κανονικά ή επιτρέπουν ή ενθαρρύνουν τη συμμετοχή των μελών τους στην πολιτική ή δέχονται και γυναίκες ως μέλη τους. Αυτές οι στοές και οργανώσεις, δεν αναγνωρίζονται απ’ τη Μεγάλη Στοά της Κύπρου.

CONCLUSION

The Mason is encouraged to perform his duties, first to God (by whatever name he is known) through his faith and religious practice, then to his family, and finally to his fellow humans, through philanthropy and solidarity.

Also, the Mason constantly strives to achieve his moral and spiritual improvement.

● Freemasonry is neither a secret organization nor a religion and does not get involved in politics.

● Like many other societies, it considers some of its internal matters as personal issues of its members.

● There are no secrets about its purposes and principles. Its constitution and operating rules are known to those interested.

● The secrets of Freemasonry have to do with traditional ways of recognition. Its work is not secret, but it is not made public.

● In normal discussions, only a few things about Freemasonry may not be mentioned.

● When reliable reasons require it, Masons are free to declare their status and should be proud of it.

“Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood”


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