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Freemasonry and the Church


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#1 John Litster

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 07:24 AM

Hello all,

I've often heard Freemasonry being condemned as heretical, evil, or otherwise unacceptable in the eyes of the Church. I may be mistaken, but I think there also is a canon that states that joining the Freemasons is an excommunicable offense.

My question is simply - why is this? I've never received a satisfactory answer, and some of the stuff I hear about the Masons from Orthodox sources has distinctly wacky, "conspiracy theory" edge to it - that they're a vast, sinister Kabbal who control the secular West, that they're out to destroy the church through the controling of schismatic movements, or that they're a pagan cult. This rings distinctly similar, in my mind at least, to the old anti-Semitic notions of the last few centuries, only with another name.

Can anyone explain why Masonic idealogy runs contrary to Orthodox teaching?

Edited by John Litster, 17 August 2008 - 07:26 AM.
Word accidentally omitted.


#2 Misha

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 09:06 AM

http://www.orthodoxi...sm/masonry.aspx

#3 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 09:50 AM

I'm no expert on this and have just picked up information on the way. Freemasonry grew in importance during the 18th century 'Enlightenment' through figures such as Diderot who promoted atheism. I was told that freemasonry is un-Christian because it sees all religions as equal, and therefore none as being wholly true. This obviously denies the Christian belief that Christ is the Way and the Truth. It thus promotes religious indifference and syncretism. It is purely anthropocentric. England is well known as a centre of freemasonry. Many leading establishment figures are freemasons. The present Grand Master is the Duke of Kent, a cousin of the Queen. A former Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, was a freemason. The present archbishop, Rowan Williams, suggested that freemasonry and Christianity were incompatible. He was very quickly forced to apologise for this (Daily Telegraph 20 April 2003). The incompatibility of freemasonry and the Orthodox Church was explained in a Declaration dated 12 October 1933 of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece (see Misha's link). This notwithstanding, freemasons have reached high office in the Church (with dire results). Ecumenical Patriarchs Joachim III, Meletius, and Athenagoras were freemasons. As I have said before elsewhere in this forum, Athenagoras was a high-ranking freemason whom the Americans installed as Patriarch after they deposed Patriarch Maximos who was imprisoned in a psychiatric clinic in Switzerland until his death.

As to wacky conspiracy theories, it is hard to say. There is no doubt that some very powerful and infuential people are freemasons or have links with it: the Rothchilds come to mind, and they have close links with the likes of George Soros, Henry Kissinger, the Rockefellers, and Boris Berezovsky. Guests of Lord Rothschild at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire have included Warren Buffet and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Do such people conspire to control events? George Soros was certainly behind the economic chaos in Russia in the Yelstin years when he, Gaidar and Chubais implemented 'shock therapy' on the Russians which was all shock and no therapy, destroying overnight the life savings of Russians and allowing the oligarchs such as Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky, Abramovich et al to acquire former state assets at knockdown prices. Berezovsky funded the 'Orange Revolution' in Ukraine, and Soros funded the 'Rose Revolution' in Georgia and bankrolled Saakashvili and his associates. These activities appear to coincide with the aim of the USA to reduce the sphere of Russian influence by seeking to make former eastern bloc and Soviet countries such as Poland, Ukraine and Georgia allies, and to take NATO up to the borders of Russia as much as possible. Russians I know (including clergy) have no doubts that freemasons and their supporters have great influence in America and Britain and that they are enemies of Orthodoxy. Some expression of these thoughts can be found on the website of Fr Andrew Phillips (ROCOR) at his http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/ website.

#4 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 12:03 PM

The basic teachings of Masonry are watered-down Gnosticism which are condemned by the Church. They pay homage to a generic Deity and put forth a "secret" teaching. They make vows of a rather bloody nature which really mean no more than the childhood 'cross my fingers, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye' sort of thing, but generally are not nice things for Christians to say when all else is said and done. Beyond that, much of those nasty things people accuse them of is pure blatherskite not unlike the nasty things said about the early Christians by their detractors.

They claim "secret knowledge" but don't really know what they are worshipping. Seems rather ironic to me. But the history of American Masonry is full of irony. I could go on at length, my dad has been a member for many years, but I do not want to risk boring you all. Don't believe everything you read, especially on the Internet.

#5 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 02:24 PM

Herman is obviously right to say that we should not believe everything we hear on the news and read on the internet or in the press; the coverage of the tragic events in Georgia illustrates this all to well. Also, freemasonry as it is followed by local worthies in any provincial English town is just the kind of charitable fraternity it presents itself to be. Having said that, I was in training as a lawyer at a small firm and was under the supervision of a partner who was a freemason. As I neared the end of my training he began to talk about his lodge and how he thought I would enjoy it. Clearly, he was sounding me out. I said I wasn't interested. Invariably, when one qualifies, one is put on a lawyer's salary and not kept on a trainee's salary. On qualifying, I found myself kept on a trainee's salary and was told I'd be given a good reference if I wanted to leave. I left.

The matters I mention in my post are not, I think, nonsense since they can be found in many sources. As to the events surrounding Patriarchs Maximos and Athenagoras, my source is one who was an eyewitness to the events and who himself told me the whole story. That person was deacon to Patriarch Maximos and is now Bishop Eirenaios.

#6 Misha

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 02:56 PM

Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis' name is in the catalogue of the Grand Lodge of Greece.
http://www.grandlodg...us_gr_home.html
He was the man who changed the calendar in the Church and persecuted the old calendarists.
May God have mercy on his soul.

#7 Eric Peterson

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 06:11 PM

I don't know of any canons applying specifically to Freemasonry since the canons were written before Freemasons existed (unless you believe the Temple of Solomon/Templar connection). There is a document put out by the Church of Greece in the 30s. Also, at least one early American Orthodox priest Fr. Nathaniel (Ingram) Irvine wrote against Freemasonry.

It is a religious organization which does not recognize the exclusive claims of Christian Truth, which sets it in opposition to Orthodoxy. Indeed, one can ignore conspiracy theories entirely and still come to the conclusion that to be a Freemason and an Orthodox Christian is a contradiction, like trying to serve two masters.

As a side question, was there a Freemason connection with the Greek Revolution?

#8 Paul Cowan

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 12:59 AM

The Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS Church) was based heavily on Freemasonry ideals. Look how they have manifested themselves.

#9 Matthew Namee

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 02:47 PM

Eric mentioned Fr. Nathaniel (Ingram) Irvine, an early American Orthodox priest. The following is from a letter he wrote in 1917, opposing the proposed consecration of Aftimios Ofiesh as bishop. (I transcribed it exactly as it is written; all typos and emphases are in the original.)

Who is the candidate for the Syrian Vicar Bishoprick? A Freemason. It may be said that, he has given up Masonry. While I doubt it, it makes the matter more terrible than if he persisted in being an active member. And why?


First: Because by being an in-active member for the sake of a chance of being made a Bishop he must have lost the respect of both the Masonic Order and loyal Orthodox Christians.


Second: There is an old and well authenticated fact to wit: —"Once a Mason always a Mason." An ignorance of the watchword because of delinquency of a member etc., for the time being, does not hinder the opportunity of having that ignorance remedied and the knowledge granted at an opportune moment. Insincerity under the first point would suggest the second idea.


The history of Freemasonry is a night-mare to Christianity in the West. Pardon a little bit of my own knowledge being interjected. Practical knowledge after all is the best.


The Anglican Episcopate is blighted with Free Masonery. I have known an Anglican Bishop to have traveled one hundred and fifty miles to a Masonic Lodge to be introduced to a District Court Judge, who was also a Mason, to influence him against one of the Bishop’s priest who had a valid case against the Bishop for the most infamous conspiracy. The Master of the Masonic Lodge condemned the whole proceeding on the part of the bishop and judge, nevertheless the Chaplain of the Lodge with the latter’s (Chaplin’s) wife, partakers in the Conspiracy with the Bishop gained the point. The judge contrary to all sense of justice when the case was on trial, took the consideration from the jury and dismissed the case in favor of the Conspirators, Bishop etc.


Freemasonry, today, is a mixture of spurious Christianity, agnosticism, infidelity, aethism, Judaism, and in very many instances, immorality. I have carefully studied it for over fifty years. It’s nobility of long ago, while it has still some noble men as members, has long since departed. It has damned the State and the Church by its under-hand influence and corruptive practices.


If a Bishop of the Church is a Freemason then every priest had better be a Mason in his Diocese, for otherwise it may follow that a Jew, an Infidel, an Aethiest etc. or the lowest saloon keeper, or house of ill fame manager, as a member would have more influence as a mason with the Masonic Bishop than the priest who was not a member of the Order.


One of the questions asked of me when I was a candidate for the Russian Orthodox Priesthood was "Are you a Freemason?" My reply was "I am not" Have we changed? Are our conditions variable?


Now if the Episcopate is one, any member of it affects the whole. And if the Church is one, any member of the same may feel agrieved if he believes that a member of an alien and pernicious organization is permitted to rule in the high and sacred office of a Bishop in the Church of God Almighty.


The Orthodox Church has gained the Confidence and love of right-thinking people. Let us not tarnish her banner now by inserting amongst the title letters "Masonery" Rome is marveling at our success and Orthodox Catholicity. Let us not give her a chance to say that, we have retrograded to rationalism and chicanery. Above all things let us guard the Episcopate from that which is wordly and earthly.


Therefore if all other keep silent, I for one, as a faithful priest of the Russo-Greek Holy Orthodox Catholic Church, most solemnly protest against the admission of Archimandrite Afiesh or any other Mason into the Episcopate.


And if he is admitted or any Mason, even under pain of Ecclesiastical penalties, I will never recognize him as a Bishop. I can not serve God and Mammon in the Episcopate. Masons as Laymen may be sinners, but as Bishops hypocrites and creatures of circumstances.

In other words, one of the problems with Freemasonry, according to Irvine, is that it creates conflicting loyalties. This would be in addition to whatever dogmatic or ritualistic conflicts there would be between itself and Orthodoxy. My understanding is that Orthodox Christians are forbidden to be members of any secret society, not just Freemasonry, in part because of the inherent conflicts of loyalty.

I don't think it had anything to do with Freemasonry, but Ofiesh proved to be a disaster as a bishop.

#10 Robert Hegwood

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 04:10 AM

The infamy which is heaped upon freemasonry has long been a bit of a puzzlement to me, not because I disagree with the things being criticized within freemasonry...but because I've never witnessed anything remotely like them in the part of the world where I live....and when I have mentioned the charges leveled against masonry to older masons, they have taken insult and strongly denied such goings on. My father, my grandfathers, several of my uncles, and even my brother are masons. Several of the deacons in the Southern Baptist Church in which I grew up were Masons as well. I was invited to join the masons in my teens but I declined. My father, two uncles (one maternal, one paternal), and my maternal grandfather were all Scottish Rite mansons and all deacons in their SB churches, and to my knowledge they were all God fearing men who knew the scriptures, taught Sunday School and sought to live a Christian life the best they could. When first began reading about the various oaths and rituals of the Masons, I was a bit put off. And latter when I read texts from their lodge books that effectively equated Christianity with Magic I knew I wanted nothing to do with it. When I asked about such things either they were unaware of those teachings and did not take the bloody oaths that seriously...it was just a kind of fraternal folderol. They joined because it was a good way to make contacts to help in business and because the lodge supposedly looked after members if they fell on really hard times. Basically it was looked upon a Christian Brotherhood useful for charity and networking.

Years later when I traveled north out of the deep south I encountered masonic attitudes and publications of a very different character and tone...it really did seem more like a substitute religion hostile to Christianity rather than the almost parachurch nature it had down south. One of my uncles was likewise surprised when he had to move north following a job and the local Baptist church there refused to accept him unless he abandoned his involvement with the Masons.

So, while I don't have any problem condemning Freemasonry, and can definitely see why it is incompatible with Orthodoxy it is harder for me to make a blanket condemnation of Freemasons. They are not the same thing necessarily from one place to another. This is/was certainly so in the deep South. Freemasonry seems to have a chameleonlike nature that fades to almost nothing in the presence of strong religious belief but shows its true face when faith has otherwise diminished in a community. It seems to me there are a number of otherwise conscientious Christians of various traditions who are masons and who are completely ignorant of its antichristian content.

#11 Ryan

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 04:14 AM

I don't think anyone is arguing for a blanket condemnation of Masons. I too know some southern Masons who are totally unaware of the occult teachings. The basic point is that one cannot be both a true Christian and a Mason, unless one ignores or rejects some basic tenets of Masonry.

#12 Paul Cowan

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 04:17 AM

It seems to me there are a number of otherwise conscientious Christians of various traditions who are masons and who are completely ignorant of its antichristian content.


This can be said for many religious beliefs as well. People are woo'd into them on the soft sell, but as time goes by they see the falsness of what they at first believed to be so pure. At this juncture, it becomes very hard for them to stay and even harder to leave. Such is the Mormon church.

#13 Andrew Pantelli

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 12:41 PM

The infamy which is heaped upon freemasonry has long been a bit of a puzzlement to me, not because I disagree with the things being criticized within freemasonry...but because I've never witnessed anything remotely like them in the part of the world where I live....and when I have mentioned the charges leveled against masonry to older masons, they have taken insult and strongly denied such goings on. My father, my grandfathers, several of my uncles, and even my brother are masons. Several of the deacons in the Southern Baptist Church in which I grew up were Masons as well. I was invited to join the masons in my teens but I declined. My father, two uncles (one maternal, one paternal), and my maternal grandfather were all Scottish Rite mansons and all deacons in their SB churches, and to my knowledge they were all God fearing men who knew the scriptures, taught Sunday School and sought to live a Christian life the best they could. When first began reading about the various oaths and rituals of the Masons, I was a bit put off. And latter when I read texts from their lodge books that effectively equated Christianity with Magic I knew I wanted nothing to do with it. When I asked about such things either they were unaware of those teachings and did not take the bloody oaths that seriously...it was just a kind of fraternal folderol. They joined because it was a good way to make contacts to help in business and because the lodge supposedly looked after members if they fell on really hard times. Basically it was looked upon a Christian Brotherhood useful for charity and networking.

Years later when I traveled north out of the deep south I encountered masonic attitudes and publications of a very different character and tone...it really did seem more like a substitute religion hostile to Christianity rather than the almost parachurch nature it had down south. One of my uncles was likewise surprised when he had to move north following a job and the local Baptist church there refused to accept him unless he abandoned his involvement with the Masons.

So, while I don't have any problem condemning Freemasonry, and can definitely see why it is incompatible with Orthodoxy it is harder for me to make a blanket condemnation of Freemasons. They are not the same thing necessarily from one place to another. This is/was certainly so in the deep South. Freemasonry seems to have a chameleonlike nature that fades to almost nothing in the presence of strong religious belief but shows its true face when faith has otherwise diminished in a community. It seems to me there are a number of otherwise conscientious Christians of various traditions who are masons and who are completely ignorant of its antichristian content.

As an Ex Mason please allow me to try and shed some light here. Firstly, I suggest that we never condemn masons, rather veiw them with compassion and Grace. They are in deception, and as such they try and live a righteous life by works. To all intents and purposes they are more moral than a lot of christians. After they have had it explained, that it is incompatable with being a follower of Christ, they will have a choice to reject it or leave the Church. It is a religion, it is based on the kabbala, the tree of life, Jesus half way up, and Lucifer the true god, of the masons at the top of the tree. a British book that explaines it as it is, is The Craft and the Cross by Ian Gordon Kingsway Publications. ISBN 0-86065-694-2 This gives the wokings and the words. You may then make your own conclusions. This issue of freemasonry in the church has just surfaced here in a local Parish, and it is causing disharmony, hurt and confusion. Which is exactly what the enemy wants. The victory is ours though, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour!!!

#14 Jean-Serge

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 05:12 AM

As I have said before elsewhere in this forum, Athenagoras was a high-ranking freemason whom the Americans installed as Patriarch after they deposed Patriarch Maximos who was imprisoned in a psychiatric clinic in Switzerland until his death.


By the way, it was said that Patriarch Maximos was not really mentally ill but this was a plot.

#15 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 11:35 PM

By the way, it was said that Patriarch Maximos was not really mentally ill but this was a plot.


This was indeed the case.

#16 David Lanier

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 05:20 AM

I have heard some claims that many bishops and other clergy are Masons although I have no proof or evidence of it. Does anyone know if this is true?

Edited by David Lanier, 17 January 2011 - 05:21 AM.
addition


#17 Paul Cowan

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 06:25 AM

I have heard some claims that many bishops and other clergy are Masons although I have no proof or evidence of it. Does anyone know if this is true?


If you have no proof or evidence of it, why make the claim and post it on facebook for the world to sow doubt on our clergy?

#18 Jake A.

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 07:29 AM

Freemasonry is the worship of Lucifer, who the esoteric globalists consider to be the true god, and Adonai the evil vengeful god who kept man imprisoned in the garden.

The doctrine of Freemasonry falls inline with Theosophy, Adam Weishaupt infiltrated Freemasonry in the late 1700's after the formation of the Illuminati.

"It is not my intention to doubt that the doctrine of the Illuminati and the principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more satisfied [aware] of this fact than I am. The idea that I meant to convey, was, that I did not believe that the Lodges of Free Masons in this Country had, as Societies, endeavoured to propagate the diabolical tenets of the first, or pernicious principles of the latter (if they are susceptible of separation). That Individuals of them may have done it, or that the founder, or instrument employed to found, the Democratic Societies in the United States, may have had these objects; and actually had a separation of the People from their Government in view, is too evident to be questioned."- George Washington.

"The great strength of our Order lies in its concealment; let it never appear in any place in its own name, but always concealed by another name, and another occupation. None is fitter than the lower degrees of Freemasonry; the public is accustomed to it, expects little from it, and therefore takes little notice of it. Next to this, the form of a learned or literary society is best suited to our purpose, and had Freemasonry not existed, this cover would have been employed; and it may be much more than a cover, it may be a powerful engine in our hands. … A Literary Society is the most proper form for the introduction of our Order into any state where we are yet strangers."
- Adam Weishaupt

"LUCIFER, the Light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light…Doubt it not!"
- Albert Pike (Morals and Dogma)

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." Thomas Jefferson

Of course, the latter quote has nothing to do with Freemasonry, but the Federal Reserve and Freemasonry/Secret Societies go together like peanut butter and jelly.

#19 David Lanier

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 03:43 PM

If you have no proof or evidence of it, why make the claim and post it on facebook for the world to sow doubt on our clergy?


As if the world cannot see it here? Gimme a break! Unlike here, the information I share on facebook can only be seen by friends and friends of friends, and over 90% of the people in my friends list are Orthodox anyway.

If there are still freemasons in the Church, it should be exposed for what it is. I think the question deserves answer.

A former parishioner tells me that they were witness to active Masonry in the Church they once attended, and there was even a Masonic funeral for a priest (who himself was a Mason). They also state that Masonic rites were performed in the Church, although they were not present for them. I do not know which jurisdiction this was.

This site supposedly lists clergy who are active Masons.

Edited by David Lanier, 17 January 2011 - 03:53 PM.
Additions


#20 Mark Harris

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 04:06 PM

I was a Freemason and I am not now for personal reasons , however as a result of their secrecay they are accused of many things and like all organisations composed of many parts (Lodges) there are some who remain true to their purpose and some who abuse it. Freemasonry is not a religion however there is the expectation that you must believe in a higher being in order to be considered into a Lodge. There are also many religions and creeds represented in Freemasonry. My own Lodge (which was related to my school) contained Christians of various denominations, Jews , Hindus and Budhists. However of the Christian denominations there were no Catholics and I do not know if there were any Orthodox Christians as this was a very long time ago. Freemasonry is described as a "peculiar system of morality , veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols" and no reference is ever made of some great secret or power, and no financial gain or business networking or political manouvering is meant to be gained by its membership. My school lodge met 3 times per year and only dined and discussed charity donations and support of fellow Frememason's or their spouses and families. As mentioned , there are Lodges who have gone beyond this and in particular I recall some in Italy that were tainted with a very bad lot such as P2. As I recall , any meeting with an overseas Lodge had to be vetted as to the ethicacy of the Lodge being met and the motives of the meeting. Anyway no doubt the conspiracy theories will abound and some will still have bad motive behind them whilst the majority are nothing more than a bunch of old boys having an excuse to get out of the house , dress up and have some lunch!




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