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Freemasonry symbol

The Freemasonry , even Royal Art called, sees itself as an ethical League of the Free with the conviction that the constant work on yourself to self-knowledge leads and a more human behavior. The five basic ideals of Freemasonry are freedom , equality , fraternity , tolerance and humanity . They should be lived through practical exercise in everyday life. The Freemasons organize themselves in so-called lodges .

The number of Freemasons worldwide, as far as published, diverges greatly depending on the source. For 2012 , the SWR names around five million members of Freemasonry worldwide in all its manifestations, including three million in the USA. For Germany, the figures are between 14,000 (2012) and 15,500 members (2015). The magazine of the German research lodge "Quatuor Coronati" assumes there are only 2.6 million Freemasons worldwide.

As it sees itself, Freemasonry unites people of all social classes , levels of education and beliefs. The constitution ( old duties ) of the first grand lodge was publicly advertised in the British Postboy on February 28, 1723 and forms the basis of today's Freemasonry. Together with the salons, reading societies and other associations of the early Enlightenment , the lodges formed a new form of public throughout Europe and contributed to the spread of Enlightenment ideas.

Freemasons have committed themselves to secrecy and, in particular, to the principle of not disclosing Masonic customs and lodge matters to the outside world ( arcane principle , duty of confidentiality ). This should enable the free exchange of ideas and opinions internally . In principle, most rituals are accessible through relevant literature. The ceremonies and the ancient duties of speculative Freemasonry are traced back to the customs and documents of historical stonemasonry brotherhoods , such as the Regius manuscript from 1390 and the Cooke manuscript from the 14th and 15th centuries. Freemasons meet for ritual " temple work ". A lecture with Masonic references can be part of the ritual. There is a meditative atmosphere during temple work. A discussion of the lecture will not take place in the temple. The topic can, however, be discussed further casually at a subsequent " table ". Outwardly, Freemasons also work through charitable work and the promotion of education and liberal education. Two of the best-known Masonic symbols are angles and compasses (in America with the central letter "G", which often stands for the ubiquitous geometry ).

The relationship between Freemasonry and religion is often tense, but differentiated: Lodges rooted in the French, secular tradition avoid religious stipulations and see themselves as a purely secular, ethical union. Groups that derive their worldview from English Freemasonry (this also includes the majority of the lodges active in Germany) generally assume a divine order, but in their " old duties " do not require the topic of religion to be the subject of disputes in the To make lodge. An explicit religious commitment of the individual member is also not required. The Roman Catholic Church sees membership of Freemasonry as incompatible with its principles. The Islamic World League declared in Mecca in 1974 "Freemasonry as incompatible with Islam". It calls on all Muslims who belong to a lodge to quit.

Symbols and etymology

The term Freemason is an 18th century loan translation for English Freemason . In the 15th century, the word, which is probably derived from freestone , a soft stone found in the county of Kent , referred to the stone sculptors or builders organized in construction huts , the freestone-masons (French: franc maçon , Italian: frammassone ). In contrast, the roughstone masons were more responsible for the rough work. The historically transmitted symbols such as trowel, square measure and compass are still part of the inventory of Freemasons today. Writings and artefacts that deal with or relate to Freemasonry are called Masonica , lat., Sg. Called Masonicum . The terms “Freemason” and “Lodge” are not protected, so anyone can call themselves a Freemason or any grouping of lodges, although they have nothing to do with real Freemasonry.

Often - and by Freemasons themselves - Freemasonry is referred to as "the royal art". This is based on a quotation from the Bible and philosophical considerations: James 2: 8: "If you complete the royal law according to the scriptures: 'Love your neighbor as yourself', you do well." Plato used the term royal art to describe philosophy ( "Love of Wisdom"). So the term has no relation to the ruler title.

Goals of Freemasonry

The goals and values ​​of Freemasonry are derived from the history of its origins. The community emerged from the medieval stonemasonry brotherhoods. Freemasons took an important part of their symbols and values ​​from the building works culture. Depending on the grand lodge, many Freemasons profess a principle of creation that they call the Almighty Master Builder of all worlds . Symbols convey common values ​​and ideas. The world brotherhood symbolizes international solidarity and the brotherhood of all people.

The mutual promise of secrecy is not used for secrecy, but is intended to offer privacy . In discussions, arguments about political and religious subjects are frowned upon. Freemasons are also obliged to respect the laws of their own country. The seat of the lodges, their chairpersons and their statutes are known, their writings and descriptions of rituals of Freemasonry are publicly accessible to everyone in city ​​libraries and archives and are therefore not a “conspiratorial secret society ” in the sense of a conspiratorial-political underground activity in contrast to conspiracy-theoretical representations .

The majority of Masonic values ​​come from the Age of Enlightenment . The following are the five pillars of Freemasonry: freedom, equality, fraternity, tolerance and humanity .

  1. Freedom should be realized through freedom from oppression and exploitation as a basic requirement for freedom of the spirit and individual realization.
  2. Equality means equality of people without class distinction and equality before the law.
  3. Fraternity is realized through security, trust, care , shared responsibility and understanding with and among one another.
  4. Tolerance is lived through active listening and understanding of other opinions.
  5. Humanity comprises the sum of all previous four basic pillars and issymbolizedby the " Temple of Humanity ", on which Freemasons are working.

The goal of Freemasonry is to live these principles in everyday life in order to promote the human good in the world. In the Masonic sense, humanity means the doctrine of human dignity . In the lodges, Freemasons therefore disregard all socially determined differences in human work ; the focus is on the human being. Emanuel Schikaneder , himself a Freemason like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , expresses this attitude in the libretto of Mozart's opera Die Zauberflöte with the words "He is a prince, even more, he is a person!"

Rituals and degrees

Temple work

The closed ritual meeting of the Freemasons is called temple work and pursues the goal of a Masonic socialization . Using a traditional method, it conveys the Masonic values ​​to the individual through symbols and allegories , whereby understanding and feeling are to be addressed equally. The Freemason is not bound to religious content or metaphysical beliefs.


The number and type of Masonic degrees differ according to the type of teaching . B. the Swedish systems a total of 9, the Scottish systems 33 degrees. Basically, however, all systems begin with the levels of apprentice , journeyman and master . These stages are also known as blue or St. John's Freemasonry and symbolize the path to personal development. In accordance with their self-image, relevant types of teaching are limited to these 3 levels, as they should cover the entire ethical maturation process of the members.

First degree bronze sculpture by Jens Rusch : Rauher Stein

Through his initiation into the apprentice degree, the level of self-knowledge , the apprentice should be put in a position to be able to recognize his human imperfections. It is symbolized by the rough stone . As an imperfect person, he needs the help of other people and should become aware of the importance of humanity and brotherhood. Through his continuous work on himself, he would, symbolically speaking, develop into a building block of the temple of humanity .

Depending on his skills, usually after a year, he is promoted to the journeyman's degree, the symbol of which is the cubic stone . The journeyman should learn to practice self-discipline , because this is the prerequisite for all people, symbolized by building blocks, to come together harmoniously to form a common temple of humanity . The aim is to perfect the social relationship with his fellow brothers and sisters.

The Masonic Master wants to become aware of the transience of human life, overlooks and thinks through his life plan. The drawing board is symbolically assigned to the master's degree . He will pass on his experience through the example of his drawing. He bears greater responsibility and takes on other tasks. The master is not released from the work of the previous degrees.

In addition (and optionally) there are various so-called red high-grade systems . They do not lead beyond that, but rather have the aim of deepening the teachings of the apprentice, journeyman and master degree, which is why they are now referred to as levels of knowledge or perfection.


Initiation of a “seeker”. Engraving, 1745 in France
Journeyman Promotion. Engraving, early 18th century
Master elevation of a journeyman. Engraving, late 18th century

Admission to a St. John's Lodge

The admission criteria do not differ significantly from type of teaching to teaching type, a positive reputation is a prerequisite. In addition, a candidate should have reached the age of majority . The age limit is not binding, but can be modified by any lodge. In principle, this means that anyone interested has the opportunity to contact a lodge and request admission.

Many “seekers” (this is the Masonic term for admission candidates) get to a Masonic lodge on recommendation of the brothers , others get to know a lodge and its members at guest evenings or public events. Active member recruitment is rejected because an application to join should be made out of motivation.

As Gotthold Ephraim Lessing writes in the Freemason Conversations Ernst and Falk , it is not enough to have been “accepted into a legal lodge” to be called a Freemason, but rather it requires insight and knowledge “what and why Freemasonry is ". The effect of Freemasonry is achieved through the daily implementation of its principles in everyday life and work through good "deeds which should make good deeds dispensable".

A seeker should identify with the values ​​of Freemasonry and have an interest in working on himself and actively participating. In order to give the searcher the opportunity to find out, visits from guest evenings are expected for at least six months and take place at regular intervals. It is also said to be a so-called “free person of good repute”, as something to the contrary suggests that the values ​​and ideals of the person do not correspond to those of Freemasonry. In the case of children of Freemasons, internally referred to as "Lufton", the preparation time for some grand lodges and their lodges can be shortened if the Freemason vouches for his child. During the time of his visits, the seeker familiarizes himself with the lodge members and looks for a guarantor (two in some lodges) to accompany him through his years as an apprentice or journeyman.

The applicant will i. A. Asked by an admissions committee about his desire to become a Freemason. If the guarantor is found and the Committee has issued a positive recommendation, the so-called follow Kugelung (ballot). The brothers secretly vote on the admission using white and black balls. If one or two black balls are thrown, those who voted against it with their black balls should identify themselves and explain their decision. If they cannot give a suitable reason against accepting the seeker, the black ball is considered a white ball. If three or more black balls come together in a secret ballot, the seeker is deemed to have been deferred or rejected. The actual admission ritual takes place during a so-called temple work .

Membership fees and costs for typical Masonic clothing ( apron , gloves, bijou and possibly high hat) are due. There is also a contribution to the costs for the promotion and promotion to the journeyman's and master's degree . Admissions with a weak financial background (students, pupils, job seekers etc.) are usually waived or deferred costs.

Leaks are common and are referred to as honorable cover . Switching to boxes of a different type of teaching or to grand lodges are not uncommon.

Admission to a high-grade lodge

There are no defined admission criteria for work in the advanced degrees beyond the master’s degree. However, a master working in St. John's Masonry cannot apply, but the red box asks you if you are interested. The Hochgrad-Lodge decides internally who it invites to join and gives no information about motives or decisions.

Organizational structure


All Freemasons, regardless of their degree or duties, see themselves as brothers with equal rights and make decisions in their lodge democratically .

Masonic lodges are organized like civil associations ; they are headed by a chairman ( master of the chair ) and his deputy ( first and second overseer ).

As usual with registered associations in Germany, are a beyond Treasurer and Secretary (Secretary) elected. Together these officials form the board of directors of the lodge (council of officials) . In addition, other members are entrusted with special tasks: the speaker (a specialty of continental boxes), the conductors (responsible for the house and catering), the gift curator, music master, archivist , master of ceremonies . There are also committees (e.g. admissions committee, court of honor ).

During the ritual work, some of the officials have special tasks; so the work is directed by the master from the chair , while the overseers head each part of the brothers (divided into two columns ).

Grand lodges

A “ master of the chair ” during a Masonic temple work . The Grand Lodge Day " Zur Sonne " took place in May 1948, the first in Germany after the ban by the Nazis, in the building of the Masonic Lodge "Lebanon zu den 3 Zedern" in Erlangen. The USA, France and Czechoslovakia sent representatives.

Freemasonry is divided into individual, independent, so-called lodges, which join together in umbrella organizations as a grand lodge, also known as “grand orient”, and thus recognize each other. These umbrella organizations, in turn, require recognition from older umbrella organizations in order to be recognized as Grand Lodges of Freemasonry.

With the establishment of the United Grand Lodge of England ( United Grand Lodge of England , UGLoE ) in 1717, the first Masonic Grand Lodge was created. In 1773 the second umbrella organization , the Grand Orient de France (Great Orient of France, GOdF ) was established. These two umbrella organizations largely determine the organization of today's Freemasonry. The Grand Orient of France represents the liberal lodges , while the Basic Principles of "regular Freemasonry" are represented by the United Grand Lodge of England. On March 10, 1999, the United Grand Lodge of England issued a public statement officially prohibiting the attendance of ritual meetings of liberal lodges.

There are around 1.8 million regular Freemasons in the US. A similarly widespread use is only found in Great Britain , France and Scandinavia . There are currently around 15,300 members in Germany. In many states the lodges are reluctant to do public relations work, so that there is often no reliable information about the number of members.


Discussions about party politics or religion (especially denominational) are prohibited in all types of teaching. This prohibition was first manifested in writing in the Old Duties . The Old Duties were written by preacher James Anderson on behalf of the First Grand Lodge of England , published in 1723 and are still the basic Masonic law for all Masonic lodges. It says:

“You should also not do or say anything that could hurt or make informal and free conversation impossible. Because that would have a detrimental effect on our unity and thwart the good cause we are pursuing. Therefore no personal taunts and arguments and certainly no arguments about religion, nation or politics may be brought into the lodge. "

As an ethical-philosophical society, Freemasonry is committed “decidedly for legality and against illegality” and “accordingly makes it an absolute duty for its members to observe the state laws.” Freemasonry forbids day-to-day politics in the lodges so as not to “allow the different ones to coexist in harmony ideological and religious convictions ”and the“ harmonious cooperation of its members for the idea of ​​humanity ”. “It contradicts the tolerance idea of ​​Freemasonry to prescribe or forbid its members a certain political view”.

In the Grand Orient de France , the Freemasons and the lodges there are much more present in everyday cultural and political life.

In 1748 the Freemason Montesquieu personally spoke out in favor of the principle of a democratic separation of powers between the three “political powers”: legislation , executive power and jurisdiction .

On May 24th, 1773, the Grande Loge Nationale , today's Grand Orient de France (GOdF) , came into being in France and in 1775 the words “The law is the expression of the will of the general public!” Were found in a circular, which, like the idea the separation of powers of Montesquieu on August 26, 1789 in the declaration of human and civil rights . People spoke with pride of the “citizens of the Freemason democracy”.

In the year after the American Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the Marquis de La Fayette went to America to voluntarily fight for American independence and its ideals of equality, freedom and justice. He campaigned for the civil rights of Protestants and the abolition of slavery . As a staunch democrat and advocate of the idea of ​​freedom, he campaigned for democracy and human rights , which Thomas Jefferson had worked out in Virginia in 1776 . During this time he was admitted to a military Masonic lodge in Morristown in the presence of George Washington .

When he returned to France, the people gave him a triumphant welcome, and Louis XVI. accepted him into the assembly of notables . In France he became a member of the Contrat Social Lodge .

After George Washington , many other presidents in the United States of America, such as James Monroe , Theodore Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, publicly advocated the principles of Freemasonry.

Freemasons advocate international understanding . At the end of the 19th century, for example, the Leipzig publisher of the Freemason newspaper, Carl Pilz, criticized the “national hatred” of European peoples for one another. The dream of a "world brotherhood" will "remain unattainable as long as national hatred divides the peoples."

Gustav Stresemann, Austen Chamberlain , Aristide Briand in negotiations in Locarno

After the First World War , the German Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann and the French Prime Minister and later Foreign Minister Aristide Briand were among the supporters of the international peace efforts and the League of Nations . Both were connected by Freemasonry. Aristide Briand criticized the harsh conditions of the Versailles peace treaty vis-à-vis Germany and as a result had to resign from government affairs in 1922. Gustav Stresemann represented Masonic values ​​in Germany by campaigning for a peaceful settlement with France and for Germany's admission to the League of Nations. When this succeeded in 1926, he used Masonic vocabulary in the public accession speech. Gustav Stresemann and Aristide Briand were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926 for their work . In 1928 Aristide Briand was the initiator of the Briand-Kellogg Pact , a treaty for the mutual renunciation of war between states . Stresemann ensured that Germany acceded to the Briand-Kellogg Pact , in which war was declared fundamentally contrary to international law .

In 1955 Ludwig van Beethoven's setting of Friedrich Schiller's poem To Joy was proposed as a European anthem by the Freemason Richard Nikolaus Graf von Coudenhove-Kalergi . The text describes the Masonic ideal of a society of equal people who are linked by the bond of friendship . The poem was created as a commissioned work for the table of the Masonic lodge To the three swords and Astraa to the green diamond in Dresden.

Another Freemason active in a high political office was the German Federal Minister and FDP politician Thomas Dehler (1897–1967). The former Hessian Prime Minister Holger Börner (1931–2006) also publicly professed Freemasonry. In Switzerland, the first Federal President and longstanding Federal Councilor, Jonas Furrer , was also a Freemason.

Well-known Austrian Freemasons and politicians of the late 20th century were the former Chancellor Fred Sinowatz and the former Mayor of Vienna Helmut Zilk .

Relationship to religion

Freemasonry does not see itself as a religion . It unites people from different faith communities. In the first section of the Old Duties of 1723, under the title Of God and Religion, it says: “A Freemason is obliged to obey the moral law and if he understands art correctly he will neither be a stupid atheist nor an irreligious libertine . "Although" in ancient times "the Freemasons were obliged to belong to the " respective religion of the country " , since then it has been considered " advisable to only oblige them to the religion in which all people agree " . The reason for this change was justified at the time with the objective that Freemasonry "would thereby become a center of the association and a means to establish loyal friendship among people who otherwise would have had to remain at a constant distance from each other" .

Freemasonry makes use of the concept of the Almighty Builder of all worlds in its rituals . This construct is a symbol that is reserved for each brother's personal beliefs. This formula is unknown in the oldest ritual books and only appeared in the Dumfries Kilwinning MS. No. 4 on.

For reasons of absolute freedom of conscience, Liberal Freemasonry expressly does not require any belief in a Supreme Being. This new concept arose at the convention of the Grand Orient de France in 1877, at which, at the request of the Calvinist pastor Frédéric Desmons, the symbol of the almighty builder of all worlds was abolished in the rituals of the Greater Orient. Desmons argued that Freemasonry is scientific and rational and therefore does not need any religious references. As a result, the GOdF replaced the Holy Scriptures as the “Book of the Holy Law” with a symbolic “white book”. This went too far for the United Grand Lodge of England and contradicted its conception of Freemasonry: Contact was broken off, and in 1913 relations with the GOdF were ended and it was no longer called regular .

Therefore, on September 4, 1929, the United Grand Lodge of England issued the Basic Principles of Grand Lodge Recognition , in which it stipulated when it would recognize other grand lodges as regular. It stipulated that only theistic belief in the Almighty Builder of all worlds and his revealed will was a prerequisite for admission in order to distance oneself from atheism . In January 1989 it abandoned it again and the requirement of a theistic conception of God was replaced by a deistic conception of God. Freemasons within the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England have since had to believe in a Supreme Being .

In Germany, Freemasonry as an organization - with the exception of Christian doctrines of the FO and that of the 3WK  - has no concept of God and accepts agnosticism .

Lodges of the Grand State Lodge of the Freemasons of Germany require, due to their Christian orientation, a "commitment to the teaching of Jesus Christ as it is contained in the Holy Scriptures", which, however, does not involve any commitment to specific dogmas or beliefs.

The Sovereign Great Orient of Germany has in accordance with the Old Charges set a goal to establish friendship among people regardless of their faith, which is the moral law are committed, and one of them explicitly atheist. As an alternative to the “White Book” of the GOdF, the SGOvD also knows the General Declaration of Human Rights and Obligations .


Jewish life in Germany was made considerably more difficult until well into the 19th century. In 1841 the Jewish realtor Harry Lipschütz was initially refused admission to a Hamburg Freemasons' lodge in a ballotage , an election process, for religious reasons. Shortly afterwards, however, following a decision by the Great Lodge of Hamburg , since a refusal for denominational reasons was not permitted under the statutes, it was accepted.

The 1900 General Manual of Freemasonry writes: “J. and Mohammedans have been declared capable of belonging to the association in advance. [...] But it is undisputed that as early as 1723 there were "J., like Christians" in a London box that was held in the "Zur Rose" inn in Cheapside on September 22nd, and that on that day a J. admission found that Jewish names appear in the member lists as early as 1725, which soon afterwards (1730–32) show more and more that the admission of J. was never criticized by the grand lodge in London as an irregularity, that it was an irregularity at all The Jewish question never existed because there was never a restriction on religious affiliation. It is also said that the purpose was to alleviate the contradictions prevailing within Christianity and to carry out the thought of Comenius [...]. "

Nevertheless, it was not until well into the 19th century that Jews were granted the right to visit German Masonic lodges only under pressure from France and England. "Enlightened spirits who thought differently, like Lessing, were the exception." "At the end of the 1880s, a so-called tolerance box met in Berlin, which enjoyed the protection of the government, but soon fell asleep again." The Asträa Lodge in Ulm [was] answered with no at the Provincial Lodge in 1810 as to whether it was allowed to accept J. In France, however, individual worthy men of the Jewish faith had not experienced such rejection, and when these, in association with a number of Christians, came to the Grossorient for approval to set up a lodge in Frankfurt am Main, they willingly received one in 1808 under the name L ' Aurore naissante . This is the first so-called Jewish lodge that has remained in operation, which counted and counts some of the most recognized and capable men among its members (e.g. Ludwig Börne , Berthold Auerbach , Gabriel Riesser in Hamburg, Jost , Michael Creizenach ). "

The B'nai B'rith organization , to which Sigmund Freud also belonged , has been operating since 1843 to the present day, comparable to Freemasonry in terms of its intellectual content and external organizational structure, but reserved exclusively for Jewish members .

Catholic Church

The rapid spread of Freemasonry after it was organized in grand lodges provoked criticism and numerous bans on the part of the Catholic Church and the state. Under the influence of scandals by the League of Carbonari , Pope Clement XII. on April 28, 1738 against Freemasonry the anathema ( Papal Bull in eminenti apostolatus ). Pope Benedict XIV issued a second bull ( Providas romanorum ) on May 18, 1751 , in which he saw the “purity of the Catholic religion” endangered, since Freemasonry accepted people of all religions.

In the Papal State of Rome, five French, one Pole and one American founded the Amici sinceri of the Great Orient of France Lodge , which worked near the Santa Trinità dei Monti . Member was u. a. the Prince of Farnese Don Sigismondo Chigi , who was the custodian of the conclave and marshal of the Roman Catholic Church. After Alessandro Cagliostro was sentenced to death by the Inquisition, the lodge was officially closed in 1789.

The following popes renewed the ban in various encyclicals; especially the Popes condemned Pius IX. ( Ecclesiam a Jesu Christo ) and Leo XIII. - for example in the encyclical Humanum genus 1884 - Freemasonry is particularly strict. In Humanum genus the Freemasons were portrayed as destroyers of the kingdom of God; they were assumed to have open intentions to steal their goods from the Christian peoples and to destroy the holy church. In response, in 1889, the Freemasons of the Grande Oriente d'Italia unveiled a monument to Giordano Bruno by the sculptor Ettore Ferrari on Campo de 'Fiori in Rome. There, Giovanni Bovio gave a speech at the exact spot where Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake - surrounded by over 100 Masonic flags. Another consequence was the so-called taxil fraud that lasted from 1885 to 1897 .

At the beginning of the 20th century, canonical church law (CIC) was revised. As of 1917, it stipulated in canon 2335 that a Catholic would be automatically excommunicated ( "ipso facto" , punishment ) by joining a Masonic association .

The Second Vatican Council (Vaticanum II), started in 1963 under Pope John XXIII. and ended under Pope Paul VI. in 1965, led to an update of church dogmatic principles, for example the acceptance of religious freedom . This also included dialogue with non-Christians and the recognition of ethical and religious values ​​outside the church. A resolution for a formal beginning of dialogue with Freemasonry is not contained in the final documents of the council. On February 26, 1968, Cardinal Franjo Šeper , Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , sent a "list of questions regarding Freemasonry" to the presidents of the Bishops' Conferences. On this basis, Franz Cardinal König and the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Germany , Theodor Vogel , as well as the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Austria , Dr. Kurt Baresch , from 1968 talks that finally resulted in the "Dialogue of Lichtenau", which ended with the Lichtenau Declaration . This document is "a comprehensive statement from the Masonic side" on the Catholic Church. The light Auer statement received since "no ecclesiastical authorization".

Between 1974 and 1980 discussions took place between a working group of the German Bishops' Conference and a delegation of German Freemasons ( VGLvD division ). This ended on May 12, 1980 with a unilateral declaration by the Bishops' Conference, which states: "The detailed investigations into Masonic rituals and the Masonic character as well as their present-day self-image make it clear: Simultaneous membership of the Catholic Church and Freemasonry is excluded."

After the amendment of the CIC was completed in early 1983, Canon 2335 or an explicit reference to Freemasonry was no longer included in the CIC. One day before the CIC came into force on November 27, 1983, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published the Declaration on November 26, 1983, signed by the then Prefect Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (2005-2013: Pope Benedict XVI. ) And approved by Pope John Paul II de associationibus massonicis ('Declaration on the Masonic Associations'). The declaration essentially contains two prohibitions:

  1. A Catholic cannot be a Freemason. Without further justification it is stated that the membership of Catholics in a Masonic association means a " grave sin ", which leads to the impossibility of participating in the Eucharist .
  2. Church authorities, such as bishops, are not allowed to publicly express any divergent opinions.

On the part of the Freemasons, the Declaratio is deplored; it is controversial among Catholic theologians. However, their quality as a church official declaration, as a “moral law” (Reinhold Sebott SJ) is undisputed.

Protestant church

In contrast to the Catholics, in the 19th century in German-speaking countries, just like in Great Britain and the USA, numerous representatives of the Protestant nobility and bourgeoisie were members of Masonic lodges, such as Johann Caspar Bluntschli , Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher or Johann Wolfgang von Goethe .

On October 13, 1973, together with members of the United Grand Lodges of Germany and representatives of the EKD , the Tutzing Declaration stated that the possibility of membership of Protestant Christians in a Masonic lodge was left to the "free discretion of the individual".

The representatives of the EKD summarize the results of the Tutzinger Declaration as follows:

  1. Freemasonry does not see itself as a religious community that wants to compete with Christian denominations or other religions. On the other hand, Anderson's Constitution of 1723 is valid for Freemasonry, which states in Section I: “The bricklayer, as a bricklayer, is obliged to obey the moral law; and if he understands art correctly, he will neither be a narrow-minded denier of God nor a free spirit without ties. "
  2. According to their own understanding, Freemasonry is a fraternal league for the ethical perfection of man. Masonic rituals and symbols also serve this purpose.
  3. In its understanding of God and in its ethical will, Freemasonry is in no exclusive opposition to Christianity. In the Western lodges she describes the Bible as the “first great light”.
  4. Because the Freemasons belong to different religions and denominations, there is no interpretation of belief in God in the biblical understanding that is binding on the Freemasons as a whole. The statements about God and Jesus Christ, about the meaning of the Bible and about the understanding of people are therefore accentuated differently by the individual Freemasons. Protestant Christians and churches should take this into account when talking to Freemasonry.
  5. It was not possible for the church interlocutors to form a final opinion about the ritual in terms of its meaning and the quality of its experience. In doing so, she was moved by the question of whether the ritual experience and the work of the mason might not reduce the importance of justification by grace for the evangelical Christian. They took it from the Masonic interlocutors that the ritual, according to its intention and importance, is neither a substitute for worship and the sacrament, nor is it contrary to the evangelical faith.
  6. A general objection to the membership of Protestant Christians in Freemasonry cannot, in the opinion of the Protestant interviewees, be raised. The decision about membership in Freemasonry must be left to the discretion of the individual.
  7. If there are regulations in individual Protestant regional churches that contradict these statements, they should be repealed.
  8. If difficulties arise, the Protestant Church and Freemasonry should have the opportunity to contact them.
  9. The evangelical participants asked the Freemasons to contribute appropriately to the conveyance of a higher level of information in order to reduce prejudice.

Women and Freemasonry

According to the Ancient Duties , women are excluded from membership in a regular Masonic Lodge. This fact results from the fact that at the time of the emergence of Freemasonry there were no female stonemasons in the medieval construction huts . In the constitution book of the Grand Lodge of England published in 1723 , the membership of women in lodges was forbidden. In 1785 a declaration by German Freemasonry on the question of women appeared in the Teutscher Merkur , in which it literally says: The hearts of Freemasons are open to women, but the boxes are closed to them . Particular reference is made here to the inner contemplation that Freemasonry should offer its members. Lodges should be a protected space in which both men and women should concentrate on the Masonic work and not allow themselves to be distracted by externalities (see also monoeducation ).

Even Johann Wolfgang von Goethe put in a poem of his box Amalia the question:

Should we, the women
Praise such brothers gratefully .
To look inside
Always point us aside?

Freemasonry emphasizes on various occasions and rituals that this is not misogynous , so upon admission each apprentice is given a pair of white gloves - for the woman for whom one has the "greatest respect". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe presented his pair of women's gloves to Charlotte von Stein : "A small gift, in terms of reputation, is waiting for you (...) But there is the strange thing that I can only give it to a woman once in my life" .

A toast is made to the well-being and health of the women at all table items in the regular grand lodges . Many lodges also maintain a charitable sister association and hold social sister parties.

Women's grand lodges

There are, however, some examples of the fact that, despite the legal restrictions imposed by the English grand lodge, women were accepted into lodges. The example of Sophie Albrecht is given here as an example for the German-speaking area .

Adoption lodges where men and women performed Masonic rituals were founded as early as the middle of the 18th century . These adoption boxes were not independent and official boxes, but were attached to the regular men's boxes. This form of association was particularly widespread in France .

Josephine Baker , member of feminine freemasonry (Lodge: Nouvelle Jérusalem )

The historian Marcy describes the “La Félicité” lodge in Dieppe as one of the oldest of these adoption lodges . This was active from 1766 to 1773. From 1789, the adoption boxes were mainly visited by women of the high nobility. These adoption boxes were primarily dedicated to charitable purposes. After the French Revolution , adoptive masonry was re-established by Empress Josephine .

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Grande Loge de France attempted to revive adoption masonry, and around ten workshops were established between 1901 and 1935. In 1935 the same lodge decided to grant independence to the women's lodges. In 1945 the Union maçonnique feminine began its activity; Today it is called Grande Loge Feminine de France , it was founded in France in 1952. It has around 30 lodges in Europe, Africa and North and South America. Their creation meant the official end of the adoption boxes. After the founding of the Grand Lodge Feminine de France, independent obediences of women's freemasonry have also been established in Belgium, Germany ( Zur Humanität or Grand Women's Lodge of Germany ), Italy and Switzerland. They cooperate in an umbrella organization CLIMAF founded in 1982 with around 12,000 members.

The Swiss Grand Lodge Alpina (SGLA) adopted the following declaration on June 6, 2009 regarding women's freemasonry in Switzerland:

  1. In Switzerland, there have been other Masonic organizations for some time, parallel to the SGLA, which in the narrowest sense of our constitution do not work regularly.
  2. As far as we can judge, women's lodges practice high quality Freemasonry, which, with the exception that they accept women, would otherwise be almost regular in the sense of the SGLA.
  3. The existence of these organizations is documented by the SGLA. B. in 1999 published "Handbook of Freemasons", as well as articles about women's freemasonry on the SGLA homepage.
  4. At various locations in Switzerland, cooperation in the areas of charity, conferences, public events and shared use of infrastructures has been established at lodge level.

The Swiss Grand Lodge Alpina decides the following:

  • She recognizes the existence of women's freemasonry in Switzerland, with which, however, she has no formal relationships and with which any right of visit and the exchange of guarantees of friendship are excluded.
  • She supports informal and regular contacts at the level of the Swiss directorates of the SGLA and the Swiss Grand Lodge and is convinced that this will have positive effects on Freemasonry in Switzerland.
  • She is open to non-ritual contacts between the SGLA and women's lodges in order to actively work together in social, humanitarian, cultural and other meaningful areas.

History of Freemasonry

"Goose and Gridiron" pub - the founding site of the First Grand Lodge of Freemasonry in London
The SA de la Franc-Maconnerie Bordelaise was founded by Masonic lodges in Bordeaux to finance the purchase of a house for their meetings; the share was designed based on a template by François Boucher .

The term lodge is mentioned as early as 1278 in a document about the construction of the Vale Royal Abbey . In 1537 the guild in London called its members Freemasons . On June 24, 1717 four lodges merged to form the first Masonic Grand Lodge , the first Grand Lodge in England . This day is considered to be the official founding date of "modern" Freemasonry. Since then, all Freemasons worldwide have celebrated June 24th ( St. John's Day , compare St. John's Day) as the highest holiday.

In the early days of Freemasonry, members traditionally gathered in inns . The first grand lodge was founded in 1717 in the English inn "Goose and Gridiron". Members rented the back rooms of inns for temple work so that they could conduct their ceremonies undisturbed . Some lodges still follow this tradition today. The Hamburg Masonic Lodge “Absalom zu den Drei Netteln” is the oldest German Masonic Lodge. It was founded on December 6th, 1737 in the "Taverne d'Angleterre" owned by the winery Jens Arbien in Grosse Bäckerstrasse. Later the Hotel Kaisershof in Hamburg acted as a meeting place.

Princes and kings founded so-called court boxes that met at the courts of the respective regents. The Prussian king, Frederick the Great , founded the lodge La loge première / La loge du Roi notre grand maître in his Rheinsberg castle . After his accession to the throne, he continued to run the lodge as lodge master and held the first work on June 20, 1740.

While Freemasonry in parts of continental Europe after the French Revolution and especially after the end of Napoleon Bonaparte's hegemony came into serious conflict with the ruling political and religious groups of the Restoration period, in Great Britain it succeeded in running the risk of a parliamentary ban on all oath associations by an unlawful society Avoid Act 1799 with the help of an intervention with Prime Minister William Pitt . The grandmasters of both English grand lodges pointed out that the members of the lodges were law-abiding and charitable citizens. But they also committed to submitting local membership lists annually (a practice that continued until 1967).

At the end of the 18th century, some Masonic lodges began to build or buy houses for their congregations in order to convert them into lodge houses. This had the advantage that the equipment for temple work no longer had to be assembled and dismantled and temple work could be held on regular dates. Particularly architectural showpieces in Europe were the Palazzo Giustiniani in Rome and the house of the Danish Freemasons in the Copenhagen district of Østerbro . In large cities several lodges often joined together and worked in a large temple or lodge, such as the Freemasons' Hall in London.

The construction of lodge houses in America developed in a special way. Here, as a result of the large number of members and the need for space of the countless side branches, skyscrapers have emerged, such as the Masonic Temple in Chicago , some of the rooms of which have also been given to various tenants. From the American style, the large Shriners mosques are particularly striking due to their oriental colors and the facades covered with domes and minarets.

The field and military lodges are an exception, some of which do not have their own lodge house and conduct their temple work in tents , in the open air or as guests in other lodge houses.

Freemasonry by country


The first Masonic Lodge in Germany was founded on December 6, 1737. At that time the lodge had no name and in 1743 it was named Absalom . She still worked in two grades : apprentice and master according to the so-called Prichard's traitor script . On October 23, 1740 it appeared in the register of the boxes of the London Grand Lodge under the name Bunch of Grapes, Becker Street Hamburg .

A delegation from this lodge, led by Baron von Oberg, accepted the Crown Prince of Prussia, later King Frederick the Great, as a Freemason in Braunschweig on the night of August 14th to 15th, 1738, in the old Kornschen Gasthaus. Von Oberg then became chamberlain to the Crown Prince and headed Friedrich's Masonic lodge at Rheinsberg Castle . From 1739, Crown Prince Friedrich himself took over the task of mastering the chair . After his accession to the throne in 1740, he held the temple work in Charlottenburg Palace .

In the 18th century the Masonic lodges contributed to the development of a new form of public . Like the salons, clubs and reading societies , which looked similar, they operated in the private sphere. Their private character and their arcane practice made it possible, however, that men of different denominations and different statuses met as equals, independently and in part in opposition to the forms of public that had established themselves in the absolutist corporate state , namely the Princely Court and the Church. The lodges and the Enlightenment Societies were only permeable upwards, but members of the lower classes were denied access. At the same time, it was possible for this new form of sociability to try out civil equality between members of different classes as an idea for the first time and to participate in an uncensored opinion-forming process from the same time in a conversation. The German philosopher Jürgen Habermas described this process in his habilitation thesis of the same name in 1962 as “ structural change in the public ”. Although conversations on religious and political topics are not permitted in the open lodges, they contributed to the spread of enlightening ideas. This is true even though the German lodges did not always succeed in keeping themselves free from obscurantistic and mystical currents. These were shown among other things in the competitive Rosicrucianism as in the Masonic Strict Observance with its medieval-looking high degree system and the obedience to "Unknown Superiors". Even in the 19th century, the Great Mother Lodge of the Eclectic Freemasons Association considered it appropriate to declare war on jousting games, superstition (belief in ghosts, spiritualism, occultism, belief in magical powers), astrology and obscurantism of all kinds. Overall, however, as the social historian Hans-Ulrich Wehler judges, the “bourgeois enlightenment mentality” continued to develop in the lodges.

In 1902, the German Freemason Museum was opened and in 1913 the Wolfstieg Society for Freemason and Scientific Research was founded. However, much information is not available to the public. One of the few insights into the work of the Freemasons in Germany was offered by an exhibition entitled “Licht ins Dunkel” in the Focke Museum in Bremen in 2006.

Most of the German lodges of male Freemasons belong to grand lodges , which are united in the United Grand Lodges of Germany (VGLvD). These are from the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLoE) recognized and be in the language of German Freemasons' regular called "lodges. 485 Masonic lodges with around 15,300 members are organized in the VGLvD.

There are also feminine and mixed-gender grand lodges in Germany. Of these, the Women's Grand Lodge of Germany is recognized by the United Grand Lodges of Germany as “working in a masonic manner”. In Germany, the United Grand Lodges of Germany is relatively open to a dialogue on issues of equal rights for women and coexists with liberal lodges.

The liberal grand lodges are recognized by the Greater Orient of France (GOdF). These include the mixed-sex grand lodges, the Freemason Grand Lodge Humanitas , Le Droit Humain and the Sovereign GrossOrient of Germany .

In addition, in Germany, as in almost all countries in which Freemasonry is active, there are lodges that do not work under the recognition of a grand lodge. Such lodges are called irregular or corner lodges in Masonic usage . Depending on the orientation, only men, only women or both male and female members are accepted.


Most lodges in France belong to liberal freemasonry. Many grand lodges have an international network. In 2005 there were around 45,000 members in 1080 lodges in France .

In 1773 the Grand Orient de France was founded. It is an umbrella association for around 1200 Masonic lodges with over 49,000 members worldwide. There has been a Masonic Museum in Paris since 1889.

Le Droit Humain is the Grand Lodge of Mixed Freemasonry, founded in 1893 and in 2007 comprised around 30,000 men and women in over 60 countries, including 15,250 in France.

The Grande Loge de France has about 27,000 and the Grande Loge Nationale Française about 43,500 brothers.

Smaller organizations are the Grande Loge Féminine de France with around 11,000 sisters, the Grande Loge Traditionnelle et Symbolique - Opéra with around 5,000 brothers, the Grande Loge Mixte de France with 2,900 brothers and sisters, the Grand Prieuré des Gaules with around 1,000 brothers and sisters the Ordre Initiatique et Traditionnel de l'Art Royal with about 1000 sisters and brothers.


The first establishment of a Masonic Lodge may have occurred in Florence in 1733 .

In 1887 Rome was founded as a Masonic counterpart to the Curia Congregation "Propaganda Fide" (in German "Spread of Faith"), the Lodge "Propaganda Massonica" (German: "Spread of Freemasonry"). Like Freemasonry in general, it was forbidden during the rule of fascism. In 1944 it was re-established as Propaganda Due (P2) as the second lodge of the Grande Oriente d'Italia .

It was a regularly recognized Masonic lodge in Italy . Since it was also used for criminal purposes, the Grande Oriente d'Italia decided to expel it in 1974, which did not prevent the criminal organization from continuing to operate as a Masonic lodge. However, the exclusion only became effective in 1982. Licio Gelli , founder and master of the chair, achieved recognition of a successor log from the Grand Master in 1975 and secretly continued to operate the P2. The discovery of the machinations of this lodge led to a major scandal in Italy.

Freemasonry in Italy is very fragmented. The largest Masonic organizations are the Grande Oriente d'Italia , the Gran Loggia d'Italia (in short: Piazza del Gesù ), the Gran Loggia Regolare d'Italia and the Federazione italiana dell'Ordine Massonico Misto ( belonging to Le Droit Humain ). There are also numerous other smaller groups.


The first Masonic lodges were founded in Santiago de Cuba in 1802 and 1803 . In 1804 a French jeweler, a member of the French Lodge Réunion des Coeurs in Port-au-Prince , became the first master of the chair in the new Lodge El Templo de las Virtudes Teologales No 103 . In the following years, other Masonic lodges were founded in Cuba by various American and French grand lodges. Persecution, torture and execution of Freemasons began under Ferdinand VII in 1814. At the end of the 19th century, Freemasonry was able to recover. In 1930 the grand lodge had around 14,000 members in 190 lodges. By 1959 the number of members rose to 35,000. The revolution under Fidel Castro eventually led to a split among the Freemasons. By 1991, the membership had dropped to 22,000.


The first Masonic Lodge was mentioned in 1729. In 1929 the Grand Lodge of Luxembourg (Grande Loge de Luxembourg) was founded.

In 1959, members of the Saint Jean de L'Espérance men's lodge founded the Grand Orient of Luxembourg as a grand lodge. In 1968 the Grand Orient of Luxembourg was "put to sleep" due to internal difficulties; H. all work was suspended. The Saint Jean de L'Espérance lodge continued to work. In 1982 the Grand Orient was reactivated by the three lodges L'Espérance, Liberté and Tolérance. After that women were also accepted. In 1987 a fourth, also mixed-working lodge called Tradition et Progrès was founded.

The Grand Orient of Luxembourg is today an association of 11 liberal Masonic lodges with 520 members in four countries.


Freemasonry in Austria began in 1742, when the first lodge was founded in Vienna at the request of Philipp Gotthard von Schaffgotsch , who later became the prince-bishop of Breslau . It only existed for a short time, in 1743 Maria Theresa had it dissolved. Only after her death (1780) was Freemasonry tolerated again in the Habsburg monarchy, and in 1784 the Grand State Lodge of Austria was formed. In 1797 Freemasonry was banned in Austria. This ban applied to the entire Danube Monarchy until 1867 , but no longer in the Kingdom of Hungary . After the establishment of the First Republic in Austria, the Grand Lodge of Vienna was founded on December 8, 1918. Due to the strong influence of the Catholic Church in Austria , Freemasons in Austria do much less public relations work and appear less openly as Freemasons than is the case in the rest of Europe or the United States .

The only Grand Lodge of the Freemasons recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England is the Grand Lodge of the old free and accepted masons of Austria with its seat in Vienna. A prominent member was Richard Nikolaus Coudenhove-Kalergi , who had been with the Vienna Lodge Humanitas since 1922 . The current Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen is, according to his own statement, an ex-Freemason.

Liberal grand lodges in Austria, most of which work mixed-sex, are:


On November 16, 1937, a popular initiative entitled “Prohibition of Freemasonry” - initiated by the “ Swiss Homeland Army ” and the “ Fascist Movement ” - was voted on in Switzerland . However, the proposal was rejected with 68.7% (with a turnout of 65.94%).

Various systems are currently active in Switzerland:

  • Humanitas , Masonic Grand Lodge for women and men in Germany, represented by Lodge FIDELITAS Zurich .
  • Swiss Grand Lodge Alpina (SGLA) with currently 84 regional lodges.
  • Grand Orient de Suisse with 20 boxes
  • Swiss women's grand lodge with 14 boxes
  • mixed Grand Lodge of Switzerland (GGLS) with 9 boxes
  • Swiss jurisdiction of Le Droit Humain with 3 boxes (mixed)
  • Grande Oriente d'Italia with at least one box
  • various men's, women's and mixed lodges without belonging to a grand lodge, v. a. in the French-speaking part of Switzerland


As early as 1721, the first Masonic lodge in Istanbul was built by French Masons (teaching method of the Grand Orient de France ). The Grand Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons of Turkey , recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England , was re-established in its current form in 1956 for the fourth time. After their split, the Grand Lodge of the Liberal Freemasons of Turkey was established in 1966, recognized by the Grand Orient de France .

United Kingdom

The United Grand Lodge of England is the umbrella organization of Freemasonry in England and Wales and claims to be the oldest grand lodge in the world. It was founded in 1717 when four Masonic lodges from London and Westminster merged. It is organized in provincial grand lodges roughly the same as the traditional counties of England.

As the oldest Masonic Lodge in the world, the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No. 1 in Scotland , which dates back to 1599. In 1736 the Grand Lodge of Scotland was founded.

United States

John Moore from Pennsylvania reports on the first lodges in the USA in 1715. Many lodges were founded without recognition by a grand lodge. Some lodges were recognized by the grand lodges from England, Ireland and Scotland at that time. After the American Revolution , independent grand lodges sprang up in all states. It is believed that George Washington , the first President of the United States and a member of a lodge in Virginia , was also the first Grand Master of the Masons in the United States. This position of power is said to have only lasted for a short time, as various grand lodges did not recognize this grand master.

Washington had been a member of the Fredericksburg Lodge No. 1 ”in Virginia, in 1788 he became“ Master of the Chair ”of the Masonic Lodge“ Alexandria No. 39 ". The Grand Chancellor of the Grand Lodge of New York and State Chancellor Robert R. Livingston took the oath of inauguration from US President Washington . The foundation stone of the Capitol was also laid in 1793 according to the Masonic rite. At the President's funeral in 1799, six army colonels, all Freemasons, carried the coffin.

Freemasonry is of great social importance in the USA to this day, just as it is in Great Britain: in 1960, with over 4 million members, 7.6% of the male population were registered in lodges.

Organizations based on the model of the Masons

The early Enlightenment was characterized by a large number of more or less secret societies and associations. Neither the term “Freemason” nor the term “Lodge” was or is legally protected, so any association can call itself a “Lodge” or even a “Freemason Lodge”, even if it is not recognized by a Grand Lodge .

In addition, numerous other organizations, such as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows or the student associations in the Anglo-American tradition, were founded on the model of the Freemasons . To what extent these have an organizational connection to Freemasonry is controversial. The student associations in Germany clearly differ in rituals and organizations from Freemasonry and are not “youth organizations” of the lodges. However, this does not apply in all states.

The student union Skull & Bones is an elitist secret society that stands in the tradition of American Freemasonry and is seen by many authors in organizational proximity to this. This closeness is repeatedly the subject of conspiracy theories .

Masonic museums in German-speaking countries

See also


Masonic personalities

sorted by nationality and century:

Criticism of Freemasonry

Masonic works







Eugen Lennhoff The Freemasons 1932


  • Reinhold Dosch (Ed.): German Freemasons Lexicon . Studienverlag, 2011, ISBN 978-3-7065-4522-8 .
  • Renate Endler, Elisabeth Schwarze-Neuss: The Freemason Holdings in the Secret State Archive of Prussian Cultural Heritage . Volume 1: Grand Lodges and Protector; Volume 2: daughter boxes (= series of publications of the international research center Democratic Movements in Central Europe 1770–1850, volumes 13 and 18), Frankfurt am Main a. a. 1994, 1996.
  • M. Gaudart, H. Lamant, K. Hoffmeister: Dictionnaire des Franc-Maçons européens. Dualpha Editions, 2005, ISBN 2-915461-13-9 .
  • C. Lenning (Hrsg.): Encyclopedia of Freemasonry: In addition to news about the secret connections that are actually or allegedly related, in alphabetical order ... 3 volumes, Leipzig 1822–1828 - “C. Lenning "is the pseudonym of the author Friedrich Mossdorf (1757–1843). Digitized at" Google books "
  • Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder : Internationales Freemaurerlexikon. Revised and expanded new edition of the 1932 edition. Munich 2003, ISBN 3-7766-2161-3 .
  • Robert A. Minder: Freemason Politician Lexicon from Salvador Allende to Saad Zaghlul Pascha. Studienverlag, Innsbruck 2004, ISBN 3-7065-1909-7 .
  • Andrej Serkov: Encyclopedia Russian Freemasonry 1731-2000. Moscow 2001.
  • Friedrich Ludwig Schröder: Thoughts on the relationship of Freemasonry to the order of the temple lords and their connection with the same. 1780, Bay. State Library digital
  • Vuillaume: Masonry handbook or presentation of all the customary masonry customs in France in which the derivation u. Explanation of all mysterious words u. Names of all grades ... include ...  : from d. Franz.; with 32 copper plates Leipzig 1821 In: Magazin für Industrie u. Literature. Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf digital
  • Henning von Wistinghausen: Freemasons and Enlightenment in the Russian Empire. The Reval Lodges 1773–1820 . With a biographical lexicon. Vols 1-3. Böhlau, Cologne / Weimar / Vienna 2016, ISBN 978-3-412-50131-0 .
  • August Wolfstieg : Bibliography of Masonic Literature. 4 volumes, reprographic reprint of the Burg 1911, 1912 and Leipzig 1913, 1926 editions (supplementary volume, edited by Bernhard Beyer). Olms, Hildesheim 1964 & 1992.

General literature

  • MS Abdullah: The great legend of temple building. Traces of Freemasonry in Islamic Tradition and Legend. Eleusis 28 vol. 319 (1973).
  • Edwin A. Biedermann: Lodges, clubs and brotherhoods. Droste-Verlag, Düsseldorf 2004, ISBN 3-7700-1184-8 .
  • Heinrich Boos : History of Freemasonry. A contribution to the cultural and literary history of the 18th century , 2nd, completely revised edition, Aarau: HR Sauerländer, 1906 (reprints 1969 and 1979).
  • Ludwig Börne : About Freemasonry (1811). All writings. Volume I. Düsseldorf 1964.
  • Franz Carl Endres : The Secret of the Freemason. Mittelbach Verlag, Stuttgart 1949 / Bauhütten Verlag, Münster 1990, ISBN 3-87050-185-5 .
  • Marco Frenschkowski : The secret societies. A cultural and historical analysis. Wiesbaden: Marixverlag 2007 (MarixWissen series). 5th edition. Wiesbaden 2012.
  • Tom Goeller: Freemason. Eliminating a myth. be.bra verlag, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-89809-103-9 .
  • Klaus Jürgen Grün: Philosophy of Freemasonry. An intercultural perspective. (Intercultural Library 124). Traugott Bautz Verlag, Nordhausen 2006, ISBN 3-88309-329-7 .
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Haack : Freemason. (Munich series), ISBN 3-583-50616-2 .
  • Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann : The politics of sociability. Masonic lodges in the German civil society 1840 to 1918. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 2000, ISBN 3-525-35911-X .
  • Jürgen Holtorf: The Masons' lodges. Influence, power, secrecy. Heyne Verlag, Munich 1991, ISBN 3-930656-58-2 . (Note the difference in the foreword to the earlier editions Heyne Verlag, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-453-01811-7 ).
  • August Horneffer: The Federation of Freemasons. Diederich Verlag, Jena 1913.
  • Horst Kischke: The Freemasons / Fiction, Reality and Perspectives. ISBN 3-426-77419-4 .
  • Michael Kraus (Ed.): The Freemasons. Ecowin Verlag, Salzburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-902404-40-4 .
  • Alfried Lehner: The esotericism of the Freemasons. ISBN 3-87354-188-2 .
  • Allan Oslo: The Freemasons. Patmos, 2002, ISBN 3-491-96059-2 .
  • Will-Erich Peukert: Secret cults. The standard work. Nikol, Hamburg 2003, ISBN 3-933203-66-X .
  • Quatuor coronati Yearbook of Masonic Research. to publish new research results. Focus on the history of Freemasonry, including its intellectual-cultural and political-social environment. The yearbooks are generally accessible and are intended to familiarize Masonic researchers, universities and institutes as well as interested laypeople with the work of "Quatuor Coronati".
  • Helmut Reinalter : The Freemasons. 7th edition. Beck 2016, ISBN 978-3-406-44733-4 .
  • Alfred Schmidt : History of the emergence of humanitarian freemasonry. Deistic roots and aspects . Salier-Verlag, Leipzig 2014, ISBN 978-3-943539-40-0 .
  • Marcel Valmy : The Freemasons - Working on the Rough Stone - With a hammer, compass and square measure. Illustrated book, Callwey Verlag, 1988, ISBN 3-88059-929-7 .
  • Holger Zillner: Freemasonry and student associations - history, structure, identity. Kovač, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8300-3873-3 .


Special literature

  • Reinhard Breymayer: Freemasons at the gates of the Tübingen monastery: Masonic influence on Hölderlin? In: Sönke Lorenz and Volker [Karl] Schäfer in connection with the Institute for Historical Regional Studies and Historical Auxiliary Sciences at the University of Tübingen (ed.): Tubingensia: Impulse for City and University History . Festschrift for Wilfried Setzler on his 65th birthday . (Tübingen building blocks for regional history, 10). Jan Thorbecke Verlag, Ostfildern 2008, ISBN 978-3-7995-5510-4 , pp. 355-395.
  • Otto Kuntzemüller : Freemasonry and its opponents in a factual presentation and lighting up on the files. Adolf Sponholtz, Hanover 1898.
  • Otto Kuntzemüller: Masonic Central Europe. Hs. F. Brr Masons. In: Herold. 1918, no. 35–38, Association of German Freemasons, Leipzig 1918.
  • Nagy, Töhötöm (Dr.): Jesuits and Freemasons (With an open letter to His. Holiness Paul VI.), Wilhelm Frick Verlag, Vienna, 1969.
  • Hermann Settegast German Freemasonry, its foundations, its goals. 9th edition. A. Unger, Berlin 1919. (reworked by Heinrich Möller (veterinarian) )
  • Harald Schrefler: The Catholic Church and Freemasonry. A documentary review and the dialogues in Austria in the 20th and 21st centuries . Dissertation at the University of Vienna, University Library Bd. D 35.854, Vienna 2009.
  • Harald Strebel : The Freemason Wolfgang Amadé Mozart , Rothenhäusler Stäfa 1991.
  • Rainer Hubert: Freemason, Freemasonry . In: Reallexikon zur Deutschen Kunstgeschichte , Vol. X (2010), Col. 656–700.

Masonic symbols


Film documentaries

  • Temples, lodges, rituals. Documentation for the public television broadcaster Phoenix .
  • NG Inside: The Freemasons. (Original: Freemasons on Trial ), National Geographic Society documentary film from 2007.
  • The heirs of the Templars. ZDF documentary from the series secret societies of Terra X from 2014.
  • All humans become brothers - The Freemasons and Music  : Documentation by WDR and Arte by Michael Meert (April 2012)
  • Secret Germany - Freemasonry in Hamburg from the documentary ZDF : time Secret Germany .
  • Between Freemasons and Bodybuilders Report by the NDR on feminine Freemasonry (Hamburg Journal from September 18, 2012)
  • The History of Freemasonry (Original: Inside the Freemasons ), the film documentation looks behind the scenes of Freemasonry and takes a look into the future. Released in German-speaking countries on September 15, 2018 on Netflix . A 2017 Emporium Productions and Netflix production.
  • Rolf Appel - an outstanding Freemason in conversation with Knut Terjung YouTube compilation of a portrait for his 90th birthday

Radio reports and podcast

  • Great Master Builder of All Worlds Part 1 and Part 2 - The relationship between Freemasonry and Christianity - A podcast contribution by the radio station Bayern 2 from the series Evangelical Perspectives from June 29, 2008 on YouTube
  • Mason trowel, angle measure and compass A podcast contribution from the radio station Bayern 2 from the Theo.Logik series . A contribution by Matthias Morgenroth from July 2, 2012.
  • Clement XII. reckons with Freemasonry: On April 28, 1738, Pope Clement XII condemned . freemasonry. A podcast contribution from the radio station Bayern 2 from the series radioWissen - Das Kalenderblatt from April 28, 2010.
  • Interview with Rüdiger Templin: An interview with the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodges of Germany . A podcast contribution from the radio station Bayern 3 from the series Mensch, Otto! dated July 20, 2011
  • Freemasons and the Queen of the Night Freemasonry and the opera Magic Flute . A podcast contribution by the radio station Bremen Eins from the As Time Goes By series from September 30, 2011 on
  • World domination - that would be nice: a toast to the Freemasons: 275 years of Freemasonry in Germany. A podcast contribution from the radio station Hr2 in the food for thought series from September 28, 2012.

Films and other media

Web links

Wikisource: Freemasonry  - Sources and Full Texts
Wiktionary: Freemasonry  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Freemasons  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Freemasonry  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Umbrella organization of the regular grand lodges in Germany

Regular grand lodges in Germany

  1. Grand Lodge of the Old Free and Accepted Masons of Germany
  2. Great State Lodge of the Freemasons of Germany (Freemason Order)
  3. Great National Mother Lodge "To the Three Worlds"
  4. American Canadian Grand Lodge
  5. British Freemasons in Germany

External links

Individual evidence

International Masonic Lexicon

  1. Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon. 5th edition. Herbig Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-7766-2478-7 , Lemma Humanität, p. 403.
  2. a b Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon. 5th edition. Herbig Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-7766-2478-7 , Lemma Politik, p. 660.
  3. Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon. 5th edition. Herbig Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-7766-2478-7 , Lemma France, p. 296.
  4. Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon. 5th edition. Herbig Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-7766-2478-7 , Lemma Baumeister, The Almighty, of all worlds. P. 110.
  5. Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon. 5th edition. Herbig Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-7766-2478-7 , Lemmata Basic Principles 1929, Basic Principles 1989.
  6. Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon. 5th edition. Herbig Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-7766-2478-7 , p. 442.
  7. a b Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon. 5th edition. Herbig Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-7766-2478-7 , Lemma Germany, pp. 217, 218.
  8. Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon. 5th edition. Herbig Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-7766-2478-7 , Lemma Superstition, p. 44.
  9. ^ Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner: International Freemasons Lexicon. Almathea-Verlag, Munich 1980, p. 413. (Reprint from 1932)


  1. a b c General Manual of Freemasonry. Third edition, completely revised and brought into line with new scientific research. from Lenning's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry , Association of German Freemasons, Leipzig. Max Hesses Verlag, 1900.
  2. General Handbook of Freemasonry. Third edition, completely revised and brought into line with new scientific research. from Lenning's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry , Association of German Freemasons, Leipzig. Max Hesses Verlag, 1900. Volume 1, p. 514.


  1. Membership numbers Freemasonry (PDF; 250 kB) , broadcast manuscript: In the hardware store of the epistemological theories (Freemasonry today) by Kirsten Westhuis. A broadcast on January 27, 2013 by the radio station SWR2 from the SWR2 Glaubens series (p. 17).
  2. German Freemasonry on the rise. In: Ev. News agency Idea from November 4, 2015 on Philip Militz's website: Retrieved November 10, 2015 .
  3. ^ TAU, journal of the research lodge QUATUOR CORONATI, Bayreuth, No. II / 2012, p. 9.
  4. z. B. Dieter A. Binder: The discrete society - history and symbolism of the Freemasons. 2004, ISBN 3-7065-1971-2 .
  5. Dieter A. Binder: The discrete society - history and symbolism of the Freemasons . Ed. Kaleidoskop, 1988, ISBN 3-222-11794-2 , p. 14.
  6. The Cooke Manuscript (Wikisource)
  7. Declaratio de associationibus masonicis, the Vatican original document, German version (Accessed 30 October 2010).
  8. ^ Word document: Rudolf Grulich: Freemasonry and Islam . According to this, membership in Freemasonry in Iran even carries the death penalty, accessed: January 12, 2011 ( Memento from January 31, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Dieter A. Binder: The discrete society - history and symbolism of Freemasonry . Verlag Styria, Graz / Vienna / Cologne 1988, ISBN 3-222-11794-2 , p. 216.
  10. Angela Cerinotti: The Freemasons - A secret society and its history . Translated from the Italian by Ruth Karzel. Parthas Verlag, 2008, ISBN 978-3-86601-245-5 .
  11. Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon. 5th edition. Herbig Verlag, ISBN 978-3-7766-2478-6 .
  12. Linda Simonis: The Art of the Secret. Esoteric communication and aesthetic representation in the 18th century. In: Contributions to the recent history of literature, Volume 185.Winter , Heidelberg 2002.
  13. ( Memento from September 10, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  14. About the VGLvD ( Memento from January 20, 2016 in the Internet Archive );, November 2014, accessed September 28, 2015.
  15. ^ Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann : The politics of sociability, Masonic lodges in German civil society 1840-1918. ISBN 3-525-35911-X .
  16. GOdF ( Memento of February 13, 2008 in the Internet Archive ): “This new concept of Freemasonry - of Absolute Freedom of Conscience which was born on the 'Convent' (Annual General Meeting) of 1877 and whose gave birth to a new form of practice in Freemasonry which is called Liberal Freemasonry. "
  17. rule of the order GLLFvD
  18. Bernward Deneke (ed.): See, the stone screams out of the wall : History and culture of the Jews in Bavaria ; An exhibition organized by the Germanic National Museum and the House of Bavarian History in the Germanic National Museum in Nuremberg, October 25, 1988 - January 22, 1989. Catalog. 1988.
  19. The text of the ( Memento of November 5, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) CIC , as of 1917, in Latin, University of Lucerne, accessed on October 30, 2010 ( MS Word ; 1.4 MB).
  20. Schrefler: The Pope and the Freemasons. Innsbruck 2010, p. 112. The catalog of questions is printed on p. 113/114.
  21. ^ Text of the original document in: Freemason Wiki. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
  22. ^ Lennhoff-Poser-Bindner: Internationales Freemaurerlexikon. Munich 2006, p. 458.
  23. ^ Joachim Müller: Freemasonry and the Catholic Church. Fears - arguments - attempts at dialogue. Information on the new religious scene, Volume 6, Kanisiusverlag, 1995. Online version ( memento from May 26, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) from October 20, 2005, Catholic office 'New religious movements' of the Swiss Bishops' Conference, accessed on September 22, 2010.
  24. Schrefler: The Pope and the Freemasons, Innsbruck 2010, pp. 138/139. The extensive explanation of the Bishops' Conference is included in the appendix, pp. 284–296.
  25. ^ The original Vatican document, German version (accessed on September 11, 2012).
  26. Klaus Kottmann: The Freemasons and the Catholic Church, Frankfurt am Main 2009, p. 296 m. Footnote.
  27. ^ Tutzinger Talks ( Memento from May 30, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  28. More about the predominantly negative attitudes of various Protestant Free Churches and other Christian churches towards Freemasonry can be found in: Pöhlmann, M. Freemaurer - Knowledge was true. Herder, Freiburg 2008, p. 107 f.
  29. Matthias Pöhlmann: Secret men. Freemasons in Germany. EZW texts ( Evangelical Central Office for Weltanschauungsfragen ) 5th, updated edition, Berlin 2011 ( ISSN  0085-0357 .)
  30. ^ W. Quenzer: Royal art in the mass society . Freemasonry as a group phenomenon, EZW-Information 58, Stuttgart XII / 1974, 18f History of the Evangelical Church
  31. Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurerlexikon. Revised and expanded new edition of the 1932 edition, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-7766-2161-3 , pp. 304–306.
  32. Doris Maurer : For the 250th birthday of Charlotte von Stein . Die Zeit Online of December 25, 1992. Accessed July 6, 2013.
  33. Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurerlexikon. Revised and expanded new edition of the 1932 edition, special production Munich 2006, ISBN 3-7766-5007-9 , p. 774.
  34. Josephine Baker , on the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon website (accessed February 19, 2013).
  35. a b Marco Carini: Freemasons The Secret Society. Bath BA1 HE, UK, Parragon Books Ltd., ISBN 978-1-4454-0330-4 , p. 59.
  36. Zweck / frauen- d.php Homepage of the Swiss Grand Lodge Alpina, declaration on women's lodges. Accessed on February 23, 2012.
  37. Jakob Schmitz: Departure for shares . Verlag Wirtschaft und Finanz, 1996, ISBN 3-87881-101-2 , p. 311.
  38. Jürgen Habermas: Social structures of the public. In: Peter Pütz (Ed.): Research into the German Enlightenment (= New Scientific Library, Vol. 94). Verlagsgruppe Athenäum, Hain, Scriptor, Hansen, Königstein 1980, pp. 139–145; Ulrich Im Hof : The Europe of the Enlightenment. 2nd Edition. CH Beck, Munich 1993, pp. 126-130; Hans-Ulrich Wehler : German history of society, Vol. 1: From the feudalism of the Old Empire to the defensive modernization of the reform era 1700-1815 . CH Beck, Munich, paperback study edition 2008, pp. 322–328.
  39. ^ Hans Ulrich Wehler: German history of society . CH Beck, 3rd edition 1996, p. 323 ff.
  40. Weser-Kurier of June 22, 2006, page 15: “Freemasonry in front of blue velvet”, access via the digital newspaper archive on February 8, 2016
  41. website of the VGLvD ( memento from January 20, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on February 8, 2016.
  44. L'Ordre Maçonnique Mixte International - Le Droit Humain ( Memento of October 14, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  45. La Grande Loge de France ( Memento of March 14, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  46. Les 43 500 frères de la GLNF ( Memento from November 20, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  47. La Grande Loge Féminine de France ( Memento of April 10, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  48. La Grande Loge Traditionnelle et Symbolique - Opéra ( Memento of March 14, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  49. L'Ordre Initiatique et Traditionnel de l'Art Royal ( Memento of October 13, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  50. "It is very doubtful whether a lodge in Florence was founded by Lord Sackville (sd) in 1733, and the oldest Masonic commemorative coin struck on it is regarded as a deception (cf. Freemason 1883 Jan.-Nov.)" ( Lenning : General Handbook of Freemasonry. Third, completely revised edition of Lenning's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, brought in line with the new scientific research . Page 493)
  51. Kent Henderson (Ed.): Insights into Masonry. Lodge of Research No. 218 United Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Victoria, Victoria (Australia) 1987, ISBN 0-7316-2645-1 , pp. 25-33.
  53. Website of the Grand Orient of Luxembourg
  55. ^ Grand Lodge of Austria
  56. ^ Robert A. Minder: Freemason Politicians Lexicon., p. 158.
  57. Freemason Order Le Droit Humain - Austrian Federation
  58. Universal Masonic Order Hermetica
  59. Swiss Federal Chancellery : Federal popular initiative 'Prohibition of Freemasonry'. Retrieved November 27, 2009 .
  60. Swiss Federal Chancellery: Template No. 123 overview. Retrieved November 27, 2009 .
  61. ^ Masonic Grand Lodge Humanitas ( Memento from October 2, 2018 in the Internet Archive )
  62. FIDELITAS Zurich ( Memento from October 2, 2018 in the Internet Archive )
  63. ^ List of Swiss lodges. Swiss Grand Lodge Alpina, accessed on June 3, 2020 .
  64. "The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing body of Freemasonry in England, Wales and the Channel Islands."
  65. Stevenson, David (1988). The Origins of Freemasonry. Cambridge University Press. pp. 38-44. ISBN 0-521-39654-9 .
  67. ^ Francis Vicente, An Overview of Early Freemasonry in Pennsylvania , Pietre-Stones .
  68. Bullock, Steven C .; Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg, Va.) (1996). Revolutionary brotherhood: Freemasonry and the transformation of the American social order, 1730-1840. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-4750-3 . OCLC 33334015
  69. ^ William R. Denslow, Harry S. Truman: 10,000 Famous Freemasons from K to Z. ISBN 1-4179-7579-2 .
  70. Eugen Lennhoff et al. a .: International Masonic Lexicon. 2006 edition, Lemma Washington, p. 889.
  71. ^ Numbers according to John L. Belton in: Arturo de Hoyos, S. Brent Morris: Freemasonry in Context Lanham, Maryland 2004. p. 314.
  72. Alexandra Robbins : Secrets of the Tomb , Little, Brown and Company, Boston / New York / London 2002; German edition: Brotherhood of Death. Skull & Bones, the secret order behind George W. Bush , Verlag Diederichs (Hugendubel), Kreuzlingen / Munich 2003; - Robbins has access to extensive press material and has interviewed around 100 Bonesmen himself. She follows the web of power and relationships that this secret society has created.
  73. ^ Museum St. Michaelisdonn
  74. ^ Johannisloge To the three clover leaves - Aschersleben ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  75. Jean Sibelius - Masonic Biography (English).
  76. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Erich Trunz: Poems and Epics I. Hamburg Edition, 14 volumes, Volume I, CH Beck, 1981, ISBN 3-406-08481-8 , p. 702.
  77. Rudyard Kipling - Masonic Biography (English).
  78. Treasures of the World - Heritage of Humanity: Sintra.
  79. ( Memento from July 23, 2005 in the Internet Archive )
  80. - Audio on Demand


  1. ^ Charges of a Freemason , II. Of the CIVIL MAGISTRATES supreme and subordinate: “A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be concern'd in Plots and Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation, nor to behave himself undutifully to inferior Magistrates; for as Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion, so ancient Kings and Princes have been much dispos'd to encourage the Craftsmen, […] ”
  2. With the aim of helping people to help themselves ( principle of subsidiarity ).
  3. ^ "[...] or that may forbid an easy and free conversation, for that would blast our harmony, and defeat our laudable purposes. Therefore no private Piques or Quarrels must be brought within the Door of the Lodge, far less any Quarrels about Religion, or Nations, or State Policy, we being only, as Masons, of the Catholick Religion above mention'd, we are also of all Nations, Tongues, Kindreds, and Languages, and are resolv'd against all Politics, as what never yet conduct'd to the Welfare of the Lodge, nor ever will. "VI, 2.
  4. The original formulation: “The law is the expression of the will of the general public!” In a circular from the Grand Orient de France in 1775 was incorporated into the declaration of human and civil rights by the Marquis de La Fayette in 1789 .
  5. ^ Freemasons & the US Declaration of Independence.
  6. To the three swords and Astraea to the green diamond
  7. Literally: I. Concerning GOD and RELIGION. A Mason is oblig'd 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. (THE CHARGES OF A FREE-MASON).
  8. see also: Irmen, Hans-Josef: Mozart - member of secret societies. Zülpich (Prisca) 1988, ²1991, engl. Translated 1996, Italian translated 2003.
  9. Friedrich Schiller's poem To Joy was written at the request of Christian Gottfried Körner in 1785 for the table of the Lodge To the Three Swords in Dresden. See also:
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on March 24, 2006 .