Grande Oriente d'Italia

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The Grande Oriente d'Italia (GOI) is the largest Italian umbrella organization ( grand lodge ) of Masonic lodges . It was created in its present form on December 20, 1859 in Turin through the union of older Masonic grand lodges. The first of these grand lodges was formed in Naples in 1804 under the name Grand Orient de la division militaire du Royaume d'Italie , which merged with the Grand Orient of Milan as early as 1805 . The umbrella organization sees itself as Ordine Massonico .


The first establishment of a Masonic Lodge in Florence was possibly in 1733 by the English, which was soon joined by locals. They met in Via Maggio at the Pasciò's inn. Her first chair master was Sbigoli Henry Fox alias "Monsiù Fox", who later became Secretary of State of George II, Lord Holland . Another lodge was opened in Rome on August 16, 1735.

In the following years numerous lodges were able to gain a foothold in Livorno, Milan, Verona, Venice and in the Kingdom of Naples. But as early as 1737 the Grand Duke Gian Gastone de 'Medici issued a general ban on Freemasonry in Tuscany. When he died that same year, the Grand Duchy passed to the Freemason Franz I Stephan of Lorraine .

1738 sentenced Clemens XII. in the papal bull In eminenti apostolatus specula the Freemasonry and called on the state powers to ban Freemasonry. As a result, Cardinal Firrao had Masonic books publicly burned by the executioner in 1739 and in the same year the poet Tommaso Crudeli was denounced as a heretic in Florence during the Inquisition and tortured in prison; Although he was later released at the instigation of the Grand Duke, he succumbed to the consequences of imprisonment at the age of 43. On May 18, 1751, Pope Benedict XIV confirmed the bull of his predecessor with the Bull Providas romanorum and underlined the condemnation of Freemasonry by forbidding all Catholics, under threat of excommunication, all contact, which takes place without explanation and remains valid until death, whereupon Charles III. (Spain) banned Freemasonry in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies .

Giacomo Casanova , who was admitted to the league of freemasons in 1750, was arrested on July 26, 1755 in Venice for Freemasonry and sentenced to five years in prison without being informed of the sentence. As early as November 1, 1756, he managed to escape from the lead chambers of the Doge's Palace.

In 1762 the Neapolitan Masonic lodges merged into a National Grand Lodge Del Zelo , Prince di Caramanica , a confidante of Queen Maria Karolina , daughter of the Freemason Franz I Stephan , was elected as Grand Master .

In 1765 the Turin Lodge Sant Jean de la Mysterieuse was founded, whose members were among the heads of the Turin Academy of Sciences and, protected by Duke Viktor Amadeus III. of Savoy, gained some influence in the politics of the ruler who was intent on modernization in the sense of the Enlightenment .

When the blood miracle on the feast of St. Januarius did not materialize in Naples in 1776, bought women ran through the alleys, who blamed the Freemasons for it. This used King Ferdinand IV's Minister Tanucci to impose penal ordinances against Freemasonry and had a large number of Freemasons thrown into prison. Queen Karolina had this canceled again. In a letter to the Pope, Ferdinand IV wrote that Freemasonry was protected by his wife and wanted to rule in every respect. With the beginning of the French Revolution, however, this protection of the queen would later turn into hatred.

In 1783 the Marchese Vivaldi in Venice was arrested for Freemasonry, strangled in prison and his body was publicly exhibited with the inscription: “This is how the Republic treats the Freemasons”.

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 . Members included 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 time after the French Revolution

After the French Revolution and the establishment of French subsidiary republics in Italy, many lodges were converted into Jacobin clubs . In Milan, the capital of the Cisalpine Republic , which became part of the first " Kingdom of Italy " in 1805, a first grand lodge was formed three months later with the name Grande Oriente d'Italia first manifestation of a state idea of ​​a united Italy in the name of the unification is now considered the year of foundation. Another important lodge was the Grande Oriente di Napoli in Naples. The total number of Freemasons in Italy is estimated for the Napoleonic period at around 20,000 people in around 250 lodges, in which numerous influential people in political and other public life were active.

After the Congress of Vienna had largely restored the conditions before the Napoleonic period, all Masonic activity had to be stopped in 1814. Pope Pius VII called Freemasonry in the Bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum of August 7, 1814, as dangerous to the state and wrongly equated it with the Carbonari . In 1816 membership in Freemasonry in Naples was punished with dungeon. In 1820 some Masonic lodges were again active, but had to stop their work after a new decree in 1821.

Garibaldi monument in Piazza Mentana in Florence

After Giuseppe Garibaldi was accepted into a Masonic lodge in Montevideo in 1861 , he moved to the Sebezia lodge in Naples that same year , which was then renamed Grande Oriente de Napoli . In 1864 a congress was convened in Florence with the aim of unifying the grand lodges. They then formed an umbrella organization of grand lodges, to whose grandmaster Garibaldi was elected. In 1869 Lodovico Frapolli was elected the new grandmaster. Already in 1868 there was a closer union, which was sealed by a common constitution in 1869 under his chairmanship at a congress of 150 lodges in Florence. In 1870 Rome was united with the Kingdom of Italy, after which the Grande Oriente moved its seat to Rome.

On March 17th, 1872, the Freemasons led their brother and former Grand Master Giuseppe Mazzini in a solemn procession through Rome to his final resting place. It was the first time that Masonic flags were carried through the streets. In 1873, the Supreme Council finally joined the Grande Oriente. The first temple in Rome was inaugurated in 1875 and in 1877, as in 1872, at the funeral, with banners to the unveiling of the Garibaldi monument on Piazza Mentana in Florence.

Giovanni Bovio

On April 20, 1884, Pope Leo XIII published the encyclical Humanum genus , in which it portrayed the Freemasons as destroyers of the kingdom of God, imputed the open intention of stealing their goods from the Christian peoples and destroying the holy church. In response, the Freemasons unveiled a monument to Giordano Bruno by sculptor Ettore Ferrari on Campo de 'Fiori in 1889 . There, Giovanni Bovio gave a speech at the exact spot where Giordano Bruno burned at the stake - surrounded by over 100 Masonic flags. On October 15, 1890, Pope Leo XIII warns. with his encyclical Ad apostolici Italy again before the realization of Freemasonry and calls for its dissolution, whose members he describes as antichrists and enemies .

In 1893 the Grande Oriente moved to the Palazzo Borghese . In 1898, the Grande Oriente broke with the Grand Orient de France for a long time , as the latter recognized a group that had split off in Milan, despite several warnings.

In 1901 the Grande Oriente moved into the Palazzo Giustiniani, which today houses the Senate of the Italian Republic , and stayed there until it was suppressed by fascism .

Time of fascism

In late 1923, fascist troops began destroying lodge property in several cities. The Grande Oriente then immediately expelled fascist functionaries who ignored the decisions of the Grand Fascist Council on the incompatibility of fascism with Freemasonry . After further pillage and the murder of Giacomo Matteotti by six black shirts on June 10, 1924, the Grand Master of the Grande Oriente Domizio Torrigiani publicly stated in Milan that fascism meant a spiritual and moral step backwards. In May 1925, in the absence of the opposition, parliament passed an anti-freemason law, which included the most extensive obligation to provide information to the police about lodge affiliations. The re-elected Grand Master Torrigiani announced to 500 delegates on September 6th that Freemasonry would not let itself be deterred from speaking out against the illegal dictatorship. Murder and arson broke out on the night of October 3rd to 4th, 1925. General Capello was arrested and tried without being able to prove anything. The Masonic lodges were occupied by the military and the Senate has now also passed the anti-Masonic law. The day after Capello was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment, Grand Master Torrigiani was arrested and exiled to the Aeolian Islands for five years without a trial, who had meanwhile closed all Masonic lodges.

The time after the Second World War

In exile, the Grande Oriente in France and London was reorganized until the collapse of fascism, and after reunification on June 7, 1943, the Grande Loggia was officially put back into operation in Rome on June 7, 1944. In July 1949, the Italian government invited members of the Grande Oriente d'Italia to take part in the parade and the dedication of a statue to Giuseppe Mazzini in Rome. About three thousand Italian Freemasons were present. The erection of the statue was delayed by Mussolini's reign until after the death of Ettore Ferrari , who designed it and was a former Grand Master of the Grande Oriente d'Italia . The United Grand Lodge of England recognized the Grande Oriente as regular in 1972 , but withdrew this recognition in the Propaganda Due affair . When the Gran Loggia Regolare d'Italia was surprisingly created, it immediately received recognition from England, but most of the lodges remained members of the Grande Oriente. In 1999 the Grande Oriente was recognized by the English Grand Lodge. Currently, in Italy, the United Grand Lodge of England only recognizes the Gran Loggia Regolare d'Italia . The current seat of the Grande Oriente is the Medici - Villa "Il Vascello". Around 670 lodges with around 18,000 members are organized under its roof in Italy today.


Grand masters were: Giuseppe Garibaldi , Giuseppe Mazzini , Petroni, Fraponelli, Adriano Lemmi , Ernesto Nathan , Ettore Ferrari , Domizio Torrigiani , Placido Martini , Lino Salvini , Virgilio Gaito , Armando Corona and Gustavo Raffi .

See also


  • Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: International Freemasons Lexicon. 5. Revised and expanded new edition of the 1932 edition, special production. Herbig Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-7766-2161-3 .

Web links


  • Enrico Simoni: Bibliografia della Massoneria in Italia. Foggia, Edizioni Bastogi,
1 ° volume 1992 (3471 schede),
2 ° volume 1993 (indici sistematici degli articoli delle Riviste massoniche del dopoguerra; 3762 schede),
1 ° volume di aggiornamento 1997, ISBN 88-8185-124-5 (schede da 3472 a 4584),
3 ° volume 2006, ISBN 88-8185-843-6 (indici sistematici degli articoli della "Rivista della Massoneria Italiana" e della "Rivista Massonica"; 1870-1926; 6478 schede),
2 ° volume di aggiornamento 2010, ISBN 978-88-627-3276-5 (schede da 4585 a 6648).

Individual evidence

  1. "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)
  2. Lenning: General Manual of Freemasonry. Third edition of Lenning's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry , completely revised and brought in line with new scientific research . Page 493
  3. Jacques Casanova de Seingalt: Histoire de ma fuite des prisons de la République de Venise qu'on appelle les Plombs. Ecrite a Dux en Boheme l'année 1787 . Leipzig 1788
  4. Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon. 5. Revised and expanded new edition of the 1932 edition, special production. Herbig Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-7766-2161-3 .
  5. ^ Robert A. Minder: Freemasons-Politicians-Lexicon. Studienverlag, Innsbruck 2004, ISBN 3-7065-1909-7 ( edition on the rough stone 8).
  6. ^ William R. Denslow, Harry S. Truman: 10,000 Famous Freemasons. Part 2: K to Z. Kessinger Publishing, Whitefish MT 2004, ISBN 1-4179-7579-2 ( Kessinger Publishing's Rare Reprints ).
  7. Eugen Lennhoff, Oskar Posner, Dieter A. Binder: Internationales Freemaurer Lexikon. 5. Revised and expanded new edition of the 1932 edition, special production. Herbig Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-7766-2161-3 , p. 430.