A grand lodge or grand orient , with emphasis on the differences in the type of teaching also obedience or obedience, is an umbrella organization in Freemasonry in which individual lodges (associations) are united.
International Freemasonry does not have a central management body, but is divided into individual, independent Masonic lodges , which are organized in a similar way to civil associations and come together in umbrella organizations. In the umbrella organization the members (lodges) elect a chairman, the grand master . For the administration of the Grand Lodge (correspondence, bookkeeping, speeches) and for ceremonial tasks (founding lodges, honors), the Grand Master is supported by the so-called Grand Officials Council. In addition to functionaries such as the grand secretary and grand treasurer, who are also present in other associations, it is in particular the grand overseers and the grand master of ceremonies who are responsible for the ritual tasks.
These umbrella organizations need to be recognized by older umbrella organizations in order to be recognized as Grand Lodges of Freemasonry. This created a system of mutual recognition around the world, comparable to diplomatic recognition between states. The recognized lodges are numbered in chronological order.
The Grand Lodge of England was founded in London in 1717 as the world's first grand lodge . In the first few years it was merely an annual meeting of the masters of the chair , until in 1721 John, Duke of Montagu was elected first grandmaster and the grand lodge slowly assumed the form it is known today. The Grand Lodge of Ireland was founded in 1725 and the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736 . With the Grand Lodge Anglaise de France, the first “offshoot” of the English Grand Lodge, a Provincial Grand Lodge, was created in 1743. When it declared itself independent in 1755 and renamed it Grand Loge de France, the first independent grand lodge on the European continent had emerged. Today's United Grand Lodge of England emerged from the Grand Lodge of England through division and reunification .
Based on these umbrella organizations, the organization of today's Freemasonry worldwide is divided into Freemasonry, recognized by the UGLoE as “ regular ”, and the liberal Freemasonry, which originally originated from the GOdF .
European Masonic Grand Lodges before World War II
The names of the grand lodges and cities are the ones customary around 1930 and can differ from today's form, especially for city names.
In the modern Rosicrucianism of the AMORC one also speaks of lodges and grand lodges. Here, however, the context is defined somewhat differently than in Freemasonry. Each jurisdiction that is divided according to language areas is subordinate to a grand lodge. It is in turn responsible for the administration of the various boxes, chapters, pronai and atriums in the individual jurisdictions. The highest organ is the Supreme Grand Lodge, to which all jurisdictions are subordinate.