Vilnius Arch - Lodge No. 10
Vilnius Arch was established on 21. April 2018 to serve the Masonic needs of the English-speaking community in Lithuania. Its founders obtained the agreement from the Grand Lodge of Lithuania to work in English the three degrees familiar to many English Masons.
Freemasonry is a fraternal alliance between free men from all beliefs and from all social horizons. Based on tolerance, it is enriched with social diversity which lights up into the common cause of following one’s own path towards self improvement.
Freemasonry acts for the benefit of society as well as the self-development of its members. If you are a just, upright and free man, of mature age, sound judgment and strict morals, consider Freemasonry as a way to help make yourself a better man and the world a better place.
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that may trace its origins to the organisation of medieval Stonemasonry. Early organisational forms included “lodges,” incorporations, and craft guilds. Early Freemasonry based on craft labour is known as Operative Freemasonry, while the modern, more philosophical form of Freemasonry is known as Speculative Freemasonry.
Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million world wide. The fraternity is administratively organised into independent Grand Lodges (or sometimes Grand Orients), each of which governs its own Masonic jurisdiction, which consists of subordinate (or constituent) Lodges.
The largest single jurisdiction, in terms of membership, is the United Grand Lodge of England with a membership estimated at around a quarter million. The Grand Lodge of Scotland and Grand Lodge of Ireland (taken together) have approximately 150,000 members. In the United States, the Fraternity is divided between fifty-one Grand Lodges (one for each State, plus Washington DC), which taken together have a total membership of just under two million.
Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it’s about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it’s about being able to help deserving causes — making a contribution to family and society. For most, it is an enjoyable hobby.
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry. For many, its biggest draw is the fact that members come from all walks of life and meet as equals whatever their race, religion or socio-economic position in society.
Freemasonry is a society of men and in some countries, in separate Lodges, a society of women, who are interested in universal moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its principles (moral lessons and self-knowledge) by a series of ritual dramas — a progression of allegorical two-part plays which are learnt by heart and performed within each Lodge — which follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides. Freemasonry instils in its members a moral and ethical approach to life: a mason’s values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches moral development through concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
History of Freemansonry
The origins and early development of Freemasonry are a matter of some debate and conjecture. A poem known as the “Regius Manuscript” has been dated to approximately 1390 and is the oldest known Masonic text.
There is evidence to suggest that there were Masonic lodges in existence in Scotland as early as the late 16th century. The Lodge at Kilwinning, Scotland, has records that date to the late 16th century, and is mentioned in the Second Schaw Statutes (1599) .
There are clear references to the existence of lodges in England by the mid-17th century. The first Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster (later called the Grand Lodge of England (GLE), was founded on 24 June 1717. This was the first Grand Lodge in the world.
After four years of negotiation, the two Grand Lodges in England united on 27 December 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England. This union led to a standardisation of procedures and regalia.
The earliest official English documents to refer to masons are written in Latin or Norman French. Thus we have “sculptores lapidum liberorum” (London 1212), “magister lathomus liberarum petrarum” (Oxford 1391), and “mestre mason de franche peer” (Statute of Labourers 1351). These all signify a worker in freestone, a grainless sandstone or limestone suitable for ornamental masonry. In the 17th century building accounts of Wadham College the terms freemason and freestone mason are used interchangeably. Freemason also contrasts with “Rough Mason” or “Layer”, as a more skilled worker who worked or laid dressed stone.
Founding fathers: America’s most famous Freemason, George Washington was initiated in 1752, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Other founding fathers who were also Masons include Benjamin Franklin, Marquis de Lafayette, Robert R. Livingstone, John Hancock, and Aaron Burr.
Monarchs and Statesmen: King Edvard VII, King Edvard VIII, King George IV, King George VI, King William IV, George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Chiang Wei-Kuo, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Simon Bolivar, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Gerald R. Ford., Joseph Stalin, Cecil Rhodes, George Canning, Leopold Amery, Lord Randolph Churchill, Sir Winston Churchill, J. Edgar Hoover
Explorers and adventurers: Freemasons who blazed new trails include Davey Crockett, Jim Bowie, Sam Houston, Christopher “Kit” Carson, Lewis and Clark, Charles Lindbergh, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin.
Science and medicine: Many Freemasons have played an important role on the scientific and medical frontiers, among them Edward Jenner (discoverer of the cure for smallpox), Joseph Lister (the man who pioneered the concept of antiseptics in medicine), and Alexander Fleming (won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of penicillin), Sir Joseph Banks, Sir Bernard Spilsbury, Charles Lindbergh, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Gustave Eiffel, Li Ka-Shing, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud
Arts and letters: The world of art, music, and literature wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for the contributions of the Masons Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Aleksander Pushkin, Jonathon Swift, Voltaire, Oscar Wilde, Ludwig van Beethoven, Alexcander Pope, Johannes Brahms, Giacomo Puccini, Marc Chagall, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Alex Haley, and Mark Twain.
Entertainment and Film: Harry Houdini, Jimmy Wheeler, Oliver Hardy, Nathaniel Adams (Nat King Cole), Ernest Borgnine, Peter Sellers, William James “Count” Basie, Richard Pryor, Clark Gable, Don Rickles, John Wayne, Mel Blanc, Glenn Ford, Gene Autry, Duke Ellington, Billy Wilder, Douglas Fairbanks
Becoming a Freemason
For those seeking to learn more about Freemasonry, there is a wealth of information — and, sadly, some mis-information — easily available to you on the Internet. If you have an open mind and seek a balanced view, we recommend that you first read the text published on Wikipedia (see also Links on this website). If you feel so inclined, the links are provided for further information.
If you are a Mason and you’d like to visit us, whether to actively participate or simply to watch, please let us know.
How do I join?
If you don’t know anyone who is a member and that you can talk to, then your first step is to approach your local lodge or one which shares your interests which include sports, motoring and young member Lodges, or check out our Contact Us page and let us put you in touch with your local masonic area.