The Holy Saints John;
To Whom All Lodges Are Dedicated.
You will recall that the Lecture states “Lodges were anciently dedicated to King Solomon, as it is said that he was our first, Most Excellent Grand Master. Lodges, at the present time, are dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, and Saint John the Evangelist, who were two eminent patrons of Masonry…” Except in the following passage concerning the two parallel lines, no further reference appears in the Lectures.
However, in our ceremonies of Dedication and of Constitution, the reference is amplified and, to some degree, explained. In the ceremony of Dedication the Grand Master, dedicating a Masonic Hall, says, “…Sacred things were both consecrated and dedicated, while profane things were only dedicated…” Churches were consecrated to the worship of God, but dedicated to or placed under special patronage of some particular saint.
“While we consecrate our Lodges to the honor and glory of God, we dedicate them to the memory of the Holy Saints John; and the building itself is dedicated to Freemasonry, Virtue and Universal Benevolence.”
Biblically, John the Baptist was the son of the Jewish priest Zaccarius, ad Elizabeth, cousin of Mary. A zealous judge of morality, his life, built on the strength of faith, sustained to his martyred death, is an example of the unshaken firmness in the right and in his inflexibility to God.
The festival of St. John the Baptist is held on June 24th, and is widely celebrated by lodges in California, some of which mark a chain of observance uninterrupted for many years. In England, Scotland and Ireland, there were, in 1717, at the beginning of the first Grand Lodge, a large number of lodges and Masons known as St. Johns Masons. As the first Grand Lodge of England was formed on St. John the Baptist’s Day in 1717, so were subsequent annual meetings held on that day.
Less widely celebrated, perhaps because its observance falls on December 27th, is the festival of St. John the Evangelist, the author of the Epistles bearing his name. His constant admonitions to the cultivation of brotherly love, and the mysticism of his vision, undoubtedly led to his inclusion and union with John the Baptist as the Holy Saints John. With regularity becoming established, the patron saints of Masonry have become enshrined in the memory of every Mason.
Excerpted from “Handbook for Candidate’s Coaches”
By The Committee on Ritual and Donald G. Campbell, Past Grand Lecturer.
Grand Lodge F.&A.M. of California.