What is a Masonic Grand Lodge?
A Masonic Grand Lodge is the supreme governing body that supervises and charters the particular Blue Lodges within its jurisdiction. The Grand Lodge will set a particular geographical area called it’s jurisdiction. A jurisdiction is sometimes state boundary, national boundary, or an agreed-upon geographical area in reference to a neighboring Grand Lodge. Each Grand Lodge is made up of Brother Masons who are in good standing with a particular subordinate Lodge in the Grand Lodge.
When several Grand Lodges claim the same jurisdictional area and/or claiming overlapping areas, each Grand Lodge will debate the oldest with legitimate documents from various other Grand Lodges. When claims are debated, normally the Grand Lodge would consider the other Grand Lodge as Clandestine or Irregular, therefore no Mason will allow or authorize to sit with the other Grand Lodge’s particular blue lodge meeting. Further, a particular Blue Lodge Mason will not be allowed to hold any type of official Masonic Communication with the other Grand Lodge’s particular blue lodge or any of its brothers.
How do would you start a Grand Lodge?
First, a convention must be held of the lodges in the area. At the convention, it needs to be determined by the Craft in the area that a Grand Master ought to be chosen to preside over the Craft in the area. Generally, this area can be a State or Country, it is really based on the Craft in to decide in that area.
Next, during the convention, a committee will need to be appointed. Its purpose is to prepare a statement giving the reasons for such an action. This committee returns at some future period to make a report to Craft.
This report of the committee will cite the fact that the chartered Blue Lodges had been established under distinct, regular, and in some cases separate authorities. The report would identify the benefit or lack of a benefit and possibly or impossibly of having a Grand Master appointed by a foreign authority. If creating a Grand Lodge in this area is a matter of necessity the committee will report the reasons to the Craft. It has been recorded that the Mother Grand Lodges have claimed the right to elect their officers distinct and separate from any foreign power. The committee would then commend that the Craft of the area would and should be privileged to claim the same right, which is a right that Freemasons in all-time had enjoyed.
Can a Masonic Grand Lodge be chartered by another Grand Lodge?
No, individual lodges are chartered to a Grand Lodge. When necessary, these lodges can form a new Grand Lodge based on numerous issues based on distance and various other factors. The Mother Grand Lodge(s) of the Particular Blue Lodges generally will give its blessing of the new Grand Lodge, which will last forever.
Who is in charge of a Grand Lodge?
The official leader of the Grand Lodge is the Grand Master. The Grand Lodge Officers assist the Grand Master in his duties to effectively run the Grand Lodge. Generally, in most Grand Lodges, the elected officers are as follows: GRAND MASTER; DEPUTY GRAND MASTER; DISTRICT GRAND MASTER; SENIOR GRAND WARDEN; JUNIOR GRAND WARDEN; GRAND TREASURER; and GRAND SECRETARY. Please note, each Grand Lodge may have its own set of elected officers and how their titles are spelled may differ from one Grand Lodge to another.
Furthermore, in many Grand Lodges, there are a number of appointed officers, but be aware in some Grand Lodges more than one person might be appointed in a given role, which are as follows: GRAND MARSHAL; GRAND CHAPLAIN; GRAND LECTURER; SENIOR GRAND DEACON; JUNIOR GRAND DEACON; SENIOR GRAND STEWARD; JUNIOR GRAND STEWARD; GRAND SWORD BEARER; GRAND STANDARD BEARER; GRAND PURSUIVANT; GRAND ORGANIST; GRAND MUSICIAN; GRAND TYLER; & GRAND HISTORIAN.
Some Grand Lodges have a Board of Directors to help the Grand Master run the Grand Lodge. While others tend to utilize the Past Grand Masters will various important projects within the Grand Lodge. Modern-day Grand Lodges also employ a group support staff members as well. A Grand Lodge may employ a few professionals or numerous professionals based on the needs of the organization. Let’s look at some of the typical business office staff positions: Business Manager; Grand Secretary (which is sometimes a paid position); Grand Treasurer (which is also sometimes a paid position);
Comptroller; Executive Director; Staff Accountant; Accounts Payable/Insurance; Office Support Staff; Communications & Development Director;
Associate Director; Grand Lodge Library Director; Webmaster; IT Coordinator; Supply Department Director; and a Building Manager.
Lastly, in the State of Pennsylvania, the Grand Master is called Right Worshipful whereas most other Grand Lodges call their Grand Master ‘Most Worshipful’. This is interesting because, in so many Grand Lodges, the title Right Worshipful is designated to the Grand Master’s District Deputy Grand Masters. His Grand Lodge Appointees help manage the various districts around the Grand Lodge. The District Deputy Grand Master is also appointed to be his voice and they are the official Grand Lodge Representative for a Masonic District and generally speak on behalf of the Grand Master.
What is a Grand Orient?
A Grand Orient is another name for Grand Lodge. It is popular in some European countries such as France and Italy. The Grand Orient of France is the oldest and the most important masonic obedience governing bodies in continental Europe. Born in 1728 as the First Grand Lodge of France, it took its current form and name in 1773. At this time, I can not find any clear reason for the use of the term orient vs. lodge. The first known usage of the word ‘orient’ dates back to between 1755 and 1766. When the Vénérables of the lodges of the capital, gathered in a “Grand Lodge of the Masters of the Orient of Paris known as France”, to try to establish their authority on the whole of French Masonry.
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