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is the oldest fraternity
in the world.
No one knows just how old it is because the actual origins have been lost in time. Probably, it arose from the guilds of stonemasons who built the castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. Possibly, they were influenced by the Knights Templar, a group of Christian warrior monks formed in 1118 to help protect pilgrims making trips to the Holy Land.
In January of 1781 when 30 Masons, representing 6 Lodges, met in New York City to form the Grand Lodge of New York State. The members of this Fraternity share the common bond of love of family, love of God and love of country.
A Grand Lodge is the administrative body in charge of Masonry in some geographical area. In the United States, there is a Grand Lodge in each state. In Canada, there is a Grand Lodge in each province. Local organizations of Masons are called lodges. There are lodges in most towns, and large cities usually have several. There are about 13,200 lodges in the United States.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Freemasonry is how so many men, from so many different walks of life, can meet together in peace, always conducting their affairs in harmony and friendship and calling each other “Brother”. The Masonic experience encourages members to become better men, better husbands, better fathers and better citizens.
Masonry is deeply involved in helping people. Philanthropy represents an unparalleled example of its humanitarian commitment.