What happens at a lodge meeting?
What happens at a lodge meeting?
The meeting is in two parts. As in any association there is a certain amount of administrative procedure - minutes of last meeting, proposing and balloting for new members, discussing and voting on financial matters, election of officers, news and correspondence. Then there are the ceremonies for admitting new Masons and the annual installation of the Master and appointment of officers. The three ceremonies for admitting a new Mason are in two parts - a slight dramatic instruction in the principles and lessons taught in the Craft followed by a lecture in which the candidate's various duties are spelled out.
Isn't ritual out of place in modern society?
No. The ritual is a shared experience which binds the members together. Its use of drama, allegory and symbolism impresses the principles and teachings more firmly in the mind of each candidates than if they were simply passed on to him in matter-of-fact modern language.
Why do grown men run around with their trousers rolled up?
It is true that candidates have to roll up their trouser legs during the three ceremonies when they are being admitted to membership. Taken out of context, this can seem amusing, but like many other aspects of Freemasonry, it has a symbolic meaning.
Why do you wear regalia?
Wearing regalia is historical and symbolic and, like a uniform, serves to indicate to members where they rank in the organisation.
How much does it cost to be a Freemason ?
It varies from lodge to lodge but anyone wishing to join can find a lodge to suit his pocket. On entry, there is an initiation fee and an apron to buy. A member pays an annual subscription to his lodge which covers his membership and the administrative cost of running the lodge. It is usual to have a meal after the meeting; the cost of this can be included either in the annual subscription or paid for at the time. It is entirely up to the individual member what he gives to Charity, but it should always be without detriment to his other responsibilities. Similarly, he may join as many lodges as his time and pocket can allow as long as it does not adversely affect his family life and responsibilities.
On Being a Secret Society
Freemasonry is not a secret society, but lodge meetings, like meetings of many other social and professional associations, are private occasions open only to members.
Freemasons are encouraged to speak openly about their membership, while remembering that they undertake not to use it for their own or anyone else's advancement
As members are sometimes the subject of discrimination which may adversely affect their employment or other aspects of their lives, some Freemasons are understandably reticent about discussing their membership.
In common with many other national organisations, the United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria doesn't publish a list of members and will not disclose names or member's details without their permission, but the members list is at disposal of the public Authorities, if requested.
The Constitutions, the Regulations and the Aims of Freemasonry are available to the public.
The meeting dates, places and halls used by Freemasons are readily identifiable, are listed in telephone directories and in many areas are used by the local community for activities other than Freemasonry.
The Headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria are at Alexander Stamboliisky 59, Sofia and are opened to the public in office hours.
The rituals and ceremonies used by Freemasons to pass on the principles of Freemasonry to new members were first revealed publicly in 1723. They include the traditional forms of recognition used by Freemasons essentially to prove their identity and qualifications when entering a Masonic meeting.
These include handshakes which have been much written about and can scarcely be regarded as truly secret today; for medieval Freemasons, they were the equivalent of a 'pin number' restricting access only to qualified members.
Many thousands of books have been written on the subject of Freemasonry and are readily available to the general public. Freemasonry offers spokesmen and briefings for the media and provides talks to interested groups on request.
Are Freemasons expected to prefer fellow Masons at the expense of others in giving jobs, promotions, contracts and the like?
Absolutely not. That would be a misuse of membership and subject to Masonic discipline.
On his entry into Freemasonry each candidate states unequivocally that he expects no material gain from his membership.
At various stages during the three ceremonies of his admission and when he is presented with a certificate from Grand Lodge that the admission ceremonies have been completed, he is forcefully reminded that attempts to gain preferment or material gain for himself or others is a misuse of membership which will not be tolerated.
The Book of Constitutions, which every candidate receives, contains strict rules governing abuse of membership which can result in penalties varying from temporary suspension to expulsion.
Isn't it true that Freemasons only look after each other?
No. From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been involved in charitable activities. Since its inception, Freemasonry has provided support not only for widows and orphans of Freemasons but also for many others within the community.
The basic principle is solidarity, support not to give alms.
Who can join?
Membership is open to men of all faiths who are law-abiding, of good character and who acknowledge a belief in God.
Freemasonry is a multi-racial and multi-cultural organisation. It has attracted men of goodwill from all sectors of the community into membership.
Why do people join and remain members?
People become Freemasons for a variety of reasons, some as the result of family tradition, others upon the introduction of a friend or out of a curiosity to know what it is all about.
Those who become active members and who grow in Freemasonry do so principally because they enjoy it. They enjoy the challenges and fellowship that Freemasonry offers. There is more to it, however, than just enjoyment.
Participation in the dramatic presentation of moral lessons and in the working of a lodge provides a member with a unique opportunity to learn more about himself and encourages him to live in such a way that he will always be in search of becoming a better man, not better than someone else but better than he himself would otherwise be and therefore an exemplary member of society.
Each Freemason is required to learn and show humility through initiation. Then, by progression through a series of degrees he gains insight into increasingly complex moral and philosophical concepts, and accepts a variety of challenges and responsibilities which are both stimulating and rewarding.
The structure and working of the lodge and the sequence of ceremonial events, which are usually followed by social gatherings, offer members a framework for companionship, teamwork, character development and enjoyment of shared experiences.
What promises do Freemasons Take?
New members make solemn promises concerning their conduct in the lodge and society.
These promises are similar to those taken in court or upon entering many other organisations.
Each member also promises to keep confidential the traditional methods of proving he is a Freemason which he would use when visiting a lodge where he is not known.
The much publicised 'traditional penalties' for failure to observe these undertakings have been removed from the promises in the rituals of the United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria. They were always symbolic not literal and refer only to the pain any decent man should feel at the thought of violating his word.
Members also undertake not to make use of their membership for personal gain or advancement; failure to observe this principle or otherwise to fall below the standards expected of a Freemason can lead to expulsion.
How to become a Freemason
Who can become a Freemason?
Our fraternity has a wonderful history, which dates back more than three centuries. It is one of the world's oldest secular fraternities, a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Founded on the three great principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, it aims to bring together men of goodwill, regardless of background and differences.
People might think that to become a Freemason is quite difficult. It's actually straightforward. The essential qualifications for admission is that you have a belief in a Supreme Being. It is usual for candidates to be "mature men of 21 years and over", but in some circumstances candidates between the ages of 18 and 21 can be admitted.
How to become member of the United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria - Suggested Steps
Please read the various information on this site and then if you are still interested in becoming a Freemason, we advise that you first talk to a family member, friend or colleague whom you already know to be a member.
But please pay attention because in Bulgaria there are several bodies self-proclamed as the "true and ancient freemasonry". That's not the truth!
Unfortunately "freemasonry" is not as a trade mark protected by law. Everybody can buy the rituals in a book-shop and establish his own Grand Lodge of Grand Orient.
The United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria is the sole masonic body in Bulgaria recognised as regular by the United Grand Lodge of England that is the "Mother Grand Lodge" of all the regular Grand Lodges of the world.
If you don't know anyone at all who is a member of the United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria, then you can fill in and send the Interest in Becoming a Mason. We shall adress your request to a Lodge of your city
Arrangements will be made to meet you socially to find out more about you, and to give you a chance to find out more about us.
A committee of members from the Lodge will contact you to arrange a meeting. If the meeting will be of mutual satisfaction, you will be requested to fill in the form for admission.
Your request will be balloted for membership of that Lodge.
All being well, a date would then be fixed for your admission.