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Entries / Masonic Lodges

Masonic Lodges

Categories / Social Life/Social Organizations and Unions

MASONIC LODGES, associations (meetings) of the followers of the religious-ethical doctrine (masonry), urging people to unite on the principles of equality, mutual aid and fraternal love. The masons appeared in Great Britain in the early 18th century, proliferated in Russia in the mid 18th century. Members of the Masonic lodge were subdivided according to the level of initiation: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, Master Mason, etc. Masonic lodges functioned as secret societies; dealt with symbols and allegories; their rites were borrowed from the customs of the medieval associations of masons, constructors of temples and churches (hence the name free masons). One of the first Russian Masonic lodges, the Lodge of Modesty (Reticence), was founded in St. Petersburg about 1750. The blooming of Russian Masonry occurred in the 1760s-70s and was connected with the dissemination of Enlightenment Ideology and the Sentimentalism. Senator I.P. Elagin played the leading role among masons. Their meetings were held in his house on Elagin Island and in the Anichkov Palace. The following lodges are also known as having functioned in St. Petersburg in the 18th century: Apollo, Astrea and Great Britain (Provincial). The meetings of the Lodge of Solitary Muses (Urania) were held each second Saturday of the month in Akademicheskaya settlement of Vasilievsky Island. Among the members of Masonic lodges were Chancellor R.I. Vorontsov, journalist and publisher N.I. Novikov, historians I.N. Boltin, Prince M.M. Shcherbatov, N.M. Karamzin, writers A.P. Sumarokov and A.N. Radishchev. Empress Catherine II, who was afraid that masons could influence Tsesarevitch Pavel Petrovich, started persecuting the masons in the 1780s, and in the 1790s, impressed by French Revolution, she actually banned the operation of Masonic lodges. Emperor Paul I, who ascended the throne in 1796, stopped masons' pursuit. The new rise in Masonic movement started under Emperor Alexander I. Some members of the Imperial Family, representatives of aristocratic dynasties, figures of Russian culture, prominent statesmen and military leaders, with Grand Prince Konstantin Pavlovich, M.I. Kutuzov, M.M. Speransky, A.S. Pushkin, A.S. Griboedov, P.Y. Chaadaev, brothers K.P. Bryullov and A.P. Bryullov, L.V. Dubelt, Count F.P. Tolstoy and A.K. Benckendorff among them, joined Masonic lodges. In St. Petersburg the following lodges functioned: Pole Star, Minerva, Pelican, etc. Grand Lodge of Astraea, with its meetings held in the house of I.D. Maas (8 Kirpichny Lane), united up to 25 Masonic lodges at various times. During the Patriotic War of 1812, Petersburg masons took part in setting up hospitals and relief organisations for refugees. The majority of the masons supported the liberal opposition; practically all the members of secret societies were members of Masonic lodges (see Decembrists). In 1822 Emperor Alexander I banned all secret societies, without making an exception for the Masons; in 1826 Emperor Nicholas I sustained this ban. The remerging of Masonic lodges was provoked by the revival of the social movement and liberalization of political life after the Revolution of 1905-07. Members of French Masonic lodge M.M. Kovalevsky and E.V. de Roberti lead the revival of Russian masonry. In the 1910s the Masonic Association of the Grand Orient of Russian peoples functioned. Masonic lodges of that period were characterized by the rejection of the ritual side of old masonry and the observance of strict conspiracy. Among masons representatives of different opposition associations and parties were Constitutional Democrats V.A. Maklakov, N.V. Nekrasov, Prince V.A. Obolensky, F.F. Kokoshkin, A.M. Kolyubakin, Progressists Count A.A. Orlov-Davydov, A.I. Konovalov, member of Labour Group A.F. Kerensky, Socialist Revolutionaries B.V. Savinkov, N.D. Avksentyev, Socials Democrats N.S. Chkheidze, A.Y. Galpern, M.I Skobelev, as well as writers D.S. Merezhkovsky, Z.N. Gippius, public figures and scholars A.I. Braudo, E.D. Kuskova and A.V. Kartashev. Meetings of Masonic lodges were held in the apartments of Kovalevsky (32 Mokhovaya Street), Maklakov (4 Tverskaya Street), Nekrasov (13 Tverskaya Street), Prince D.I. Bebutov (8 Dmitrovsky Lane), Count Orlov-Davydov (27 Sergievskaya Street and 20 English Embankment). The activity of Russian Masonic lodges in the early 20th century remains the subject of scientific and political disputes.

References: Серков А. И. История русского масонства, 1845-1945. СПб., 1997; Его же. Русское масонство, 1731-2000: Энцикл. слов. М., 2001; Соколов А. В. Русское политическое масонство в России в 1910-1918 гг.: Персон. состав // Петербургская историческая школа: Альм. СПб., 2002. 2-й год вып.

N. L. Korsakova.

Alexander I, Emperor
Avksentyev Nikolay Dmitrievich
Bebutov David Iosifovich, Duke
Benckendorff Alexander Krristoforovich
Boltin Ivan Nikitich
Braudo Alexander Isaevich
Bryullov Boris Pavlovich
Bryullov Karl Pavlovich
Catherine II, Empress
Chaadaev Peter Yakovlevich
Chkheidze Nikolay Semenovich
Dubelt Leonty Vasilievich
Elagin Ivan Perfilievich
Galpern Alexander Yakovlevich
Gippius Zinaida Nikolaevna
Griboedov Alexander Sergeevich
Karamzin Nikolay Mikhailovich
Kartashev Anton Vladimirovich
Kerensky Alexander Fedorovich
Kokoshkin Fedor Fedorovich
Kolyubakin Alexander Mikhailovich
Konovalov Alexander Ivanovich
Konstantin Pavlovich, Grand Prince
Kovalevsky Maxim Maximovich
Kuskova Ekaterina Dmitrievna
Kutuzov (Golenishchev-Kutuzov) Mikhail Illarionovich, Gracious Prince
Maas Johahim Danilovich
Maklakov Vasily Alexeevich
Merezhkovsky Dmitry Sergeevich
Nekrasov Nikolay Vissarionovich
Nicholas I, Emperor
Novikov Nikolay Ivanovich
Obolensky Vladimir Andreevich, Duke
Orlov-Davydov Alexey Anatolievich, Count
Paul (Pavel) I, Emperor
Pushkin Alexander Sergeevich
Radishchev Alexander Nikolaevich
Roberti Evgeny Valentinovich de
Savinkov Boris Viktorovich
Shcherbatov Mikhail Mikhailovich, Prince
Skobelev Matvey Ivanovich
Speransky Mikhail Mikhailovich
Sumarokov Alexander Petrovich
Tolstoy Fedor Petrovich
Vorontsov Roman Illarionovich, Count

Angliiskaya Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city, house 20
Dmitrovsky Lane/Saint Petersburg, city, house 8
Mokhovaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 32
Tchaikovskogo St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 27
Tverskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 4
Tverskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 13

Серков А. И. История русского масонства, 1845-1945. СПб., 1997
Серков А. И. Русское масонство, 1731-2000: Энцикл. слов. М., 2001
Соколов А. В. Русское политическое масонство в России в 1910-1918 гг.: Персональный состав // Петербургская историческая школа: Альм. СПб., 2002

The subject Index
Anichkov Palace
Revolution of 1905-07