Reference of Grand Master
My congratulations to Brethren and everyone who has a keen interest in masonry. I am the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. It does not matter what my name is; more importantly, that such position exists. It signifies a qualitative breakthrough in the formation of Ukrainian masonry and recognition of Ukraine as an equal member of World Masonic Community.
There exist millions of masons in the world, though Ukrainian specific features attract our attention. Masonry came here, as in any other post-Soviet country, from the West – it couldn’t have been otherwise, for masonry is not a sect and nobody can proclaim himself a mason without passing canonical ritual, and such ritual can be performed by canonically initiated Brethren only in canonically created Lodge.
In the early 90-s of the last century Ukraine attracted attention of numerous Masonic organizations even those which do not mutually recognize each other. Let us say Grand Orient of France and Grand National French Lodge or energetic Italian de Bernardo and rather pedantic people from Austria. These are definitely known, but there exist particular lodges and people who belong to different Masonic formations. Nobody can tell the exact number.
In systemic matters (and freemasonry is systemic) contingencies are exceptions. Therefore, it is quite natural that most Masonic cities in Ukraine are Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa and Lvov: it is there that the majority of Brethren of different jurisdictions work and live. The reasons lie in traditions of spiritual and intellectual culture of these magnificent cities – for this reason they are now more open to us. However, promotion of Masonic ideas takes place in other cities.
Seekers, i.e. people who are at a certain level of self-development, become masons. Those, who have realized that it is impossible to cut the stone of the Spirit on their own. It requires a free choice. Daily routine distracts people; a lot of time is spent on family and making money. At a certain moment, in the middle of the night or at dawn it occurs to you: “Five more years and what is next?” What am I living for?” The road to Temple’s door begins with such thoughts. There are free and restless characters, creators among the seekers and there are some who are known as influential ones. But who are they - these influential people? They are energetic, active and straightforward personalities who are looking for a path, leading towards the aim. They work hard and achieve a lot but lose hope in many cases. Gradually they realize how imperfect the world is, namely their role in it, and the relations between people. They are looking for the answer to eternal philosophical, religious and scientific questions. And some of them come to us.
At any rate, I must reassure you: not only those who state that freemasons in Ukraine are of significant influence are wrong, but also those who believe that there is no masonry here at all.
The aim of freemasonry is disclosed in hundreds of books: pro-Masonic ones deal with self-development and the improvement of the world through oneself ( let’s recall thesis of one of ancestors of Ukrainian masonry - Grytsko Skovoroda: "get to know yourself and you will get to know the world), anti-Masonic ones are devoted to conspiracy theory. It is ridiculous to dispute with the latter as well as to convince you that the former are right, it would be careless on my part since I am a committed person. I can assert with due competence that masonry does not have a right to fight against governance – it is a canon. Notably certain members of the Lodge could possibly struggle at barricades, however Lodge itself never adopts any political decision. Moreover, all Masonic rules never oppose legislation and moral tradition of the society. At the same time, governance cannot be present in masonry - a member of the Lodge could be a writer, a businessman, a minister or a party leader or even unemployed in his profane life. But in the Lodge he is simple a brother seeking society which would contribute to his personal self-development.
Our Order is not a secret but a closed organisation. First, it is closed for unwise people who are abundant everywhere and Ukraine is not an exception. Disputing with a fool is a waste of time. In our every day life we have so little time for – let’s say – enlightened communication among men that we highly appreciate such pleasure. In the modern world any privacy, of course, has its limitations. Moreover, conspiracy for us is not a goal but only a measure. That is why we have to raise slightly the veil of mystery by means of this site and through registration of corresponding social entity. Any openness nevertheless terminates before the Temple’s door - i.e. the venue where the Lodge is gathered.
Some may smile ironically: there are allegedly quite a number of mystical rituals described in detail in a plentitude of books - for instance, profane initiation. I, personally, come across in many publicly accessible books quite a precise description of Old and Accepted Scottish Rite, which we work in. There is as much truth in printed text as in the text of theatre play – all the truth is conveyed only during a performance, in fact during several showings. Books of love are open only after you have grasped this feeling i.e. initiated in love adepts.
You may ask if it is possible to ban masonry. - Yes, it’s possible. That is how it was under communist and Nazi regime. Masons even now do not work in many authoritarian and Asian countries or in Belarus. I don’t affirm that there are no Brethren there, though they belong to foreign Lodges and don’t create their own, national ones. Conventionally Masonry cannot exist underground for it has to be engaged in politics what is unacceptable according to the rules of regular masonry.
In Masonic Constitution it is clearly stated that political and religious discussions are strictly forbidden in the Lodge (as well as business ones) – in order not to engender discord. At the same time, tolerance towards masonry on the part of governance is an indicator of democracy in a certain country - it is generally accepted among the majority of people in the world.
Masonic membership can help you to find like-minded fellows in any country. Moreover, you can be sure of not being deceived since you are not at the market. Having shaken hand with unknown Brother we already know that he is free and of good report.
Freedom presupposes not only the fact that the person is not a slave but also his ability to make decision. It means that he is psychologically, financially independent and can make his living, move freely i.e. not involved in anything illegal. And of course he is free from any passion, for a mason “commands his desires but not they control him”.
Nevertheless, masonry is a world chain of such people who don’t have a right to use each other for achieving political or economical goals. That is why we do not create worldwide government or make a conspiracy plot. As far as I know, members of irregular masonry could not be suspected either.
The borderline between regularity or irregularity can be drawn through two basic points: obligation to mention Great Architect of the Universe (that is God) during rituals and impermissibility of women in the Temple. Our Jurisdiction is regular i.e. it is recognized by The United Grand Lodge of England – mother of all modern Masonic lodges. We, consequently, observe Anderson’s Constitutions – the basic Masonic document. By the way it is noted there that “a Free Mason ... if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious Libertine”. Why don’t regular masons accept women in their circle? Traditionally, from ancient (I would add from myself) and wise times women are not accepted because it is easier to think about spirituals matters without them.
We particularly firmly stick to tradition in philosophy, ritual, emblems, clothes and even language. This medieval heritage came to us almost without changes and brought the elements of ancient mysteries. It has been written a lot about it as well as what eminent people belonged to Brotherhood at different times in different countries. We just naturally continue this tradition.
And we do it not owing a duty to someone, but due to understanding that every man sooner or later approaches the line behind which money, career and even love of women are not enough to feel the harmony with the world and oneself. Freemasonry gives me and my Brethren such pleasure and comfort. So, I tell you the truth: no one is born a mason but one dies as a mason
Grand Master of the Grand Lodge Ukraine