As far as Freemasons are concerned, the Lodge of St. John in Jerusalem was the first Mother Lodge. The lodge was first devoted to St. John the Baptist before being dedicated to St. John the Evangelist in Jerusalem. The Mother Lodge is now devoted to both of them.
The Lodge of the Holy Saints John of Jerusalem is how Freemasons refer to this lodge in Jerusalem today. For Freemasons, the lodge is extremely important because it is from this primitive location that all other lodges around the world descend.
So why is St. John the Baptist revered by Masons? Let’s take a look at his life in more detail.
The life of St. John the Baptist.
St. John the Baptist had a strict demeanor and a positive personality. He grew a prominent ministry and a large following over the course of his long life, preaching on a variety of important topics at the time and is one of the most significant characters represented in the Bible.
He was a direct descendant of Abraham’s son and was Jesus’ age-mate, playing an important role in his life. He is best known for baptizing Jesus and referring to him as the Lamb of God. When Herod chastised John the Baptist, he imprisoned him and finally beheaded him.
Within Freemasonry, St. John is said to embody purity, zeal, simplicity of manners, and a strong desire to help others, as a result of his Biblical interpretations.
St. John’s Day.
The first Grand Lodge in England was formed on 24th June 1717, which is the feast day of John the Baptist. This was a deliberate act, and pays tribute to the Saint who was widely regarded as the patron of stonemasons right the way through the Middle Ages.
Every year, brothers come together to celebrate St John’s Day and celebrate his life. But it’s equally important to recognize St. John the Evangelist’s Day, which appears just as prominently on the Masonic calendar. This falls every year on 27th December.
John the Evangelist is more associated with the Scottish lodges, even though the United Grand Lodge of England was itself formed on 27th December 1813. The two saints continue to be widely respected and revered figures for brothers studying the Craft.
The Holy Saints John.
When regarding St. John the Baptist in regard to Freemasonry, it’s impossible to consider him without also acknowledging the Evangelist. In fact, within Masonic circles, they are known as ‘The Holy Saints John,’ and contribute to many interesting and important Masonic symbols and rituals.
To this day, brothers the world over regard the two Holy Johns as the patron saints of our fraternity. We mark the 24th June and 27th of December in our calendars to celebrate the lives of the saints and to revel in their historical significance.