Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In the Name of the Great Architect of the Universe.

Do masonic membership documents deserve a place in a scripophily collection ? Being intriguing, their ancient symbols and large embossed seals, stimulate our curiosity.

detail from Masonic membership certificate showing embossed seal

Some sources estimate there are about 2-3 million freemasons spread all over the world. They are organised in Lodges and meet in regular meetings at fixed places.  Freemasonry membership requires that a candidate believe in a Supreme Being, however the candidate can choose his own interpretation of this believe. So, Freemasonry accepts members from a wide range of faiths.

bond from the Masonic Hall Association

Masonic Hall Association
St. Louis, Missouri, 1869

Because their extensive use of symbols and rituals, lodges are often distrusted and associated with conspiracies.  Actually, their main preoccupations remain charitable work within a community in a morally responsable way conform their beliefs.

Besides these activities, lodges manage their property and assets; and they may own and share its premises. Like any other business, they will have operations to manage such as dealing with expenses and proceedings, charity funds, membership administration, accounting, etcetera. And that is where our hobby comes into the picture. Masonic organizations have left us share and bond certificates.

Stock certificate of the Masonic Society of Waterman, USA

Masonic Society of Waterman
Waterman, Illinois, 1876 

Membership certificates may add that little extra to your masonic collection. You will see, that these documents contain a lot of typical abbreviations, for which a list is given below.

Freemasons use their own chronology. Instead of Anno Domini, counting starts from their date of creation, which is 4000 B.C.

Do you have a nice certificate with an abbreviation not in the list ? Sure, I'd be happy to know about it or to receive a scan.

Bro. Franky, A.L.6011

Loge Anna Paulowna
Zaandam, Netherlands, 1870 
courtesy Stocklobster  

Masonic abbreviations
1st G.P.: First Grand Principal (Royal Arch).
2nd G.P.: Second Grand Principal (Royal Arch).
3rd G.P.: Third Grand Principal (Royal Arch).
A.: Answer.
A.A.O.N.M.S.: Ancient Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (U.S.A.)
A. & A. R.: Ancient and Accepted Rite.
A. & A. S. R.: Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
A. & P. R.: Antient and Primitive Rite.
A.F.& A.M.: Antient Free and Accepted Masons.
A. B.: Anno Beneficio.
A. Dep.: Anno depositionis. System of chronology used by Royal and Select Masters, calculating dates from the completion of Solomon's temple, 1000 B.C.
A.Inv.: Anno inventionis. System of chronology used in the Royal Arch, where dates are calculated from the commencement of the Second Temple in 530 B.C.
A.H.: Anno hebraico. System of chronology used by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, calculating years from the date of the creation, taken as 3760 years before the Christian era.
A.L.: Anno lucis. The system of chronology used in craft freemasonry which numbers years from the date of the creation, taken as being 4,000 B.C.
A.O.: Anno ordinis. System of chronology used by the masonic Knights Templar, in which years are dated from the founding of the medieval Order of the Temple, A.D. 1118.
AQC: Ars Quatuor Coronatorum: transactions of the English masonic research lodge, Quatuor Coronati No. 2076.
ADC: Assistant Director of Ceremonies.
B.: Boaz. One of the sacred pillars of Solomon's temple.
B.G.P.: Board of General Purposes.
B. of C.: Book of Constitutions.
Brn.: Brethren.
Bro.: Brother
CMRC: Canonbury Masonic Research Centre.
D.C.: Director of Ceremonies.
D.G.: Due Guard.
D.G.M.: Deputy Grand Master.
Dep.: Deputy
Dist. G.M.: District Grand Master.
D.O.: Dedicating Officer.
E.: the Scribe Ezra.Royal Arch equivalent of a lodge secretary.
E.A.: Entered Apprentice: The first degree of craft masonry.
E.C.: English Constitution.
E.Comp.: Excellent Companion [Royal Arch].
Ex.Comp.: Excellent Companion [Royal Arch].
F.: Fellowship.
F. & A.M.: Free and Accepted Masons.
F.C.: Fellow Craft. The second degree of craft masonry.
F.F.F.: Fidelity, fidelity, fidelity. Term used in the closing ceremony.
F.P.O.F.:The Five Points of Fellowship.
G.D.C.: Grand Director of Ceremonies.
G.Chap.: Grand Chaplain.
G.I.G: Grand Inner Guard
G. Hist. Grand Historiographer, Grand Imperial Council (R.C.C)
G.L.: Grand Lodge.
G.M.: Grand Master.
G.Org.: Grand Organist.
G.P.: Grand Principal (Royal Arch)
G. Purs.: Grand Pursuivant.
G. Reg.: Grand Registrar.
G.S.E. : Grand Scribe Ezra, see E. for Ezra
G.Sec.: Grand Secretary.
G St B: Grand Standard Bearer, Grand Senate (R.C.C)
G. Swd. B.: Grand Sword Bearer.
G. Treas.: Grand Treasurer.
H.: Haggai, the Prophet. One of the three Grand Principals of the Royal Arch.
H.A.: Hiram Abif. The master mason who, according to masonic legend, built Solomon's temple. The story of his murder is reenacted in the ritual for the degree of Master Mason.
I.C.: Irish Constitution.
I.G.: Inner Guard.
I.M.: Installed Master.
I.T.N.O.T.G.A.O.T.U.: In the Name of the Great Architect of the Universe.
J.: Jachin. One of the sacred pillars of Solomon's temple.
J: Joshua, the High Priest. One of the three Grand Principals of the Royal Arch.
J.D.: Junior Deacon.
J.G.W.: Junior Grand Warden.
J.W.: Junior Warden.
K.S.T.: King Solomon's Temple.
K. T.: Knight(s) Templar
L.: Light.
L.G.R.: London Grand Rank. A distinction for meritorious office conferred in London lodges.
L.G.C.R.: London Grand Chapter Rank.
L.G.R.A.: London Grand Rank Association.
L.M.C.T.: Library and Museum Charitable Trust.
L.of I.: Lodge of Instruction.
M.: Master.
M.E.: Most Excellent (Royal Arch).
M.M.: Master Mason. The third degree of craft masonry.
M.M.M.: Mark Master Mason
M.W.: Most Worshipful. Used for Grand Master, Pro Grand Master, Past Grand Master, Past Pro Grand Master.
N.: Nehemiah. Officer of a Royal Arch Chapter.
N.Y.C.: New York Constitution.
Ob.: Obligation.
Obs.: Obligations.
Oxf.: Oxford Ritual.
P.A.: Past Assistant
P.A.G.C.: Past Assistant Grand Chaplain.
P.A.G. Chap.: Past Assistant Grand Chaplain.
P.A.G.D.C.: Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.
P.A.G.Reg.: Past Assistant Grand Registrar.
P.A.G.Sojr.: Past Assistant Grand Sojourner (Royal Arch).
P.C.: Perfect Ceremonies (standard English ritual handbook)
P.D.G.C.: Past Deputy Grand Chaplain.
P. Dep.G.Reg.: Past Deputy Grand Registrar.
P.Dist. G.M.: Past District Grand Master.
P.G.: Past Grand.
P.G. Overseer: Past Grand Overseer
P.G.D.: Past Grand Deacon
P.G.M.: Past Grand Master
P.G.Org.: Past Grand Organist
P.M.: Past Master.
P.G.St.Br.: Past Grand Standard Bearer.
P.G.Swd.B.: Past Grand Sword Bearer.
P.G.W.: Past Grand Warden.
P.J.G.W.: Past Junior Grand Warden.
P.P.G.C.: Past Provincial Grand Chaplain.
P.S.G.D.: Past Senior Grand Deacon.
Pr.: Provincial
Prov. G.M.: Provincial Grand Master.
P.T.: Pro tempore.
p.w.: password.
Q.C.: Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076. The oldest English lodge devoted to scholarly research into freemasonry.
Q.C.C.C.: Quatuor Coronati Correspondence Circle.
R.A.: Royal Arch. An order which apparently developed in the eighteenth century open only to masons and whose rituals purport to be the completion and culmination of the spiritual journey of the degrees of craft masonry.
R.A.M.: Royal Ark Mariner.
R.C.C.: Red Cross of Constantine.
R.M.B.I.: Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.
R.M.H.: Royal Masonic Hospital.
R.M.I.B.: Royal Masonic Institution for Boys.
R.M.I.G.: Royal Masonic Institution for Girls.
R.W.: Right Worshipful. Used for Present and Past Deputy Grand Master; Assistant Grand Master; Provincial and District Grand Masters.
S.C.: Scottish Constitution.
S.D: Senior Deacon.
S.G.D.: Senior Grand Deacon.
S.G.W.: Senior Grand Warden.
S.L.G.R.: Senior London Grand Rank.
S.L.G.C.R.: Senior London Grand Chapter Rank. (Royal Arch).
Sn.: Sign.
Sns.: Signs
Sojr.: Sojourner (Royal Arch).
S.W.: Senior Warden.
Swd.: Sword.
T.B.: Tracing Board.
T.G.A.O.T.U.: The Great Architect of the Universe: the Supreme Being; God.
U.G.L.E.: United Grand Lodge of England.
V.S.L.: Volume of the Sacred Law. 'All initiates shall take their Obligation on or in full view of the open Volume of the Sacred Law, by which is meant the revelation from above which is binding on the conscience of the particular individual who is being initiated' (Basic Principals for Grand Lodge Recognition, 1929).
V.W.: Very Worshipful. Used for Present and Past Grand Chaplains; Grand Registrars; Grand Secretaries; Presidents of Grand Charity, Masonic Foundation, Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, New Masonic Samaritan Fund; Grand Director of Ceremonies; Grand Sword Bearers; Grand Superintendent of Works; Grand Inspectors.
W.: Worshipful. Used for all present and past grand officers, and present and past masters of lodges not entitled to the prefix M.W., R.W., or V.W.
W.M.: Worshipful Master.
W.T.: Working tool.
Z.: Zerubabel, Prince of Jerusalem. One of the three Grand Principals of the Royal Arch.

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