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Unveiling the Legacy of Freemasonry in Prussia: A Historical Journey

Unveiling the Legacy of Freemasonry in Prussia: A Historical Journey.

In the 18th century, Freemasonry spread rapidly throughout the German region, with Prussia becoming the center of this movement.

In Berlin, three grand lodges were established: the Grand National Mother Lodge "Zu den drei Weltkugeln" (founded in 1740), the Grand Lodge "Royal York zur Freundschaft" (founded in 1752), and the Grand State Lodge of Freemasons of Germany (founded in 1770).

The significant establishment of the so-called "Royal Art" in the largest German state was largely attributed to its greatest supporter: the monarch himself, Frederick II, also known as "the Great" (1712-1786).

The story of how he became involved with Freemasonry is well-documented: during a conversation in 1738, his father, King William I, expressed disdain for the Masonic lodges.

From King Frederick II to Blücher and Scharnhorst: The Impact of Patriot Masons.

Count Albrecht Wolfgang zu Schaumburg-Lippe, who was present at the gathering, disagreed and revealed himself as a Freemason. He passionately described a brotherhood of selected men working for the betterment of humanity, seeking moral elevation for themselves and others.

The Crown Prince, who was present during the discussion and maintained a correspondence with the Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire, felt strengthened in his views and was so impressed that he expressed his desire to become a Brother to the Count. In the same year, Frederick was symbolically initiated into the Lodge "d'Hambourg."

The "International Masonic Lexicon" describes the philosopher on the throne as follows:

"Frederick the Great brought Freemasonry to Berlin and held lodge meetings in his own palace, Charlottenburg Castle. In the first ceremony, he admitted his brother Wilhelm, and later, his brother-in-law, the Margrave Frederick of Brandenburg-Bayreuth. Frederick repeatedly influenced the further development of Freemasonry in Prussia."

Upon hearing that the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa, his opponent in the Silesian Wars (1740-1745), rejected Masonry, he is said to have remarked, "The Empress is absolutely right, for since she cannot know what transpires within the lodges, she is not guilty for not tolerating them. However, I, who know, not only tolerate them, but also must protect and uphold them."

Blücher, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau: Patriot Masons Contrary to occasional claims, the "Old Fritz" never distanced himself from Freemasonry in his later years. However, he opposed tendencies that he perceived as deviations, such as the "Templar practices of the Strict Observance." In 1777, the king sent the following lines to the Grand Lodge "Royal York zur Freundschaft":

"A society that strives to cultivate all virtues in a fruitful manner within my realms can always count on my protection. This is an honorable task for any good ruler, and I will never cease to fulfill it."

In this spirit, other famous German Freemasons, who were also patriots, exerted their influence: Prussian generals Blücher, Scharnhorst, and Gneisenau, reformers Stein and Hardenberg, Emperor Wilhelm I, as well as advocates of liberty like Carl Schurz, Eduard Lasker, Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch, and Gustav Stresemann, to name just a few.

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