Source: Orthodox History
September 28, 2023
If you search the internet for Orthodoxy and Freemasonry, most of what you’ll find will be condemnations of the movement. You might also find my 2012 article on Freemasonry in American Orthodox history. But, as far as I know, there hasn’t been much work done to document the basic history of Orthodoxy and its interaction with the Masonic movement.
Freemasonry seems to have made its first appearance in the Greek Orthodox world in the 1740s. In 1744, a masonic lodge was founded in Constantinople, and a few years later, Ecumenical Patriarch Photius II condemned the movement in one or more patriarchal encyclicals. Some time after this, a prominent teacher in Cyprus named Ephraim the Athenian (who was later Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1766-70) preached against Freemasonry, calling it a “new infidel faith.” In 1793, Ecumenical Patriarch Neophytus VII listed the Freemasons alongside other “organs of perfect impiety and atheism” in an encyclical.
Despite this resistance, Freemasonry spread in the Greek world. Many of the key figures in the Greek War of Independence were Masons, including some bishops and priests.
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