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Anciently Grand Lodges, which were then called General Assemblies of the Craft, were held annually. But it is said that the Grand Master Inigo Jones instituted quarterly communications at the beginning of the seventeenth century, which were continued by his successors, the Earl of Pembroke and Sir Christopher Wren, until the infirmities of the latter compelled him to neglect them (see Constitutions, 1738, page 99). On the revival in 1717, prevision was made for the resumption ; and in the twelfth of the thirty-nine Regulations of 1721 it was declared that the Grand Lodge must have a quarterly communication about Michaelmas, Christmas and Lady-Day (see Constitutions, 1723, page 61).
These quarterly communications are still retained by the Grand Lodge of England, and in America by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, but all other American Grand Lodges have adopted the old system of annual comm anications.
COMMUNION OF THE BRETHREN
. See Bread, Consecrated.
Capital of the Province of Como in Northern Italy, situated at South end of West branch of Lake of Como, about thirty miles from Milan, and today is an industrial city. Its interest to Freemasons is on account of it being the center from which radiated the Comacine Masters, who descended from the Roman Colleges of Artificers and who built for the Lombards and others during their reign and carried their Art and influence into the Cathedral building of the Renaissance (see Comacinc Masters).
The archeologists have determined The form of the older city of Roman times to have been rectangular,
COMACINE EMBLEMS OF NINTH CENTURY CARVED IN CHURCH OF SAINT ABBONDIO AT MILAN, ITALY enclosed by walls. Towers were constructed on walls in the twelfth century;. Portions of the walls are now to be seen in the garden of Liceo Volta. Baths common in all Roman cities have been discovered. Fortifications erected previous to 1117 were largely cunstructed with Roman inscribed sepulchral urns and other remains, in which most all Roman cities were unusually rich.
It is usual to recor that Como was the birthplace of the elder and younger Pliny. The younger Pliny had a villa here called Comedia and was much interested in building the city. having founded baths, a library, and aided in charity for the support of orphan children. Of the many letters of the younger Pliny that remain, one is to his builder, Mustio, a Comacine architect, commissioning him to restore the temple of the Eleusinian Ceres, in which, after explaining the form of design he wished it to take, he concludes : ''. . . at least, unless you think of something better, you, whose Art can always overcome difliculties of position. " There was an early church of Saints Peter and Paul in the fifth century that stood outside of The town, and the site is now occupied by the Romanesque church of Saint Abbondio, founded 1013, and consecrated1095.
There are found many interesting intrecci remains of early carvings of the Comacine or Solomon's Knot (see the illustration of parapet).
On a site of an earlier church stands the present Cathedral of Como, which is built entirely of marble.
It was begun in 1396 A.D., but was altered in the period from 1487-1526 A.D., into Renaissance. Authors disagree as to whether the church was restored or rebuilt. The façade, 1457-86 A.D., follows in its lines the old Lombard form, but the dividing pilasters are lavishly enriched, being perpendicular niches with a statue in each.
Scott says that ''During the years from 1468 to 1492 the books of the Lodge, preserved in the archives, abound in names of Magistri from the neighborhood of Como, both architects and sculptors, and among them was Tommaso Rodari, who entered the Lodge in 1490, with a letter of recommendation from the Duke, advising that he be specially trained in the Art of Sculpture. He and four others were sent to Rome to remain ten years, and perfect themselves in sculpture, to study the antique, and to retum to the laborerium as fully qualified masters."
Rodari returned and sculptured a most beautiful North door of the Cathedral in rich ornate Renaissance style, although the lions are still under the columns, thus preserving a Comacine symbol so universally common in earlier times of pure Lombard style.
The history of Como as a city with her various fortunes and defeats during the invasions of barbarians and her long conflicts with her old enemy, Milan, may be found elsewhere. What interests us is the early colonization by Rome and her subsequent relations to Architecture at the Renaissance.
Soon after 89 B.c. Rome sent 3,000 colonists to Como, and Artificers were certainly among them, and in 59 B.c. Caesar sent 5,000 more, and the place received the name Novum comum and received Latin rights (see Comacine Masters).
In French Freemasonry, a Fellow Craft is so called, and the grade du Compagnon is the Degree of Fellow Craft.
This is the name which is given in France to certain mystical associations formed between workmen of the same or an analogous handicraft, whose object is to afford mutual assistance to the members. It was at one time considered among handicraftsmen as the Second Degree of the novitiate, before arriving at the maitrise, or mastership, the first being, of course, that of apprentice; and workmen were admitted into it only after five years of apprenticeship, and on the production of a skilfully constructed piece of work, which was called their chef-d'oeuvre (the French for masterpiece).
Tradition gives to Compage a Hebraic origin, which to some extent assimilates it to the traditional history of Freemasonry as springing out of the Solomonic Temple. It is, however, certain that it arose, in the twelfth century, out of a part of the corporation of workmen. These, who prosecuted the labors of their Craft from province to province, could not shut their eyes to the narrow policy of the gilds or corporations, which the masters were constantly seeking to make more exclusive.
Thence they perceived the necessity of forming for themselves associations or confratemities, whose protection should accompany them in all their laborious wanderings, and secure to them employment and fraternal intercourse when arriving in strange towns.
The Compagnons du Tour, which has been the title assumed by those who are the members of the brotherhoods of Compagnonage, have legends, which have been traditionally transmitted from age to age, by which, like the Freemasons, they trace the origin of their association to the Temple of King Solomon.
These legends are three in number, for the different societies of Compagnonage recognize three different founders, and hence made three different associations , which are : 1. The Children of Solomon.
2. The Children of Maître Jacques,
3. The Children of Pére Soubise.
These three societies or classes of the Compagnons are irreconcilable enemies and reproach each other with the imaginary contests of their supposed founders.
The Children of Solomon pretend that King Salomon gave them their devoir, or gild, as a reward for their labors at the Temple, and that he had there timited them into a brotherhood. The Children of Maître Jacques (the French name for Master James), say that their founder, who was the son of a celebrated architect named Jacquain, or Jacques, was one of the chief Masters of Solomon, and a colleague of Hiram. He was born in a small city of Gaul named Carte, and now St. Romille, but which we should in vain look for on the maps.
From the age of fifteen he was employed in stonecutting. He traveled in Greece, where he learned sculpture and architecture; afterward went to Egypt, and thence to Jerusalem, where he constructed two pillars with so much skill that he was immediately received as a Master of the Craft. Maître Jacques and his colleague Pére Soubise, after the labors of the Temple were completed, resolved to go together to Gaul, swearing that they would never separate; but the union did not last very long in consequence of the jealousy excited in Pére Soubise by the ascendency of Maître Jacques over their disciples. They parted, and the former landed at Bordeaux, and the latter at Marseilles. One day, Maître Jacques, being far away from his disciples, was attacked by ten of those of Pére Soubise.
To save himself, he fled into- a marsh, where he sustained himself from sinking by holding on to the reeds, and was eventually rescued by his disciples. He -then retired to St. Baume, but being soon after betrayed by a disciple, named, according to some, Jeron, and according to others, Jamais, he was assassinated by five blows of a dagger, in the forty-seventh year of his age, four years and nine days after his departure from Jerusalem. On his robe was subsequently found a reed which he wore in memory of his having been saved in the marsh, and thenceforth his disciples adopted the reed as the emblem of their Order.
Pére Soubise is not generally accused of having taken any part in the assassination. The tears which he shed over the tomb of his colleague removed in part the suspicions which had at first rested on him. The traitor who committed the crime, subsequently, in a moment of deep contrition, cast himself into a well, which the disciples of Maître Jacques filled up with stones. The relics of the martyr were long preserved in a sacred chest, and, when his disciples afterward separated into different crafts, his hat was given to the hatters, his tunic to the stone-cutters, his sandals to the locksmiths, his mantle to the joiners, his girdle to the carpenters, and his staff to the cartwrights.
According to another tradition, Maître Jacques was no other than Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Templars, who had collected under his banner some of the Children of Solomon that had separated from the parent society, and who, about 1268 A.D., conferred upon them a new devoir or gild .
Pére Soubise is said, in the same legend, to have been a Benedictine monk, who gave to the carpenters some special statutes. This second legend is generally recognized as more truthful than the first. From this it follows that the division of the society of Compagnonage into three classes dates from the thirteenth century, and that the Children of Maître Jacques and of Pére Soubise are more modern than the Children of Solomon, from whom they were a dismemberment.
The organization of these associations of Compagnonage reminds one very strongly of the somewhat similar organization of the Stonemasons of Germany and of other countries in the Middle Ages. To one of these classes every handicraftsman in France was expected to attach himself. There was an initiation, and a system of Degrees which were four in number: the Accepted Companion, the Finished Companion, the Initiated Companion, and, lastly, the Affiliated Companion. There were also signs and words as modes of recognition, and decorations, which varied in the several devoirs ; but to all, the square and compasses was a common symbol.
As soon as a Craftsman had passed through his apprenticeship, he joined one of these gilds, and commenced his journey over France, which was called the tour de France, in the course of which he visited the principal cities, towns, and villages, stopping for a time wherever he could secure employment. In almost every town there was a house of call, presided over always by a woman, who was affectionately called la Mére, or the Mother, and the same name was given to the house itself. There the Compagnons held their meetings and annually elected their officers, and traveling workmen repaired there to obtain food and lodging, and the necessary information which might lead to employment.
When two Companions met on the road, one of them addressed the other with the topage, or challenge, being a formula of words, the conventional reply to which would indicate that the other was a member of the same devoir. If such was the case, friendly greetings ensued. But if the reply was not satisfactory, and it appeared that they belonged to different associations, a war of words, and even of blows, was the result. Such was formerly the custom, but through the evangelic labors of Agricol Perdiquier, a joumeyman joiner of Avignon, who traveled through France inculcating lessons of brotherly love, a better spirit later on existed.
In each locality the association has a chief, who is annually elected by ballot at the General Assembly of the Craft. He is called the First Compagnon of Dignity.
He presides over the meetings, which ordinarily take place on the first Sunday of every month, and represents the society in its intercourse with other Bodies, -with the Masters, or with the municipal authorities.
Compagnonage has been exposed, at various periods, to the persecutions of the Church and the State, as well as to the opposition of the Corporations of Masters, to which, of course, its designs were antagonistic, because it opposed their monopoly. Unlike them, and particularly the Corporation of Freemasons, it was not under the protection of the Church. The practise of its mystical receptions was condemned by the Faculty of Theology at Paris, in 1655 A.D., as impious. But a hundred years before, in 1541, a decree of Francis I had interdicted the Compagnons du Tour from binding themselves by an oath, from wearing swords or canes, from assembling in a greater number than five outside of their Masters' houses, or from having banquets on any occasion. During the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, the parliaments were continually interposing their power against the associations of Compagnonage, as well as against other fraternities. The effects of these persecutions, although embarrassing, were not absolutely disastrous. In spite of them, Compagnonage was never entirely dissolved, although a few of the trades abandoned their devoirs ; some of which, however---such as that of the shoemakers-were subsequently removed.
And at more recent times the gilds of the workmen existed in France having lost, it is true, much of their original code of religious dogmas and symbols, and, although not recognized by the law, always tolerated by the municipal authorities and undisturbed by the police.
To the Masonic scholar, the history of these devoirs or gilds is peculiarly interesting. In nearly all of them the Temple of Solomon prevails as a predominant symbol, while the square and compass, their favorite and constant device, would seem, in some way, to identify them with Freemasonry so far as respects the probability of a common origin.
COMPAGNONS DU TOUR.
This title was assumed by the workmen in France who belong to the several gilds of Compagnonage, which see. The French expression, Compagnons du Tour, or Companions of the Tour, may be understood in two different ways according to the meaning applied to the last word.
Tour is used in French as it is also freely employed in English to indicate a round trip, a rambling and returning excursion of some extent. The word might well fit those who travelled around for employment or for instruction as did the Brethren of old. Tour is also the French for tower and tcwers or castles were represented on .the coat of arms of the Masons Company of London. In both of these meanings the allusion has a significance easily understood.
A title bestowed by Royal Arch Masons upon each other, and equivalent to the word "Brother" in Symbolic Lodges. It refers, most probably, to the companionship in exile and captivity of the ancient Jews, from the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar to its restoration by Zerubbabel, under the auspices of Cyrus. In using this title in a higher Degree, the Freemasons who adopted it seem to have intimated that there was a shade of difference between its meaning and that of Brother. The latter refers to the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man; but the former represents a companionship or common pursuit of one object-the common endurance of suffering or the common enjoyment of happiness. Companion represents a closer tie than Brother. The one is a natural relation shared by all men ; the other a connection, the result of choice and confined to a few. All men are our Brethren, not all our companions.
COMPANIONS OF PENELOPE.
Also known as the Palladium of Ladies. Said to have been established in 1740 by "seven wise men" at Paris. Both men and women were admitted to membership and the candidate when being initiated was conducted by two members of the Order into the center of the Temple where was a table on which was a white cloth with three candles placed around a statue of Minerva, where the Oath of Secrecy, was administered.
COMPANIONS, THE TWELVE.
George F. Fort says that "the twelve Companions of Master Hiram correspond unquestionably to the twelve zodiacal signs, or the twelve months of the year.
The groundwork of this tradition is a fragment of ancient natural religion, common to both Oriental and European nations; or, more properly, was derived from identical sources. The treacherous Craftsmen of Hiram the Good are the three winter months which slew him.
He is the sun surviving during the eleven consecutive months, but subjected to the irresistible power of three ruffians, the winter months ; in the twelfth and last month, that luminary, Hiram, the good, the beauteous, the bright, the sun god, is extinguished" (The Early History and Antiquities of Freemc.wnry, page 408).
As in Operative Freemasonry, the compasses are used for the admeasurement of the architect's plans, and to enable him to give those just proportions which will ensure beauty as well as stability to his work ; so, in Speculative Freemasonry, is this important implement symbolic of that even tenor of deportment, that true standard of rectitude which alone can bestew happiness here and felicity hereafter.
Hence are the compasses the most prominent emblem of virtue, the true and only, measure of a Freemason's life and conduct. As the Bible gives us light on our duties to God, and the square illustrates our duties to our neighborhood and Brother, so the compasses give that additional light which is to instruct us in the duty we owe to ourselves-the great, imperative duty of circumscribing our passions, and keeping our desires within due bounds. "It is ordained," says the philosophic Burke, "in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate passions cannot be free; their passions forge their fetters." Those Brethren who delight to trace our emblems to an astronomical origin, find in the compasses a symbol of the sun, the circular pivot representing the body of the luminary, and the diverging legs his rays.
In the earliest rituals of the eighteenth century, the compasses are described as a part of the furniture of the Lodge, and are said to belong to the Master.
Some change will be found in this respect in the ritual of the present day (see Square and Compasses).
The word is sometimes spelled and pronounced compass, which is more usually applied to the magnetic needle and circular dial or card of the mariner from which he directs his course over the seas, or the similar guide of the airman when seeking his destination across unknown territory.
One of the five orders of architecture introduced by the Romans, and compounded of the other four, whence it derives its name. Although it combines strength with beauty, yet, as it is a comparatively modern invention, it is held in little esteem among Freemasons.
CONCEALMENT OF THE BODY.
Commanderies of Knights Templar in England and Canada were called Conclaves, and the Grand Encampment, the Grand Conclave, but the terms now in use are Preceptory and Great Priory respectively. The word is also applied to the meetings in some other of the advanced Degrees. The word is derived from the Latin con, meaning with, and clavis, a key, to denote the idea of being locked up in seclusion, and in this sense was first applied to the apartment in which the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church are literally locked up when they are assembled to elect a Pope.
A secret order established in Prussia, by M. Lang, on the wreck of the Tugendverein (Tugendverein, German for the Union of the Virtuous), which latter Body was instituted in 1790 as a successor of the Illuminati, and suppressed in 1812 by the Prussian Govermnent, on account of its supposed political tendencies.
A title given to the yearly meetings of the Freemascns in the time of Henry VI, of England, and used it in the celebrated statute passed in the third year of his reign, which begins thus: "Whereas, by the yearly congregations and confederacies made by the Masons in their General Chapiters assembled, etc." (see Laborers, Statutes of).
Assemblies of the members of a Lodge sometimes held in Germany. Their object is the discussion of the financial and other private matters of the Lodge. Lodges of this kind held in France are said to be en famille, meaning in the family. There is no such arrangement in English or American Freemc.wnry.
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