Help Me Maintain OUR Website!!!!!!
FOUR CROWNED MARTYRS.
The legend of the Four Crowned Martyrs should be interesting to k Masonic scholars, because it is one of the few instances, perhaps the only one, in which the church has been willing to do honor to those old workers in stone, whose services it readily secured in the Medieval ages, but with whom, as with their successors the modern Freemasons, it has always appeared to be in a greater or less degree of antagonism. Besides, these humble but true-hearted confessors of the faith of Christianity were adopted by the Stonemasons of Germany as the patron saints of Operative Masonry, just as the two Saints John have been since selected as the patrons of the Speculative branch of the Institution. Dr. Christian Ehrmann, of Strasbourg who for thirty years had devoted his attention to this and to kindred subjects of Masonic archeology, has supplied us with the most interesting details of the life and death of the Four Crowned Martyrs. The Roman Church has consecrated November 8 to the commemoration of these martyrs, and yearly, on that day, offers up the prayer: "Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that as we have been informed of the constancy of the glorious martyrs in the profession of Thy faith, BO we may experience their kindness in recommending us to Thy mercy-." The Roman Breviary of 1474 is more-explicit, and mentions them particularly by name. It is, therefore, somewhat remarkable, that, although thus careful in their commemoration, the Missals of the Roman Church give us no information of the deeds of these holy men. It is only from the Breviaries that we can learn anything of the act on which the commemoration in the calendar was founded. Of these Breviaries, Ehrmann has given full citations from two: the Breviary of Rome, published in 1474, and the Breviary of Spire, published in 1478. These, with some few extracts from other books on the subject, have been made accessible to us by George Kloss, in his interesting work entitled, Freimaurerei in ihrer wahren Bedeutung, or Freemasonry in its true significance. The Breviarium Romanum is much more complete in its details than the Breviarium Spirense; and yet the latter contains a fen incidents that are not related in the former. Both agree in applying to the Four Crowned Martyrs the title of quadratarii. Now quadratarius, in the Latin of the lower age, signified a Stone-squarer or a Mason. This will remind us of the passage in the Book of Rings, thus translated in the authorized version: "And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers. " It is evident from the use of this word quadratarii in the ecclesiastical legends as well as from the incidents of the martyrdom itself, that the four martyrs were not simply sculptors, but stone-cutters and builders of temples: in other words, Operative Masons. Nor can we deny the probability of the supposition, that they were members of one of those colleges of architects, which afterward gave birth to the gilds of the Middle Ages, the corporations of builders, and through these to the modern Lodges of Freemasons. Supposing the legend to be true, or even admitting that it is only symbolical, we must acknowledge that there has been good reason why the Operative Masons should have selected these martyrs as the patron saints of their profession. Now let us apply ourselves to the legend. Taking the Roman Breviary as the groundwork, and only interpolating it at the proper points with the additional incidents related in the Breviary of Spire, we have the following result as the story of the Four Crowned Martyrs. In the last quarter of the third century Diocletian was Emperor of the Roman Empire. In his reign commenced that series of persecutions of the Christian church, which threatened at one time to annihilate the new religion, and gave to the period among Christian writers the name of the Era of Martyrs. Thousands of Christians, who refused to violate their consciences by sacrificing to the heathen gods, became the victims of the bigotry and intolerance, the hatred and the cruelty, of the Pagan priests and the Platonic philosophers; and the scourge, the cross, or the watery grave daily testified to the constancy and firmness of the disciples of the prophet of Nazareth. Diocletian had gone to the Province of Pannonia, that he might by his own presence superintend the bringing of metals and stones from the neighboring mines of Noricum, wherewith to construct a temple consecrated to the sun-god, Apollo. Among the six hundred and twenty-two artisans whom he had collected together for this purpose were four—by name Claudius, Castorius, Symphorianus, and Nichostratus —said to have been distinguished for their skill as Stonemasons. They had abandoned the old heathen faith and were in secret Christians, doing all their work as Masons in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Breviary of Spires relates here an additional occurrence, which is not contained in the Breviary of Rome, and which, as giving a miraculous aspect to the legend, must have made it doubly acceptable to the pious Christians of the fifteenth century, upon whose religious credulity one could safely draw without danger of a protest. It seems that, in company with our four blessed martyrs, there worked one Simplicius, who was also a mason, but a heathen. While he was employed in labor near them he wondered to see how much they surpassed in skill and cunning all the other artisans. They succeeded in all that they attempted, while he was unfortunate, and always breaking his working tools. At last he approached Claudius, and said to him: "Strengthen, I beseech thee, my tools, that they may no longer break." Claudius took them in his hands, and said: " In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ be these tools henceforth strong and faithful to their work." From this time, Simplicius did his work well, and succeeded in all that he attempted to do. Amazed at the change, Simplicius was continually asking his fellowworkmen how it was that the tools had been so strengthened that now they never broke. At length Claudius replied: "God, who is our Creator, and the Lord of all things, has made His creatures strong." Then Simplicius inquired Was not this done by the God Zeus?" To this Claudius replied: "Repent, O my brother, of what thou hast said. for thou hast blasphemed God, our Creator, whom alone we worship, that which our own hands have made we do not recognize as a God." With these and such sentences they converted Simplicius to the Christian faith, who, being baptized by Cyrillus, bishop of Antioch, soon afterward suffered martyrdom for his refusal to sacrifice to the Pagan gods. One day Diocletian issued an order, that out of a piece of marble should be constructed 3 noble statue of Apollo sitting in his chariot. And now all the workmen and the philosophers began to consult on the subject. and each one had arrived at a different opinion. And when at length they had found a huge block of stone, which had been brought from the Island of Thasos, it proved that the marble was not fit for the statue which Diocletian had commanded, and non began 3 great war of Lords between the masters of the work and the philosophers. glut one day the whole of the artisans, six hundred and twenty-two in number, with five philosophers, came together, that they might examine the defects and the veins of the stone, and there arose a still more wonderful contest between the workmen and the philosophers. Then began the philosophers to rail against Claudius, Symphorianus, Nichostratus, and Simplicius, and said: " Why do ye not hearken to the commands of our devout Emperor, Diocletian, and obey his will?" Claudius answered and said: " Because we cannot offend our Creator and commit a sin, whereof we should be found guilty in His sight " Then said the philosophers: " From this it appears that you are Christians." Claudius replied: "Truly we are Christians." thereupon the philosophers chose other masons, and caused them to make a statue of Esculapius out of the stone which had been rejected, which, after thirty-one days, they finished and presented to the philosophers, These then informed the Emperor that the statue of Esculapius was finished, when he ordered it to be brought before him for inspection. But as soon as he saw it he was greatly astonished, and said: 'This is a proof of the skill of these men, who receive my approval as sculptors." It is very apparent that this, like all other legends of the church, is insufficient in its details, and that it leaves many links in the chain of the narrative to be supplied by the fancy or the judgment of the readers. It is equally evident from what has already been said, in connection with what is subsequently told, that the writer of the legend desired to make the impression that it was through the influence of Claudius and the other Christian Masons that the rest of the workmen were persuaded that the Thasian stone w as defective and unfit for the use of a sculptor; that this was done by them because they were unwilling to engage in the construction of the statue of a Pagan god; that this was the cause of the controversy between the workmen and the philosophers; that the Latter denied the defectiveness of the stone; and, lastly, that they sought to prove its fitness by causing other masons, who were not Christians, to make out of it a statue of Esculapius. These explanations are necessary to an understanding of the legend, which proceeds as follows: As soon as Diocletian had expressed his admiration of the statue of Esculapius, the philosopher said: " Most mighty Caesar, know that these men whom your majesty has praised for their skill in Masonry, namely, Claudius, Symphorianus, Nichostratus, and Castorius, are Christians, and by magic spells or incantations make men obedient to their will." Then said Diocletian: "If they have violated the lawns and if your accusations he true, let them suffer the punishment of sacrilege." But Diocletian, in consideration of their skill, sent for the Tribune Lampadius, and said to him: " If they refuse to offer sacrifice to the sun-god Apollo, then let them be scourged with scorpions. But if they are willing to do so, then treat them with kindness." For five days sat Lampadius in the same place, before the temple of the sun-god, and called on them by the proclamation of the herald, and showed them many dreadful things, and all sorts of instruments for the punishment of martyrs, and then tie said to them: " Hearken to me and avoid the doom of martyrs, and be obedient to the mighty prince, and offer a sacrifice to the sun-god, for no longer can I speak to you in gentle words." But Claudius replied for himself and for his companions with great boldness: "This let the Emperor Diocletian know: that we truly are Christians, and never can depart from the worship of our God." Thereupon the Tribune Lampadius, becoming enraged. caused them to be stripped and to be scourged with scorpions, while a herald, by proclamation, announced that this was done because they had disobeyed the commands of the emperor. In the same hour Lampadius, being seized by an evil spirit, died on his seat of judgment. As soon as the wife and the domestics of Lampadius heard of his death, their ran with great outcries to the palace. Diocletian, when he had learned what had happened, ordered four leaden coffins to be made, and that— Claudius and his three companions being placed therein alive—they should be thrown into the river Danube. This order Nicetius, the assistant of Lampadius, caused to be obeyed, and thus the faithful masons suffered the penalty and gained the crown of martyrdom. There are some books of legends which give the names of the Four Crowned Martyrs as Severus, Severzanus, Carpophorus, and Vidorinus, and others again which speak of five confessors who, a few years afterward, suffered martyrdom for refusing to sacrifice to the Pagan gods, and whose names being at the time unknown, Pope Melehiades caused them to be distinguished in the church calendar as the Four Crowned Martyrs: an error, says Jacob de Voragine, which, although subsequently discovered, was never corrected. But the true legend of the Four Crowned Martyrs is that which has been given above from the best authority, the Roman Breviary of 1474. "On the other side of the Esquiline," says Mrs. Jameson in her Sacred and Legendary Art (volume ii, page 0324), "and on the road leading from the Coliseum to the Lateran, surmounting a heap of sand and ruins, we come to the church of the 'Quattro Coronati,' the Four Crowned Brothers. On this spot, some time in the fourth century, were found the bodies of four men who had suffered decapitation, whose names being then unknown, they were merely distinguished as Coronati, crowned—that is, with the crown of martyrdom." There is great obscurity and confusion in the history of these men. Their church, Mrs. Jameson goes on to say, is held in particular respect by the builders and stone-cutters of Rome. She has found allusion to these martyr masons not only in Roman art, but in the old sculpture and stained glass of Germany. Their effigies she tells us, are easily distinguished by the fact that they stand in a row, bearing palms, with crowns upon their heads and various Masonic implements at their feet— such as the rule, the square, the mallet, and the chisel. They suffered death on the 8th of November, 987, and hence in the Roman Catholic Missal that day is dedicated to their commemoration. From their profession as Stonemasons and from the pious firmness with which they refused, at the cost of their lives, to consecrate their skill in their art to the construction of Pagan temples, they have been adopted by the Stonemasons of Germany as the Patron Saints of Operative Masonry. Thus the oldest Regulation of the Stonemasons of Strasbourg, which has the date of the year 1459, commences with the following invocation: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of our gracious Mother Mary, and also of her Blessed Servants, the Four Crowned Martyrs of everlasting memory." Such allusions are common in the German Masonic documents of the Middle ages. It is true, however that the English Freemasons ceased at a later period to refer in their Constitutions to those martyrs, although they undoubtedly borrowed many of their usage's from Germany. Yet the Regius .Manuscript of the Constitutions of Freemasonry, the oldest of the English records, which is supposed to have been written about the year 1390, under the title of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum gives a rather copious detail of the legend (lines 497 to 534), which is here inserted with only those slight alterations of its antiquated phraseology which are necessary to render it intelligible to modern readers, although in doing so the rhyme of the original is somewhat destroyed: Pray we now to God Almighty And to His .Mother, Mary bright That we may keep these articles here And these points well altogether, As did those holy martyrs four That in this Craft were of great honour. They were as good Mason as on earth shall go Gravers and image makers they were also, For they were workmen of the best, The emperor had them in great liking He willed of them an image to make, That might be worshiped tor his sake; Such idols he had in his day To turn the people from Christ's law, But they were steadfast in Christ's law And to their Craft, without denial; They loved well God and all his lore, And were in his service evermore. True men they were, in that day, And lived well in God s law They thought no idols for to make, For no good that thev might take; To believe on that idol for their god They would not do so, though he were mad, For they would not forsake their true faith, And believe on his false lan. The emperor caused to take them at once And put them in a deep prison. The sorer he punished thenl in that place, The more joy was to them of Christ's grace. Then whet e saw no other one To death he let them then go. Who so will of their life more know, By the book he may it show, In the legends of the saints The names of the four crowned ones. Their feast will be without denial, After All Haliows, the eighth day. The devotion of these saints, w hich led to the introduction of their legend into an ancient Constitution of Freemasonry, shows how much they were reverenced by the Craft. In fact, the Four Crowned Martvrs were to the Stone-cutters of Germany and to the earlier Operative Masons of England what Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist became to their successors, the Speculative Freemasons of the eighteenth century. From them the famous literary Lodge—the Quatuor Coronati, of London, England—has been so named.
In the instructions of the Past Master's Degree in America we find the following expression: "A twofold cord is strong, a threefold cord is stronger, but a fourfold cord is not easily broken." The expression is taken from a Hebrew proverb which is to be found in the Book of Ecclesiastes (iv, 12): "And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." The form of the Hebrew proverb was changed to suit the symbolism of the Degree.
FOUR NEW YEARS.
According to the Talmud there were four New Years. The first of Nisan was the new year for kings and festivals; the reign of a king was calculated from this date. The first of Elul was a new year for the tithing of cattle. The first of Tishri was a new year for civil years, for years of release, jubilees, and planting. The first of Shebat was a new year for the tithing of trees.
FOUR OLD LODGES.
Of the four old Lodges which constituted the Grand Lodge of England, on Saint John the Baptist's day, 1717, the Lodge of Antiquity, No. 2, London, was the first. The Lodge meets by "Time Immemorial Constitution," having no Warrant and, until the "Union," was first on the roll; a decision, however, by ballot. lost it its numerical priority. As Lodges were known by the house in which they met, Antiquity Lodge was designated The West India and American. The Royal Somerset House and Inverness, No. 4, London, is the junior of the four Lodges which constituted the Grand Lodge. At that time it met at the Rummer and Grapes Tavern, Westminster, and subsequently at the Horn, which latter gave the Lodge a name for many years. This Lodge now represents three united Lodges, the names of two of which are to be found in its present designation. Of the four original Lodges, two only have been on the roll from 1740 as of "Time Immemorial Constitution." The original No. 2 ceased working about 1736 and was erased in 1740, and No. 3 accepted a "New Constitution," now No. 12, and is known as Fortitude and Cumberland. The four original Lodges, after the issue of the Regulations of 1723, simply enjoyed the advantage of being ahead of all the Warrant Lodges, the privilege of assembling by "Time Immemorial Constitution," and the honor of having established the first Grand Lodge in the universe (see Freemasonry, Early British).
It is only necessary to remind the well-informed Freemason of the fourteen days of burial mentioned in the legend of the Third Degree. Now, this period of fourteen was not in the opinion of Masonic symbolists, an arbitrary selection, but was intended to refer to or symbolize the fourteen days of lunary darkness, or decreasing light, which intervene between the full moon and its continued decrease until the end of the lunar month. In the Egyptian mysteries, the body of Osiris is said to have been cut into fourteen pieces by Typhon, and thrown into the Nile. Plutarch, speaking of this in his treatise on Isis and Osiris, thus explains the symbolism of the number fourteen, which comprises the Masonic idea: The body of Osiris was cut into fourteen pieces; that is, into as many parts as there are days between the full moon. The moon, at the end of fourteen days, enters Taurus, and becomes united to the sun, from whom she collects fire upon her disk during the fourteen days which follow. She is then found every month in conjunction with him in the superior parts of the signs. The equinoctial year finishes at the moment when the sun and moon are found united with Orion, or the star of Orus a constellation placed under Taurus, which unites itself to the Neomenia of spring. The moon renews herself in Taurus. and a few days afterward is seen, in the form of a crescent in the following sign. that is, Gemini, the home of Mercury. Then Orion. united to the sun in the attitude of a formidable warrior, precipitates Scorpio. His rival, into the shades of night, for he sets every time Orion appears above the horizon. The day becomes lengthened, and the germs of evil are by degrees destroyed. It is thus that the poet Nonnus pictures to us Typhon conquered at the end of winter, wizen the sun arrives in Taurus, and when Orion mounts into the heavens with him. The first few lines of this article. Fourteen, prompted a discussion in the Builder of November, 1927 (page 35°), and in the Sandusky Masonic Bulletin, December 1927 (page 149), relative to fourteen or fifteen days of burial. The former quotes Prichard of 1730 in favor of fifteen; that several Masonic Jurisdictions in the United States prefer fifteen as the number; that Webb and Cross so taught; that England has no definite period but mentions a considerate time; that Doctor Mackey was probably right in assuming an astronomical significance—the lunar period between the full and the new moon—but the fifteenth day is nevertheless the first day of the new moon. Doctor Merz in she Bulletin, however, quotes Fellows in favor of fourteen days, mentions the Great Pyramid and its latitude as providing that fourteen days before the Vernal Equinox, the sun would cease to east a shadow at noon and would not again cast it for fourteen days after the autumnal Equinox, and that the significant conformity of the legends of Osiris and of Hiram deserves favor. The Builder suggests further that altogether too many alterations in the ritual have been made in the interests of schemes of interpretation and of superficial consistency, that the thing to do is to discover the oldest available wording and then try to assign a meaning to it, the first duty being to preserve the tradition, a conclusion in which Doctor Merz and the rest of us will join cordially with Brother Meekren (see Fifteen).
A native of Medford, Massachusetts. born in September, 1766, went to Boston at fourteen N ears of age and served an apprenticeship as a pump and block maker, which occupation he followed in after life. Better educated than most mechanics of his time, he had good knowledge of the French language and spoke it with the same fluency as his mother tongue. He was initiated into the Lodge of Saint Andrew, Boston, April 10, 1793; was first Master of Mount Lebanon Lodge, Boston, the Charter for which Lodge he had been active in securing, which office he held in 1801, 1802, l803 and 1805, the Lodge having been granted its Charter on June 8, 1801. In 1805, Brother Fowle resigned his membership in the Mount Lebanon Lodge and returned to the Lodge of Saint Andrew, where he served as Master from 1810 to 1817. He was elected Junior Grand Deacon of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and served in this capacity from December 27, 1802, to December 7, 1805, then as Senior Grand Deacon until December 14, 1807. From 1807 until December 27, 1808, he was Junior Grand Warden and from that time to December 28, 1809, he held the office of Senior Grand Warden. December 17, 1810, to December ''8, 1818, he was Grand Marshal. Brother Fowle united with Saint Andrew's Royal Arch Chapter as a member on February 18, 1795, and was admitted an honorary member on November 2, 1808. In October, 1797, he was elected Scribe of the Chapter and held the office two years, and October of 1799 he was elected to the office of King, held this situation five years, in 1804 becoming High Priest of the Chapter and remaining in this position four years. He also headed the Chapter in 1813 and 1814. He was Deputy Grand High Priest of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts for ten years, and for several years an officer of high rank in the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United States. Received Knight Templar Degree in Saint Andrew's Chapter, January 28, 1795, and first Sovereign Master, Boston Encampment, Red Cross Knights, 1802-24; Grand Ceneralissimo, Grand Encampment of United States, 1816, Deputy Grand Master, 1819. See Bylaws of Saint Andrew's Royal Arch Chapter, Boston, 1866 (pages 106 and 107) where we are also told of Brother Fowle that, "As he was perfect in the ritual of every grade of the Order, he was considered high authority by his younger and less informed Brethren" (see Memorial Volume, Knights Templar Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Henry W. Rugg, pages 97-103). During the many years of his activity he served almost constantly on various Committees of the Grand Lodge and records show his name on each and every Committee appointed which had anything whatever to do with matters pertaining to regalia, and his correspondence shows that he personally submitted designs to the Grand Lodge for many of the official Jewels of Office. Right Worshipful Brother Henry Fowle died in Boston, at the age of seventy-one, March 10, 1837.
[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership
Development] [Education] [Masonic
This site is not an official site of any recognized Masonic body in the United
States or elsewhere.
Last modified: March 22, 2014