St John The Almoner

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St John The Almoner (from Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry 1917)

The son of the King of Cyprus, and born in that country in the sixth century. He was elected Patriarch of Alexandria, and has been canonized by both the Greek and the Roman Churches, his festival among the former occurring on the 11th of November and among the latter on the 23rd of January.

Bazot (Man. du Franc-Mac., p 144) thinks that it is this saint, and not St John the Evangelist or St John the Baptist, who is meant as the true patron of our Order.

“He quitted his country and the hope of a Throne” says this author, “to go to Jerusalem, that he might generously aid and assist the knights and pilgrims. He founded a hospital, and organized a fraternity to attend upon the sick and wounded Christians, and to bestow pecuniary aid upon the pilgrims who visited the Holy Sepulchre. St John, who was worthy to become a patron of a society whose only object is charity, exposed his life a thousand times in the cause of virtue. Neither war, nor pestilence, not the fury of the infidels, could deter him from pursuits of benevolence. But death, at length, arrested him in the midst of his labours. Yet he left and example of his virtues to the brethren, who have made it their duty to endeavour to imitate them.

Rome canonized under the name of St John the Almoner, or St John of Jerusalem; and the Masons— whose Temples, overthrown by the barbarians, he had caused to have rebuilt—selected him with one accord as their patron”

Oliver, however, (Mirror for the Johannite Masons p.39) very properly shows the error of appropriating the patronage of Masonry to this Saint, since the festivals of the Order are June 24th and December 27th, while those of St John the Almoner are Jan 23rd and November 11th. He has, however, been selected as the patron of the Masonic Order of the Templars, and their Commanderies are dedicated to his honour on account of his charity to the poor, whom he called his “Masters,” because hoe owed them all service, and on account of his establishment of hospitals for the succor of pilgrims in the East.

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