"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Masons Everywhere Want to Help Ukrainian Brethren

by Christopher Hodapp

Ukrainians woke up last week and found themselves suddenly in the middle of a full-scale invasion against one of the largest military forces in the world. People are fleeing their homes, taking up arms against the invaders, and placing their lives on the line to protect their sovereignty, their homes, and their freedom. Consequently, Masons from around the world have wished to offer their sympathy, prayers and more tangible support like money, medicine and food, especially to Masonic brethren there.

Many Masons may have done some Internet research and discovered that the Grand Lodge of Ukraine (Великої Ложі України) is widely recognized as regular and is in amity with most of the regular grand lodges around the world, including the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the National Grand Lodge of France (GNLF), and forty U.S. grand lodges. Ironically, the Grand Lodge of Russia even got around to recognizing the Grand Lodge of Ukraine four years ago, in 2018. So it's absolutely a lousy (and arguably tasteless) thing to enter something as meaningless as Masonic recognition rules into a discussion of helping fellow human beings in a war. 

Now there are a growing number of grand masters and individual Masons around the world issuing official letters of support for Ukraine and denouncing Russia for its hostile military actions. Masons everywhere are wondering how to help. Individual brethren have suggested GoFundMe campaigns to collect money in order to send to the GL of Ukraine. At the beginning of the week, even the George Washington National Masonic Memorial was bathed in blue and yellow light, the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

(Photo: James Cullum from ALXNow website)

It’s frustrating to have to give a bureaucratic explanation to a question about extending aid and charity to Masons in any war-torn nation. However, our members need to remember that all communications at a grand lodge level must be conducted properly by going through our own Grand Lodge Secretaries, and not directly from our members. In fact, the Grand Secretary of the GL of Ukraine has already politely said in a form letter response being circulated online that he and their grand lodge have been overwhelmed by the volume of communications from Masons around the world, and he is unable to reply to them personally. I suspect they've been deluged with messages.

(Just so you know, there was no bank account info attached to the letter, despite him referencing it. Honestly, I suspect the Russians would love to have their bank account information, so it's just as well he didn't include it.)

The Grand Lodge of New York is asking for donations to their Brotherhood Fund, earmarked for Ukraine:

Dear Brethren and Friends,

We at the Grand Lodge of New York are trying to do our part towards answering the call of the distressed in providing a source of much needed help to those adversely affected by these unprovoked acts of violence and war against the good citizens of the Ukraine. These unprecedented assaults and aggression are especially traumatic and harrowing to the population of children and the elderly residing in both the cities and countryside of the Ukraine.

Your Grand Master, Most Worshipful Richard J. Kessler, and the Grand Lodge of New York, in a strong showing of solidarity with our fellow brethren of the Grand Lodge of the Ukraine, we look to the members of our noble Craft to demonstrate their heartfelt compassion and empathy for our fellow human beings during this their hour of darkness. Together, we will emerge from this tragic and dispirited experience united with a renewed zeal of bringing back peace, harmony and brotherhood throughout the world. The essence of True Masonic Brotherhood will be a beacon of hope for all to see and emulate.

In the name of this charitable and humanitarian effort in support of our brothers and their families in the Ukraine, we are grateful to receive your contributions, both large and small, as checks payable to the Masonic Brotherhood Fund earmarked for the Grand Lodge Emergency Relief Fund. Please mail your checks directly to the Masonic Brotherhood Fund, 71 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010-4149. Rest assured that every penny received will be distributed to those in need and absolutely no monies will be deferred to cover expenses and related costs incurred by the Grand Lodge.


In anticipation of your most generous support, please accept the warmest fraternal thanks on behalf of the Grand Master, the officers and members of the Grand Lodge for your kind-spirited gift to the Grand Lodge Emergency Relief Fund. The noted humanitarian and physician, Dr. Albert Schweitzer said it best, “There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.” In memory of the many victims who are injured, maimed or have perished during this calamity, and in cohesion with their families and fellow countrymen, we gratefully bear witness to your genuine and unselfish expression of charity.

In closing, I would like to share a short but true story that is most apropos today as it was when originally told in 1941. During the height of World War II, the Pro Grand Master of Finland, R:.W:.Brother Marcus Tollet, spoke of a little boy at a local seaport in Finland who looking at the various sailing ships noticed one flying a strange flag on its masthead, asked his father, “What flag is that?” He knew the flags of the Scandinavian countries and of all the countries that border on the Baltic, but this was a different flag; and his father replied, “It is the Freemason’s Flag – It is the Stars and Stripes of the American Flag”.

Thank you once again for your thoughtfulness and generosity for our fellow human beings during these trying times.


Richard T. Schulz
Grand Secretary

Grand Lodge of F & AM Of the State of New York
Masonic Hall - 17th Floor
71 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010-4149 U.S.A.

Meanwhile, the Grand Lodge of Missouri this afternoon issued the following statement to its members:


The Grand Lodge office recieved an email request from the Grand Lodge of the Ukraine this morning.

The Grand Lodge of Missouri considers requests from other jurisdictions for emergency aid and assistance, however, those requests must be recognized by the Masonic Service Association (MSA), that is a part of the Confrence of Grand Masters of North America.

This request has been forwarded to the MSA for their consideration. Understandiably, with the volitity of the situation in the Ukraine, and the posability for fraud, the validity of the request has not yet been established.

THEREFORE, it is the order of the Grand Master that NO Missouri Lodges contribute any lodge funds to this, or any similar request(s), at this time.

If you or your lodge has recieved a similar request for assistance, please forward a copy of this request to the Grand Lodge of Missouri grlodge@momason.org so it may be forwarded to the MSA for their verification.

Once the request for assistance has been verified by the Masonic Service Association, another notice will be sent out through the Missouri portal, permiting donations to the MAS for donation to Ukaine.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Masonic Service Association has NOT issued a Masonic Disaster Relief notice. This is likely because the GL of Ukraine has not formally or informally requested it. (I think we can all probably understand that they are a bit preoccupied right at the moment.)

U.S. Brethren are cautioned NOT to attempt to set up their own independent fundraising plans in the name of their individual lodge or grand lodge, or even just identifying oneself as acting on behalf of other Masons – that is the prerogative of your grand lodge and the MSA. 

Further, the message from the Grand Secretary of Ukraine cites their most pressing need right now to be, not money, but a place to stay outside of the country as Ukrainian refugees continue to pour out across borders, followed by food and medicine.

This story will be updated if there are any substantive changes.

A word about recognition of the Grand Lodge of Ukraine

Masonic diplomacy and governance can be a tricky thing to understand, especially for newer Masons. Many Masons online have expressed dismay when they discover the GL of Ukraine isn't recognized by their own grand lodge. Indeed, in my own situation, the Grand Lodge F&AM of Indiana is one of eleven U.S. grand lodges that does not recognize the Grand Lodge of Ukraine at this time. The reason is simple, and there’s no underlying animosity for it. The Grand Lodge of Ukraine never formally applied to us in Indiana for recognition after it was regularly constituted in September 2005. We were initially informed of their founding by their Grand Secretary at that time, but the Grand Lodge of Indiana has a longstanding waiting period at least five years following the formation of a brand new grand lodge before taking up the matter of its recognition. Waiting periods are designed to make sure a newborn GL isn't contested by others already in amity with us, as well as to let enough time lapse in case of bitterness or ego inflation, since so many spurious GLs come into being under hotheaded situations.

Further, established Masonic protocol expects that the newer grand lodge must formally request recognition of the older established one. But the GL of Ukraine never followed through with us, and we could not unilaterally extend recognition to them without their formal request to do so. It’s unfortunate, as our assembled grand lodge would have doubtless extended mutual recognition to them any time after 2010, had they asked. 

This is partially why the MSA was created in the first place. In the advent of a catastrophe, MSA acts as a single voice of North American Freemasons, instead of 51 (or 100) grand lodges and more than a million of us who all think we need to chime in on every given topic these days. If the MSA is contacted by the GL of Ukraine and its board of governors decide to act on their request for donations, those of us in the eleven GLs who don't recognize Ukraine's grand lodge are still able to contribute legitimately as Masons, and in a much greater collective capacity than any GoFundMe page you or I could ever set up.


  1. This is written on the lower right of the letter from the GL of Ukraine:

    * Confidential and Proprietary Information of Grand Lodge of Ukraine. This information is not intended for distribution to unauthorized persons or other distribution or publication on social networks, privately or publicly.

  2. Dear Brethren: This is primarily a political issue and American Masons should not take sides. The ethnic Russians and my fellow Christians of the eastern provinces of Ukraine were persecuted for years. They have been forbidden from learning their culture, history, or even speaking their native language in both public life and in schools. At least 10,000 have been killed in just the past eight years. Although nobody wants war, The United States and western Europe should have never promised to admit Ukraine into NATO or, propose to place Nuclear weapons in the country to deter Russia. We did not allow Nuclear weapons in Cuba in 1962. Combined with the admission of the Baltic states into NATO during the turbulent 1990s, the Budapest declaration in 2008 was nothing more than a poke in the eye of the Russian Bear. I am simply dumbstruck that most Americans are listening to the mainstream media on this issue, considering the terrible lie of Russian Collusion, the coverup of the Biden’s kleptocracy of Burisma, and the absolute corruption of the Ukrainian government, who in the past two years have shut down opposition media, jailed opposition leaders, and inserted themselves in to American politics. We should not choose sides between the Grand Lodge of Russia and the Grand Lodge of Ukraine. This is a completely different situation than World War II.

    1. Even if you believe Russian propaganda like Kyle Day, it doesn't excuse the invasion of a smaller peaceful nation and the wholesale murder of civilians by artillery and cluster bombs. That is why Masons want to help, we want to help those defenseless civilians and the scared refugees.

    2. Helping Masonic brothers and their families in a time of serious need isn't taking political sides. It is the humane thing to do.

  3. Any actual evidence Ukraine was promised admission to NATO, or that there was an offer to place Nuclear weapons in Ukraine? Someones been watching that RT.

  4. The Grand Master of the Mark Grand Lodge of England M.W.Bro. His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO has returned his Russian honors as a protest to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. He is the brother of HRH The Duke of Kent, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England,

  5. From one of the wire service stories about Bro.Prince Michael's return of the Order of Friendship:

    Queen Elizabeth's cousin has returned his Russian honor amid the country's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

    Prince Michael of Kent is returning the Order of Friendship, one of the highest orders in Russia, that he received from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2009 for his work on Anglo-Russo relations.

    "I can confirm that HRH Prince Michael of Kent is returning his Russian Order of Friendship," a spokesman for the Prince said, according to the Daily Express. "There will be no further comment".

    One wonders about the future status of the Russian lodges. Also whether any lodge quarters in the Ukraine have been hit by the cluster bombs, which are doing so much damage and killing.

  6. My dear brothers, I would also like to specify that many liberal obediences, both French and Belgian, have also made an appeal for donations to help the Ukrainians in their misfortunes

    Source : https://www.hiram.be/ukraine-10-obediences-francaises-signent-un-communique-commun/



    The Masonic Obediences signatories of this statement condemn with the utmost force, the war unleashed in Ukraine by Russia.

    The invasion by Russia of a sovereign state, in violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, is the most serious event in Europe since the Second World War. It endangers our continent and, beyond, the world.

    It is a clear violation of the principles and values that we, as Freemasons, defend.

    The Russian aggression against Ukraine has already cost far too many lives and caused terrible suffering. It exposes millions of people in Ukraine and beyond to the risk of senseless violence, displacement and other grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The protection of human lives must remain the top priority.

    The guns must fall silent so that dialogue and negotiation can return. Let us all come together to demand that Russia immediately and unconditionally cease hostilities so that diplomacy can play its full role in restoring peace, before the most devastating consequences occur for the entire continent.

    The illustrious Freemasons who preceded us, by working tirelessly for Peace, have paved the way for the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

    The European Union cannot allow its principles and values to be trampled on its doorstep without reacting. We call on all Member States to show unity and solidarity with Ukraine and to welcome people fleeing armed conflicts to help them protect their dignity, safety and fundamental rights.

    In these fateful days for universal peace and happiness, all our thoughts are with our Brothers and Sisters in humanity."

  7. Nous frères maçon de la RDC République démocratique du Congo nous compatissons à cette dure épreuve que traverse les peuples ukrainien car nous vivons la meme chose depuis plus de 20 ans à l Est de notre pays des tueries des enfants,des viols des femmes causé par nos voisins .

  8. There has been many accounts in the past of brothers assisting recognised distressed brothers; aid packages to concentration camps, burying the Masonic dead of the enemy properly instead of a mass grave to being taken prisoner rather than run through with a bayonet. I would have more faith in the GLOU to distribute funds than maybe other charities.


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