Monday, September 29, 2008

2008 Livingston Library Dinner Lecture Series

The next Livingston Masonic Library Dinner Lecture was recently announced. The event will take place on Monday, December 8th, 2008 in New York City. The topic for the evening will be "Freemasonry and the Arts" and will feature presenters Robert L. Barrows, Ari Roussimoff and Robert G. Davis. Barrows will present on Music, Roussimoff on Painting/Sculpture and Davis on Theatre Arts.

Last year's event was a great success and this year's edition will prove to do the same. Seating is extremely limited so book early. This is a fund raiser for the Library so if you can't make the event but would still like to support the Library, Event Sponsorships are also available.

Due to my work schedule and the fact that this event is on a Monday, there is a great chance that I will not be able to attend and will have to be satisfied with this coming weekend's Rose Circle Conference. Here are the details for the Dinner Lecture:

When: Monday, December 8, 2008 - 6:00 pm reception - 7:00 pm lecture and dinner
Where: La Petite Auberge Restaurant - 116 Lexington Avenue at 28th Street, Manhattan
More Information: Event Registration Form (PDF)
SPECIAL NOTE: Lecture open to all; only 50 seats available. Event Sponsorships are available. Please contact the Library at 212-337-6620.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Templar Transcript Tour



One of only eight hundred bilingual copies of Processus Contra Templarios to make five stops from Poughkeepsie to Buffalo during week of October 19-25

NEW YORK – In April 2008, the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of Grand Lodge announced the acquisition of Processus Contra Templarios, an unprecedented publication containing a collection of facsimile manuscripts relating to the trials of the Knights Templar. Now, the Library Trustees and staff announce a week-long excursion from October 19-25, during which time the Processus will be displayed and discussed, at six locations across the state: Poughkeepsie; Troy; Cooperstown; Syracuse; Great Valley; and Buffalo. Masonic groups in each location are planning events to coincide with the visit. The trip is planned to conclude on the day of the Grand Master’s Ball in Buffalo, honoring Edward G. Gilbert, Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York.

Each event will include a display of the bound volume containing the transcription of the testimony taken from the captive Knights Templar in the year 1308. The display will include facsimile reproductions of the original documents, which reproduce the handwriting of medieval Inquisitors, along with signs of eight hundred years of age, including artificial tears and mold stains. A half-hour presentation from Thomas M. Savini, Director of the Livingston Masonic Library, and William J. Thomas, Trustee of the Library, will provide an overview of the Knights Templar, describe their place in history, and discuss their interest to scholars of contemporary Freemasonry. The program includes an opportunity for questions and comments from the audience.

“This trip represents an exciting opportunity for the Livingston Library to bring a part of its collection to our patrons,” says Library Director Savini. “Many of our artifacts simply cannot leave the stable environment of our Manhattan site. And while we do lend books by mail to Masons across New York State, most of our books remain in Manhattan as reference copies, to be used at the Library. With this trip, we are bringing an item that has aroused a great deal of curiosity to Masons and others across New York.” Trustee William Thomas adds, "Freemasons really have only one secret - and that pertains to our origins. We don't truly know where we came from. One of the popular theories has us evolving from the Crusader Knights Templar. While there is no such proven link, several Masonic organizations have adopted the theme as part of their traditions. Such traditions are always the subject of lively discussion among our members."

The Holy See shocked the world when it announced that the Vatican Secret Archive would publish exclusive and previously unavailable source material on the hearings against the medieval warrior-monks. The announcement was of special interest to Freemasons and students of Masonic history, as many theorists trace modern Freemasonry’s origins to the military-religious order, and the modern Masonic Templar organization is an important part of the fraternity today. To date, there is no proven historical link between the medieval Knights Templar and modern Freemasonry.

Presented to the world in October 2007, the 700th anniversary of the arrest of the Templars, Processus Contra Templarios is a joint project of the Vatican Secret Archives and Italy’s Scrinium cultural foundation. This unique work is being published in a limited run of 800 copies, under the supervision of Archive officials, and includes faithful replicas of the original parchments closely guarded at the Secret Archive, along with exclusive critical commentary on the minutes of the inquiry.

The publication is highly valued for its documents and critical texts. The most exciting manuscript in the document collection is the “Chinon Parchment,” which contains Pope Clement V’s absolution of the Templars on charges of heresy, which had been the backbone of King Philip of France’s attempts to eliminate them. The pontiff had suspended the Templar Order, without disbanding it, and eventually re-admitted the Templar officials and the entire Order back into the Roman Church community. The pope recognized that they were guilty of many other minor crimes, but not heresy. The parchment, also known as the “Chinon Chart,” was misplaced in the Vatican archives until 2001, when a medieval historian stumbled across it. The parchment was incorrectly catalogued at some point in history and was the key document historians had been looking for.

The Vatican expected most copies of the work to be purchased by specialized libraries at top universities and by leading medieval scholars. The Livingston Masonic Library may be the only Masonic-affiliated research facility to purchase a copy, and one of only a handful of copies in the entire United States. “We are aware that this purchase will raise some eyebrows, both within and outside the Masonic fraternity,” noted Livingston Masonic Library Director Savini. “But the acquisition of this work coincides with our mission to collect, study and preserve the Masonic heritage. The Masonic heritage includes investigation into Freemasonry’s historical roots, but also the study of its inspirational roots, which include Rosicrucianism; the study of philosophy from the European Enlightenment; and study of the Knights Templar. This collection of documents is important not only to students of Freemasonry, but to medieval and religious scholars and historians as well. It is important that someone in the U.S. make this available, and the Library’s Board of Directors unanimously agreed that it should be us.”

President of the Library’s Board of Directors, Barry Mallah, explained the reasoning behind the purchase. “With such an important announcement rippling through the Masonic world, we felt the Livingston Masonic Library should continue its ground-breaking traditions of presenting important works to the research community. We were the first Masonic research library to provide online access to our museum collections and book catalogue, and obtaining the Processus is a continuation of our commitment to research.”

Original documents of the trials of the Templars have never before been offered to scholars. The epic work of Scrinium is presented in a soft leather case that contains a large-format book with scholarly commentary in Italian and English, reproductions of original parchments in Latin, and replicas of the wax seals used by 14th-century inquisitors. One parchment measuring about a foot and a half wide by more than six feet long is so detailed that it includes reproductions of stains and imperfections seen on the originals. The precise reproduction of the parchments will allow scholars to study them, touch them, and admire them as if they were dealing with the real thing. It also means the originals will not deteriorate as fast as they would if they were constantly being handled and viewed.

The Knights Templar have been a subject of both scholarly research and popular fiction for centuries, but never as popular as in recent decades. Legends of their hidden treasures, secret rituals and political power have figured over the years in medieval romances, Victorian novels, modern bestsellers such as The Da Vinci Code, and action films like National Treasure. The Knights have also been portrayed as guardians of the legendary Holy Grail. One theory says that Templars who went underground to escape the persecutions of the inquisitors in the early 14th century evolved as an organization and emerged in Scotland almost two centuries later as early modern Freemasonry.

Library Director Savini said the Livingston Library makes no claim that Freemasonry is descended from the Templars. “Our Library has a duty to provide our patrons with resources that fulfill their interests and research needs, and that expand the general public’s understanding of all areas relating to Freemasonry, including the numerous theories and legends relating to its origins. The Processus is an important work that helps us to serve our patrons.”

The Processus Contra Templarios was acquired through the Edward J. Scheider Book Fund.



212-337-6619 /

Sunday, October 19th
2:00 PM
Dutchess District
Wappingers Lodge No. 671
150 Myers Corners Road, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

Monday, October 20th
2:00 PM
Troy/Capital Region
Mt. Zion Lodge No. 311
39 Brunswick Road, Troy, NY 12180

Tuesday, October 21st
7:00 PM
Otsego-Schoharie Region
Otsego Lodge No. 138
77 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326

Wednesday, October 22nd
7:00 PM
Syracuse / Onondaga & Oswego Districts
Memorial Lodge No. 648
648 Centerville Place, North Syracuse, NY 13212

Thursday, October 23rd
7:00 PM
Cattaraugus / Chautauqua / Allegany Region
Great Valley Lodge No. 1178
4585 Route 219, Great Valley, NY 14741

Friday, October 24th
11:00 AM (Tentative)
Buffalo / Erie District
Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society
22 Nottingham Terrace, Buffalo, NY 14

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Freemasonry & the Secret Work of the Rosicrucians

On October 4th, 2008, the Rose Circle Research Foundation will present its fall conference.

I missed the last one in the spring and still regret it. If you are interested in Esoteric Freemasonry or Rosicrucianism, then this will be a great conference for you.

I have my ticket - will I meet you there?

The Details...

Date: October 4th, 2008
Time: 12:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Location: Masonic Hall, 71 West 23rd St., New York, NY 10010

View an inspiring installation of esoteric fine art, followed by a fascinating series of presentations and discussions on the impact and intersection between the public face of Freemasonry and the hidden work of Rosicrucianism.


  • 12:00pm – 2:00pm "Ambiance" - an esoteric fine art installation by David Lindez
  • 2:00pm – 5:00pm Lectures and Q&A
  • 6:00pm Salon de Rose Croix (separate event)

Lecture Topics:

  • R. A. Gilbert - Beyond the Image: the Spiritual Reality Behind the Symbol of the Rose and Cross
  • Piers A. Vaughan - Spiritual Alchemy and the Lodge
  • David Lindez - Setting the Record Straight: The History of the Masonic Rosicrucians in the USA

About the Speakers:

  • R. A. Gilbert - British author of numerous masonic, historical and Rosicrucian books, journals and articles, Gilbert most recently co-authored 'Freemasonry: A Celebration of the Craft' with John Hamill, Director of Communications for the United Grand Lodge of England. Gilbert is England's foremost book antiquarian, and will shortly defend his Doctoral thesis at Oxford University. As former Librarian and Archivist to the SRIA, he became well known for his numerous contributions to Rosicrucian Scholarship. Gilbert is an expert on Freemasonry, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn & Christian Esoterica in general. He is a Past Prestonian Lecturer (1997) & former editor of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (AQC) while currently serving as chairman of QCCC Ltd.

    Articles by Gilbert:

    Books by Gilbert:
  • Piers A. Vaughan - Masonic speaker, writer and noted translator of rare French Rosicrucian and Martinist texts. High Council officer for the SRICF, noted high grade member of numerous Chivalric and Esoteric Masonic Orders, expert on Rosicrucian Healing and noted for his liturgical
    contributions as an Arch Bishop in the Old Templar Catholic Church. Vaughan is currently the Director of IT & Operations for Globecon in New York City's financial district and has served a distinguished career in the banking industry as a Project Manager and Program Manager for Deutsche Bank and other Fortune 500 companies.
  • David Lindez - an artist & author hailing from Montclair, NJ. Lindez's fine art installations have been shown in galleries throughout the world, including the Kinkeleba in NYC, Bayonne, Hoboken, New Brunswick, San Juan and Puerto Rico. His works are a permanent installation in the Kurt Art Gallery in Kingston, Jamaica. Lindez serves as the Grand Archivist for the Societas Rosicruciana In Civitatibus Foederatis (an invitational Order for Christian Masons in the US) as well as the Grand Chancellor for the Military & Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus. Lindez's poetry and writings on the anthropological & historical views of various subcultures in the rustbelt of the Northeastern United States, the Western mind & ancient spirituality, Freemasonry and other orders, have been published around the world in various academic journals, magazines and encyclopedias. Currently, David is working on two authoritative books documenting the histories of the SRICF and the Scottish Rectified Rite in the USA.

This event is open to all interested in Esoteric studies. No affiliation with any particular order or body is required. Seating is limited, so please buy your ticket today as we expect to sell out in advance.

Tickets are only $40. Buy your ticket here.