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The Feast of Saint John the Baptist

Today in Masonic History it is the Feast of Saint John the Baptist.

Freemasonry reveres two Saints John. Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist. The Feast of Saint John the Evangelist is on December 27th each year.

Saint John the Baptist in Christian tradition comes in preparation for Christ's arrival. The story of his birth is told in the Gospel of Luke.

John the Baptist's father was Zechariah a Jewish priest. Zechariah and his wife had no children and had gone past the age of child bearing years. When Zechariah was sent to the Temple in Jerusalem, he was chosen to offer up incense to Deity on the Golden Altar. He was visited by the Archangel Gabriel who informed him if he and his wife had a child, they were to name it John. Zechariah did not believe Gabriel and his voice was taken until after John was born. At the birth, the family was trying to decide what to name the child and Zechariah wrote "His name is John" and his voice returned.

The feast day for most saints falls on the day of their death in Christian tradition since this is the day they enter heaven. The two exceptions are the Virgin Mary since she was pure from original sin at birth. The other is Saint John the Baptist who was cleansed of sin in his mother's womb.

In the Masonic tradition, John the Baptist is recognized as the patron saint of stonemasons in the Middle Ages throughout Europe. A guild of stonemasons and carpenters in Germany was called the Fraternity of Saint John the Baptist.

Moving forward to the founding of the premier Grand Lodge of England in 1717, it was formed on June 24th. In many lodges and Grand Lodges June the 24th was used as the day for the installation of a new Worshipful Master or Grand Master. In the 1700's in England this was generally done under the Antients or Ancient Grand Lodge of England.