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4. Secret Societies (4.3.5-)

4.3.5    Possible pre-Freemasonic history

Roslyn chapel

The Roslyn Chapel

I found an interesting path to a possible freemasonic origin during my own research as a layman. Were Dan Brown and other point out Roslyn Chapel as the cradle of Freemasonry, I would go a lot longer back in time. When the Byzantine Empires Orthodox Church became established in Russia by the Varangians in the 10th century, Russia almost immediately faced the threats of the Roman Catholic Church. Bruno of Querfort (The martyr) directed German and Polish priests to spread Christianity to Sweden. Sweden at that was not yet established as a united nation-state but royalties had great control of the northern regions of Europe. A bishop named Thurgot created the first Swedish Diocese. Thurgot managed to baptize Olof Skotkonung, first Christian King of Sweden around 1008. The king spread Christianity and made Sweden an apart of the European Church and culture.

However, internal problems grew by time as Sweden, along with the whole Baltic region, in ancient tradition had good relations with east due to the trade routes established as far away as to Constantinople. One side of the same royal family (The Erik’s) was against the Roman Catholics. However, the Sverker’s (other part of the royal family) managed to suppress them. Many bloody battles were fought. In year 1208, Erik Knutsson in a union of Swedish eastgoths, westgoths and upplanders and assisted by Norwegians auxiliaries beats Sverker Karlsson and his allied Danish military force of around 18.000 men in the so called “Battle of Lena”. Sverker escaped and returned for another battle two years later were he died. These two battles gave birth to the Swedish nation state with language and culture of today.

However as Sweden was a major territorial empire at the time, this only moved the religious frontline. Now, Varangians who had trade routes thru the east areas and also often were hired as soldiers found themselves in the middle of a religious conflict. The frontier between Orthodox- and Roman Catholic Church forces was located in the regions of “Karelia”. By time and after years of crusades, war and death - the situation became untenable. Varangians against Varangians, whom before had generations of trade experiences with each others. In the areas of Viborg in Karelia, one can find a series of interesting events in history. The below conversation in dated year 1348 between the King of Sweden, Magnus, who was a great territorial king at the time and the rulers of Novgorod (Russia).

  • Magnush, King of the Svei, sent to the men of Novgorod saying: - “Send your philosophers to a conference, and I will send my own philosophers, that they may discuss about faith; they will ascertain whose faith is the better; if your faith is the better, then I will go into your faith, but if our faith is the better, then you will go into our faith, and we shall all be as one man. But if you do not agree to uniformity, then I will come against you with all my forces.”
  • Vladyka (archbishop) Vasili and Posadnik (mayor) Fedor Danilovits and the Tysyatski (head principal) Avraam and all the men of Novgorod having taken counsel together, replied to Magnush: - "If you wishest to know whose is the better faith, ours or yours, send to Tsargrad (Constantinopol) to the Patriarch, for we received the Orthodox faith from the Greeks; but with thee we will not dispute about the Faith. As to what grievances there may be between us, we will send about that to thee to the conference."

Just a few months later King Magnus signs a "Littera libertatis kareliensium", which gives the people of Karelia special liberties. In fact, Magnus also during these times initiated the first Swedish nationwide constitutions/laws, the so called “landslagarna” which made it possible to limit the influence of Kings and Nobles. These actions are today seen as the origin to the modern Swedish parliament. However, civil war between Magnus and his son, Erik Magnusson (Son of Magnus), took part 1356-1357. The new king of Sweden, Erik, was ally of Roman Catholicism. When he visited Viborg in the year 1357 on what today has become known as an “Erikgata” event (When the King of Sweden visits a smaller town), he instead of take away the "Littera libertatis kareliensium", signed by Magnus, he enhanced it to become "Littera libertatis regis Erici". These documents were held in the church of Vehkalahti (Today Fredrikshamn in Finland located N-60:34:11, E-27:11:53). The city Vehkalahti had one of the times most advanced battle fortresses.

Coat of armours

Karelia and Finland coat of armours

If you doubt about the importance of Karelia in history, then if you compare coat of armour's between the state of Finland and Karelia you most likely would understand that there is something special with Karelia. If you take a closer look at the Karelia coat you will find out that the west arm is armoured like a western knights and the East arm carry a sword of Eastern type. It’s an obvious merger of East and West that exists still today, but as king Erik was an ally of the Catholics, how did he pull this of?

“Varangians” means “sworn men” which also may serve as an indicator that the ones involved in these events were men of high honor, sworn to protect their cause. However they faced a new type of intellectual problem, which demanded new strategies. Is it possible that these sworn men gave birth to modern Freemasonry as a secret society? Of course one would not pay special attention on the exact date and year of the above event, as it most likely took several years until someone dared to speak up with such controversial ideas. The so called “sworn men” with their connections over the world may have worked on this “solution” for several years before presenting it to the king.

In the Golden Room of the Swedish “State house” you can find a giant symbolic woman in a triangle. She is called “Mälardrottningen”, which also is the nickname of the Swedish capital, Stockholm. She, in her 19 million pieces of 23,5 carat gold mosaic of typical Byzantine adornment, is also known to be the symbolic balance between east and west.

Mälardrottningen

Symbol of balance: Mälardrottningen

If you are familiar with the Nobel Prize Ceremony held annually on December 10, then you maybe have seen her on TV. The Nobel Dinner is always held in the Blue hall and later the evening dance takes place in the Golden Room, were she is located on one of the walls. The Nobel Prize itself is also stuffed with freemasonic symbolism thru history and today. Alfred Nobel himself is buried Solna, North of Stockholm and the Solna church, a stone church built in the 12th century, also is decorated with lots of freemasonic symbolism.

Back to history; later in the 14th century the areas of southern Finland, especially Viborg, became the center of correspondence with many influential and powerful individuals throughout Europe. In year 1396 Queen Margareta had been invited to be the Ruler of the Kalmar Union. Reasons behind this union were to handle the uprising threat of the Teutonic Knights who had become very active in the Baltic regions.

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