Founded in 1480 by Marsilius Ficinus, at Florence, under the patronage of Lorenzo de Medicis. This organization is said by the Freemasons of Tuscany to have been a secret society, and is supposed to have had a Masonic character, because in the hall where its members held their meetings, and which Doctor Mackey reported was remaining in his time, many Masonic symbols are to be found. Clavel (page 65, third edition, 1844) supposes it to have been a society founded by some of the honorary members and patrons of the Fraternity of Freemasons who existed in the Middle Ages, and who, having abandoned the material design of the Institution, confined themselves to its mystic character. If his suggestion be correct, this is one of the earliest instances of the separation of Speculative from Operative Masonry.
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
- BROTHER ISAAC NEWTON
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