Freemasons whose duty it is to serve the Lodge as Tilers, waiters at the Lodge table, and to perform other menial services, are called in European Lodges Serving Brethren. They are not known in the United States of America, but were long recognized as a distinct class in England and on the Continent. In 1753 the Grand Lodge of England adopted a regulation for their initiation, which, slightly modified is still in force. By it every Lodge is empowered to initiate without charge Serving Brethren, who cannot, however, become members of the Lodge, although they may join another.
In military Lodges private soldiers may be received as Serving Brethren. On the Continent, at one time, a separate and preliminary form of reception, with peculiar signs, etc., was appropriated to those who were initiated as Serving Brethren, and they were not permitted to advance beyond the first Degree; which, however, worked no inconvenience, as all the business and refreshment of the Lodges were done at that time in the Entered Apprentice's Degree.
The regulation for admitting Serving Brethren arose from the custom of Lodges meeting at taverns; and as at that period labor and refreshment were intermixed, the waiters for the tavern were sometimes required to enter the room while the Lodge was in session, and hence it became necessary to qualify them for such service by making them Freemasons. In France they are called Freres Servants; in Germany, Dienenden Brder.
The Knights Templar had a class called Serving Brothers, who were not, however, introduced into the Order until it had greatly increased in wealth and numbers. The form of their reception varied very slightly from that of the Knights; but their habit was different, being hlsek They were designated for the performance of various services inside or outside of the Order. Many rich and well-born men belonged to this class. They were permitted to take part in the election of a Grand Master. The Treasurer of the Order was always a Serving Brother. Of these Serving Brothers there were two kinds: Servants at Arms and Artificers. The former were the most highly esteemed; the latter being considered a very inferior class, except the flrzllorers, who were held, on account of the importance of their occupation, in higher estimation.
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