Catharinc the Great, Empress of Russia, in 1762, prohibited by an edict all Masonic meetings in her dominions.
But subsequently better sentiments prevailed, and having learned the true character of the Institution, she not only revoked her order of prohibition, but invited the Freemasons to re- establish their Lodges and to constitute new ones, and went so far in 1763 as to proclaim herself the Protectress of the Order and Tutrice of the Lodge of Clio at Moscow (see Thory, Acta Latamorum, 1, 82),
During the remainder of her reign Freemasonry was in a flourishing condition in Russia, and many of the nobles organized Lodges in their palaces. But in 1794 her feelings changed and she became suspicious that the Lodges of Moscow were intriguing against the Court and the Ministers ; this idea, coupled with the horrors of the French Revolution and other crimes said to be due to secret societies, caused her to cease to protect the Order, and without any express prohibition emanating from her, the Lodges ceased to work (see Thory, Acta Latomorum, 1, 195). She died November 6, 1796, and in 1797 her successor, Paul I, forbade all secret societies in Russia.
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