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GRAND MASTER HIRAM, KING OF TYRE
Our Masonic tradition tells us that our Craft had three original Grand Masters. The first was Solomon, King of Israel. The second was Hiram, King of Tyre. The third of this trio, Hiram Abiff, the center and Source of our deepest teaching and to him all Masons are bound by a unique tie. But the second of our Grand Masters has only a passing reference in our Ritual and outside of a Masonic Lodge is known only by a select few historians.
Hiram of Tyre was a monarch who ruled over a powerful kingdom at the peak of his greatness. He and his people deserve to be known better by the Masonic Fraternity. The kingdom of Tyre or Phoenicia, as it was more generally known, was located on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean north of Palestine. Its principal city was the seaport of Tyre, which, because of its geographical location, became a converging point of the great trade routes. Tyre became one of the foremost rich and powerful commercial centers of the ancient world.
Phoenicia has just two claims to high achievement. In the first place the Phoenicians were among the first known sailors of the world of whom it is said were the first to navigate upon the open sea and to chart their course by means of the stars. Thus to the men of Tyre goes the distinction of being the fathers of modern navigation. Historical records also indicate that Phoenician sailors traveled all over the Mediterranean – sailing through the Straits of Gibraltar, down the coast of Africa, up the coast of Spain and possibly even as far as England.
As the Phoenicians went about the Mediterranean they founded colonies in various places, the most famous of which was Carthage on the northern coast of Africa. Carthage flourished, and as the parent city Tyre began to decline, Carthage carried on the Phoenician tradition. It came into conflict with the rising power of Rome, and after years of furious struggles, known as the Punic Wars. But in some ways Carthage also prevailed. General Hannibal, one of the great military commanders of all time, took an army across northern Africa, through Spain and southern France, over the Alps and down to the very gates of Rome before he was stopped. Rome was triumphant and Carthage was destroyed. But what if Carthage had conquered Rome? Our civilization, which so largely bears the imprint of Rome, might instead have been influenced by the people of Hiram of Tyre.
In the second place, the Phoenicians may claim to a high place in history because, they are the inventors of the first known alphabets. That’s right, there was a time when an alphabet did not exist. Hiram’s people were certainly possessed of intellectual curiosity and skill to formulate a way whereby the thoughts of men could be communicated through other than oral means. The Phoenician alphabet influenced the Greek, and the Greek the Roman, etc..
Solomon’s name and fame are still remembered today while that of his neighbor to the North has largely been forgotten. Hiram was not so fortunate as having chroniclers like Solomon (including himself). Solomon did not equal Hiram in wealth and worldly power, but he did surpass him in the greater and more enduring values of wisdom and of the spirit.
King Hiram of Tyre has been saved from complete oblivion in the dusty tombs of history and is remembered by Freemasons because he gave freely of his resources to aid and support a neighbor in a great and important undertaking.
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Forest Lodge No. 130, F & A.M.
Feb 2th — 7:00 PM Stated Communication
Feb 9th — 6:30 PM – Meet interested candidates, 7:00 PM EA Degree Practice
Feb 16th — 6:30 PM Two Entered Apprentice Degrees.
Mosinee Lodge No. 318, F & A.M.
Feb 3rd — 7:00 PM Stated Meeting. Scottish Rite Night.
Feb 14th — Valentines Day
Feb 17th — 7:00 PM Pot Luck Dinner. Friends Night. Ladies, families, and friends welcome.
Feb 20-26 — Square and Compasses Week
Wisconsin Valley Shrine Club
Meet every Friday 12:00 PM @ Wausau Elks
Wausau York Rite
Feb 10th — 7:00 PM Stated Commandery
Feb 15th — 7:00 PM Stated Chapter & Council
Scottish Rite Club
Meet at Annie’s American Café the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month for breakfast, 7:00 AM.
Wisconsin Valley Auxiliary
Wisconsin Valley Shrine Auxiliary will meet Friday, February 11, 2011 for a noon luncheon and meeting at the Elks Club. The program will be presented by Bethanie St. Louis, an NTC student from Haiti. She will show slides and answer questions about her beloved country. .