Revival of Freemasonry in Latvia
Deputy Grand Master
Grand Lodge of Latvia
The diversity of rituals is the hallmark of the Baltic freemasonry since the first lodge North Star was established in the year 1750 at Riga. Some lodges were subordinated to the Provincial Grand Lodge of England in Russia; others belonged to the Swedish Rite, the Strict Observance, or some other jurisdiction. Even after the restoration of freemasonry in the Republic of Latvia in 1921, one lodge in Riga was working in the German variant of the Swedish Rite of the Land Lodge of Freemasons in Germany and the other in Liepâja belonged to the Prussian Grand Lodge Royal York de l’Amitié, but several other Latvians were admitted in the lodge Den Nordiska Första in Stockholm. All Masonic activities were strictly persecuted after theoccupation of Latvia by Soviet forces in 1940, and later, Nazi German forces in 1941. During the post-war period all Masonic activities in Latvia were banned by communists, who followed the principle that freemasonry is "a bourgeois ideological conception contrary in its principles to the dictatorship of the proletariat, and tending to establish a state within a state" (Leon Trotsky).
After regaining of independence in 1991, the Craft has been gradually revived in Latvia. First Brethren were admitted to Freemasonry in 1993, and the pre-war lodge “Januguns” (St. John's Fire) was reactivated in May 1996 as a regular lodge by the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Germany. The second lodge was reactivated by the same GL, but the third lodge was reactivated in 2002 by the Land Lodge of Freemasons in Germany. Despite of some ritual controversies among the German Grand Lodges, the United Grand Lodges of Germany decided to consecrate the multi-ritual Grand Lodge of Latvia on March 8, 2003, partially because the irregular Grand Lodge of France started to create lodges in Latvia. The new Grand Lodge was rapidly recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England in December 2003 and currently almost all Grand Lodges in Europe and many overseas Grand Lodges established fraternal relations to the Grand Lodge of Latvia. In 2005 the Grand Lodge of Latvia hosted the 3rd Baltic freemason’s conference “Forum Masonicum Balticum” with more than 200 participants from Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Sweden, and United Kingdom.
The lodges in Latvia are:
“Januguns” (St. John's Fire),#1, Riga. [meets on the last Thursday of each month at 7:00pm.]
“Ziemelzvaigzne” (North Star),#2, Riga. [meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7:00pm.]