(Immediate Past Master: Arminus Lodge No.25)
The first known meeting of Arminius Lodge was held more than 142 years ago on July 10, 1876 for the purpose of accepting the dispensation for the founding of Arminius Lodge No. 25, U.D., from the Grand Master, MW Bro. Isaac L. Johnson. The purpose of this Lodge was to conduct Masonic Ritual in the German language. As such, Arminius Lodge is the oldest of the foreign-language Lodges under the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. The Arminius Lodge charter bears the date of 8 November 1876, the day of the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge that year.
The Lodge Seal to the right was created in 1876 at the founding of our Lodge, one year after the completion of Germany’s Hermannsdenkmal im südlichen Teutoburger Wald (Hermann Monument in the southern Teutoburg Forest), honoring the Germanic hero Arminius. An image of this Arminius monument, the Masonic Square and Compasses, and our date and city of founding can be viewed within the Seal. Encompassing the Seal is the Mystic Tie which binds all Free-Masons wheresoever dispersed.
The first Master of Arminius Lodge was W Bro. Hermann H. Gerdes. Among the many unusual historical facts of Arminius Lodge is the fact
"We find in Scandinavian mythology the figure of the Yggdrasil tree – its branches rising to the highest heavens and its roots reaching down to the nether-most regions of the eternal darkness of earth. Its branches grow from generation to generation, bestowing blessings, life, and beauty to Humanity. Before it stand the three Norns [Sisters of Fate], ever watering the roots of the tree to nourish it with power and life. Yggdrasil is a symbolic representation of Free-Masonry, for the Mason’s secret is represented by this tree, as Humanity goes from darkness to light . . ." (M. Dreisonstok, trans.)
Germania Lodge No. 160, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of Baltimore, Maryland, visited Arminius first on February 26, 1877. Arminius Lodge reciprocated, visiting Germania Lodge on April 13, 1877, and annual visitations between these two German-speaking Lodges continue through the present day, as does an annual joint-visitation or Kirchgang (Church going) to Baltimore’s Zion Church the Sunday after Easter.
Over the last 140 years, Arminius Lodge has played a very positive role in the Craft, here in the District of Columbia. One of the kernels of the annual June International Brotherhood Celebration took place on June 9, 1993, when Arminius hosted International Masons Celebration and invited the Farsi-language Mehr Lodge No. 90, the Scottish Lodge Sojourner Kilwinning No. 1798, the Spanish-speaking Allianza Fraternal Americana Lodge No. 92, and the French-language La France Lodge No. 93. Since then, international lodges in the Nation’s Capital have — with the full support of the Brethren of Arminius — expanded.
Of course, after 140 years, the membership of Arminius Lodge has undergone certain changes. The Lodge was founded initially to provide a venue for German immigrants to join our gentle Craft and participate fully by using their mother tongue. During the mid-twentieth century, much of the membership consisted of later German immigrants involved in small businesses and seeking in Arminius a cultural link with their earlier years spent in Germany. In this vein, Arminius Lodge created a parallel organization, Arminius Social Club, that was active for much of the twentieth century. Today, the current Arminius Lodge membership consists of German immigrants, as well as civil servants and former servicemen who were born in the United States, but came to appreciate German language and culture by being stationed in or studying in Germany.
Approaching its sesquicentennial, Arminius Lodge continues to thrive, and is a welcome portal of German-language Freemasonry for Brethren from German-speaking countries overseas. Arminius Lodge continues to open, close, and perform Degree work in German, but business and talks are given in English. We encourage non-German-speaking visitors, especially, to come and experience what a German-language Lodge is like!
Arminius Lodge publishes a monthly Bulletin featuring events as well as articles on Free-Masonry and German culture, articles which have been later published in the Voice of Freemasonry as well as periodicals of the Royal Arch, the Knights Templar, and the Scottish Rite.
Please visit our website to learn more about Arminius Lodge at www.arminius25.com.