Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London

Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London


Traveling Man – Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London

The home of Freemasons in London, England

A Masonic Must-See: Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London

Hey there, fellow Brothers and Masonic enthusiasts! RW Anthony Prizzia  here, and I’m stoked to share an absolute gem of a Masonic destination – Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London. If you’re into Masonic history and grandeur, Freemasons’ Hall is at 60 Great Queen Street, London, is one for the bucket list.

Photo (left to right): RW Anthony Prizzia and Bro. David Dunn

Awe-Inspiring Architecture and a Treasure Trove of Artifacts

The building itself is a sight to behold. It exudes a sense of history and significance the moment you approach. And it’s not just about the exterior; this is the hub for some 25,000 Brothers in London! Best of all, it houses a collection of rare Masonic artifacts that’s truly mind-blowing.

As soon as you step through the doors, the sheer scale of the entrance hall washes over you. Just remember, security is tight (as it should be), so be prepared for a bag check. Once you’re through, the museum awaits, and most of it is open to the public completely free! Want a closer look at the magnificent Grand Hall? There’s an affordable self-guided tour option with an audio guide to lead the way. Just be mindful – individual Lodge rooms and regalia areas are off-limits. Don’t stray, or you’ll likely get a friendly tap on the shoulder from security.

The library is a bibliophile’s paradise (especially if you’re a Masonic bibliophile!). There are quiet nooks to settle into with some fascinating Masonic literature – just be sure to get help from the librarian. Everywhere you turn, there’s Masonic art and historical pieces from around the world. It’s a true feast for the eyes.

The Coolest Grand Lodge Pub…Ever?

I don’t want to spill all the beans, as I want you to experience the magic firsthand, but let me tell you about the coolest part (in my opinion) – the cafe/pub. I’ve been in Grand Lodges worldwide, and I’ve never seen one with a full-service dining area and a killer selection of drinks! It’s a place for officers, members, and guests to unwind and connect. My daughter and girlfriend felt totally at ease – a big plus in my book.

While enjoying the ambiance, I was lucky enough to meet Brother David Dunn. A true Brother, he took the time to share some fascinating history about the building and insights into English Freemasonry. Did you know most Lodges in England only meet a few times a year? Or that the way the ritual work is done can be quite different? It’s fascinating!

Your Masonic Adventure Awaits

The Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London meets quarterly, and I’m hoping to snag an invite someday. I have a feeling that would be spectacular! My hope is that I’ve convinced you to come and experience this building in person. And don’t forget to grab a bite and a drink in the one-of-a-kind Grand Lodge pub while you’re there!

Let me know if you’ve been or if you plan on going!

Cheers and fraternal love!

RW Anthony Prizzia
Past Master of Adonai Lodge #718, Highland, New York
Bro. Prizzia is also a proud member of:
Cyprus Shrine, Oriental Shrine, and Ulster County Shrine Club
Valley of Albany A.A.S.R
Poughkeepsie Chapter 172
Poughkeepsie Commandery 43
Royal Order of Scotland

Celebrating 100 Years – Freemasonry In Finland

Celebrating 100 Years – Freemasonry In Finland



Celebrating 100 Years

Finland Centenary 2024

Did you know that our Grand Lodge of New York consecrated the Grand Lodge of Finland in 1924?
Finland, a picturesque Scandinavian country of 5.5 million is popularly known as “the land of a thousand lakes” (180,000 lakes).

Situated at the top of Europe, Finland has a history that spans 9,000 years. During the Crusades, Finland became part of the Swedish Kingdom and was later absorbed into the Russian Empire, finally declaring itself an independent state in 1917. Having visited Finland as a young man in the 1970s, I remember late summer nights where the sun did not set until after 2AM and the Finns robust, hearty and welcoming.

Today, across 40 locations in Finland there are now 180 Finnish Lodges and 7,300 Freemasons. America’s cultural ties with Finland span back more than 150 years. Between 1870 and 1920, 340,000 Finns immigrated to the United States mostly to Minnesota, Ohio and Illinois. A shared priority was to keep their heritage, language and traditions alive. Today, there are more than 650,000 Finnish-Americans in the US.

A Brief History

Since the Treaty of Nöteborg in 1323, Finland was a part of the Kingdom of Sweden for 500 years. As such, Freemasonry in that part of Sweden was practiced through the Swedish Rite. In 1756, St. Johannes Lodge was founded for the eastern province of Finland which held sessions in Stockholm and Turku (Finland’s oldest city located in the south). Starting in 1762, the Lodge held some sessions in Helsinki.

Following the Russo-Sweden War of 1808-1809, Finland was absorbed into the Russian Empire making Finland a self-governing Grand Duchy with allegiance to the Czar. Freemasonry was suppressed under the Russian Emperor, Alexander I who on Aug. 13, 1822 issued an order “…prohibiting secret societies and Masonic lodges.”

Operating in Foreign Countries

Only few Finnish Masons continued to practice in other countries like England, Scotland and France. Due to Russian political oppression, ongoing wars and the economic situation in Europe, many Finns from the Russian Grand Duchy emigrated abroad. According to the US Library of Congress 389,000 Finns immigrated to North America from 1870-1920, many taking jobs in mining and tenant farming. (image: many Finns were recruited by American mining companies to work in Michigan and Minnesota) Many Finns joined Freemasonry in the regions to which they immigrated especially in the Midwest, while Freemasonry as such no longer existed in the old mother country.

Image: A collection of Finnish Masonic artifacts

Image: News article reporting the official visit from the Grand Lodge of New York
Image: Charter of Suomi Lodge No 1, May 3, 1923

A New Finnish Grand Lodge

Finland declared its independence on December 6, 1917 which laid the foundations to establish its own Grand Lodge.

On May 2, 1922, the Grand Lodge of New York, in the spirit of Fraternity, assisted in the founding of the Grand Lodge of Finland. The Finnish automobile engineer Brother J.E. Tuokkola alongside lawyer and Brother Toivo H. Nekto (who attended law school in New York) started working on establishing the first Finnish Masonic Lodge, Suomi Lodge 1. Both Brothers Tuokkola and Nekto returned to Finland from the US and labored together to draw up a charter-member list of prospective members including the world renowned composer Jean Sibelius, General C.G. Mannerheim, Archbishop Gustaf Johansson, architect Lars Sonck, painter Pekka Halonen and composer Robert Kajanus. On August 14th, 1922, with hopes that Sibelius would serve as the Lodge Organist, it was recorded in the minutes that Jean Sibelius would compose “original, genuinely Finnish music for the lodge”. Other music performed in the Lodge, at first on a Mannborg harmonium, were classical works by Mozart, Beethoven and unique Masonic Ritual music for the third degree composed by Sibelius in 1922. To this day, Finnish Lodges use the music composed by Sibelius for the Webb ritual.

On August, 22 1922, Most Worshipful Arthur S. Tompkins, U.S. Representative from New York and Justice of the New York Supreme Court, who served as Grand Master of Free and Accepted Masons in the State of New York visited Finland on three occasions: in 1922, 1923 and 1924. MW Tompkins performed an induction to the Order according to the prescribed Entered Apprentice Ritual and Finland’s first Lodge or “Loosi” – the Suomi Lodge No 1 was born. It was an august beginning to a new and truly Finnish Freemasonry in a modern Europe and an example of American Freemasonry’s commitment to the Fraternity worldwide. (Image: Summons to Stated Communication Suomi Loosi (Lodge) No 1, Dec 28, 1922.
The first charter of Suomi Lodge 1.

On May 2, 1922, J.E. Tuokkola sent to New York a request to establish a Lodge. On August 14, 1922, the establishment session of the temporary Suomi Maja 1 Lodge was held in Tuokkola’s residence in Helsinki, at the invitation of Toivo H. Nekton, an American-Finn who was appointed as the Deputy Grand Master of the Finland District. On August 18, 1922, MW Tompkins and four other Masonic representatives from the Grand Lodge in the State of New York led the ritual in the Säätytalo at the first Masonic session of independent Finland where 27 Brothers received all three degrees on the same day. This was followed by the establishment of Tammer Lodge No 2 (in Tampere) and Phoenix Lodge No 3 in 1923 (in Turku). The formal Consecration was performed by MW Tompkins in September 1924 and the Installation of W Bro Axel Solitander (a member of the “twenty-seven” original founders) of Suomi Lodge No 1 as the first Grand Master of Finland. In 1931, a Lodge was established at Abo (Turku) on the southwest coast of Finland.

The 1930s marked a challenging time for Finnish Freemasons during the Great Depression and in the years approaching the Second World War while many groups faced severe persecution across Europe. Membership dipped to 238 in 1938 and the Craft officially suspended activities in 1941 but continued “underground”, especially in the form of charitable work. At the close of the War in 1945, Finnish Freemasonry resumed its operations with zeal and in the booming 1950s expanded with the noted establishment of the Humanities Society which focused on Masonic education, speaking and charity. By the 1970s, membership grew from the original 300 of the 1920s to 4,000 by 1980 and soon culminated into the first Masonic conventions held in Turku and Tampere.

As the Grand Lodge of New York had collaborated with Finnish Freemasons to establish a Grand Lodge, so did the Grand Lodge of Finland collaborate with their Estonian neighbors in the founding of the Grand Lodge of Estonia in 1999. The Grand Lodge of Finland has continued to build amity and Masonic relations with its Grand Lodges in Scandinavia with regular Lodge visits.

Today, Lodge ritual is performed in Finland in Finnish, Swedish, English and German using the ritual developed by the Founding Father of American Masonry Thomas Smith Webb (1771-1819).

The Future

The Grand Lodge of Finland and the Grand Lodge of New York both celebrate profound Fraternal Bonds in 2024 as part of the Centenary of the Founding of the Grand Lodge of Finland. New York Brethren are particularly welcome to attend the celebrations, learn more about this event by listening to the recent Craftsmen Online Podcast on Finnish Freemasonry below.


We are grateful to esteemed Brethren of the Grand Lodge of New York including RW Steven A. Rubin, Assistant Grand Master, RW Richard Schultz, Grand Secretary, RW Richard Bateman, Grand Pursuivant & Assistant Grand Secretary, RW Michael LaRocco, Executive Director, Robert R Livingston Library, VW Christophe Loubry-Boulanger.

And from our distinguished Brethren from Finland, our thanks to RW Lauri Helaniemi, Past Assistant Grand Master Centenary Program Director 2022-2024 and the team of devoted Brothers who have made this project possible.

Traveling Man – White House Plumbers

Traveling Man – White House Plumbers


Traveling Man – White House Plumbers

Traveling back in time on the new hit HBO limited series

Editors note: For the last two years, I have been patiently waiting for the release of HBO’s series “The White House Plumbers.” As RW Anthony Prizzia will detail in his blog article, this limited series features a blend of history and comedy in the satirical political drama of the June 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC. I was excited as a fan of US History to see this story, but also, when I received a phone call from Bro. Prizza that his beloved 1966 Lincoln was selected as one of the historic cars for the show. As the weeks and months passed, Bro. Prizzia shared more info on the show as some of the production was being done in Albany, New York. The five-part series is now available on HBO. For more information on the show, click here

Image: RW Anthony Prizzia on the set of “White House Plumbers”

Hello again, my Brothers and friends; it has been a while since I shared a traveling story in the wild world of Freemasonry. I will use my time machine to travel back to the early 1970s. I am being a little cheeky here because I did not use an actual time machine, but my classic 1966 Lincoln convertible and some Hollywood magic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I answered a request for classic car drivers in an HBO limited series. Little did I know that the stars would be Woody Harrelson, Justin Theroux, Lena Headey, Judy Greer, Kathleen Turner, and many more world-class actors in a series on the Watergate scandal!
At first, I totally thought it was a scam. Two months passed, and still no call from the production company, but just as I felt like I had sent my email and personal info to a scammer, the phone rang. It was a woman named Sam asking me a bunch of questions. They loved my 1966 Lincoln convertible, but she wanted to know if I could grow hair, LOL. I said yes, I can, I just choose not to, to which she said I must stop cutting my hair and let it grow out. As my hair is growing out, I still feel like I am being pranked, and this will never really be anything. Two more months go by, and I get text messages about my availability as I still work my day job importing wine. Most of the shoots were overnight, so it worked out perfectly. And after many COVID tests and wardrobe fittings, I find myself on set making this amazing HBO show, feeling like a kid in a candy store. Everyone on set was so nice and welcoming. It was like being in a whirlwind of family and a touch of dysfunction. We would do take after take until it was perfect. Many nights I just parked my car on set and went to sleep, but there were a few times when they needed more people in the shot, and I was already in my best 1970 outfit and happy to jump in front of the camera.

Image: Bro. Prizzia’s classic 1966 Lincoln on the set of “The White House Plumbers” (location shoot, Albany, NY)

Image: Bro. Prizzia as an extra during the Country Club scene. (“The Beverly Hills Burglary”, Episode 1).

Image: Bro. Prizzia as an extra on the set of White House Plumbers.

So about now, you are asking yourself, what does this have to do with Freemasonry? Well, as I have said before, if there are a few Masons around in close proximity, we usually find each other like Cheerios in milk. I kept hearing people asking for Anthony, and I was like, “Do you mean me?” LOL, they did not! But I soon found out who the other Anthony on set was. Lo and behold, he spotted my ring and introduced himself as a fellow Brother. From that point on, I was treated even better on set, and when it came to the camera angle, I started to get into more shots. Bro. Anthony helped me learn who the people that ran the set were, and who I needed to be close with if I wanted to be called back to get more time on the show. I quickly introduced myself to all the important people on set and brought them some of their favorite wines. Within a few weeks, I was asked to join the Screen Actors Guild (SAG)! I was so excited to become a real paid background actor; it was a dream come true.
The best part was that after I made a good impression, I got my daughter on set for two days, and she made it in one shot during the show. This was the most amazing part, and most of this good fortune would have happened if I did respond to the production company’s social media ad and had the good fortune of a fellow Brother helping me along the way. (Image: Bro. Prizzia’s daughter leaving home for her first day on set) So, get out there, my brothers, shed that guiding light and meet your extended family all over the world. You never know when one little ring on your finger or a pin on your jacket will take you down a road you never dreamed about traveling.
RW Anthony Prizzia Past Master of Adonai Lodge #718, Highland, New York Bro. Prizzia is also a proud member of: Cyprus Shrine, Oriental Shrine, and Ulster County Shrine Club Valley of Albany A.A.S.R Poughkeepsie Chapter 172 Poughkeepsie Commandery 43 Royal Order of Scotland
Traveling Man – Christmas Magic

Traveling Man – Christmas Magic


Traveling Man – Christmas Magic

the wonder of Christmas provided by Brothers in Tampa, Florida

Hello, my Brothers, The Traveling Man RW Anthony Prizzia here again with a great new find just a little South of Tampa, Florida. As I have said a million times, Freemasons are like Cheerios in milk; we somehow find each other and connect almost like it is in our DNA.

My mother and stepdad have lived in Sun City for the past 20 years. I have always tried to get to a lodge meeting down there, but I need the right time and enough time to fit in during my visits. This past Christmas was also one of those times, but while sitting by the pool, a friend saw my ring and asked me if I was going to check out the light show at the Mason youth camp. I was like, wait, what did you say?

Video of the Masonic Park & Youth Camp Christmas Light Show

Less than 5 miles away, there was a Masonic Park and Youth Camp, and for the first time, they were putting on a Christmas Light Show set to music that you could tune into on your car radio. I looked at my parents and said well, I know what we are doing after Christmas day dinner. Pulling up in our car the lights were beaming brightly into the sky from the entrance. Brothers from all over have retired here, and I got to introduce myself to one after the other as we made our way to the main entrance to pay admission. For a carload, it was a donation of $29.95 and worth every penny. Over a million lights were flashing, synchronized to music spanning the 1.2-mile drive-through path. At the end of the light show, I got to say goodbye to a few more brothers, and we headed back home.

This fantastic event was yet another genuine way that Freemasonry sheds light on the world and makes it a little bit brighter! Below is a little history of the Camp from their website. If you are ever in the Tampa/Sun City area during the holiday season, make sure you check them out; you will love it. And if you make it to the Camp, please say “Hello” for me!

In 1969, seventeen Masonic Lodges from surrounding districts incorporated the Masonic Park and Youth Camp, Inc. as a 501(3)c nonprofit corporation. The purpose of this corporation is to own, develop, improve, operate, and manage a camp for the primary use of young men, women, and families. The Masonic Park seeks to promote such people’s moral, intellectual and physical well-being through education in the conservation of wildlife and natural resources.

The Masonic Park provides an opportunity for young people to learn and develop leadership and physical fitness by providing them lodging amenities, outdoor athletic facilities, canoeing, hiking, lecture and wildlife exploration, indoor entertainment halls, dining facilities, and much more. In the same year, the Masonic Park and Youth Camp, Inc. purchased 204 pristine acres of wilderness property. The property is bordered by three-quarter miles of the Little Manatee River and has a small lake. One reason for such a purchase was to provide accommodations for RVs, motor homes, and motor coaches. As part of the park development, we’ve incorporated over 125 acres of hiking trails. Along the trails, you’ll find some of the most beautiful wildlife Florida offers.

The Masonic Park and Youth Camp has a unique, outdoor Masonic Lodge that is centrally located within the park

We have partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network (FYCCN). The Commission’s commitment to research, education, and conservation of Florida wildlife complement the overall purpose and design of the Masonic Park. The FYCCN’s bold new program, jointly sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Wildlife Foundation of Florida, leads the effort to reconnect Florida’s children with traditional outdoor activities. As part of a statewide network of conservation centers, the program is designed to encourage and empower kids to participate in traditional outdoor recreation. Experts teach them how to safely enjoy the outdoor heritage we have worked so hard to maintain. The FYCCN includes Wild Outdoor Hubs offering deep-wood experiences that connect to Near Outdoor Centers, offering experiences closest to children in their everyday lives. As the development of the Masonic Park and Youth Camp continues, our partners play a vital role in our mission to educate, promote and support the development of youth activities.

RW Anthony Prizzia
Past Master of Adonai Lodge #718, Highland, New York
Bro. Prizzia is also a proud member of:
Cyprus Shrine, Oriental Shrine, and Ulster County Shrine Club
Valley of Albany A.A.S.R
Poughkeepsie Chapter 172
Poughkeepsie Commandery 43
Royal Order of Scotland

Traveling Man – George Washington National Masonic Memorial

Traveling Man – George Washington National Masonic Memorial



the world’s oldest fraternity

Since relocating to Washington, DC on Memorial Day Weekend 2021, I have been taking in many of the national and Masonic landmarks, museums, and tours available in the Nation’s Capital. Last weekend, I made my first trip to the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.
In American Freemasonry, no figure stands taller than George Washington. Hero of the Revolutionary War, Founding Father, the first citizen to hold the office of President of the United States of America; Bro. Washington’s credentials are unmatched. However, this Memorial highlights the history of George Washington, the Mason, a story that is less familiar with many Americans.
From the impressive position of the memorial building, placed high upon the terrain in Alexandria to the immaculate, grand hall, there is a unique blend of architecture, art, and history that captures the contributions Bro. Washington made to our Beloved Craft. What was personally rewarding for myself was, my visit just happened to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the ground-breaking of the site, on Sunday, June 5, 2022. Our tour guide noted the significance and reminded the group that the 100th anniversary of the cornerstone laying, historic re-enactment event will be held Monday, February 20, 2023, an event that organizers hope to mark with thousands of Freemasons in attendance.
Below are images that I captured during my tour. Stay tuned to Craftsmen Online for 2023 Cornerstone Event photos!
Bro. Michael Arce
Co-Founder, Craftsmen Online
Mount Vernon #3, Albany, New York
JW, St. John’s #11, Washington, DC