St John the Baptist, whose feast day is 24th June, and St John the Evangelist, whose festival is celebrated on 27th December, are regarded as the “patron saints” of freemasonry and in some lodges meetings may be held on those days.
A number of possible explanations for the association of these two saints with freemasonry have been put forward including the fact that the dates in the Christian calendar which mark their feasts are close to the Summer and Winter solstices and therefore link freemasonry with ancient customs.
In the eighteenth century Grand Lodge sometimes met on 27th December (the premier Grand Lodge was constituted on St John the Baptist’s Day in 1717).
For many years, the Master and Officers of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No 2076, the premier Masonic research lodge, marked the occasion by sending cards to the members of the lodge and its correspondence circle.
The card for 1891 had an Egyptian theme and is a colourful evocation of the fascination of the late Victorian period with matters Egyptian. /—/
Quatuor Coronati Lodge was founded in the 1880s for the purpose of studying the history, symbols and legends of freemasonry. Its name is derived from the Quattuor Coronati, “the four crowned ones”, the collective name of Christian martyrs executed by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in AD298 for refusing to sculpt or worship a figure of a pagan deity. They are regarded as the patron saints of stone-cutters, marble workers and stone masons.
On St John’s Night in 1916, freemasons from Britain and its empire serving on the Western Frontorganised a banquet in Flanders and part of the menu card is illustrated here. The menu included oysters, beef and gateau and the toasts included “Brothers on Active Service”, “Our Fallen Brothers” and “The Dear Ones at Home”./—/