(by John Mitchell, Fiji Times, June 21, 2020)
Among the many things that find their humble beginnings in Levuka is the local chapter of the global fraternal organisation, Freemasons, which has been the focus of conspiracy theories and theorists since the middle ages and the watershed year of 1717, when the first Grand Lodge in England was formed.
Their secret handshakes, letters and symbols have led to a perception of secrecy, public scepticism and morbid curiosity about Freemasonry.
In November 1983, Pope John Paul II declared those with masonic associations were in a “state of grave sin” and may not “receive Holy Communion”.
That plus many anti-masonic establishments have failed to expunge the fraternity and today freemasons strive to be relevant and flourish in communities of the 21st century.
In Fiji, freemasonry began in 1871 at “high noon” on December 27 when a “Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons” in Polynesia was opened at …