Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Society of Blue Friars

Another Masonic body I ran into while at Masonic Week is the Society of Blue Friars (SBF). The SBF was established in 1932 by J. Raymond Shute II and whose purpose is to recognize Masonic authors. It is a small body, only inviting one new member each year (unless the membership drops below 20-members. The title of the members is "Friar", often designated by the initials "B.F." The word "Friar" comes from Old French "frere" meaning "brother". It is also significant to note that it was the Monks in the Middle Ages who wrote most of the books in those days.

This body is known as a Consistory and has no dues or fixed rituals, and only has 3 officers: the Grand Abbot, Deputy Grand Abbot, and the Secretary-General. The Grand Abbot serves as long as he likes and he is the one who appoints the Deputy Grand Abbot (often will be the Grand Abbot's successor) and Secretary-General. The Grand Abbot also has the final say in who is selected as the new Friar each year and has the only authority to change the Regulations of the society. Abbot comes from the Greek word "abbas" meaning "father". Like the use of the Friar, the term "Abbot" dates back to the monastic orders that started in the Middle Ages and who was in charge of a monastery. The current officers are:
S. Brent Morris, Grand Abbot
Arturo de Hoyos, Deputy Grand Abbot
Richard E. Fletcher, Secretary-General
They meet once a year in a meeting that is open to all Masonic Brethren. This annual meeting takes place at Masonic Week which takes place in or around Washington DC each year (usually February). It is at this meeting that the new Friar is proclaimed and who is expected to deliver a research paper as proof of their knowledge. There have been a 100-members since its inception, the last being Alton Roundtree.

This group seems to be an elite group of Masonic researchers and writers. They have had as members many famous writers and historians such as Ray V. Denslow, Harold V.B.Voorhis, Arthur E. Waite, S. Brent Morris, Rex R. Hutchens, Arturo de Hoyos, and Pierre G. "Pete" Normand, Jr.


1. Abbot. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=abbot 

2. Bessel, P. M., & McLeod, W. (n.d.). Society of Blue Friars. Retrieved from Paul M. Bessel's Homepage: bessel.org/sbf.htm 

3. Friar. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=friar 

4. Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Society of Blue Friars: http://www.societyofbluefriars.org/information.html 

5. Morris, S. D. (2006). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry. New York: Penguin Publisher. 

6. Regulations. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Society of Blue Friars: http://www.societyofbluefriars.org/regulations.html 

7. Society of Blue Friars. (2009, February 17). Retrieved from The Magpie Mason: http://themagpiemason.blogspot.com/2009/02/society-of-blue-friars.html

1 comment:

  1. I wasn't able to be there in February, so I don't know who was tapped to be the 2014 honoree, but Alton is not the most recent. Shawn Eyer of the Philalethes Society was the 2013 member, and Chris Hodapp was 2012's.