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Strasburg, Cathedral Of

This has always been considered as one of the finest Gothic buildings in Europe. The original cathedral was founded in 504, but in 1007 it was almost completely destroyed by lightning. The present edifice was begun in 1015 and completed in 1439. The Cathedral of Strasburg is very closely connected with the history of Freemasonry. The most important Association of Master Builders, says Stieglitz (vow Altdeutscher Baukunst, or An Essay on the Old German Architecture) for the culture and extension of German art, was that which took place at Strasburg under Erwin von Steinbach.

As soon as this architecture had undertaken the direction of the works at the Strasburg Cathedral, he summoned Freemasons out of Germany and Italy, and formed with them a Brotherhood. Thence htten, or Lodges, were scattered over Europe. In 1459, on April 25, says the Abb Grandidier, the Masters of many of these Lodges assembled at Ratisbon and drew up an Act of Fraternity, which made the Master of the Works at Strasburg, and his successors, the Perpetual Grand Masters of the Fraternity of German Freemasons.

This was confirmed by the Emperor Maximilian in 1498. By the Statutes of this Association, the Haupt-Htte. Grand or Mother Lodge of Strasburg, was invested with a judicature, without appeal, over all the Lodges of Germany. Strasburg thus takes in German Freemasonry a position equivalent to that of legendary Lodge York in the Freemasonry of England, or Kilwinning in that of Scotland. And although the Haupt-Htte of Strasburg with all other Haupt- Htten were abolished by an Imperial Edict on August 16, 1731, the Mother Lodge never lost its prestige. "This," says Findel (History of Freemasonry, page 72), "is the case even now in many places in Germany; the Saxon Stone-Masons still regarding the Strasburg Lodge as their chief Lodge" (see stone-Masons of the Middle Ages).

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