Grand Orient of Belgium

The CEDOM is subsidized by the Grand Orient of Belgium and the Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles.
The Grand Orient of Belgium is the oldest existing Masonic umbrella organization (or obedience) in Belgium. With over 10,000 members, it is also the largest.

The Grand Orient of Belgium was founded in 1833. A year later, on November 20, 1834, the Université Libre de Bruxelles was established from the Grand Orient of Belgium in response to the founding of a Catholic university in Mechelen. The architect of this project was Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen.

The Grand Orient of Belgium adopted a more anticlerical stance after the episcopal condemnation of 1837. After 1854, it also amended the order constitution, so nothing hindered a politicized Freemasonry. Belgian Freemasonry served as an important network for organizing the liberal party from the 1840s. In the second half of the nineteenth century, Freemasonry even became a political instrument. This changed with the rise of socialism at the end of the nineteenth century, after which Belgian Freemasonry increasingly depoliticized throughout the twentieth century. In the 1860s, belief in an afterlife, a divine creator, and an immortal soul was gradually abandoned. In 1872, the Grand Orient of Belgium removed any mandatory reference to the Grand Architect of the Universe.

The historical relevance of Belgian Freemasonry is beyond doubt. Freemasons and lodges affiliated with the Grand Orient of Belgium played an important role in liberal and socialist movements and in the Flemish movement. Until the establishment of the Droit Humain in Belgium in 1911, the Grand Orient of Belgium was the only Belgian masonic association.

In 1968, the CEDOM was created within the Grand Orient of Belgium. In 1983, the Grand Orient of Belgium established the Théodore Verhaegen Chair. Since 2020, the Grand Orient of Belgium is a confederation consisting of a male federation (exclusively composed of men), a mixed federation (composed of men and women), and a female federation (exclusively composed of women).

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