Source: belfasttelegraph

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is currently investigating an incident of vandalism at a Freemason’s Hall located in the heart of Belfast. The incident, which involved the smashing of a window above the building’s door, occurred sometime between Monday evening at 8.45 pm and Tuesday morning at 11 am.

A suspicious male figure was seen near the premises around 10 pm on Monday, described as wearing a black hoodie with the hood up, an orange top visible beneath the hoodie, grey bottoms, and carrying a black bag. The PSNI has expressed interest in speaking with this individual.

The Freemason’s Hall, situated adjacent to the Victoria Square shopping center, serves as a meeting place for numerous Freemason lodges in Belfast.

A member of the Irish Masonic Network shared images of the damaged building on social media, lamenting the destruction of glass and lettering that had been part of the hall for over 150 years, noting the significant cost expected for its replacement.

This incident comes in the wake of a recent decree by the Vatican prohibiting Catholics from joining the Freemasons.

The Freemasons, a historic and enigmatic fraternal organization, trace their roots back to the 18th century and are known as one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal, and charitable organizations.

In County Antrim alone, there are approximately 4,500 members, with over 20,000 across Ireland, most residing in Northern Ireland, and a global membership reaching six million.

The Freemasons’ origins are linked to local stonemason fraternities from the 14th century, who regulated the qualifications of stonemasons. Their teachings and rituals are connected to the construction of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, and members progress through ranks similar to the historical journey from apprentice to master mason.