The Santa Cruz Masonic Temple yesterday became a space for memory and reconciliation. The laying of the symbolic first stone of the rehabilitation works of this unique building in Spain and Europe, with a time capsule buried in its front patio, served to remember the masons of the Añaza Lodge, promoters of its construction, and also one of the first reprisals after the outbreak of the Civil War. More than 80 years have passed since that moment, and yesterday his memory permeated a ceremony conducted by Jesús Soriano, sovereign, grand commander of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for Spain.
The mayor, Jose Manuel Bermudez; the president of the Parliament, Gustavo Matos, and the spokespersons of the political parties represented in the City Council attended as guests the ritual known as white dress, in which the uninitiated can attend as listeners. An urn collected the newspapers of the day, and a message in which the Lodge of Añaza was remembered. “To the brothers of the Añaza Lodge, victims of repression,” the letter began.
The ballot box also included a letter from the mayor, describing the social reality of the moment. The letter read: “This time box is going to be a silent witness to the recovery of an emblematic building, this Masonic Temple, which is an example of what we all want for the future of our capital. This temple, which will be a hundred years old in 2023, represents the generation of opportunities, the change of a model in which history, culture and tourism take center stage in the construction of the Santa Cruz of the future, a capital that consolidates its position as a driver of the economy and island employment.
To these elements were added two books in facsimile format. One of them is the History of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree for Spain and its dependencies and of Spanish Freemasonry”, published in Mexico by the Spanish Freemasonry in exile, and the other book, published in 1905, is Spanish Masonry, by Professor of history Miguel Morayta, “my predecessor as great commander and who achieved academic freedom in this country,” explained Jesús Soriano after the ceremony.
The urn was consecrated with wine and oil, part of the Masonic ritual and which is “an offering to God, the architect of the universe,” said the great commander.
Soriano highlighted how the recovery of the Masonic Temple, converted into a Freemasonry study center, after the rehabilitation works, return the building to its origin, that of a center dedicated to knowledge and teaching, which served as a school for the most needy and whose archives, including their furniture, are kept in the Salamanca Archive, where the coup plotters sent them after taking control of the building. “In the beginning, after the occupation, they say that the Falange charged a peseta to visit it, until the military took over and turned it into a military pharmacy,” Soriano recalled.
The works of the Masonic Temple began two weeks ago, and with yesterday’s act they were given an official status that the Masons considered necessary: the first ceremony of this type that they have been able to carry out in Spain since 1936, given that this is the only Masonic building of such characteristics that it is still standing.
The facade of the Masonic Temple building turns 100 years old
As the mayor of Santa Cruz recalled in the letter that he placed in the ballot box that Councilman Florentino Guzmán Plasencia, as a member of Freemasonry, moved to the temple patio, next year will be the 100th anniversary of the completion of the façade of the building designed by the architect Manuel de Cámara. “The project drawn up by the team led by the architect María Nieves Febles is an example of respect for the historical and symbolic heritage of a building that is a symbol of Freemasonry throughout Europe. I am convinced that Manuel de Cámara would be proud of the rehabilitation plans”, stated José Manuel Bermúdez in the letter.