Brethren (Irmãos)

Freemasons consider among themselves as Brothers or Brethren (Irmãos). Since a new initiated integrates a Lodge he becomes brother of all freemasons over the surface of earth. Are several the passages in the rituals that refer to as the masonic traditions. Between them, freemasons treat as "my dear Brother" (Querido Irmão), or "Dearest Brother". If they change letters or e-mails they would not finish without mentioning "fraternally" (fraternalmente). More then a word the reality of this Fraternity is framed by the engagement assumed by every one in the ceremony of initiation. Brotherhood is synonym of solidarity, assistance and  unequivocal  support. Different from Brothers related by blood that have no obligation to back one another, the Masonic Brotherhood makes a solid corps, probably unique. The noun Brother is also a sign of equality, that the members of a lodge are qualified in the same way, whatever their degrees or positions in the Masonic apparatus. Therein the young freemason of an Obedience that meets the Grand Master of another doesn't hesitate a second on treating him by "my Brother" making the salute. Every human being becomes another self. The Brother becomes our image in the mirror, not only symmetrical but identical. He becomes open to our thoughts, to our positions, treat us as equal, we love him as we love those who embrace us. There is no barrier, no apprehension, no differences, no restrictions. Brethren are just one: they share the same intimacy. 
In the operative freemasonry - in the guildas or corporations of workers - the term "brother" was currently used as a sign of recognition. The term "cunhadas" (sisters-in-law) is applied  to the women of the family of freemasons normally the wives or the companions of our Brethren. In the liberal or irregular freemasonry which includes women (maçonas) the related term is "sister" (Irmã). According with the regulations of Grande Oriente Lusitano (GOL) - the larger Portuguese grand lodge - female freemasons are authorized to assist to the men lodge sessions, although they are not allowed to be initiated in them. This Portuguese Obedience has loose the recognition of the United Grand Lodge of England because of its breakup with the Rule of the 12 points generally accepted and enforced by universal regular freemasonry as the basic code for recognition among masonic Grand Lodges, Grand Orients and lodges between themselves. 
Through the initiation a sort of intimacy hardly expressed by words is created among freemasons and is complementary to the profound and indestructible friendship among freemasons. It is important that the recent initiated freemason learns to manage, as early as possible, what is the reality of being part of another family, a second parallel to its blood-related family.       

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