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Location: Cerro de Pasco, Peru

Dispensation presented to: Arthur D. Prince, 02/05/1920

Current Status: dispensation declined, 11/13/1920


From New England Craftsman, Vol. XI, No. 4, January 1916, Page 112:

"Roof of the World Lodge" F. & A. M.

Col. Wm. B. Melish, Executive Director of the Masonic War Relief Association of the United States, with headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, recently received rather a unique contribution for the relief of Masonic war sufferers in Europe. This contribution was in the sum of $137.25, and it came from "The Roof of the World" Lodge, located at Cerro de Pasco, Peru, South America.

In making the remittance, the Secretary of the Lodge wrote:

"We have heard of the work of the Masonic War Relief Association of the United States, and send you the contribution of our members that you may forward the amount to our brethren in Europe. We are much interested in the War Relief Fund, and hope this great charity will receive deserved support.

"As you have doubtless never heard of the Roof of the World Lodge, I am instructed by the R. W. M. to inform you that we try to keep very much alive up here on top of the Andes. We have had visitors from almost every jurisdiction in the United States, and acquired some little fame for having held (as far as we can find out) the highest Masonic meeting in the world. After obtaining a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, we held a meeting on top of Mount Meiggs near here, at an altitude of 17,575 feet above sea level. As our regular meetings of Cerro de Pasco take place at an altitude of 14,208 feet, we claim to be the 'highest' Masonic Lodge in the world."

From New England Craftsman, Vol. XX, No. 3, December 1924, Page 102:

Highest Lodge in the World

Through The Builder recently. Bro. E. B. Mitchell, of Michigan, asked concerning the highest lodge in the world. The highest lodge in the world is located in Cerro de Pasco, Peru, at an altitude of 14,108 feet above the level of the sea. The members of this Scottish lodge, named "Roof of the World," have held meetings on a summit of the mountain 15,575 feet high) on the side of which Cerro de Pasco is situated.


In September 1919, a group of expatriate Americans working at the silver deposits in the area, including fourteen members of Roof of the World #1094 under the constitution of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and twelve "Resident Masons not yet affiliated", presented a resolution to their lodge in which they proposed petitioning Massachusetts to grant them a charter to replace their Scottish one. They argued that most of the work done in the lodge was American York ritual rather than the Scottish one, and there was no one to instruct them in the latter, and in any case three-fourths of the membership was American. "We believe that with a strong Lodge thus formed, two other similar Lodges can be formed at other Camps of this American Company in Peru; and thus a Grand Lodge be installed here, and thereby greatly strengthen the cause of Freemasonry in this country."

A letter was sent to the "Resident Masons" on September 16, about ten days after the Lodge meeting, informing them of the decision; the group also sent letters to the parent Grand Lodge in Scotland and to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. In particular, the group chose Bro. John M. Boutwell 32°, a prominent local Mason, to "treat on all matters pertaining to the above resolutions, with the Grand Officers of the Grand Lodge of the State of Massachusetts."

With the letter from Peru in his possession, Grand Secretary Frederick Hamilton immediately wrote to Rt. Wor. Bro. David Reid, Grand Secretary of Scotland, informing him of the arrival of the correspondence. "You will understand of course," Brother Hamilton wrote, "that the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is unwilling to take any step in this matter which is not entirely pleasing to the Grand Lodge of Scotland." He observed that Massachusetts took no responsibility for the action and disavowed any foreknowledge or any hand in instigating such a proposal, but that the Grand Master would "be disposed to look favorably upon the petition" as long as it met with the "entire assent" of the Grand Lodge of Scotland - "but not otherwise."

Some months later, in July 1920, Rt. Wor. Bro. Reid wrote back to Massachusetts indicating that, on February 5, 1920, the Grand Lodge of Scotland had decided to grant the prayer of the petitioners on the condition that the Scottish charter be returned when the Massachusetts one was procured.

Brother Hamilton then wrote to the Grand Lodge of Peru. In a letter dated September 3, 1920, he informed Rt. Wor. Bro. Enrique A. O. Fiegler, the Assistant Grand Secretary, that the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts would not take action without determining "the sentiment of the Grand Lodge of Peru . . . Would the Grand Lodge of Peru consider its sovereign jurisdiction invaded by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts if it should grant the petition? . . . It would be with the distinct understanding that the work of Roof of the World Lodge No. 1094 should be confined to American citizens and the citizens of Great Britain and her dependencies. This attitude is taken on the ground that Peruvian citizens would naturally prefer the Masonic fellowship of Scottish Rite Lodges speaking their own language."

Brother Fiegler's reply on September 29 was clear and direct. "As you very plainly say, the Grand Lodge of Perú will consider its sovereign jurisdiction invaded by any Grand Body if it should grant any petition similar to that of Roof of the World Lodge No. 1094 . . . which, although working in our exclusive territory, neither the Grand Lodge of Scotland nor themselves have ever notified us of its existance {sic}, for which reason, the members of that Lodge were not recognized nor received by the Lodges under our jurisdiction." Indeed, he saw no need for English speakers to seek a foreign Grand Lodge: "there is a Grand Lodge in the country where they are receiving the sincerest hospitality . . . it would be a great pleasure for our Grand Lodge to grant Roof of the World Lodge {a} charter to work in English as we had a previous case with Kosmos Lodge No. 7, formed by English speaking Brethren living in this city" (Lima, where the Grand Lodge was located). The Grand Lodge, he concluded, "will be greatly indebted to your kindness if you refuse the petition a d advise the petitioning Lodge to direct their application to the only Masonic Power with sovereign jurisdiction in the Republic of Perú."

In accordance with this direction, Grand Master Prince declined the application, directing the petitioners to approach the Grand Lodge of Peru with their request.

Note: The fate of this lodge is unclear, but it no longer appears on the rolls of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Kosmos #7 is still in existence under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Peru, meeting in Lima.


Grand Master Prince

Massachusetts Lodges