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Logo of Shriners International

Shriners International, previously known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.) and also commonly known as Shriners, was established in 1870, and is an appendant body to Freemasonry.

The name change from the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, as well as Shriners North America, to Shriners International was facilitated in 2010 across North America, Central America, South America, Europe and Southeast Asia.[1] The organization is best known for the Shriners Hospitals for Children it administers, and the red fezzes that members wear. The organization is headquartered in Tampa, Florida.[2] Shriners International describes itself as a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth. There are approximately 340,000 members from 195 temples (chapters) in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Mexico, the Republic of Panama, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Europe and Australia.


In 1870, there were several thousand Masons in Manhattan, many of whom lunched at the Knickerbocker Cottage at a special table on the second floor. There, the idea of a new fraternity for Masons stressing fun and fellowship was discussed. Walter M. Fleming, M.D., and William J. Florence took the idea seriously enough to act upon it.

Florence, a world-renowned actor, while on tour in Marseille, was invited to a party given by an Arabian diplomat. The entertainment was something in the nature of an elaborately staged musical comedy. At its conclusion, the guests became members of a secret society. Florence took copious notes and drawings at his initial viewing and on two other occasions, once in Algiers and once in Cairo. When he returned to New York in 1870, he showed his material to Fleming.[3]

Fleming took the ideas supplied by Florence and converted them into what would become the "Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.)". Fleming created the ritual, emblem and costumes. Florence and Fleming were initiated August 13, 1870, and initiated 11 other men on June 16, 1871.[4]

The group adopted a Middle Eastern theme and soon established Temples (though the term Temple has now generally been replaced by Shrine Auditorium or Shrine Center). The first Temple established was Mecca Temple (now known as Mecca Shriners), established at the New York City Masonic Hall on September 26, 1872. Fleming was the first Potentate.[5]

In 1875, there were only 43 Shriners in the organization. In an effort to spur membership, at the June 6, 1876 meeting of Mecca Temple, the Imperial Grand Council of the Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America was created. Fleming was elected the first Imperial Potentate. After some other reworking, by 1878 there were 425 members in 13 temples in eight states, and by 1888, there were 7,210 members in 48 temples in the United States and Canada. By the Imperial Session held in Washington, D.C. in 1900, there were 55,000 members and 82 Temples.[6] By 1938 there were about 340,000 members in the United States. That year Life published photographs of its rites for the first time. It described the Shriners as "among secret lodges the No. 1 in prestige, wealth and show", and stated that "[i]n the typical city, especially in the Middle West, the Shriners will include most of the prominent citizens."[7]

Shriners often participate in local parades, sometimes as rather elaborate units: miniature vehicles in themes (all sports cars; all miniature 18-wheeler trucks; all fire engines, and so on), an "Oriental Band" dressed in cartoonish versions of Middle Eastern dress; pipe bands, drummers, motorcycle units, Drum and Bugle Corps, and even traditional brass bands.


Despite its theme, the Shrine is not connected to Arab culture or Islam. It is a men's fraternity rather than a religion or religious group. Its only religious requirement is indirect: all Shriners must be Masons, and petitioners to Freemasonry must profess a belief in a Supreme Being. To further minimize confusion with religion, the use of the words "temple" and "mosque" to describe Shriners' buildings has been replaced by "Shrine Center", although individual local chapters are still called temples.

Until 2000, before being eligible for membership in the Shrine, a person had to complete either the Scottish Rite or York Rite degrees of Masonry,[8] but now any Master Mason can join.[9]

Shriners count among their ranks presidents, senators, local business leaders, professional golfers, country music stars, astronauts and racecar drivers.[10]

Women's auxiliaries[edit]

Daughters of the Nile at Montreal Shriner's Hosptial in 1948.

While there are plenty of activities for Shriners and their wives, there are two organizations tied to the Shrine that are for women only: The Ladies' Oriental Shrine and Daughters of the Nile. They both support the Shriners Hospitals and promote sociability, and membership in either organization is open to any woman 18 years of age and older who is related to a Shriner or Master Mason by birth, marriage, or adoption. The Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America was founded in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1903,[11] and Daughters of the Nile was founded in 1913 in Seattle, Washington.[12] That latter organization has locals called "Temples". There were ten of these in 1922. Among the famous members of the Daughters of the Nile was First Lady Florence Harding, wife of Warren G. Harding.[13]


Some of the earliest Shrine Centers often chose a Moorish Revival style for their Temples. Architecturally notable Shriners Temples include the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, New York City Center, now used as a concert hall, Newark Symphony Hall, the Landmark Theater (formerly The Mosque) in Richmond, Virginia, the Tripoli Shrine Temple in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Helena Civic Center (Montana) (formerly the Algeria Shrine Temple), and the Fox Theatre (Atlanta, Georgia) which was jointly built between the Atlanta Shriners and William Fox.

Shriners Hospitals for Children[edit]

The Shrine's charitable arm is the Shriners Hospitals for Children, a network of twenty-two hospitals in the United States, Mexico and Canada. In June 1920, the Imperial Council Session voted to establish a "Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children." The goal of this hospital was to treat orthopedic injuries, diseases, and birth defects in children.[14] After lots of research and debate, the committee chosen to determine the site of the hospital decided there should be not just one hospital but a network of hospitals spread across North America. The first hospital was opened in 1922 in Shreveport, LA and by the end of the decade thirteen more hospitals were in operation.[14] They now deal with orthopedic care, burn treatment, cleft lip and palate care and spinal cord injury rehabilitation. The rules for all of the Shriners Hospitals are simple and to the point: Any child can be admitted to the hospital if, in the opinion of the surgeons, the child can be treated and is under the age of 18.[14] Until June 2012, all treatment offered at Shriner's Hospitals for Children was offered without any financial obligation to patients and their families. At that time, because the size of their endowment had decreased due to losses in the stock market, the Shriners started billing patients' insurance companies, but still offered free care to those that didn't have insurance. There is no requirement for religion, race, or relationship to a Shriner. Patients must be under the age of eighteen and treatable.[15]

In 2008, Shriners Hospitals had a total budget of $826 million and in 2007 they approved 39,454 new patient applications, attended to the needs of 125,125 patients.[15]

Parade unit[edit]

A Pittsburgh Shriner in an iconic miniature car participating in a Memorial Day parade

Most Shrine Temples support several parade units. These units are responsible for promoting a positive Shriner image to the public by participating in local parades. The parade units often include miniature cars powered by lawn mower engines.

A St. Louis Shriner in a miniature racing car, stopping to greet children along parade route

An example of a Shrine parade unit is the Heart Shrine Clubs’ Original Fire Patrol of Effingham, Illinois. This unit operates miniature fire engines in honor of a hospital fire that took place in the 1940s in Effingham. They participate in most parades in a 100 mile radius of Effingham. Shriners in Dallas, Texas participate annually in the Twilight Parade at the Texas State Fair. Shriners in St. Louis have several parade motor units, including miniature cars styled after 1932 Ford coupes and 1970s-era Jeep CJ models, and a unit of miniature Indianapolis-styled race cars. Some of these are outfitted with high-performance, alcohol-fueled engines. The drivers' skills are demonstrated during parades with high-speed spinouts.

Other events[edit]

The Shriners are committed to community service and have been instrumental in countless public projects throughout their domain.

Shriners host the annual East-West Shrine Game, a college football all-star game.

The Shriners originally hosted a golf tournament in concert with singer/actor Justin Timberlake, titled the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, a PGA Golf Tour golf tournament held in Las Vegas, NV.[16] The relationship between Timberlake and the Shriners ended in 2012, due to the lack of previously agreed participation on Timberlake's part.[17] In July 2012, The PGA TOUR and Shriners Hospitals for Children announced a five-year title sponsorship extension, carrying the commitment to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open through 2017,[18] now titled The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open,[19] and is still held in Las Vegas, NV.

Once a year, the fraternity meets for the Imperial Council Session in a major North American city. It is not uncommon for these conventions to have 20,000 participants or more, which generates significant revenue for the local economy.

Many Shrine Centers also hold a yearly Shrine Circus as a fundraiser.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fun With Purpose" Shriners International. Retrieved on August 7, 2011.
  2. ^ Home page. Shriners International. Retrieved on March 12, 2010.
  3. ^ Shriners of North America. A Short History: Shriners of North America and Shriners Hospitals. September 2004 edition. pp. 3–4.
  4. ^ Shriners of North America. A Short History: Shriners of North America and Shriners Hospitals. September 2004 edition. p.5.
  5. ^ Shriners of North America. A Short History: Shriners of North America and Shriners Hospitals. September 2004 edition. p. 6.
  6. ^ Shriners of North America. A Short History: Shriners of North America and Shriners Hospitals. September 2004 edition. p. 8.
  7. ^ "The Shriners / "Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles" Reveals its Pageantry". Life. 1938-05-16. p. 50. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Abd El Kader's Masonic Friends" (PDF). The New York Times. 1883-06-07. p. 8. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  9. ^ "Be A Shriner Now". Shriners International. Accessed March 12, 2010.
  10. ^ "Values - Leadership". Shriners International. Accessed August 7, 2011.
  11. ^ Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America. Accessed 6 November 2011.
  12. ^ "About Us". Accessed 6 November 2011.
  13. ^ Preuss, Arthur A Dictionary of Secret and other Societies St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co. 1924; republished Detroit: Gale Reference Company 1966; p.106
  14. ^ a b c International Directory of Company Histories, Vol.69. St. James Press, 2005.
  15. ^ a b "Shriners Hospitals for Children About Us". Shriners Hospitals. Retrieved 2010-08-18. 
  16. ^ "Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open" | Sunday, September 25, 2011 - Sunday, October 2, 2011 | Las Vegas, NV 89134".] Shriners International. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  17. ^ [1] | Justin Timberlake and Shriners break charity golf ties 5:55p.m. EDT October 2, 2012
  18. ^ [2] | Shriners Hospitals for Children Extends Tournament Sponsorship - Monday, July 2, 2012
  19. ^ [3] | 2013 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Retrieved January 2, 2013

External links[edit]

List of Shrine Temples[edit]

Roll No.Temple NameCharteredOriginal Temple LocationCurrent Temple LocationShrine Facts & Hospital Coverage
*The Fraternity of the A.A.O.N.M.S. Founded1870New York City, New YorkTampa, FloridaFounded by 13 Master Masons
**The Imperial Council, A.A.O.N.M.S. Est.06/06/1876M:.W:. Grand Lodge of NY, F.&A.M.New York City, New YorkEstablished by the original 13 Temples of the Order; Requirements set that a member must be a Master Mason A./F.&A.M., as well as a Knight Templar of the Ancient York Rite and/or a 32° S.P.R.S. of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.
Medinah1878Atchison, KansasDefunct Temple; Declared 'Null & Void' at the annual Imperial Session, 1886; Temple name reverted to Medinah Temple - Chicago, IL
Mohammed1878New Haven, ConnecticutDefunct Temple; Declared 'Null & Void' at the annual Imperial Session, 1886; Temple name reverted to Mohammed Temple- Peoria, IL in 1893
NajaAlbany, New YorkDefunct Temple; Merged with Cyprus Temple #5 in 1881; Temple Name reverted to Naja Temple, Deadwood, SD (Rapid City) in 1893
Salaam1885Olney, IllinoisDefunct Temple; Temple Name reverted to Salaam Temple #86- Newark, NJ
1Mecca09/26/1872New York City, New YorkNew York City, New YorkPhiladelphia, PA / Springfield, MA / Boston, MA
2Damascus1875Rochester, New YorkWebster, New YorkPhiladelphia, PA / Springfield, MA / Boston, MA
3Mount Sinai1885Montpelier, VermontMontpelier, VermontBoston, MA
4Al Koran1878Cleveland, OhioBroadview Heights, OhioErie, PA
5Cyprus1878Albany, New YorkGlenmont, New YorkErie, PA
6Syrian1878Cincinnati, OhioCincinnati, OhioCincinnati, OH
7Oriental1878Troy, New YorkTroy, New YorkPhiladelphia, PA / Springfield, MA / Boston, MA
8Syria1878Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaPittsburgh, PennsylvaniaErie, PA / Cincinnati, PA
9Pyramid1878Bridgeport, ConnecticutStratford, ConnecticutSpringfield, MA / Boston, MA
10Kaaba1878Davenport, IowaDavenport, IowaChartered as 'Pyramid Temple'; however due to a resolution against similar names, adopted at the 1886 Imperial Session, this Temple formally agreed to change its name on March 17, 1887, and was immediately recognized as 'Kaaba Temple'; Chicago, IL
11Ziyara1878Utica, New YorkUtica, New York
12Moslem1880Detroit, MichiganSouthfield, MichiganChicago, IL
13Aleppo1883Boston, MassachusettsWilmington, MassachusettsSpringfield, MA / Boston, MA
14Medinah1883Chicago, IllinoisAddison, IllinoisChicago, IL
15Islam06/06/1883San Francisco, CaliforniaSacramento, CA
16Lu Lu01/10/1884Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaPlymouth Meeting, PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA
17Murat1884Indianapolis, IndianaIndianapolis, IndianaChicago, IL / Cincinnati, OH
18Boumi1884Baltimore, MarylandBaltimore, MarylandPhiladelphia, PA
19RI Shriners (Palestine)1886Providence, Rhode IslandCranston, Rhode Island
20Kosair1885Louisville, KentuckyLouisville, KentuckyCincinnati, OH
21Tripoli1885Milwaukee, WisconsinMilwaukee, WisconsinChicago, IL
22Osman1886St. Paul, MinnesotaSt. Paul, MinnesotaTwin Cities, MN
23Zurah1886Minneapolis, MinnesotaMinneapolis, MinnesotaTwin Cities, MN
24Almas1886Washington D.C.Washington D.C.
25El Kahir1886Cedar Rapids, IowaCedar Rapids, Iowa
26Moolah1886St. Louis, MissouriSt. Louis, MissouriSt. Louis, MO
27Saladin1886Grand Rapids, Michigan Kentwood, MichiganGrand Rapids, MichiganChicago, IL
28Acca1887Richmond, VirginiaRichmond, VirginiaGreenville, SC
29Osiris1887Wheeling, West VirginiaWheeling, West Virginia
30Abdallah1887Leavenworth, KansasOverland Park, Kansas
31Isis1887Salina, KansasSalina, Kansas
32Jerusalem1885New Orleans, LouisianaShreveport, LA
33Rameses1887Toronto, Ontario - CanadaToronto, Ontario - Canada
34Hella18__Dallas, TexasGarland, TexasHouston & Galveston, TX
35Sesostris1887Lincoln, NebraskaLincoln, Nebraska
36Kismet1887Brooklyn New York Hyde Park, New YorkHicksville, New York
37Ismailia1887Buffalo, New YorkBuffalo, New York
38Ararat1887Kansas City, MissouriKansas City, Missouri
39El Jebel1888Denver, ColoradoDenver, Colorado
40Al Malaikah1887Los Angeles, CaliforniaLos Angeles, CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA
41Algeria1887Helena, MontanaHelena, Montana
42Morocco1887Jacksonville, FloridaJacksonville, FloridaTampa, FL
43El Riad1887Sioux Falls, South DakotaSioux Falls, South DakotaTwin Cities, MN
44Ballut Abyad1889Albuquerque, New MexicoAlbuquerque, New Mexico
45Moila1889St. Joseph, MissouriSt. Joseph, Missouri
46Al Kader1889Portland, OregonWilsonville, OregonPortland, OR
47Afifi1889Tacoma, WashingtonTacoma, Washington
49Sahara1889Pine Bluff, ArkansasPine Bluff, Arkansas
50Alhambra18__Chattanooga, TennesseeChattanooga, Tennessee
51El Zagal18__Fargo, North DakotaFargo, North Dakota
52Yaarab18__Atlanta, GeorgiaAtlanta, Georgia
53El Katif1891Spokane, WashingtonSpokane, Washington
54Zamora1891Birmingham, AlabamaIrondale, AlabamaShreeveport, LA
55Media1891Watertown, New YorkWatertown, New York
56El Kalah1892Salt Lake City, UtahSalt Lake City, UtahSalt Lake City, UT
57Al Chymia1892Memphis, TennesseeMemphis, Tennessee
58Ben Hur1892Austin, TexasAustin, TexasHouston & Gavelston, TX
59Kora1892Lewiston, MaineLewiston, Maine
60Zem Zem1892Erie, PennsylvaniaErie, PennsylvaniaEire, PA
61Hamasa1893Meridian, MississippiMeridian, Mississippi
62Naja1893Deadwood, South DakotaRapid City, South Dakota
63Rajah1893Reading, PennsylvaniaBlandon, PennsylvaniaErie & Philadelphia, PA
64Mohammed1893Peoria, IllinoisBartonville, IllinoisChicago, IL
65India1894Oklahoma City, OklahomaOklahoma City, Oklahoma
66Ahmed1894Marquette, MichiganMarquette, MichiganChicago, IL
67Aladdin1894Columbus, OhioColumbus, OhioCincinnati, OH
68Tebala1895Rockford, IllinoisRockford, IllinoisChicago, IL / Twin Cities, MN
69Korein1895Rawlins, WyomingRawlins, Wyoming
70Oasis1895Charlotte, North CarolinaCharlotte, North CarolinaGreenville, SC
71Irem1895Wilkes-Barre, PennsylvaniaDallas, PennsylvaniaErie & Philadelphia, PA
72El Zaribah18__Phoenix, ArizonaPhoenix, ArizonaLos Angeles, CA
73Sphinx06/24/1896Hartford, ConnecticutNewington, ConnecticutOldest Chartered Shrine Band; Springfield, MA / Boston, MA
74Alee18__Savannah, GeorgiaSavannah, GeorgiaGreenville, SC
75Oasis1895Charlotte, North CarolinaCharlotte, North CarolinaGreenville, SC
76El Korah18__Boise, IdahoBoise, IdahoPortland, OR / Spokane, WA
77Antioch18__Dayton, OhioDayton, OhioCincinnati, OH
78Melha18__Springfield, MassachusettsSpringfield, MassachusettsSpringfield & Boston, MA
79Zenobia18__Toledo, OhioPerrysburg, Ohio
80Kalurah18__Binghamton, New YorkEndicott, New YorkSpringfield, MA
81Karnak18__Dollard des Ormeaux, Quebec - CanadaDollard des Ormeaux, Quebec - CanadaMontreal, QC - CAN
82Za-Ga-Zig18__Altoona, IowaAltoona, IowaChicago, IL / Twin Cities, MN
83Aloha18__Honolulu, HawaiiHonolulu, HawaiiHonolulu, HI
84El Mina18__Galveston, TXGalveston, TXHouston & Galveston, TX
85Gizeh18__Vancouver, British Columbia - CanadaBurnaby, British Columbia - Canada
86Salaam1885Newark, New JerseyLivingston, New JerseyPhiladelphia, PA
87Luxor____St. John, New Brunswick - CanadaSt. John, New Brunswick - CanadaMontreal, QB
88Abba____Mobile, AlabamaMobile, AlabamaGreenville, SC
89Abou Ben Adhem1903Springfield, MissouriSpringfield, MissouriSt. Louis, MO
90Cairo19__Rutland, VermontRutland, VermontBoston, MA
91Jaffa1903Altoona, PennsylvaniaAltoona, PennsylvaniaErie & Philadelphia, PA
92Yelduz19__Aberdeen, South DakotaAberdeen, South DakotaTwin Cities, MN
93Zembo19__Harrisburg, PennsylvaniaHarrisburg, PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA
94Crescent19__Trenton, New JerseyWestampton, New JerseyPhiladelphia, PA
95Khartum19__Winnipeg, Manitoba - CanadaWinnipeg, Manitoba - CanadaTwin Cities, MN
96Bektash19__Concord, New HampshireConcord, New HampshireBoston, MA
97Aad19__Dulith, MinnesotaDulith, MinnesotaTwin Cities, MN
98El Hasa19__Ashland, KentuckyAshland, KentuckyLexington, KY
99Elf Khurafeh19__Saginaw, MichiganClio, MichiganChicago, IL
100Kalif19__Sheridan, WyomingSheridan, WyomingSalt Lake City, UT
101Anezah19__Mexico City - MexicoMexico City - MexicoMexico City - MEX
102Kerak19__Reno, NevadaReno, NevadaSacramento, CA (N. CA)
103Omar19__Charleston, South CarolinaMt. Pleasant, South CarolinaGreenville, SC
104[ Abu Bekr1908_Sioux City, IowaSioux City, IowaTwin Cities, MN
105Calam19__Lewiston, IdahoLewiston, IdahoSpokane, WA
106Al Azhar19__Calgary, Alberta - CanadaCalgary, Alberta - CanadaSpokane, WA
107Mocha19__London, Ontario - CanadaLondon, Ontario - Canada
108Oleika19__Lexington, KentuckyLexington, KentuckyLexington, KY
109El Maida1909El Paso, TexasEl Paso, TexasHouston & Galveston, TX
110Hillah19__Ashland, OregonMedford, OregonPortland, OR / Sacramento, CA (N. CA)
111Nile19__Seattle, WashingtonMountlake Terrace, WashingtonPortland, OR
112Rizpah19__Madisonville, KentuckyMadisonville, KentuckyLexington, KY
113Hadi19__Evansville, IndianaEvansville, IndianaLexington, KY
114Mizpah19__Ft. Wayne, IndianaFt. Wayne, IndianaChicago, IL
115Orak19__Michigan City, IndianaMichigan City, IndianaChicago, IL
116Kem19__Grand Forks, North DakotaGrand Forks, North Dakota
117Khedive19__Virginia Beach, VirginiaChesapeake, Virginia
118Midian19__Wichita, KansasWichita, KansasSt. Louis, MO
119Mirz19__Pittsburg, KansasPittsburg, KansasSt. Louis, MO
120Zorah19__Terre Haute, IndianaTerre Haute, IndianaChicago, IL