On the 24th of April, 1738, Pope Clement XII issued his Bull [In Emnenti] forbidding the practice of Freemasonry by the members of the Roman Catholic Church. Many of the Freemasons of Italy continued, however, to meet; but, for the purpose of escaping the temporal penalties of the Bull, which extended, in some cases, to the infliction of capital punishment, they changed their esoteric name, and called themselves Xicrophagists.
This is a compound of two Greek words signifying Eaters of dry food, and by it they alluded to an engagement into which they entered to abstain from the drinking of wine.
They were, in fact, about the first temperance society on record.
Thory says (Acta Latomorum I, page 346) that a manuscript concerning them was contained in the collection of the Mother Lodge of the Philosophic Scottish Rite.
- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry