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Last Update: 10/13/2017

History

History of the National Grand Lodge

 

 

Τhe National Grand Lodge of Greece was founded οn June 7th, 1986, by Brothers who were members of the Grand Lodge of Greece, the only masonic power in Greece at that time. Although the formation of this new Grand Lodge appeared to be a necessity at that time , no one could imagine how much this move was going to the justified.

Additionally, one must note, that the intentions of the pioneer-founders of those days, were not to found a New Grand Lodge. On the contrary, those Brothers believed in the free practice of their masonic activities as it was happening all over the world. Free practice was not the case in Greece then under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Greece. Therefore the creation of a new Body was necessary.

Let us examine the events, broadly, to have a clearer picture of those times and the necessity previously mentioned.

Freemasonry,as we know it today, began in Greece in 1940. Until then, the existing masonic body was named “Most Serene Grand Orient of Greece” and was controlled by the “Supreme Council, 33°”, which represented the Scottish Rite but was connected to the first three degrees. In 1940, the Supreme Council theoretically abandoned its control over the first three degrees which were named “Grand Lodge of Greece”. The Grand Lodge of Greece, as the only masonic body of Craft Freemasonry in Greece, was recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England, in 1948, under specific terms. These terms referred to the obligation, on behalf of the Grand Lodge of Greece, to take all necessary measures that would gradually erase the practices of the Grand Orient of France and to strictly adopt the Old Charges of the Order. Such compliance was non-existent, as the new body continued to operate as in the past. With only the exception of the English-speaking Lodge “PARTHENON, No. 112”, founded in 1952, which strictly operated in accordance to the “Old Charges” no other substantial change was introduced. On the contrary and repeatedly, in the early 70’s, the leadership of the Grand Lodge proved that it had no intention to comply to the right practices.

In March 1976, some enthusiastic and zealous Brethren, the majority of whom were striving to bring Greek Freemasonry to conformity with the “Old Charges” were initiated in York Rite. The initiation was carried out by Grand Officers of the York Rite Order, led by the then Grand High Priest of the Supreme Grand Chapter of Germany M.Exc. Comp. Evmenis Kaloudis. The vision of Comps Evmenis Kaloudis and Pantaleon Fragedakis to create in Greece a Regular Masonic body operating the "beyond the Craft" degrees, with a world-wide recognition, had at last become a reality. The bodies of the Degrees (Royal Arch Chapters, Councils and Preceptories) formed the Supreme Grand Chapter of Greece. This body received world-wide recognition shortly after its founding. The movement grew rapidly as many Brethren joined the new body. The basic reason for this was the fact that many Brethren desired to expand their masonic knowledge and experience and to progress as members of the Royal Arch. This was impossible under the Grand Lodge of Greece due to the fact that its General Regulations did not provide for the existence of the Royal Arch degree. In addition the Grand Lodge was influenced or/and controlled by the Supreme Council 33ο -as described previously- which deems that in our country the Royal Arch Degree belongs to its jurisdiction, as the 13th degree of the Scottish Rite.

In a short while the leadership of this new Masonic Body made many attempts to improve the relations between the three bodies (The Grand Lodge of Greece, The Supreme Council 33ο, and the Supreme Grand Chapter of Greece) on the basis of mutual respect and cooperation. In fact, on October, 1978 a letter of intent was signed by the respective officers and it was believed that a promising future lay ahead. There was no thought of creating a new Grand Lodge at the time. The most optimistic Brethren even believed that the exemplary function of the Supreme Grand Chapter would convince the Grand Lodge to change the way it used to function.

Unfortunately, this was not to be, especially after the election of a new Grand Master in the Grand Lodge of Greece in 1981. Pressure was put on the brethren participating in the Supreme Grand Chapter, which was a Masonic Body founded regularly and the most important beyond the Craft. The peak in this dispute was the issuing of famous Circular No. 07/85 in April 1985, by the Grand Lodge of Greece by which Brethren were threatened that they would be expelled, if they continued to participate in meetings of the Supreme Grand Chapter.

This Circular plus a number of actions, quite contrary to any masonic practice and ethic, even against the basic masonic principle of freedom of opinion of every Freemason created a very sad situation. The result was that many Brethren were expelled from the Grand Lodge of Greece without proper reasoning.

As expected, there were strong reactions within the Grand Lodge with accusations leveled at its Grand Master regarding the aforementioned actions. The way in which these accusations were disclaimed gave ground to many Brethren, who had been deeply disappointed, to resign. There was no doubt that any attempt to improve the situation was  considered -a priori- a failure. The issue now was not compliance to the “Old Charges”, but simply applying masonic and democratic procedures.


Inevitably, the idea of creating a New Grand Lodge came up. In May 1986, six Greek Lodges decided, by a majority of vote, to sign a Declaration by which they renounced the Grand Lodge of Greece for reasons that were listed and which was the summary of the acts and reasons previously described. Immediately afterwards, they elected representatives and formed the National Grand Lodge of Greece.

These Lodges, are mentioned below, including the number of their active memberswho signed the Declaration and agreed to resign from the Grand Lodge:

1.     PALEON PATRON GERMANOS, No. 1 Patrae, 37 out of 42 members

2.     ACROPOLIS, No. 2 Athens, 48 out of 50 members

3.     PARTHENON, No. 3 Piraeus, 45 out of 49 members

4.     MIAOULIS, No. 4 Piraeus, 55 out of 80 members

5.     PISTIS(FIDELITY), No. 5 Piraeus, 25 out of 45 members, and

6.     OMONOIA (CONCORD), No. 6 Chios Island, 12 out of 12 members

Almost immediately, Lodge “IONIA, No. 7”, in Athens, seceded and joined. This Lodge was the first that had reacted in 1985 against Circular No. 07/85.
These Lodges founded the National Grand Lodge of Greece on June 7th, 1986. Installing officer was the late VW Bro. William R. J. Eve, PDGM, member of “Molesey Lodge, No. 2473” of the United Grand Lodge of England and a veteran fighter of the Greek National Resistance.
The leadership of the Grand Lodge thought that this effort would be short lived and a failure. It also tried to revive the seceded Lodges and slander the Brethren who became members of the NGLoG. Nevertheless, NGLoG was a reality and for the first time a Greek Masonic Body was founded in accordance to the ancient and accepted practices of the Craft abiding by the Old Charges and Landmarks, having a Regular origin.

The founding Lodges were supplemented with Brethren who individually left the Grand Lodge. They assisted in the founding of new Lodges under the jurisdiction of the National Grand Lodge of Greece. Within 2 years, (1988) 28 Lodges, under the auspices of NGLoG, operated all over the country.

NGLoG chose to follow the Emulation Ritual in its meetings. As regards the Rules governing the Craft it chose to take advantage of the centuries-old experience of its English Brethren and translate “The Book of Constitutions” of UGLE. The Order of the Royal Arch is governed by the Grand Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons of Greece, given that the General Assembly of the Supreme Grand Chapter of the York Rite surrendered the Order to the Craft. The Bodies beyond the Craft (namely, the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, the Grand Council of Royal and Selected Masters, the Grand Priory of the Knights Templar and the Grand Imperial Conlave of the Order of the Red Cross of Constantine) operate independently from the NGL. They have their own Rules administration and structure.

A Grand Lodge is considered Regular when it operates in accordance to the ancient and accepted practices and abides by the Old Charges and Landmarks. The NGLoG, as mentioned before, was Regular since its founding. In any case there has never been any doubt of its Regularity by any Masonic Body other than the Grand Lodge of Greece. Given that there is no international Directorate in Freemasonry to enforce recognition of a Regular Grand Lodge, international relations are based on bilateral agreements.

As NGLoG was the only masonic body in Greece strictly conforming to all the prerequisites of Regularity, the United Grand Lodge of England, in 1993, decided to remove its recognition from the Grand Lodge of Greece and recognize the National Grand Lodge of Greece. Soon after, the Grand Lodges of Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, the National Grand Lodge of France, the Regular Grand Lodge of Italy and many others recognized the NGLoG.

In 1999, for its own reasons, the UGLEreversed the above decision, although it stated that it still accepts the Regularity of the NGLoG. Such a decision has no precedent in Masonic history. Therefore, some Grand Lodges (Scotland and Ireland) did not follow UGLE in its decision.

In any case these historical events did not in any way influence the spiritual, esoteric, initiatory or philosophical work of NGLoG, which has priority within its activities.

The first Grand Master of NGLoG to be elected was MW Bro. Stephanos Paipetis (Physics Prof. at the University of Patrae), in 1986. He was succeded by:

1.     MW Bro. Efstathios Liakopoulos - (1988-1991), lawyer,

2.     MW late Bro. George Vassiliou - (1991-1993), oculist surgeon,

3.     MW Bro. Dr. Leonidas Logothetis - (1993-1995), civil engineer,

4.     MW Bro. Orpheus-Georgios Manos - (1995-1997), civil engineer,

5.     MW Bro. Pavlos Kyriakongonas - (1997-1999), mechanical engineer,

6.     MW Bro. Georgios Kaminaris - (1999-2004), mechanical engineer,

7.     MW Bro. Hermes Ioannidis - (2004-2006), mechanical engineer,

8.     MW Bro. Dimitrios Kontessis - (2006-2010), economist,

9.     MW Bro. Dimitris Mamas - (2010-2011), civil engineer, and

10. MW Bro Justinian Korvesis, electrical engineer was  installed on October 8, 2011

The history of NGL Greece is short with some turbulence. The necessity however to create the National Grand Lodge of Greece has, in the meantime, been transformed into the necessity for the continuation of its welfare !

 

 



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