History of the Grand Lodge of Cyprus

Tuesday 18 September 2012

History of the Grand Lodge of Cyprus

There are indications of Masons being present in Cyprus, dating all the way back to the 18th century and initially limited to Larnaca, where the port and the consulates of the island used to be situated. Masonry in Cyprus is first mentioned in a document of 1751 and again in an 1817 circular of the Archbishop, wherein it is condemned. Masonic presence on the island is also documented by the existence of 19th century graves bearing Masonic Marks, which can still be found within the enclosure of the Church of Ayios Lazarus.

There is conjecture that the Brothers in Larnaca were so few, in those times, that to convene in quorum they had to wait for ships to arrive which had Masons as crewmembers. After the events of 1821 and the active participation of Cypriot Masons in the Greek Revolution, no other mention is made and unfortunately no other records exist, other than those aforementioned.

Many Cypriots studying abroad and particularly in Athens, were initiated into Masonry, but on returning home they had no possibility to join established Lodges or even to create new ones. One of these young men was Dr. Ioannis Karageorgiades, who had been initiated in a Greel Lodge of Athens, in 1865. After the British purchase of Cyprus, in 1878, and the foundation of the "St Paul" Lodge in 1888 (the first Lodge under the auspices of the United Grand Lodge of England in Cyprus), Bro Karageorgiades joined it. Subsequently, in 1893 and aided by both English and Greek Brothers, he founded "Zenon" Lodge, the first Greek speaking Lodge under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Greece. As the years passed, the establishment of Greek speaking Lodges in Larnaca, Nicosia, Pafos and Famagusta, followed this.

According to international Masonic convention, each independent state can have a Grand Lodge, under the auspices of Greek Cypriot Masons could have legitimately established their own Grand Lodge, for many years they did not do so, due mainly to sentimental reasons of not wanting to sever ties with the Grand Lodge of Greece. After much debate about going forward with such an endeavour or not and many efforts, the Cypriot Masons convened in a Plenary Assembly, on the 4th December 2005 and took the historic decision, by a vast majority.

The founding Members of the new Grand Lodge were the following Lodges, all, until then, under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Greece:

KIMON Lodge, Larnaca, Founded in 1918
SOLON Lodge, Nicosia, Founded in 1921
KINYRAS Lodge, Pafos, Founded in 1923
EVAGORAS Lodge, Famagusta, Founded in 1928
ADONIS Lodge, Nicosia, Founded in 1961
KOINON KYPRION Lodge, Nicosia, Founded in 1977

ZENON Lodge of Limassol and PHOENIX Lodge of Nicosia, for their own reasons, decided not to follow the others but instead to join the District Grand Lodge of Cyprus, under the United Grand Lodge of England.

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