March 2015

Monday 23 March 2015

The Freemasons' Grand Charity donated £20,000 for Vanuatu's Cyclone victims

According to a press release of the Freemasons' Grand Charity, an amount of £20,000 was donated through the Red Cross for Vanuatu's Cyclone victims.

Vanuatu, officially the Republic of Vanuatu, is an Oceanian island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some 1,750 km east of northern Australia, 500 km northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea.

The President of this Republic stated that: "After all the development we have done for the last couple of years and this big cyclone came and just destroyed... all the infrastructure the government has... built. Completely destroyed."

Thursday 19 March 2015

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Statement to the Committee on information for recognition, prepared by MW Vladimir S. Markovic, Past Grand Master, Chairman of the UGLS Committee on Foreign Relations

"United Grand Lodges of Serbia, Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons is sovereign, regular and recognized Masonic Grand Lodge with its headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia. United Grand Lodges have under its protection twenty two just and duly constituted Lodges with over six hundred members.

As Freemasons, we submit to all tenets, principles, and ancient traditions of Freemasonry, which means that we believe in the Supreme Being, that the Book of the Sacred Law is always open on the Altar while the Lodge is at work, that we don’t discuss religion and politics in our Lodges, and that we are Brotherhood open for membership to all free adult men of good report, regardless of their religious beliefs, race, nationality, language, or social origin. Faith in God, Charity, and Brotherly Love are three supporting pillars of our Brotherhood.

Continuing honorable traditions of the Grand Lodge of Yugoslavia, founded in 1919, put to sleep in 1940, and then again awaken in 1990, United Grand Lodges of Serbia were founded on June 8th 2006, as a result of the desire of Serbian Freemasons from different groups and fractions, to unite under one roof. Lodges under protection of the UGLS work in three permanent Temples in Belgrade, Loznica, and Novi Sad, and five Temples in rented spaces in Niš, Kruševac, Ċuprija, Zrenjanin, and Sombor.

The Temple of the United Grand Lodges of Serbia, erected in Belgrade in 2008, was the very first Masonic Temple built in Serbia after the Second World War. UGLS Library is first specialized Masonic Library in the Region of Western Balkans, and member of the Masonic Library and Museum Association.

Constant education of its members is one of the most important aspects of the long term development of the UGLS. To facilitate best possible educational tools and conditions, UGLS, besides enriching its library funds, has extensive publishing program. We have published Manuals for all three degrees, Catechizes for all three degrees, Ritual Books, Almanac UGLS, as well as books on various masonic subjects written by the authors who are members of the UGLS.

Part of our publishing program also covers publishing of the magazine Neimar, an official quarterly publication of the UGLS, which is now in its fourth year of existence with seventeen issues so far.

In order to sit in the East, all qualified Lodge officers must complete educational course “Road to the East”. Masonic education is organized and coordinated by the Committee on Education and Publishing.

In 2007 we have founded Charity organization “Nezaboravak” (Forget-me-not), which is completely supported by the work and monetary contributions of the UGLS members. In seven years of its existence we organized and supported many large charity events which have been well received in Serbian society. For our charity work we have received numerous national and international recognitions and awards, which you can see in the documents we submitted to you.

On the field of international Masonic relations, we have always maintained strict rules of the recognition and have never entered into masonic contact or relation with any masonic group or Jurisdiction which is not regular by all recognized standards of regularity. So far, we have exchanged Treaties of Amity with Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Prince Hall Grand Lodge of California, Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alberta, Prince Hall Grand Lodge of South Carolina, Prince Hall Grand Lodge of North Carolina, and Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia.

Our Jurisdiction has been visited by the Grand Master of Grand Lodge of Austria Nikolaus Schwarzler and by the Past Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Germany Alfred Koska and they both recognized our origin and work as regular, which was documented by the letters I submitted to you. We also have a strong fraternal relationship with the Regular Grand Lodge of Italy, with whose help in 2010 three new Lodges were founded with the purpose of working emulation ritual.

We are strong regular Masonic Jurisdiction with excellent membership growth and retention rate of almost 100%. In our long term development we envisioned more permanent Temples and more Lodges in many more cities in Serbia. Regular Freemasonry has much to offer to the Serbian society and we are doing our part to the best of our abilities.

We do believe that stronger ties with international Masonic community would be beneficial for our work and that is the reason we seek your recognition. We also believe that some type of understanding, cooperation, or possible unification between UGLS and Regular Grand Lodge of Serbia would we beneficial for the future development of Freemasonry in Serbia, and for this we seek your support, guidance and advice. Also, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Germany Rudiger Templin proposed in 2011 in correspondence to UGLS to have Grand Masters of United Grad Lodge of Germany and of Grand Lodge of Austria as mediators in the process of unification of the UGLS and RGLS. We are willing to consider any solution that would benefit Freemasonry in Serbia."

Reaction of the United Grand Lodges of Serbia after the decision adopted at the Conference of Grand Masters in North America

After the announcement made by the Masonic Press Agency on 24 February 2015, the United Grand Lodges of Serbia reacted and wished to express its position regarding, what they call, the reality of Serbian Freemasonry. Thus, the United Grand Lodges of Serbia announces the following via the Masonic Press Agency:

"In regard to the article published on their website on February 18th, as well as on the Masonic Press Agency on February 24th, by Regular Grand Lodge of Serbia, United Grand Lodges of Serbia are stating following:

From February 13th to February 18th was held Conference of the Grand Masters of the North America in Vancouver (Canada). One of the topic of discussion for the Committee on recognition was the situation of the Freemasonry in Serbia, on the request by the United Grand Lodges of Serbia, which in timely manner submitted request and material for discussion.

The reason for raising this question by the UGLS before the Committee on recognition lies in deep commitment of the United Grand Lodges of Serbia to the prosperity and unity of regular Freemasonry in Serbia.

The claim by the Regular Grand Lodge of Serbia that it is “the only recognized Masonic Jurisdiction” in Serbia is half-truth whit which the leadership of the RGLS wants to fool its membership and the general public in Serbia. If that is completely truth the request by the United Grand Lodges of Serbia to the Committee on recognition would never be taken into consideration at the first place. And when Committee on Recognition stated in its report that the “Regular Grand Lodge of Serbia was still the only recognized Masonic body in Serbia” it was in the context of statement that the question on situation in Serbian Freemasonry will not be discussed because representative of the United Grand Lodges of Serbia were not present and they are looking forward discussing this issue at the Grand Masters Conference in 2016.

It is the fact, same as in Italy, Bulgaria, Greece, and many other countries in the world, that in Serbia exist two Masonic Jurisdictions which are both regular by their origin and work. In Serbia, those are United Grand Lodges of Serbia and Regular Grand Lodge of Serbia. Often, mainstream Grand Lodges, due to the concept of “exclusive territorial jurisdiction” have a problem which Grand Lodge to recognize if there are more than one on the same territory. So, today we have example of Italy, where UGLE recognizes Regular Grand Lodge of Italy, while North American Jurisdictions recognize Grand Orient of Italy; example of Greece, where UGLE recognizes Grand Lodge of Greece, and Scotland and Ireland recognize National Grand Lodge of Greece etc. The case of two Grand Lodges in Bulgaria fighting for dominance and discussing potential unification for last ten years is another well-known example.

In order to prevent any discussions about the future of Freemasonry in Serbia and in order to undermine good and positive works of the UGLS, RGLS uses every opportunity to reinforce their exclusive right to practice of Freemasonry in Serbia. This is more obvious in past few years, since UGLS intensified its international activities. If United Grand Lodges of Serbia didn’t raise the question of the future of Freemasonry in Serbia in its request submitted to the Committee on Recognition, RGLS would never come out with reclaiming recognition.

The regularity of the origin and work of the United Grand Lodges of Serbia nobody in the world denies. More so, leaders of the Freemasonry from other mainstream Jurisdictions, which visited and inspected work of the UGLS, all recognized our regularity. This was also confirmed by the Conference of Grand Masters of the Prince Hall Grand Lodges in 2014, where UGLS was a guest and where it gain several recognition from the Prince Hall Grand Lodges.

Unlike their present leadership, we aim for the prosperity of Freemasonry in Serbia, where both Jurisdictions would give their part and prosper, separate or together. One of our goals to unite all Serbian Freemasons into one organization.

For this idea we gained support of the Grand Master of United Grand Lodges of Germany, which brought Masonic light back to Serbia in 1990, and of the Grand Master of Austria, which is evident from the correspondence they had with UGLS leadership.

Also, statement of the Alfred Koska, PGM of the UGLG, who visited and inspected our work on two occasions, witness to the regularity of our origin and work. The support of the Regular Grand lodge of Italy in establishing three lodges working emulation work is another example of the support and recognition we received from the international Masonic community. Last, but not least, the activities of our charity organization “Nezaboravak” ( Forget-Me-Not) which we founded and support since 2007, which received many domestic and international recognitions for its work, ad to the story about UGLS and our work."

The Masonic Press Agency informs that in support of their (meaning the United Grand Lodges of Serbia) statement they have sent the following documents:

Letter by MW Rudiger Templin,
Grand Master of the UGLG

Statement by MW Alfred Koska,
PGM of the UGLG

Excerpt from the letter of MW Nikolaus Swercler,
Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Austria

Excerpt from the letter of MW Fabio Venzi,
Grand Master of the Regular Grand Lodge of Italy

Thursday 12 March 2015

Monday 2 March 2015

John T. Maxell was installed Grand Master of Nebraska

On the occasion of the 158th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska took place the Installation Ceremony of Most Worshipful John T. Maxell as Grand Master. The ceremonies, including the installation of the Grand Lodge Officers took place in the last week of February.

photo: Grand Lodge of Nebraska