A popular event in the District Grand Lodge of Cyprus calendar is the annual Grand Charity Military Band Concert. This year it was given by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. The day was organised by Agapinor Lodge No. 8905 EC and Dionysos Lodge No. 9716 EC, and held in front of the Byzantine castle at Paphos Harbour. Around 1,150 people attended and the district welcomed figures from the Western Sovereign Base Area. This is the region’s biggest annual charity event and €10,000 was raised, with €5,000 apiece donated to the Cyprus Anti-Cancer Society and The Alzheimer’s Association of Paphos.
I am absolutely delighted to be writing my column for this first issue of the newly designed magazine. Our publishing and design house has done an excellent job and I am sure you will like what you see. Importantly, we wanted a magazine you would enjoy reading and be proud to show to your family and friends; something that showcases the huge range of activities we are involved in and our openness.
In early March we ran the third Mentoring Conference for Provincial Grand Mentors here in London. It was a fantastic turnout. I thought I would share with you some brief thoughts on mentoring. I believe that we should have a mentor at all stages of our masonic involvement. Clearly, in the early days, guidance to the candidate on logistics is vital, but mentoring is far more than this. The mentor needs to be able to explain the meaning of everything we do as well as explain that ‘felt’ experience to family and friends. We will be giving you the tools to do this, so that in an ideal world we should all be ambassadors for Freemasonry. What do I mean by ambassador? A member who lives as honest a life as possible, understands and enjoys his Freemasonry and is happy, as appropriate, to talk in a relaxed way about his Freemasonry to the non-mason – particularly to his family. I am crystal clear that support of the family is crucial to both recruitment and retention. To further support this, and as I have touched on before, we are undertaking a lot of positive work from a communication point of view – talking openly about the Organisation and how we contribute to society. There is much work to be done but we are having many successes in our endeavours.
Our members’ website is nearly ready for launching. I am hugely impressed with what I have seen – and when it is launched you will be able to see regularly updated national masonic news, as well as looking at the latest issue of the magazine and important past articles.
Enjoy your read!
There is no mention of Freemasonry in the Oscar-winning film about King George VI. Paul Hooley puts us right
The King’s Speech has been critically acclaimed as one of the finest motion pictures of recent years and has renewed the public’s interest in, and aff ection for, King George VI, who reigned from 1936 to 1952.
The film, which chronicles the constitutional crisis created by Edward VIII’s abdication and George’s struggle to overcome his pronounced stammer, focuses on the moving relationship between the King and speech therapist Lionel Logue, which had such a happy ending.
What the film does not mention, however, is that both men were members of the Craft; or that the King believed Freemasonry had also helped him overcome his disability – which rarely surfaced whenever he performed masonic ritual. Logue, who had been the Master of St George’s Lodge, Western Australia, was also speech therapist to the Royal Masonic School.
KING GEORGE'S LOVE OF FREEMASONRY
Following service with the Royal Navy in the First World War, he was initiated in December 1919 into Navy Lodge, No. 2612, of which his grandfather King Edward VII had been founding Master. On that occasion he noted: ‘I have always wished to become a Freemason, but owing to the war I have had no opportunity before this of joining the Craft’. From that moment he became a most dedicated and active Freemason. He was invested as Duke of York in 1920 and the following year installed as permanent Master of Navy Lodge. He joined other lodges and degrees and was appointed Senior Grand Warden of the United Grand Lodge in 1923.
George V died in January 1936 and was succeeded by his eldest son Edward, who had been initiated (also in 1919) into the Household Brigade Lodge, No. 2614. But before the year was out Edward had abdicated. Of the moment of change King George VI wrote, ‘On entering the room I bowed to him as King… when [he] and I said goodbye we kissed, parted as Freemasons and he bowed to me as his King.’
Protocol required George to resign his masonic affiliations, however when it was suggested a new position of Past Grand Master be created especially for him, he immediately accepted, declaring, ‘Today the pinnacle of my masonic life has been reached.’
THE VICTORY STAMPS
After the Second World War, King George wrote that ‘Freemasonry has been one of the strongest influences on my life’ and in collaboration with engraver Reynolds Stone helped create a postage stamp, part of the ‘1946 Victory Issue,’ which is filled with masonic symbolism.
The 3d Victory Stamp was widely praised for the ‘strength and simplicity of the design’. It depicts the King’s head in the East, his eyes firmly fixed on illustrations of a dove carrying an olive branch (representing peace and guidance), the square and compasses (in the second degree configuration) and a trowel and bricks (the sign of a Master spreading the cement that binds mankind in brotherly love).
On the stamp the images appear in white, the colour of purity, out of purple, the colour of divinity. the three coupled illustrations are surrounded by a scrolled ribbon made up of five figure threes – sacred numbers in Freemasonry – and was the unusual positioning of the wording meant to represent two great pillars? By its name and intention, the stamp proclaimed victory over evil, yet by its appearance it expressed compassion and hope.
King George VI once stated, ‘ the world today does require spiritual and moral regeneration. I have no doubt, after many years as a member of our Order, that Freemasonry can play a most important part in this vital need.’
The Victory Stamp captured those words in a graphic representation that also expressed the King’s belief that the building of a new and better world could best be achieved by adhering to the principles of the square and compasses.
He reinforced those thoughts in 1948 in an address he gave to Grand Lodge: ‘I believe that a determination to maintain the values which have been the rock upon which the masonic structure has stood firm against the storms of the past is the only policy which can be pursued in the future. I think that warning needs emphasising today, when men, sometimes swayed by sentimentality or an indiscriminate tolerance, are apt to overlook the lessons of the past. I cannot better impress this upon you than by quoting from the book on which we have all taken our masonic obligations: “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set".