Tuesday, November 11, 2008

GLDC Responds to GLNY Over Lebanon

RWBro. Akram Elias, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, has responded to the suspension of fraternal relations by the Grand Lodge of New York.

The complete document, along with a timeline of actions taken, can be read at http://www.freemasonsfordummies.com/documents/GLDC1.pdf




In doing more research into Lebanon, it seems to have had a colorful masonic history. The first Scottish lodge was establisged in Beirut in 1862 (Lodge Palestine No. 415, S.C.). The Grand Orient of France chartered Lodge East Lebanon in 1869, which worked in Arabic. Both grand lodges had at least four constituent lodges working in Lebanon up until WWI. In addition, the Ottoman Grand Lodge (which would become the Grand Lodge of Turkey) and the National Grand Lodge of Egypt chartered more than one. And as late as 1989, the Grand lodge of Italy chartered one lodge that has since gone dormant.

Many have questioned whether there is a grand lodge in Lebanon made up of native brethren, apart from the lodges established by Scotland, New York, and now the District of Columbia.

Kent Henderson and Tony Pope's indispensable book,Freemasonry Universal discusses the following:

• The Grand Lodge of Lebanon - formed in 1936, with sporadic activity. As of 1999, it claimed 22 lodges and more than 600 members. Almost completely unrecognized outside of Lebanon.

• The Grand Ideal Lodge of Lebanon Republic - an attempt to unite the various Masonic organizations at work in Lebanon prior to WWII. After the war, it seemed to die out by the 1950s.


As of 1999, according to Henderson and Pope, 16 additional grand bodies were at work in Lebanon besides the ones listed above. Many have just one lodge and a "grand master appointed for life." A few of these include:

The Grande Loge Bet-el was self-proclaimed in 1992, some 67 years after the establishment of New York's District Grand Lodge, and well over a century or more after the Grand Lodge of Scotland's. The Grand Lodge Bet-el has aligned itself with the philosophies of the Grand Orient of France, as its website declares, carrying the "banner of the Absolute Liberty of Conscience." Which is, as we all know by now, code for not requiring a belief in a Supreme Being. Like it or not, agree with it or not, such a requirement is a cornerstone of Anglo-Saxon-derived Freemasonry. So no US or UK mainstream GL will be recognizing it anytime soon. (They are using the theme from "Conquest of Paradise" as the soundtrack for their website. Intentional symbolism?)

Orient de Canaan, established in 1979, appears to be quite active.

La Grande Loge des C├Ędres, which appeared about 1979 as well, and works "to the glory of the Grand Architect of the Universe." It seems to have just one lodge, Acacia No. 1.

• There is also the Lebanese Great Federal Orient, a Scottish Rite body.


See Kent Henderson's paper on Masonry in the MIddle East here.

17 comments:

Tom Accuosti said...

Don't these Grand Poobahs have anybody to check their documents for typos and usage?

I'm just sayin'

Anyway, it sure makes the GLNY look like they are "staking a claim" and trying to keep any other US GLs from impinging on their turf.

I'm wondering what the GLNY response will be. These "he said/she said" arguments can be so tedious.

Dan said...

Having read the documents provided by the GLDC it certainly appears that it has attempted to resolve the issue GLNY to no avail.

I don't know much about the politics involved but common sense should prevail.

san diego freemason said...

Historically, As Freemasonry spread from the British Isles around the world, lodges were chartered by different Grand Lodges, the Ancients, Moderns, Scottish and Irish, but eventually each nation formed their own Grand Lodges. In time this will happen in Lebanon and this sad affair can be consigned to the past.

The Millennial Freemason said...

From my reading of this document, if taken as true, it would seem to show a much longer history of problems than a dispute of the Lebanon Lodge. SD Mason is correct about the creation of GLs. In MN, my GL was formed from an Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin Lodge. So the argument of Exclusive Jurisdiction is not even applicable to this situation. There is something much deeper in this conflict. It will be curious to see how it is resolved.

Nick

Peter Clatworthy said...

The Grand Lodge of All England has established Al-Shams Lodge of St John at Lebanon. The membership of this St John's Lodge is made up entirely of local Lebanese Freemasons. The Master of this St John's Lodge represents The Grand-Master Mason throughout The Lebanese Republic.

Chris Hodapp said...

*sigh*

Further adding confusion to an already crowded and confusing Masonic landscape.

With so many lodges at work in Lebanon variously described as "fledgling" or "struggling," yet another irregular (sorry Peter), largely unrecognized presence arrives to further muddy the waters for a man seeking to join a lodge.

Not that chaos doesn't reign in Lebanon anyway.

Chris Hodapp said...

(Please note my extreme circumspection in not referencing the word "shams" in Peter's message— given the controversial nature with which many regard his grand lodge...)

san diego freemason said...

On the positive side, It is great to see any Masonic activity happening in that part of the world. Whether Regular, or Irregular, it can only be a good influence in a deeply divided nation in such a troubled region. Hopefully in the future, Freemasonry, and it's teachings of brotherhood and tolerance can spread from countries such as Israel, Turkey, and Lebanon to their immediate neighbors.

Peter Clatworthy said...

Chris, this is going to sound as if I am angry, but I am not at all, I am coldly sickened by you and your belly in the gutter attitude.

The people of Lebanon will be disgusted by your racist mickey-taking over their words Al-Shams, and I will make certain that they know that this has happened, and the source, as soon as I have finished typing this response, and whether you publish it or not.

In an effort to raise you from your pit of sad ignorance, Lodge Al-Shams refers to the Lodge of the Sun, a symbol of God Himself.

It is the Lodge of the Sun and of St John at Lebanon. Think about what you have said here, just for one moment.

It's name, given to it by the Free Masons of Lebanon themselves, is something with deep religious significance to Lebanon and Lebanese Masons, where there is no other representation of proper, regular, religious English Freemasonry, other than this original Anglo-Saxon Grand Lodge, The Grand Lodge of All England.

Now, whether you like it or not, as far as The Republic of Lebanon is concerned (and not just The republic of Lebanon as you will soon hear) you have lost the argument.

Furthermore, who says that this Grand Lodge is irregular?

Let me guess? I presume that you mean your un-wedded mother, The United Grand Lodge of England and its illegitimate daughters and cousins who pretend that Freemasonry started in the back room of a London Pub in 1717?

It is a proven fact that they (and you) know that this incredible fairy story is a flagrant tissue of lies?

I challenge you to engage in a meaningful public debate with me over this issue, only I don't believe that you have the guts for it.

You continually and publicly demonstrate a breathtaking disingenuity on the subject of regular Freemasonry, and in my honest opinion, your book is well titled, Freemasons for Dummies.

To deny this Grand Lodge with its Royal Charter (essential for regularity) is to deny your own history and your own regularity.

You are just like that cartoon character, sitting on the branch of the tree, happily sawing it away from the trunk that supports it.

The result will be the same. The branch, broken, dying and useless will perish. The mother trunk will survive and grow, and the dummy who formerly occupied the precarious perch, will regret what he had unwittingly achieved (if only he has survived the long fall to the ground).

The truth is that your form of Moderns Freemasonry is the most dishonest and vicious confidence trick in the history of the world, and the great American public knows it.

It has been proven, time and time and time again, which is why your Grand Lodges are running at about 20% of the membership of what they were in the 1960's and failing fast.

You are failing, but this original form of genuine original religious Anglo-Saxon Freemasonry is blossoming with a wonderful happy smile upon the faces of its growing ranks of truly genuine Masons whom I am so honoured to serve.

Your Moderns on the other hand (as they have done in The Lebanese Republic most recently) have managed to alienate the established churches, particularly the Church of Rome, almost the entire Islamic World, and public opinion, as you well know, and cannot deny.

Well done. You just carry on sawing old lad.

Peter

Tom Accuosti said...

Your uncharacteristic self-restraint is to be admired, Bro. Chris.

Chris Hodapp said...

Phew, there's a relief, Peter.
I thought for a moment you were angry.

You know damn good and well I wasn''t making a racist remark, so just tuck your indignation back in your trousers.

As regards issues of regularity, recognition, &cetera, you go to your lodge, and I'll go to mine. UGLE-descended Freemasonry is the 1,000lb gorilla in the Masonic world. That's the obedience I was raised in, the one I enjoy, the one that works for the overwhelming majority of Freemasons the world over. I wonder why you continue to hang out in forums and blog sites that enrage you so much. But as long as you do, you'll probably continue to be upset upon occasion. Goes with the territory.

You are the grand secretary of an overwhelmingly unrecognized grand lodge that makes a whopper of a claim to be directly descended from King Athelstane's royal right hand. It's not quite as wild a claim as if I said I came here in a rocket from the planet Krypton. But until independent, respected, serious Masonic researchers without a cause to prove convince me that Mackey's legend is true and that the GLofAE can honestly claim to be any older than 2005, call me skeptical. Because believe me, Peter, just like proving there really were aliens at Roswell, nothing would please Masonic scholars more than to actually prove somebody has a direct line from 926.

As to your ad hominem attack on my intelligence in reference to "Freemasons For Dummies," I wonder why on earth you'd bother to read this blog on a regular occasion. Surely there can be nothing here to stimulate your intellect.

As with Brad's ceaseless pimping of his pseudo-Masonic 'organization,' I'm not interested in being a platform for you to promote your grand lodge. You have plenty of places to go and do that. I've posted your rant, I've responded to it. Let's be done with it.

And I'll thank you to keep my belly out of all further discussions.

Peter Clatworthy said...

Masonic scholars have no choice because it is an historic provable fact.

"According to both civil and ecclesiastical law at the time such a body had to have a charter; it also had "to make returns," that is, to report their rules and regulations and their membership to the civil authorities. If it be objected that the Old Charges are not a charter, but only the claim that Athelstan had already granted them a Royal Charter long before, the fact only proves that the Freemasons themselves in 1390 A.D. believed literally in the "York tradition"; but what is in this connection far more important, the civil authorities themselves believed it, and permitted the permanent Lodges to continue to work under the Old Charter. Belief in the York tradition, and for whatever it may be worth, rests not on a modern theory about a supposed event a thousand years ago, but on a belief held by both Freemasons and civil authorities in the Fourteenth Century. Had those civil authorities disbelieved it, they would have rejected the Old Charges and compelled the Lodges to seek civil charters." (SOURCE: Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry by Albert Gallatin Mackey M.D. Published: Dublin 1803)

English Civil and ecclesiastical law demanded a Royal Charter. and without it Freemasonry cannot legally exist even if it smells like a gorilla. The bigger the gorilla, the bigger the stench.

Chris Hodapp said...

Keep up the insults all you like, Peter. Your grand lodge started in 2005. Anderson's grand lodge started in 1717, even if he claimed a direct line clear back to the Flood. You're engaging in farce.

Frankly, I'd have more respect for your group if you just simply said you were doing it better than us.

And this has zero to do with the topic at hand.

John Galt said...

I sincerely hope that this issue between the Grand Lodge of Washington D.C. and the Grand Lodge of the State of New York will be resolved soon. As Brother Chris mentioned earlier, this issue can cause some consternation for Brothers that travel often between those areas.

Politics at the "grand" level can often be tedious (at best). The unfortunate effects that it can have for Brothers on the ground are serious. Did I read that correctly that a Mason under the Grand Lodge of the State of New York cannot attend an untiled function or a function at which Masons of the Grand Lodge of DC will be in attendance?

Frat.·.
Brandt

A DC Mason said...

As a DC Mason myself, I am surprised to see this letter from our Grand Master posted on this Blog. I do know that this information was made available for 'members only' on the G.L.D.C.'s website in our members only section, so I hope that whoever provided a copy for this Blog obtained the permission of the Grand Lodge first before making such a contribution to this Blog.

Fraternally yours.

A DC Mason said...

I doubt other Grand Lodges get involved in this issue, it appears to be an issue between our Grand Lodge and that of NY, of which my uncle is a Past Grand Master, so I have familiy relations within the Grand Lodge of New York, so I hope this issue is settled soon.

I am delighted that the GLDC continues to urge us members of its' jurisdiction to continue to accept our Brethren of NY into our lodges and continue to treat them as our Brethren, for such they are.

A DC Mason said...

I am happy to report that the Grand Lodge of Virginia has decided to remain nuetral on this issue, and has left it up to these two GL's to work out the issues amongst themselves. I have it from a good source, that they, the Grand Lodge of AF&AM of Virginia will not be getting involved in this struggle and will remain in good communications with both GL's involved.