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Thursday, June 27, 2024

Charters of Lodges In Lebanon Revoked by GM of District of Columbia

by Christopher Hodapp

MW Grand Master Jacob M. Bressman of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia has arrested the charters of all three of their lodges in the Middle Eastern nation of Lebanon. Official Decision No. 2024-4, issued June 24th, revokes the charters of Phoenix Lodge No. 1001, Cadmus Lodge No. 1002, and Cedrus Libani Lodge No. 1003, all located in Beirut, Lebanon.

The Decision states:
"It has come to my attention that Phoenix Lodge No. 1001, Cadmus Lodge No. 1002 and Cedrus Libani Lodge No. 1003, have each demonstrated an inability to work together in fraternal communion-to such an extent that their disharmony warrants action by this Grand Lodge; and. . . have been provided ample opportunity to rectify these issues but have failed to do so. . . 


[These lodges are now] prohibited from holding all communications, conducting visitations to other Lodges, and participating in any Masonic activities-including all appendant bodies-held throughout this or any other Jurisdiction in the World, until such time as this matter is properly resolved."

The decision does clarify in this instance that the members of these three lodges who are in good standing "continue to enjoy their individual privileges and rights as Masons of this jurisdiction."

For such a relatively small country, Freemasonry has had a chaotic history Lebanon. In 1999, authors Kent Henderson and Tony Pope reported in their indispensable book, Freemasonry Universal, that there were at least 18 grand lodges at work within Lebanon at that time; several had just one single lodge and a grand master "appointed for life."

Grand lodges of Scotland, New York and the Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF) have all had regularly chartered lodges in that country for decades. Scotland's first lodge in the area was chartered in 1861, back when the region was called Greater Syria, and the Scottish lodges flourished during the period of the Ottoman Empire. The GL of Scotland formed its own own District Grand Lodge of Lebanon in 2012. New York first established lodges in Lebanon in 1924, and created its own District Grand Lodge of Syria-Lebanon back in 1955.

The entry of the GLofDC into Lebanon was a recent development. I believe they chartered their first two lodges there in 2017, which turned into a major controversy that resulted in New York, Scotland and DC all trading accusations and withdrawals of fraternal relations for a few years.

Further mucking up this melange, three of the Grand Lodge of New York's chartered
Lebanon lodges petitioned to form their own grand lodge. A charter to that effect was signed and issued by the Grand Lodge of the F&AM of the State of New York on October 24, 2018 creating the Grand Lodge of the F&AM of Lebanon

It's worth pointing out to those unacquainted with the geography, Lebanon sits just west of Syria and north of Israel, abutting the Golan Heights. Increased Hezbollah attacks against Israel from across the border are in danger of escalating the war into Lebanon sooner than later. It is a complex country with a complicated population mix and a history of violent upheavals ever since achieving its post-WWII independence. As desperately needed as Masonry's message of tolerance, cooperation, universal benevolence, and brotherhood may be in this region of the world, the realities of human conflicts aren't always so easy to trowel over with the cement of brotherly love.


  1. I lived in Qatar forv 13 years and we would go to Lebanon for its bookshops, museums, and sophistication.

    No longer.the wonderful place it was.

  2. "Arrested" sounds more like "suspended" than "revoked" (per the headline), and the language of the GM's letter ("...until such time...") would seem to bear that out. The ability to iron out differences likely depends upon both the nature and the depth of their "inability to work together in fraternal communion," but, given the location and the divisive passions in play there, it's hard to be optimistic.

  3. It's not all negative news out of Lebanon. The District Grand Lodge of Lebanon (Under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Scotland) has been growing from strength to strength with an increase of over 33% in membership and 3 new Lodges over the past 5 years. The now 12 Lodges, which meet in 6 different temples across the 3 major cities of Lebanon, are focused on membership, growth and engagement in line with our Grand Lodge's new outlook.

    I firmly believe that when the leadership commits to live by and work by the masonic principles, and 'walk the talk,' there is no challenge that can not be overcome.

  4. Unfortunately, we have been in this situation for a while due to personal non-masonic attitudes.
    We have been brainwashed against our brothers from the district of NY, the Grand Lodge of Lebanon and even the french lodge, while many of us have been secretly visiting them out of fear of persecution from within our own, and since we are in good standing.
    Some of our brothers from our DC lodges and Scottish lodges are unfortunately running the show and creating discord across the fraternity in Lebanon for their own personal agendas.

    1. When you make accusations of any brother "creating discord for their personal agendas" you need to back it up with proof. If you truly want to improve the situation you are facing, you need to share with me who in the Scottish lodges is behaving in a manner 'unbecoming a freemason' and we will investigate the matter. If you do not belong to any other irregular or clandestine GL, you can email me privately.


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