E Comp Bill Holland, MEZ of
Treaty of Uxbridge Chapter
No. 8379, Middlesex (centre),
after exalting Comp Lubomir
Nikolov (left) and Comp
Nikolay Mirinchev last October
The personal freedoms arising from the
fall of Communism in Eastern Europe in
the 1990s has resulted in a surge of interest
in Freemasonry in former Iron Curtain
countries and Grand Lodges, which had been
dormant since before the Second World War.
With many of their members thirsting
for knowledge, leaders of Freemasonry in
these emerging Grand Lodges have asked
the Supreme Grand Chapter of England
to assist them with the introduction of
Royal Arch Masonry into their respective
countries. The first such request came
from the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary
in June 2003.
To achieve this objective, Supreme Grand
Chapter has followed a well-trodden path.
Firstly, a Chapter is identified which has
decided to close. The existing companions
retain their membership (if they wish)
and hopefully will continue to hold office,
especially the important administrative offices.
Brethren from the overseas Grand Lodge,
who are suitably qualified, then come to
England to be exalted into the Chapter.
They take an office and work through the
progressive offices to eventually become
First Principal. Thereafter, the overseas
companions are encouraged to take
administrative office wherever possible
while continuing to absorb the ethos of the
Royal Arch and learn the lessons it teaches.
It requires a minimum of three Chapters
to request that they be set up and constituted
as a Supreme Grand Chapter, so this process
of populating moribund Chapters is repeated,
usually in tandem, until the new Supreme
Grand Chapter is ready to be constituted.
At that point the Chapters are exported to
the new Supreme Grand Chapter and are
erased from the English register.
Supreme Grand Chapter is helping to
introduce the Royal Arch into Hungary,
Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Estonia at
present and there have been expressions
of interest in English Royal Arch Masonry
from other countries.
The furthest advanced is the project
in Hungary, where two Chapters –
Cockfosters No. 6883 from London
and Heston No. 4888 from Middlesex –
are currently meeting by dispensation in
Budapest. Both Chapters have 23 members
who have either joined the Chapter or
have been exalted since the project began,
and the first Hungarian has just completed
his year as First Principal.
The introduction of the Royal Arch
into Estonia is happening through the good
offices of Hackney Brook Dependable
Chapter No. 7397 from London. Although
this project only started in 2005, the first
Estonians to join the Chapter, including
the Grand Master, were already Royal Arch
Masons in the Grand Chapter of Finland and
one of them has already been invested as
First Principal and exalted his first candidate.
With the exception of Serbia, all
these projects are using Chapters in either
London or Middlesex. The project to
introduce the Royal Arch into Serbia
is progressing through Eureka Chapter
No. 4940 in Cheshire.
All of these different projects have a
significant backlog of candidates who are
presenting themselves for exaltation, but
only two candidates are exalted at each
meeting. The interest and enthusiasm
shown by all the exaltees is infectious and
has increased demand for exaltation from
among their own brethren.
Supreme Grand Chapter is most grateful
to the Royal Arch Provinces of Middlesex
and Cheshire as well as the Metropolitan
Grand Chapter of London for not only
introducing suitable Chapters for these
projects, but also for liaising between
Supreme Grand Chapter and the Chapter
Scribes E to make sure that everything
Thanks also go to the companions of
these Chapters who have embraced these
projects with enthusiasm and are happy
to be associated with a venture which is
extending Masonic light and knowledge
to a wider audience.
Chris Radmore is Masonic Assistant
to the Grand Scribe E