La Grande Loge du Caire est l’une des plus puissantes parmi les sociétés occultes.
Cela n’est pas très étonnant lorsque nous connaissons l’obsession de la Fraternité envers l’Egypte ancienne, ses rituels ainsi que ses symboles.
Parmi les principales sociétés occultes du monde arabe, on trouve l’Ancient Arabic Order of the Mystic Shrine dont les membres sont appelés « Shriners ».
Ces derniers ont des liens avec les Chevaliers Templiers et la Franc-Maçonnerie des rites écossais et d’York.
Il existe également un Prince Hall Shrine pour les noirs qui appartiennent à la Fraternité comme ce sois-disant porte-parole de la Communauté africaine aux USA, Jessie Jackson.
Sovereign Grand Lodge Of Egypt
The struggle for the constant improvement of mankind has always been one of our constant challenges. In times of extreme change, such as uprisings, revolutions or any other action of the sort, man always turns inwards towards his moral compass for guidance. The prepared man, however, the smooth Ashlar, becomes a cornerstone for his society, where those who are less knowledgeable turn towards him for guidance and leadership.
The origins of Freemasonry are contested to this day. However one fact, which cannot be argued, is the presence and impact of Egypt at the core of Freemasonry. The signs and symbols of ancient and modern Freemasonry are rooted in Kemet (Egypt) and the evidence is overwhelmingly obvious that Freemasonry borrowed its allegorical myths and ideological metaphors from more ancient societies that were well advanced in the philosophical mysteries. (Reference: Manly P. Hall; “The Secret Teachings of All Ages”).
We can write volumes upon volumes of the history and the Ancient Mysteries found in Egypt relating to Freemasonry, but that is not the intent of this document. Perhaps to best explain it, we go back to 1783 when Captain George Smith, inspector of the Royal Artillery Academy at Woolwich, in England, and Provincial Grand Master of Masonry for the county of Kent, stated in an essay: “Egypt, from whence we derive many of our mysteries, has always borne a distinguished rank in history, and was once celebrated above all others for its antiquities, learning, opulence, and fertility. In their system, their principal hero-gods, Osiris and Isis, theologically represented the Supreme Being and universal Nature; and physically the two great celestial luminaries, the Sun and the Moon, by whose influence all nature was actuated.”
“The Egyptians,” continues Smith, “in the earliest ages constituted a great number of Lodges, but with assiduous care kept their secrets of Masonry from all strangers. These secrets have been imperfectly handed down to us by oral tradition only, and ought to be kept undiscovered to the laborers, craftsmen, and apprentices, till by good behavior and long study they become better acquainted in geometry and the liberal arts, and thereby qualified for Masters and Wardens”
SGLE will initially commence with 4 lodges:
- The Lodge of Imhotep No. 1
- Ma’at Lodge No. 2
- The Lodge of Osiris No. 3
- Sacra Sapientia No. 4 (Lodge of Research)
These lodges will work with two rituals, being Emulation and Scottish.
It is with a shared principle as Smith’s that we endeavor to bring back this light to Egypt in 2013.
Masonic High Council of Egypt
Under the Auspices of the Regular Grand Lodge of the Middle East
Luxor Lodge No.1 orient of Cairo
Regularly established in 2007
Cairo – Egypt
Freemasonry in Egypt
Freemasonry first appeared in Egypt in around 1798, introduced by French Masons in Napoleon’s conquering armies. We do not know if Napoleon was a Freemason but he certainly used the Craft to befriend the people by first showing every respect for their religion and then mixing with them socially in an international brotherhood. He wasted no time in flooding the country with circulars about respecting the Moslem religion and in founding the Isis Lodge, into which several eminent people were initiated.
The name “Isis” was adopted after the mysterious rites of the Priests of Isis, sister and wife of Osiris, a prominent figure in Egyptian mythology. It practised the so-called “Memphis Rite”, named after the place where the fraternity of priests met and which was the great school of wisdom and mysteries of the Egyptians. There appears to be no historical warrant for this rite which claimed to continue the hermetic and spiritual teachings of the ancient Egyptians. The rite is known to have practised some 90 degrees, each with their respective secrets and ceremonies.
Isis Lodge appears to have prospered under its first Master, General Kleber, until he was murdered in 1800. At this time,
following the withdrawal of the French, Freemasonry seems to have lost its popularity or gone underground.
In 1830, some Italians formed the Carbonari Lodge in Alexandria. This Lodge was altogether political and, as its activities
were closely watched by the Government, its meetings were held in complete secrecy. It proved popular, however, and a further Lodge, “Menes”, working the Memphis Rite, was founded which also prospered.
One of the most active members, a Samuel Honnis (sometimes spelled Hanas), a Memphis Rite Freemason, founded a
number of French Lodges in Alexandria, Ismailia, Port Said, Suez and Cairo, including the Al Ahram in Alexandria in 1845.
This was “recognized” by the Government and many senior officials were initiated into it, including the famous Emir Abd el Gazairi, who fought the French in Algeria and, whilst exiled in Syria, gave refuge to and saved hundreds of Christian families during the Damascus massacres. Another famous Initiate was Salvatore Zola who became Grand Master of the Grand Orient and Grand Lodge of Egypt. He also founded the first Italian Lodge to work the Scottish Rite in Alexandria in 1849.
In 1836, the Supreme Council of the Memphis Rite of France issued a Warrant for a Provincial Grand Council in Egypt and
several more Lodges were founded in Egypt under the Italian jurisdiction and others up to 1862, all of which worked in perfect harmony with the French Provincial Grand Lodge.
However, Egyptian Masons who found themselves working under such varied Constitutions, decided to have one of their
own. In 1864, a Provisional Warrant (confirmed in 1866) was granted by the Grand Orient of Italy creating the Grand Orient of Egypt to work the higher Degrees and a National Grand Lodge of Egypt to work the first three Degrees.
This eliminated the state of anarchy which had existed between the many rites and Constitutions and this Masonic Authority gradually became recognised worldwide. Prince Halim (an Initiate of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo) was made Supreme Grand Commander and was succeeded by Salvatore Zola.
The Khedive Ismail, one of the greatest figures in 19th century Egypt, although not a Mason, patronised the order as a prominent humanitarian organisation and allowed his son Tewfik to be initiated.
In 1881, The Khedive Tewfik Pasha became Grand Master and held sway over more than 500 Lodges working in English, French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian and Arabic, and obtained recognition for the Grand Lodge of Egypt from most of the recognised Grand Lodges of the world. Bro. Mousa Sindaha’s research shows that The Khedive Tewfik in fact assigned his duties to Hussein Fakhry Basha, the Minister of Justice, and that the number of Lodges was nearer 56 than 500. In 1891, The Khedive Tewfik Pasha ceded his Office to Idris Bey Ragheb.
English Freemasonry in Egypt W. Bro. Mishellany’s notes refer to the first English Lodge in Egypt as being founded in 1860 at the Suez Hotel. This was known as Oriental Lodge and met at the premises then known as the Suez Hotel but there is no record of Oriental Lodge at the United Grand Lodge of England.
There is, however, an Oriental Lodge, No. 472, warranted at Suez by the Grand Lodge of Scotland on 5th August 1867 and it is possible that confusion has arisen over time. This Scottish Lodge became dormant in 1881.
Freemasonry being extremely popular then, English Masons were not far behind the other nations. Between 1862 and 1871 they formed eight Lodges directly under the United Grand Lodge of England, namely St. John, No. 919, 1862 – 1877, Hyde Clark, No. 1082, 1865 – 1869, St. John and St. Paul, No. 1154, 1867 – 1872, Zetland, No. 1157, 1867 – 1956, Albert Edward Lodge, No. 1291, consecrated in 1969, all in Alexandria; La Concordia, No. 1226, 1868 – 1890, working in Italian in Cairo; Bulwer Lodge of Cairo, No. 1068 in 1865, Grecia, No. 1105 in 1866, both in Cairo and still working, and Kawkab el Sharq, (Star of the East) No.1355, 1871 – 1956, also in Cairo.
These Lodges, being under the control of the United Grand Lodge of England and Egypt being part of the Ottoman Empire, were subject to the Inspection of the District Grand Master of Turkey, R.W. Bro. Sir Henry Bulwer, later Baron Dalling & Bulwer, after whom our Lodge is named.
In 1867, the Grand Master agreed to the creation of a District Grand Lodge of Egypt and installed Prince Halim as R.W. Bro. District Grand Master of Egypt whilst he was in London. A year later, Prince Halim was exiled from Egypt and he appointed as his Deputy Her Britannic Majesty’s Consul, R.W. Bro. R. Borg (probably the first initiate of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo and its Worshipful Master in 1871), who continued in the Office until 1878, when the District Grand Lodge of Egypt was dissolved.
The District Grand Lodge was created because the National Grand Lodge of Egypt had lost its recognition by the United Grand Lodge of England as it patronised Lodges working several rites not recognised by the UGLE, including the Memphis Rite. Although the individual Lodges under the District met frequently, the District Grand Lodge met only three times in the seven years of its existence, on 24th June 1871, 3rd April 1873 and 2nd April 1874 with R.W. Bro. Borg presiding on each occasion.
Salvatore Zola, who wanted the Egyptian Grand Lodge recognised worldwide, summarily eliminated all the irregular and unrecognised Lodges and enforced strict adherence to the recognised Ancient and Established Scottish Rite. He made it known to the United Grand Lodge of England that the National Grand Lodge of Egypt was working regularly. The Warrant issued to Prince Halim was withdrawn and the English Lodges were instructed to work with the National Grand Lodge. A sort of agreement was reached that no new Lodges would be formed under the United Grand Lodge of England in territory covered by the Egyptian Constitution.
Several Lodges were, however, formed by English residents under the Egyptian Constitution, including Idris, Corinthian, Ragheb, Rising Sun and Breda Lodges. They worked in English, on English principles and according to English Constitution and Ritual but under the authority of the National Grand Lodge of Egypt from whom they obtained their Charters.
In 1889, the Grand Mastership was entrusted to Idris Bey Ragheb, an extremely wealthy notable. Being a keen Freemason, he devoted all his energies and considerable sums of money to further the cause of Egyptian Freemasonry, keeping careful control over the workings of Lodges and Chapters and their relations to the English Lodges for 25 years.
When his fortune declined, having been entirely spent on Masonic projects, his control weakened and some of his retinue began trafficking in Masonry and committing irregularities. Being in need, Idris himself obtained money by overlooking their actions and Masonic Honours were sold to the highest bidder. The English Brethren could not tolerate these irregularities and, after several meetings with Idris Bey, complaints started to reach the United Grand Lodge of England which resulted in the creation of the District Grand Lodge of Egypt and the Sudan in 1899, with R.W. Bro Lord Kitchener of Khartoum as first District Grand Master. All future Lodges were formed under the District, beginning with Khartoum Lodge No. 2877, then Sir Reginald Wingate Lodge No. 2954; Pelusium Lodge, No. 3003; Delta Lodge, No. 3060; Lotus Lodge, No. 3296 and others in later years.
Judge Ragheb Idriss Bey Governor of Kalioubieh, Grand Master of Egypt from 1891 to 1923
Whilst some Brethren were in favour of waiting for the formation of a District Grand Lodge of Egypt, others were for handing in their Charters and forming new Lodges under the English Constitution. The latter were Idris and Corinthian Lodges. They handed in their Egyptian Charters and together formed Ionic Lodge, No. 3997, in 1919.
The Egyptian Grand Lodge continued in existence under Idris Bey, who declared his intention to retire in 1922 after 33 years as Grand Master. It had long been his intention to hand over to a Prince of the reigning family and, when Prince Mohamed Aly (or Prince Aziz, according to Bro. Mousa Sindaha’s research) agreed to stand for election, he was delighted. However, on realising that the election would deprive him of the income from the sale of honours and higher degrees, he later declared that no election would take place as he had decided to continue, much to the surprise of the Grand Lodge.
This, of course, resulted in a heated discussion and Idris Bey, seeing the majority were against him, left the Lodge. Grand Lodge still being open, the Chair was taken by the Pro Grand Master and the vote took place. Ninety eight of the one hundred and two recorded votes were in favour of Prince Mohamed Aly who was there and then declared Grand Master and Installed at the next meeting of Grand Lodge.
Idris Bey, naturally, declared the proceedings irregular and formed another Grand Lodge of his own. One of the members reported to the Palace that the group which had elected Mohamed Aly had political objectives, with a view to changing the existing regime. The Court promptly issued orders to support Idris Bey and Government officials who were Masons received orders to follow this line. Wholesale Initiations took place to swell the ranks of the Idris group, while supporters of the Prince were harassed at every opportunity.
Neither Grand Lodge was recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England but, for a short time, the Grand Lodge of
Scotland retained relations with the Lodge under the Prince. However, as competition between the Lodges became more serious, leading to grave irregularities, they withdrew all recognition.
Even after Prince Mohamed Aly resigned as Grand Master, his Grand Lodge continued to be suspected of working for
political motives. In 1932, following orders, an attempt to unite the two Grand Lodges was made under the auspices of the Grand Orient which had been dormant for many years.
The instructions were that there should be one Grand Master with Grand Officers loyal to the throne. This nearly succeeded.
However, dissent over who should hold various Offices led to a breakdown of negotiations and there continued to be two Grand Lodges, with the majority of Lodges forming a new National Grand Lodge of Egypt.
The dissenting Lodges formed their own so-called “Grand Orient”, run on commercial lines, it being said that they sold
Degrees and Grand Lodge Certificates to the highest bidder.
In 1934, the National Grand Lodge of Egypt, formerly run by Prince Mohamed Aly and now run by Abdul Maguid Younis,
was working in order and with fair regularity. It once again applied for recognition by the Kindred Grand Lodges. The Pro Grand Master, Lord Ampthill, in Egypt for the Installation of Rt. Rev. Bishop Gwynne as District Grand Master, was approached and agreed to investigate. However, the recognition sought from London was never granted.
Further negotiations were opened in 1940 and there seemed to be a faint hope of agreement to recognition. However, Younis opponents raided his offices early one morning and seized all the property of the National Grand Lodge with the seals and titles to premises. They declared that, as Younis had thrown in his lot with Grand Orient and all the Lodges over which he ruled had done the same, there was now only one National Grand Lodge of Egypt and Younis and all who sided with him were irregular. Of course, neither the United Grand Lodge of England, nor the District Grand Lodge would recognise any so-called Masonic body which had assumed power in this way.
Soon after this, Abdel Maguid Younis died. He was a most respected and beloved Brother who did his best to keep Freemasonry regular. He worked solely for the benefit of the Craft and his Egyptian Brethren but, following his death, Egyptian Freemasonry effectively became extinguished.
English Freemasonry, however, continued until President Nasser declared it illegal following the Suez Crisis in 1956 and it remains so today. Freemasonry is also unacceptable to the Muslim religion and it seems that there is little hope of a revival of the Craft in the foreseeable future.
The District Grand Lodge of Egypt & the Sudan
The District Grand Lodge of Egypt and the Sudan was formed to alleviate the unhappy circumstances in which our English Brethren in Egypt found themselves and which have already been described in some detail.
The District Grand Lodge was formed in 1899 with Viscount Kitchener of Khartoum as the first District Grand Master. Lord
Kitchener, who had been one of the founders of the revived Grecia Lodge, No. 1105 in 1890 when it started working in English, was highly respected among Freemasons. Unfortunately, his army duties prevented him from remaining in Egypt and he was forced to resign his office in 1901.
His successor was a very worthy and distinguished Brother, General Sir Reginald Wingate, who held the Office until 1920 when he was succeeded by John Langley. R.W. Bro. Langley was highly respected for his work with all the Lodges and was greatly mourned when he died in 1923.
He was followed by Major-General Sir Lee Stack in 1924 who was brutally assassinated on a Cairo street on 19th November 1924 before he could exercise any of the duties of the Office. Brigadier-General C. S. Wilson succeeded him in 1926, serving until 1933 when he died at sea.
The Rt. Rev. Bishop Ll. H. Gwynne was Installed in 1933. He spent most of the winter season in the Sudan and was greatly respected throughout the District. He was very ably assisted, particularly in Egypt, by his Deputy, the Ven. Archdeacon (later Bishop) F. F. Johnston. Bishop Gwynne returned to England in 1946, feeling that the work of the Diocese and the District were too much for him to carry on in his advancing years. He continued his pastoral work throughout England, especially in the Epping area where he lived, until his death in 1957, aged 94 years.
He was succeeded by his Deputy who was the last District Grand Master in Egypt. R.W. Bro. Johnston appointed Ven. Canon B. J. Harper (known to all as “Uncle Harper”) as his Deputy in the Sudan and the District flourished under these two wellrespected Brethren until 1956 when, in common with nearly all British citizens, they left Egypt, the Bishop being one of the first to be ordered out.
As will be seen later, following the re-establishment in London of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo and Grecia Lodge, Bishop Johnston attended almost all of their meetings and delivered the Address to the Brethren at Installation meetings in a most delightful manner. This continued until his sudden death in September 1963 during the course of a sermon to the Parachute Regiment.
Before his death, realising that the old District was limited to Lodges in the Sudan, he resigned his Grand Mastership in favour of W. Bro. Sayed Mohamed Salih el Shangiti. The last meeting of the District Grand Lodge under R.W. Bro. Bishop Johnston was held in London at the Cafe Royal, Regent Street, on 27th May 1959.
It is worth quoting R.W. Bro. el Shangiti, the new District Grand Master, at the District Grand Lodge meeting held at the Masonic Hall, Khartoum, on 4th February 1961:
“I think it might well have been unique in the history of the District, and possibly also in the Craft as a whole. In the first place it so happened that the then District Grand Master, R.W. Bro. Bishop Johnston, the Deputy District Grand Master at that time (which happened to be myself), and the then Assistant District Grand Master (Bro. Stevenson Drane), were all present in the District Grand Lodge together. This was hardly ever possible before 1956 when the Deputy District Grand Master was normally present in the Sudan and the District Grand Lodge met at Cairo. In the second place, District Grand Lodge met by special Dispensation of M.W. the Grand Master outside the District – a very unusual event and possibly, as I have said, without precedent.”
R.W. Bro. Mohamed Salih el Shangiti was Installed as District Grand Master on 4th February 1961 by R.W. Bro. the Hon. Sir Charles Tachie-Menson, District Grand Master of Ghana. This was the first time that the Installation had taken place in Khartoum and the first time that a native of the Sudan had risen to such high Masonic rank.
Bro. el Shangiti, acting against medical advice, undertook the Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca) for the second time in 1968, where he died of a heart attack. His Deputy, R.W. Bro. Yahia Omran succeeded him and Freemasonry continued to thrive in the Sudan under these two worthy Brethren until it was banned by the Sudanese Government in 1970.
The Work of the District in General
When the District was formed in 1899, it embraced four Lodges – Bulwer Lodge of Cairo, No. 1068, Grecia Lodge, No. 1105 and Kawkab el Sharq, No. 1355 in Cairo and Zetland, No. 1157 in Alexandria. The Cairo Lodges met in a hall in Sharia Wagh el Birka until October 1903 when more satisfactory premises were obtained in an apartment in a house in Sharia Antikhana. This Temple was known to be very beautiful and was, for many years, a memorial to the hard work of the Brethren who devoted much time and energy to its decoration. Further details and photographs appear under “1913” in Section D. A fine organ was installed by Bulwer Lodge of Cairo in memory of the visit by the Prince of Wales in 1869 when he was Grand Master.
On 8th June 1934, the Foundation Stone for a new Freemasons’ Hall, intended to become the permanent home of the district, was laid in Sharia Madrasseh el Fransawia. The building was completed and dedicated by the District Grand Master on 18th May 1935. The Foundation Stone was brought from King Solomon’s quarries in Jerusalem where it was prepared. The customary mementoes were cemented with it and it bore the following inscription:
June 8th, 1934.
This Foundation Stone was laid by Rt. Wor. Bro. Bishop Ll. H. Gwynne, C.M.G., C.B.E., D.D., LL.D., District Grand Master of Egypt and the Sudan.
The Brethren of the District were always very generous in supporting worthy causes. District Stewards were appointed annually to collect for the Festivals of the three Institutions and the Hospital. It is pleasing to note that the 1952 Yearbook of the Royal Masonic Institute for Girls states that the District of Egypt and the Sudan had sent up the highest lists for eight out of the previous ten years.
Unfortunately, this high standard was impossible to maintain due to the disruption caused by the political disturbances of 1952. These led to interruptions in the working of Lodges and the departure from Egypt of many Brethren. However, up to this time, many Lodges and Brethren had qualified as Patrons, etc., of the Institutions and the District had named a ward in the Royal Masonic Hospital.
The Victoria (Deaconesses) Hospital
In 1924, £1,0000 was raised by the District to endow a bed in the Victoria (Deaconesses) Hospital in Sharia Abdel Khalek Sarwat Pasha, Cairo. The bed was named after the late Sir Lee Stack and a commemorative tablet was unveiled in the entrance hall.
The bed was available for any Brother, being a subscribing Member of any Lodge under the jurisdiction of the District, and his wife and children. It proved invaluable in many cases of extreme misfortune.
Various entertainments were organised to assist in collecting these funds and in 1928, “Are you a Mason?” was produced at the Opera House. Two years later, “The Admirable Crichton” was produced at the Ramses Theatre. Both productions were outstanding successes.
Kindred Grand Lodges
Close on the heels of the establishment of English Freemasonry came Scottish and Irish Brethren. A number of Scottish Lodges were formed in Cairo and Alexandria between 1884 and 1930. These led to the formation of two Royal Arch Chapters under the Scottish Constitution.
Whilst there were no permanent Irish Lodges, two travelling military Lodges found a home in the District during the First World War. Waterloo Lodge, No. 571 departed in 1918 and Leswarree Lodge, No. 646 stayed until the beginning of the Second World War, when many of its members left Cairo to become part of the Eighth Army in the desert.
In both World Wars, Freemasonry in Egypt was greatly enriched by Brethren from Australia and New Zealand. The “Anzacs” played an active role and those from the First War showed their appreciation of their welcome by leaving a testimonial tablet, later fixed to the wall of the new Freemasons’ Hall. During the Second World War, relationships with the Australian and New Zealand Brethren were even closer, with many joining English Lodges in Egypt.
Also during the Second World War, the premises of the Grand Lodge of Greece were taken over by the Gestapo (the Nazis banned Freemasonry), so the Greek Lodges in Egypt had no central authority to which they could report. United Grand Lodge of England instructed the District to offer all the help they could, resulting in close ties and the sharing of premises with our Greek Brethren.
It is through this friendly and fraternal action that much of our property was saved in 1956. This was especially due to the untiring work of W. Bro. C. B. Stavrou, who later joined Bulwer Lodge of Cairo in 1962. He rose to Senior Warden in Star of the East Lodge No. 1355 and was rewarded for his work with District Grand Rank.
The Other English Lodges in Egypt Bulwer Lodge of Cairo was often described as the premier Lodge in Egypt and a detailed history of the Lodge appears elsewhere. It is, however, only proper to give an outline of the other Lodges which worked in English. Of these, only Grecia Lodge, No. 1105 survived the Suez crisis and successfully re-established itself in London, where it continues to this day. Grecia Lodge is always referred to as a “daughter lodge” of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo, despite its Greek origins. It is for this reason and the closeness of the ties between the two Lodges that its history is covered here in some detail. Grecia Lodge, No. 1105 Grecia Lodge Warrant is dated 31st March 1866 and it was the second oldest lodge working under the United Grand Lodge of England in Egypt. It was originally Hellas Lodge” and worked in Greek, in which language the earliest minutes were kept.
It is believed that, during the political unrest from 1885 to 1889, “clandestine” meetings were held which kept the members together. Although it is understood that records were kept of these meetings, like those of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo, all minutes and papers, including the Warrant and regalia, were destroyed in the fire of 16th October 1895.
In 1889, as soon as it was safe, open meetings recommenced and, at the meeting held on 11th February 1890, eleven members of Bulwer Lodge joined Grecia Lodge: R. Borg, J. Wilson Bey, O. G. Wood, E. Enselm, A. A. Mortimer, H. M. Crookshank Pasha, H. H. Kitchener Pasha, E. A. Vivian, Charles Baker Pasha, J. L. Rees and J. C. E. Mansfield. H. H. Kitchener became, of course, Earl Kitchener of Khartoum.
The next meeting, on 8th March 1890, was the first time that English names appeared in the attendance book. At that same meeting, it was resolved that, as the majority of members were English, the Lodge should, in future, work in English. As a result, on this unique occasion, the Lodge was opened in Greek and closed in English.
As a guide to the prominence of Grecia Lodge, of the seven District Grand Masters of Egypt and the Sudan between 1899 and 1960, no fewer than five were Past Masters of Grecia Lodge and a sixth was a Past Master in the Lodge. They were:
Worshipful Master District Grand Master
Earl Kitchener of Khartoum 1892 1899
Sir Reginald Wingate 1893 1900 – 1920
John Langley CBE 1897 1921 – 1923
Sir Lee Stack 1924
Brig. General C. S. Wilson 1920 1926 – 1932
Rt. Rev. Bishop Ll. L. Gwynne 1932 1933 – 1945
Although only an Honorary Member, the seventh District Grand Master, Rt. Rev. Bishop F. F. Johnston (1946 – 1960), seldom missed a meeting of the Lodge in Egypt and attended practically all the meetings in England up to his death in 1963.
During the later years of the 19th century, the Lodge went from strength to strength and was of great help to overseas Brethren serving with the Allied forces in Egypt in both World Wars. During the 1939 – 1945 War, the Lodge was on at least one occasion handed over to New Zealand Brethren who provided the Officers for the evening and carried out the ceremony in the New Zealand Working. Indeed, Bro. F. Prideaux, Worshipful Master of Grecia Lodge in 1944, became Grand Master of New Zealand in 1966.
After the 1952 revolution, membership of all Lodges in Egypt dwindled but Grecia still had 28 active members when it was forced to suspend activities in 1956. At that time, it is believed that the minutes of the Lodge were intact, apart from the years 1872 to 1877 which were destroyed in the fire. These records were sequestered and are unlikely to ever be recovered.
Members of the Lodge in 1956 were determined to re-establish it and regular meetings were held under Dispensation until the Warrant, retrieved by W. Bro. L. E. Thirkettle, was transferred to London by the United Grand Lodge of England on 1st December 1961.
The Lodge survived the transition from Egypt to London where, in common with Bulwer Lodge of Cairo, it set up home at the Dominions Hotel, Lancaster Gate. It, too, is not blessed with a large membership, but it still maintains the Masonic traditions of its time in Egypt.
Zetland Lodge, No. 1157
Zetland Lodge was founded in Alexandria on a Warrant dated 5th March 1867. It held a record for working without interruption from its foundation until 1956, and did not suspend its meetings during the 1882 uprising.
It worked under the immediate jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England, from which it obtained its Warrant, except for a brief period during the existence of the District Grand Lodge of Egypt, until the District Grand Lodge of Egypt and Sudan was formed in 1899.
Whilst never large, Zetland Lodge had a number of prominent people amongst its members, including Sir George Melville
and Moberley Bell, the distinguished correspondent for “The Times”. It owned an irreplaceable collection of fine silver replicas of the crests of ships which visited Alexandria and stayed long enough for Masonic crew members to visit. The collection, displayed on the walls of the New Masonic Hall at 1 Rue Toussoun Pasha, was lost in 1956.
For some time after 1882, the Lodge worked under great difficulty with little opportunity for expansion. However, a loyal core of Brethren held together, working and hoping for better times. With the accession to the Chair of W. Bro. Percy Smith in 1902, the good times finally arrived with a time of rapid expansion which was sustained until the end.
Like other Lodges in the District, Zetland Lodge moved several times during its existence but was unable to survive following the Suez crisis.
Zetland Lodge No. 1157 was erased from the Roll of Grand Lodge on 8th December 1965.
Star of the East Lodge, No. 1355
Star of the East Lodge was the fourth oldest Lodge in Egypt, having been founded in 1871. It was originally founded by some native Egyptian members of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo who wanted a Lodge to work under the English Constitution in Arabic and exclusively for non-Europeans and was founded with the Arabic name of Kawkab el Sharq. A Warrant was obtained exclusively for this purpose.
In its time as an Arabic Lodge, it had some very distinguished Masters, including Idris Bey Ragheb in 1890 who became
Grand Master of the Egyptian Grand Lodge. It was, at the time, a very opulent Lodge which held lavish and largely attended Installation banquets, all paid for out of accumulated Lodge funds.
In about 1906, the Lodge started to admit non-Egyptians as joining members and a prominent Freemason, W. Bro. Delanoy, was the first European to be admitted. Another distinguished Freemason, Bro. Garofalo, for many years Grand Secretary of the National Grand Lodge of Egypt, was the first European to be elected Master in 1907. All the Lodge records prior to 1907 are believed burned or lost.
The Lodge worked in Arabic until 1908 when declining membership led to the transition to an English speaking Lodge and a return to being successful, this change being sanctioned by the M.W. the Grand Master.
W. Bro F. A. Hogg, Worshipful Master of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo in 1940, was secretary in 1956 and undertook most of the work involved in closing down the Lodge. The remaining work was carried out by W. Bro H. Millar, Worshipful Master of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo in 1969 and 1970. Star of the East Lodge, like Zetland Lodge, was erased from the Roll of Grand Lodge on 8th December 1965.
Pelusium Lodge, No. 3003
Pelusium Lodge was founded in Port Said on 31st March 1904 on a Warrant dated 1st October 1903. It was formed especially for the Brethren of Port Said engaged in shipping or coaling and was very well known to Brethren passing through the Suez Canal.
The Lodge always had a very keen and energetic membership, even to the extent of building its own Masonic Hall, the loss of which was a severe blow to its members and many visitors. The Hall had always been considered a centre of peace and harmony where the noise and other unpleasant influences of a busy port could be shut out.
Despite a great deal of effort to establish the Lodge in London after 1956, including a series of meetings to discuss alternatives, no solution was found. Grand Lodge Proceedings of 14th September 1966 concluded that, whilst the Egyptian affairs of this Lodge had not been concluded, Trustees had been empowered by deed to arrange this and Pelusium Lodge was removed from the Roll on that date.
Delta Lodge, No. 3060
Delta Lodge, as its name implies, was founded to meet the needs of Brethren in the Nile Delta. The Lodge met at Tanta under a Warrant dated 8th July 1908 and was Consecrated by the District Grand Master, Sir Reginald Wingate, on 19th November 1904.
Its Founding Master was W. Bro. J. Inglis of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo.
Its membership, never large, consisted mainly of officials of the Delta Light Railway, the Egyptian Markets and teachers from the Tanta schools. Being situated so far from the main cities, it rarely had many visitors and, when the British railway officials were dismissed from Government service, had difficulty in finding sufficient numbers for its meetings.
It inadvertently became involved in the “Masonic Politics” of the day, with the Grand Lodge of Egypt being apparently jealous of its influence. Meetings with officials from the Grand Lodge of Egypt came to no avail, so the United Grand Lodge of England was approached. The outcome is unknown, but, as the Lodge continued working, it must have been successful.
Despite its ongoing difficulty in sustaining numbers, Delta Lodge continued to work until it was eventually erased from the Roll of Lodges on 3rd March 1948, having not met since 1941.
Lotus Lodge, No. 3296
In 1907, several well known Brethren thought that there was room in the rapidly growing city of Cairo for another purely civilian English Lodge. (At this time, Bulwer Lodge of Cairo was considered semi-military and Grecia was the only civilian Lodge.)
A petition was raised by W. Hayes (Worshipful Master of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo in 1906), T. H. Hornstein, W. C. Fletcher and others, and a Warrant was granted on 1st April 1908. The Lodge was Consecrated on 28th May at Maison Bonello by the Deputy District Grand Master, W. Bro. Keatinge.
The Lodge was always popular and made charitable work its special feature. It held a number of functions, including Charity Balls to raise funds for both Masonic and non-Masonic charities. Its main distinction was, however, in starting the system of District Stewards for the Masonic Charities, by which means much larger sums were raised for the Institutors.
Lotus Lodge was erased on 8th December 1965 having, like so many, failed to make a successful move to England.
Ataka Lodge, No. 3367
Ataka Lodge was founded and Consecrated on 21st May 1909 by a Warrant dated 15th March. It consisted largely of officials of the shipping and oil industries working in Suez and on the canal.
The Lodge was highly successful and many of its members held prominent positions in the District until its closure in 1956.
Some of its members joined Bulwer Lodge of Cairo and also held senior positions in Bulwer Chapter and did sterling work in its revival in London. On the final closure of the books of the Lodge, the committee presented a beautifully tooled leather Warrant case to Bulwer Chapter. Thus, the name of the Lodge, being inscribed thereon, will ensure that the memory of Ataka Lodge will live on.
The Lord Kitchener Lodge, No. 3402
The Lodge was formed to meet the requirements of Military and Naval Brethren in Egypt in 1909. The only Lodge available at that time to a “Service Brother” was United Service Lodge under the Egyptian Constitution and Masonic Rank issued by this Lodge was not recognised by the English, Scottish or Irish Constitutions. The Lodge was Consecrated on 17th November 1909 under a Warrant granted on 9th September.
A Lodge Bye-Law stated that the office of Worshipful Master should be held alternately by commissioned and noncommissioned officers and the other offices should, as far as possible, be divided equally.
The Lodge was a great success from the beginning and was noted for its smart ceremonial, derived from its military background.
Until 1947, it met in Cairo, but when Military Headquarters moved to the Suez Canal, it moved to a military hut in Moascar. After the revolution, the Lodge moved to Cyprus in 1955 where it meets to this day in Dhekalia.
Ionic Lodge, No. 3997 Ionic Lodge was formed by members of Idris and Corinthian Lodges, both under the Egyptian Constitution. During the chaos following the collapse of control by Idris Bey Ragheb (see section on Freemasonry in Egypt), a number of Brethren asked the United Grand Lodge of England if they could transfer to the English constitution and come under the District Grand Lodge. Some members of both Idris and Corinthian joined Lodges in the District so that they would qualify to apply for a Charter and a Warrant was granted on 3rd September 1919.
Founders included C. W. Binet-Summers and N. M. Mishellany and, Worshipful Masters of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo in 1914
and 1920 respectively. Other prominent members from Bulwer Lodge of Cairo include D. W. Gee, M. Silverman, J. E. M.
Brunskill (Worshipful Master of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo in 1929 and 1951), J. Lawrence and C. G .Bayles (Worshipful Masters of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo in 1919 and 1946 respectively).
Whilst in the early years the Lodge consisted mainly of Egyptian Government officials, when they were dismissed in 1952 their places were taken by members working for B.O.A.C. In 1956, they became scattered over the face of the earth. As a result, meetings became impossible and the Lodge was erased on 8th December 1965.
Alexandria Lodge No. 4184
The Alexandria Lodge No. 4184 was consecrated on 24th February 1921 on a Warrant dated 3rd November 1920. The earliest members were generally members of other Egyptian Lodges, tired of the confusion and irregularities of Idris Bey Ragheb. Many were connected to the cotton trade and were very well off.
The Lodge, like all those in Alexandria, met at the Masonic Hall at No. 1 Rue Toussoun Pasha, which was the centre of
Masonic life in the city. A club was established at the hall and run as a successful business venture. All Masons belonging to local English and Scottish Lodges were members and they met here “out of Masonic hours” for ordinary club activities, billiards and refreshments.
A prominent member of the Lodge was W. Bro. J. G. Blyth, Worshipful Master of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo in 1922. He
remained in Alexandria after the Suez Crisis and tried in vain to save Masonic property. The temple was ransacked and the regalia destroyed and referred to in an anti-Masonic journal (Akher Sa) as objects appertaining to espionage and Zionism”.
The Lodge was erased from the Roll of Grand Lodge on 3rd June 1955, owing to changed conditions after the 1952 political disturbances.
The United Service Lodge of Alexandria, No. 4571
The Warrant for this Lodge was issued on 17th September 1923 and the Lodge was Consecrated on 14th November by the Deputy District Grand Master, W. Bro. W. Delanoy. Its first Master was G. T. Bray, who joined Bulwer Lodge of Cairo in 1905.
Like Alexandria Lodge, No. 4184, the Lodge met at the Masonic Hall, Rue Toussoun Pasha and was very popular with
visitors to the “northern capital of Egypt and the crews of ships calling there. From the outset, it was a very successful Lodge.
As with the other Alexandria Lodges, The United Service Lodge lost everything in the Masonic Hall in 1956 and, as its
members became dispersed, it was unable to set up again in England. It was erased from the Roll on 8th December 1965.
Serapeum Lodge, No. 5312
Serapeum Lodge was set up in Ismailia to serve Brethren at the halfway point of the Canal. Many members were the pilots who guided ships through the Canal and found it easier to attend meetings near the laying-up points than in the great cities at either end.
The Warrant was dated 8th September 1931 and the Lodge was Consecrated on 30th October. The name was taken from a village of that name about two miles from Ismailia. This, in turn, was dedicated in Ptolemaic days to the worship of Serapis, the new God of Healing introduced into the Greek culture. One of the founders, F. A. Hogg, was a prominent member of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo and was its Worshipful Master in 1940.
The Second World War took a heavy toll on the Lodge, with many members leaving for military or naval service. Meetings became more and more difficult to hold and, on 25th March 1949, W. Bro. A. E. Snowling wrote to the District Grand Lodge proposing to close the Lodge “as it appears that the old members would not be returning to Ismailia”. This was accepted at the meeting of District Grand Lodge on 25th November 1949 when the President of the District Board of General Purposes stated that resuscitation of the Lodge seemed to be impossible and the Warrant was returned.
It is believed that some members who had returned to the U.K. tried to revive the Lodge in Manchester under a different name.
Correspondence took place with the Province of Lancashire but the outcome is not known.
Other Masonic Orders
It is not intended to go into detail about other orders as this is basically a history of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo and its place in Craft Freemasonry. However, a brief mention of the other orders follows.
Royal Arch Chapters
Many Lodges in Egypt had Royal Arch Chapters attached to them. As we know, Bulwer Chapter survived the move to London although the name was changed to Grecia Chapter when the Lodge left London for Buckinghamshire. Bulwer Chapter was Consecrated in 1886 and its first M.E.Z. was E. Comp. R. Spence, although there is no record of his being a member of the Lodge.
Of interest, the already much-mentioned Idris Bey Ragheb occupied the Z. Chair in 1894.
Zetland Chapter was Consecrated in 1880, only 13 years after the Lodge was founded. Despite a great deal of hard work, it suffered from the same shortage of members as the Lodge, failed to re-establish in London and was eventually erased on 9th February 1966.
Whilst Bulwer Chapter was the accepted” Royal Arch “ home” for members of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo, Ionic and other Lodges near Cairo, members of Star of the East Lodge and Grecia Lodge were generally exalted into Star of the East Chapter. Its Warrant was issued on 5th June 1891, the first M.E.Z. being Idris Bey Ragheb. Like the Lodge to which it was attached, this Chapter failed to move to England, and many Companions subsequently joined Bulwer Chapter.
Pelusium Chapter was Consecrated on 24th November 1911 on a Warrant dated 2nd August 1911. It was set up to provide a wider field of activity for the closely knit brethren of Pelusium Lodge in Port Said. Like the Lodge, it failed to move to England in 1956 and was erased from the records. Serapeum Chapter was Consecrated on 28th January 1937, but despite being founded by some of the most eminent Freemasons of the time, it fell on hard times and was erased on 1st August 1949.
Mark Master Masons & Royal Ark Mariners
Three Mark Master Masons Lodges existed in Egypt under the District Grand Lodge of North Africa of Mark Master Masons and Royal Ark Mariners. Only one Royal Ark Mariners Lodge was founded.
The Egypt Mark Lodge No. 311 opened in 1882 in Cairo. Many of its Masters were prominent members of Bulwer Lodge of Cairo. The Nubia Mark Lodge No. 511 was founded in 1897 and met in Cairo until 1906, when it moved to Alexandria. The Friendship Mark Lodge, also founded in Cairo, was Consecrated in 1900. Once again, distinguished members of The Bulwer Lodge of Cairo were associated with this Lodge.
The Royal Ark Mariners Lodge of Egypt No. 311 is the only one ever formed in Egypt. It was consecrated on 29th March 1888.
None of these Lodges survived the upheavals of 1956.
Freemasonry in Egypt The Early Years 1865 – 1899 (PDF)
Freemasonry in Egypt, March 1930
By BRO. ROBERT C. WRIGHT, Oregon
OUR estimable Grand Secretary, Bro. D. R. Cheney, receives many communications and pamphlets in several different foreign languages. Not being adept in them, he has for some years past enlisted the writer’s assistance to translate important matters.
Last summer he informed the writer that he had heard of some trouble in the Grand Lodge in Egypt, and asked for examination and report of what was in a copy of its 1928 proceedings, which he furnished. This pamphlet turned out to be partly in Syrian and partly in French. A brief report was furnished to the Grand Secretary for his files. Discovering the name of our Grand Secretary mentioned in Syrian, because he had sent them his photograph, a copy of his name was sent to him. He said it looked easy but was hard to write, so he gave up using it officially.
Believing that something about Egyptian Masonry and their dissension might interest others, this article has been prepared. The proceedings mentioned contain much detail of the unfortunate events. Therefore only a summary of this will be given and a little space taken in addition to tell of the splendid humanitarian work carried on by that Grand Lodge.
Sometime in 1900 or 1901, Abd el Meguid Youne was Grand Secretary of the National Grand Lodge of Egypt. During that time Prince Mohammed Aly, brother of the ex-khedive, was initiated but held no office. Youne and some colleagues conspired with the Prince virtually to capture the Grand Lodge, and to amend its constitution or by-laws to allow the election of the Prince as Grand Master. Youne and the Prince were both well known in foreign jurisdictions. The official signature of the former was very familiar.
In 1901 an attempt was made to carry out their plans. This brought a strong reproof from Idris Ragheb, then Grand Master, who obtained from the Prince a letter dated April 6, 1901, written on Grand Lodge stationery, signed by Mohammed Aly and endorsed by Idris as witness. Therein the Prince acknowledged fidelity to his Masonic obligations, and promised obedience to the laws and rules of the National Grand Lodge, which he thereby also recognized. A photo print of this letter is published, showing the original signatures.
Evidently Youne and his fellow conspirators were not done. They wanted the prestige of the Prince, and the latter’s conceit was so flattered that he was willing to join them and become a party to these iniquitous schemes. Thus the disturbances were continued until 1922, when the Prince was in it personally.
In the summer of 1922 some brethren who were not in good standing, and lodges suspended for cause, combined to petition for a change of the laws in order to make the Prince eligible as Grand Master. It appears a Grand Master was to be elected later, and this was the time when they proposed to act. The Prince agreed to be a candidate. He had never been warden or master, not even what they term an « active member » of a lodge, and according to the constitution was ineligible.
Idris Ragheb was again Grand Master that year. After a perusal, he issued a decree denying the petition, and cited laws forbidding its allowance. The dissident group then sought to arrange matters by making the Prince an active member of Lodge « The Nile. » The Grand Master responded by giving that lodge a certain time to rescind its irregular action. It refused to do so and its charter was suspended, and some members of other lodges who were involved in promoting the action were also suspended. The Prince was disciplined on the ground of his ignorance of Masonic law, and that he was supposed to have acted in good faith.
The suspended members organized to go to the Grand Lodge meeting of September 28, 1922, to carry out their schemes. They appeared in force, invaded the Grand Master’s office and demanded their reinstatement. To restore quiet he said those qualified as delegates could take part in the work. After inquiry from the chair as to whether all present were lawfully there, he began the session. Immediately a demand was made to change the laws to allow the candidacy of the Prince. The Grand Master ruled it out of order and refused any debate. The revolting group persisted in discussion and caused a tumult and confusion. To safeguard the dignity of Masonry, the Grand Master was obliged to close the Grand Lodge, which was done in form, the election being postponed to a later date to be announced. The officers then left the room.
Thereupon an assistant deputy Grand Master, Taha Ibrahim, seized the gavel and caused those present to proceed with the election. The Prince was declared elected Grand Master by acclamation.
The following day Grand Master Idris Ragheb and brethren went to the temple in the morning, as was customary, but the rebellious group, assisted by profane, roughly refused them admittance. On October 3 the Grand Lodge met again and re-elected Idris Ragheb, and elected other officers, including Mohammed Rifaat as Grand Secretary, who is still in that office. Since then, however, Sayed Aly has been elected Grand Master and was in office when the proceedings were published.
Youne took the records, seals and archives and used them to send out communications in the name of the schismatic party, under the name of the Grand Lodge. They took possession of furniture and personal property, which they were later forced to return by court proceedings.
Prince Mohammed also had the audacity to pretend to be Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite. This brought forth a decree on March 20,1925, from Mohammed Heddaya, the real Sovereign Grand Commander, suspending the Prince and depriving him of all his rights and privileges. It would appear that he is still suspended and persona non grata.
The conduct of Youne, and the lack of information, has caused confusion in foreign jurisdictions. The Grand Lodge of Montana in 1927 returned to the rightful Egyptian Grand Lodge the appointment certificate of a Grand Representative. Later learning of the mistake, an apology was made, accompanied by a request that the certificate be returned to them. This shows the result brought about by such unfortunate troubles, which are not to be overcome for years.
All through this lengthy period the Grand Lodge not only had to deal with the fraud and misrepresentations of Youne and his associates, in deceiving well-disposed persons in Egypt, and seriously interfering with domestic Masonic activities, but it was continually annoyed by these acts carried on in foreign jurisdictions. In June, 1926, they took advantage of the visit in Egypt of Bro. John Er. Cowles, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Jurisdiction, A. & A. S. R. They appealed to him to make a careful investigation of official documents. This he did and delivered to them a certificate stating that he found the regular and recognized Grand Lodge is the one of which Ferik Sayed Aly was then the Grand Master. This was deposited in its archives, and later an article relating this was published in The New Age.
In spite of these exasperating occurrences, the Grand Lodge shows it is not revengeful. It states in the 1928 proceedings, forgetting the evils caused by the dissidents, it has charitably opened its doors. More than once has it offered them its hand in the hope Masonry would pardon them upon repenting. In recalling to the sheep-fold these misguided brothers, the Grand Lodge would rejoice in their presence, regretfully broken since their departure. This noble sentiment rings clear and true. The Grand Officers are men of high reputation and occupy responsible government and civil positions.
Now what has this harassed Grand Body done for humanity? The National Grand Lodge of Egypt has founded an orphanage. Poor lads from seven to twelve are accepted, regardless of their religion. They receive school instruction and are taught trades. There are illustrations showing the boys in comfortable surroundings, being instructed in carpentry, chairmaking, weaving rugs, printing, etc. It is intended to use land about the buildings for a course in agriculture. One illustration shows a real lively band in uniform and with modern instruments, led by their adult instructor. King Fuad I gave this orphanage a liberal donation and is friendly to Masonry, although probably not a member of the Order.
The Grand Lodge has also taken great interest in education. It has a strong desire to eliminate ignorance in its native country. Promoting this object they founded and carry on the « Wadinnil » primary school. They found a demand for secondary or advanced grades, of which many children were deprived in the state schools for lack of accommodation. They met this need by organizing a secondary school. Boys and girls are admitted in both schools and the illustrations show a contented and happy lot of teachers and pupils.
Thus Masonry is doing its duty for little brothers and sisters in Egypt, just as we aim to do in our great and powerful country. It proves that Masonry is universal, knows but one Supreme Architect, and recognizes no political boundaries in its good works. When the true and noble realm of the brotherhood of man is recognized, a clear vision discovers there no battleships, no poison gases. That vision believes in what an Italian proverb says, » with the dawn of every day, a happiness. » Let that be the unceasing work inherited from the Tyrian Grand Master, whose monument our real masters never have been forgotten – never shall forget.
Since preparing the preceding article the writer’s attention is directed to the 1929 Foreign Correspondence Report of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, covering Egypt for 1927. It is only fair to my readers that the claims of the opposition be stated. The only present source available is that mentioned, the writer not having the original proceedings in hand.
Prince Mohammed Aly appears as Grand Master of the schismatic body, and in his address of 1927 states that their foreign affairs are « marvelously good. » Grand Officers of New York visited them. Following this are statistics relating to what they label « The National Grand Lodge of Egypt. » There are seventy-five lodges, working in Greek, Arab, Hebrew, French and English, « approximately 6,000 members. » It is asserted that the Grand Lodge, of which M.W. Bro. His Highness Prince Mohammed Aly is Grand Master, is the lawful continuation of the National Grand Lodge of Egypt, of which M.W.Bro. Idris Bey Ragheb was Grand Master for thirty-five years. The schism dates from 1922, when a majority, wanting a change, elected the Prince by a large vote. Idris left with a minority, and under this aged leader they continued to function under the official title. The courts decided against this organization in « several actions » which were instituted. In 1924-25, ninety-eight old members « returned » to this organization. It is recognized by forty-five Grand Jurisdictions, among them England, Ireland, Scotland and « several » Canadian, Australian and United States Grand Lodges. Mohammed Aly and Younis are Grand Master and Grand Secretary.
The account of the meeting Sept. 28, 1922, is recited as above, except it is said that there was a dispute about constitutional qualifications for Grand Master, and the Grand Treasurer asked that it be submitted to vote. ldris, refusing this, vacated the chair « sor a moment, » returned, disposed of a few matters, left with his Deputy Grand Master and seventeen members, taking home with him, « so it is reported, » the great seal and important registers of the Grand Lodge.
Then election took place and the Prince was declared elected by overwhelming vote. Idris formed his own organization and used the Scottish Rite to defeat his opponents, which prevented healing of the breach.
The Connecticut writer remarks in his review as follows:
It is regretted that a small fraction of members endeavor to function as schismatic Grand Lodge, headed by a deposed Grand Master. There is some surface evidence that they are encouraged by certain U.S. Scottish Rite influences.. This has caused inadvertent errors on the part of some U.S. Grand Secretaries, the writer among them, who wrongly listed in 1928 proceedings Mohammed Rifaat as Grand Secretary. The legitimate Grand Secretary is Abdul Meguid Younis. Prince Mohammed Aly continues as Grand Master.
The present writer regrets that he has not access to the original 1927 text that the good Connecticut brother reviewed, also that this brother did not have the 1928 answer of the other body hereinbefore reviewed. It might have altered his judicial opinion of who are the legitimate Egyptian Grand officers, and also as to Scottish Rite interference.
It is appropriate, however, to mention a few other things for the better guidance of American Freemasonry. The 1928 proceedings evidently try to answer the accusations with great length and care. The exact text of parts of the constitution involved is set out.
Art. 29. No brother can be elected Grand Master if he is not an active and contributing member of a constituent lodge of the National Grand Lodge of Egypt, and unless he has filled the office of Grand Warden.
The amendment petitioned for was:
A prince of the royal family having the degree of Master may be elected Grand Master, setting aside the conditions required by Art. 29
The « aged » Grand Master directed attention to other articles, which forbade receiving any proposition contrary to the fundamental principles of Freemasonry. That the petition modifying Art. 29 was solely in favor of a member of the royal family, and manifestly opposed to the principle of equality, a basis of our Order. That the decree of the Grand Master was legal on this fact.
Furthermore he sets out Art. 49, that all amendments must be submitted to the Permanent Committee one month before meeting of the Grand Lodge which is to consider them. That statutes cannot be altered except by a majority of not less than three-fourths of the members of the Grand Lodge. Also that no proposition for amendment can be considered unless in writing, signed and supported by one- third of the members present at the Grand Lodge. The petitioners ignored the Permanent (i.e. Standing) Committee. The Grand Lodge had 408 members, the petition had 110, a protest had 144.
In 1928 we find that Taha Ibrahim is member of a standing committee, having evidently regretted his part in that disorderly proceeding. « Al Nil » Lodge, No. 243, is on the list and appears in good standing again.
Sayed Aly, Grand Master, is a Division General, and Secretary to the Minister of War and Marine; other Grand Lodge Officers hold notable positions under the government, and are evidently dignified and respected citizens.
The roster shows actual names and addresses of 103 lodges and officers. There are 71 Arab, 11 French, 9 Greek, 6 Italian, 4 Armenian, 1 Russian, 1 Turkish.
In the disorderly meeting, a Bro. Bryant was a leader of the petitioners. No English lodge is on this list, and the Prince’s organization seems to have them. It leads to a suspicion of some political quarrel having brought on the strife. This may have led to recognition by English Grand Lodges. How, ever that may be, Idris appears to have presented a very strong ease on both facts and law, in favor of the lodge he represents.
In the foreign section they name a number of U.S. Grand Lodges, a large number of European and South American, New Zealand, the Scottish Rite Northern and Southern of U. S. and of Canada, as all recognizing that body.
The Prince’s body does not seem to show any Masonic charity work, or any answer whatever to the constitutional questions distinctly involved in proper upholding of that organization. It is certainly not clear how the constitution was amended to make the Prince lawful Grand Master. There is no assertion on his part that the text stated by Idris, or the amending petition are incorrectly quoted. Nor any explanation by him how the constitution was law fully changed to qualify him a Grand Master. No explanation or denial of his letter is referred to. The Grand Lodges of America would do well to call for complete translation of the Egyptian constitution, and a complete statement, with proper exhibits, in behalf of the Prince, as to changes which make him Grand Master or his organization legal.
It should be kept in mind his body claims to continue from the admittedly legal one, of which Idris was Grand Master, therefore the succession must be proved to be legal Grand Lodges would then be in better position judicially to decide which is the lawful body in Egypt than to have the Prince, or some Prince’s ghost writer, settle it for them.
The 1927 report of the Prince Aly organization gives seventy five lodges as adhering to it. The Annuaire published by the International Masonic Association, lists seventy-seven. These are grouped by localities, and apparently retain their original numbers. The lowest number is 37, and the highest is 278. Al Nil, No 243, mentioned in the article, appears on this list so that it has evidently returned to the allegiance of the other Grand Lodge since this list was compiled.
It is evident that the group headed by Prince Aly has had a « better press » than its rival. The Annuaire has no information to offer about the latter except the names of the Grand Master his Deputy, and the Grand Treasurer and the Grand Secretary. It offers no opinion as to the rights and wrongs of the Schism. – Ed.