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HORIA NESTORESCU-BALCESTI

Deputy Grand Master, NGLR

Noradunghian, Mihail

Record from Masonic Lexicon



Noradunghian, Mihail (Constantinopol, 1873 - Bucharest, 02.27.1951), merchant. He owned an inn in the Galata of Istanbul. One of his relatives, A.Noradunghian, mason as well, sent an appeal to the Universal Masonry, on 05.24.1880, in the name of the Comity of fighting against famine in Anatoly. In the personal record of  Mihai Noradunghian from the Safety of the Romanian Country, drawn up in 1933, it was written: "self - styled engineer and diplomat in the financial and economical sciences of Paris and Bruxelles". State under - secretary at the Post and Telegraph Office in the Government of Turkey. "From what I was told by Pangal" - remembered the engineer C.Bellu - "before 1918 he had been in Turkey, in Istanbul, and he had been working with the Young Turkish, in the Turkish Masonry, in order to banish the regime of the ex - sultan Abdul Hamid. After having suffered a strike from Kemal Pasha, the Armenians began to be persecuted and followed by Kemal's new regime, Noradunghian ran from Turkey to England (London), then to Paris, where he got in touch with the leading of the Supreme Council, namely with Raymond, chief of the Supreme Council in France, whom he was a friend of, he passed to Switzerland where he got in touch with the masonry from there, where he had friends and contacts as well, and around 1920-1921 he came to Romania and settled in Bucharest" (with an English passport) Al. Bilciurescu, who has been acquainted to him as early as 1925, remembered that "he did not know a single word in Romanian and he would speak only in French". The petition of naturalization dates from 1928. In the file there were certificates emitted by the Minister of Internal Affairs which proved that he had made "significant services in the country's interest". He seems to have held an important job at the Society of Telephones from Bucharest, since he wanted to be a member of the Council of Administration. Great merchant (the company's address was in 160, Victoria Street, 2nd floor); businesses with armament in the czarist Russia between 1914 and 1918 or even in the Soviet Russia. Nubar Bohceli, who was his secretary, describes him as a delegate of the "Levant - Company "in Romania. Orders "in the grand style" for the Army, for C.F.R etc. According to some pieces of information (The Catalogue of the anti - Masonic Exhibition from 1940 or the account of Al.Bilciurescu) he seems to have been confined in the camp of Tg. Jiu "because of his attitude of being hostile to the Germans". He was not married. Few and " insignificant " relatives in Romania. In a letter from 04.21.1946 he reminded about his father who would join him in sending to the Pangals "the expression of our most touched feelings". In the last part of his life he was seek in bed ("suffering from a heart disease and from arthrosclerosis"; he paralysed in 1949 because of a cerebral congestion). In all this time, he had been taken care of by the doctor A.Antoniu, firstly at the Sanatorium from the Street, which he was the head of, then, afterwards, in private, being financed by the Masonic Brethren. Not long before he died, not having any financial support anymore, doctor Antoniu hospitalised him in the Central Hospital. "A small number of masons participated" at the funerals from the Armenian Church. On the grave stone from the Armenian Cemetery of Bucharest is written: "the 27th descendent of the Pacraduni dynasty". He was not involved in politics at all. There is information (especially those of Al.Bilciurescu) from which it would result that (according to MN's own statements) he was a member of P.M.R and that "he finds credence with the Government". Among his relatives, Ovanes Noradunghian, who appears in a group photography in the Temple of Bucharest, before 1937 and, as I consider, Hirant Noradunghian, elected, on 01.28.1951, Grand Orator assistant of the Grand Lodge of Turkey, are worth mentioning.

- 03.03.1909: advanced at the 33rd grade (together with other ten persons), he became founding member of the Supreme Council of Turkey.

- 13.07.1909: member of the Renaissance Lodge (Istanbul), of a French obedience, delegate (he could have been Worshipful Master) at the Convent of establishing the Grand Lodge of Turkey Ma[rik-i Azam-i Osmanī. The conduct of the Convent took place in the Galata - Noradunghian Inn.

- 1914: Grand Master Assistant of the Grand Orient of Turkey (Grand Orient Ottoman - Grand Orient of Turkey). Information which is not certified in documents;

- 16-27.12.1922: during the period between the awarding by The Supreme Council of France of the Grand Patent of establishing a Supreme Council in Romania (16.12.1922) and the awarding of the certificate of the 33rd grade by the same Supreme Council (27.12.1922), M.N proceeds to;- "the regularization" ("the reinitiating") of the 13 future members of The Supreme Council of Romania;

- Dec. 1922: in the same manner, he proceeds to the "the regularization" of the symbolical lodges of Ancient and Regular Scottish Rite set up before the founding of The Supreme Council of Romania;

- In his action, helped by Jean Pangal, of revitalizing the Romanian freemasonry, he found the credence with King Ferdinand whom Pangal had sought advice from.

- 05.03.1923: he signed the High Decree through which the Constitution, the Statuses and the General Regulations of the Ancient and Regular Scottish Rite of Romania were published. According to Constantin Bellu's statements (an interrogatory from 1952), M.N "had created and established The Supreme Council of Romania in 1922, together with Pangal, with the professors Ion Arapu, Ion Peretz, Theodorini, D.Candrea and others, being the delegate of The Supreme Council of France for the establishment of The Supreme Council of Romania";

- 26.10.1924: due to the unanimous vote of The General Assembly, through the Decree nr. 23, he was offered the title of Grand Master of Honour of the Grand National Lodge of Romania;

- 1927: he participated at the anniversary of 70 years of Masonic life of The Danube's Star lodge (Bucharest);

- 17.02.1929: he took part in the solemn conduct in which Constantin Argetoianu was proclaimed Grand Patron of the Romanian Masonic Order.

- 05-06.10.1929: he took part in the Masonic celebration of the autumn equinox;

- 1929: he took part in the installing of the Grand Master of the Grand National Lodge of Romania, George Valentin Bibescu;

- 1943 - 1946: together with the engineer Constantin Bellu and other masons "they suggested the setting up of a South-Eastern Mediterranean Union, which would be under the aegis of the USA, in order to avoid the release of the countries occupied by the fascists by the soviet troops and in order to hinder the instauration of a democratic regime in Romania" The state project was preceded by the intention of "transforming the Masonic Supreme Council of Romania in a Supreme Council of the states of the Mediterranean South-East, which would create a context for the (customs), economical and political union between these states "stated by Jean Pangal many years before the war. The Masonic project had in view the fact that, in many states of this region, freemasonry was prohibited and no Masonic organisms were in function. (Lodges, Grand Lodges, Supreme Councils);

- Aug. 1944: he opened the first Convent of the Grand National Lodge of Romania held after 23 August 1944;

- Dec.1944: elected in a Commission of three members at the lead of the Supreme Council of Romania. In fact, he was a Grand Sovereign Commander in the place of the Grand Sovereign Commander Jean Pangal while this one was out of the country. His position, in this attribute, somehow imposed by the fact that he was Grand Sovereign Commander of Honour, stirred discussions in the Romanian Freemasonry, which created two groups, one of them wishing that Jean Pangal came back in the country with the right of being, further on, the Grand Sovereign Commander. A part of the archive of the Supreme Council was kept, at that time, at the address from 12, Sãrindar Street;

- 11.03.1945: the reconstitution of the Supreme Council of Romania. Constantin Bellu, Isaac Grassiani, Erast Peretz, Preda Fundateanu, Mircea Ciupercescu and Nubar Bohceli took part in this. The following 33 were confirmed: Mircea Ciupercescu, Constantin Pomponiu, Alexandru Bilciurescu, Liviu Ciuley, Dimitrie Sturdza, Alexandru Polizu, Alfred Cerchez, Alexandru Grigoriu, Nubar Bohceli and Serope Bohceli; M.N. is Grand Sovereign Commander provisional ("because Pangal was abroad and he had decided to write to M.N in order to ask him whether he wanted or not to be in the lead of the Supreme Council again."), Constantin Bellu, Grand Lieutenant Commander, Erast Peretz, Grand Secretary, Isaac Grassiani, Grand Treasure Keeper, Preda Fundateanu, Grand Prior, Mircea Ciupercescu, Grand Warden, George Grigoriu, Grand Orator provisional ("since I was going to be elected Grand Master, I became incompatible with being Orator of The  Supreme Council"). The report of reopening The Supreme Council was antedated "with a date anterior to the one of the report of reopening of the Grand Lodge of Romania";

- 1946: he took part in The Convent of the Grand National Lodge of Romania;

- 1946: he sent Cowles, in Washington, two or three letters (after having announced, in 1945, the reopening of the Romanian Masonry) in which "he presented the situation of the masonry within the country, at the same time, asking for money". The letters were written in English by Sergiu Aronovici, who was, at that moment, an office worker at the U.S.A Legation and sent through his diplomatic courier.

- 15.09.1947: he took part in a Masonic meeting which authorized Nubar Bohceli to represent the Romanian masonry at the Masonic Conference in Washington;

- 15.10.1947: "at the ceremony of establishing the Themis Lodge for magistrates, the Worshipful Master Noradunghian stated that after having founded lodges for all the intellectual professions, the founding of the lodges for manual workers would come" (from an informative Note of S.S.I from 17.10.1947);

- 1946: on behalf of the American freemasonry, Cowles sent Mihail Noradunghian the sum of 10.000 dollars for helping the national masonry. Subsequently, all kinds of intrigues were hatched about this gift, intrigues which led to endless discussions in the Romanian masonry;

- 1947: he presented in the lodges "an informative American Bulletin received from that masonry, which was about the resuming of the Masonic activity in Romania and of the Grand Lodge under the leadership of the Grand Master George Grigoriu";

- 1947: he received the invitation of participating at the Convent of the Grand Lodge of New York. Probably, taking into account his illness and his age, he designated Nubar Bohceli. C. Bellu insisted on Isaac Grassiani going. In the end, none of them got the visa for exiting Romania;

- 07.02.1948: he was present as a Grand Sovereign Commander of The Supreme Council of Romania in a table used for informing the Grand Masonic Powers of the world;

- August/September 1948: he held, at his place, a meeting with the brothers of the 33rd grade and decided the dormition of the freemasonry in Romania. The following participated and signed a report: Al. Polizu, Nubar Bochceli, Ilie Semo, Isaac Grassiani, Al. Bilciurescu, Mihai Noradunghian and Mircea Ciupercescu.  The reason: "the requisition of the two quarters of the masonry";

- 1951: on the grave stone from the Armenian Cemetery of Bucharest is written: Grand Sovereign Commander of the Supreme Council of Romania.




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