Past Worshipful Master, Spiru Haret Lodge No.56, Bucharest;
Inspector Expert, NGLR;
Webmaster, MASONIC FORUM Magazine
In April 2000, as apprentice, merely practicing the silence and knowing nothing more than the words of the ritual of the first degree. For our younger brethren, it may do to say, back then, the halls of our Temples were not as full of books and explanatory brochures as they are today, all authors in good repute. Documenting oneself, studying individually, was a veritable trial. Young masons in a young masonry.
Claudiu, with the innocence of the layman in what regards IT, but knowing that I do some kind of work with computers, made me a proposition, to become part of the new magazine he had just founded. I tried to explain to him that in IT there are at least an 100 different jobs and that my specialization at that time had nothing to do with what he needed. But then I was taken in by his enthusiasm, by the beauty of the construction, by its purposes. I just said to myself: “Well, I’ve done (few years back) some DTP and work with graphic tools, and HTML is not much of a programming language, I know the basics, I’ll do fine with some practice”.
This is how I launched myself in this adventure called Masonic Forum. Days. Evenings. Nights. Months. Now, it’s been years. Long sessions of editing. Internet searches. Articles from the lodges. Articles from the brotherly domain. Formal approvals for translations and reprints from the Scottish Rite Journal. Controversies. Money for the paper and the printing (this was
Claudiu’s job, I’m no good at finances). The hard, unforgiving road of information filtering. Graphics. Pictures. Visits. Pagination. Repagination. Translations. Copy editing. Something new in the business. Imprimatur. Print. And above all, the People. Enthusiastic brethren.
This was my Masonic school. This was my bridge, connecting me to a new world. Working for the magazine and for its website, I learned to never stop learning. To be open to the new, but at the same time to maintain my critical spirit. To be active continuously in my symbolic lodge, to seek the truth in the AASR, in the York Rite. To be merry and proud as a Noble Shriner.
Masonic Forum was my Masonic ABC. In its first issues, the Mason’s Manual was translated, developed by the Council for Masonic Education of the Grand Lodge of California, one of the first reference items in Romanian after the rekindling of the lights. In the pages of the magazine, the first guide of Masonic addresses to the officers and dignitaries appeared. The original text of the Declaration of Principles of Lausanne, 1875. The Downland manuscript. The Regius manuscript. The presentation of the most important Rites. Appendant Bodies. Famous masons. Regalia. Symbols. Esotericism. But also Oliver Hardy, of Ollie and Stanley (Stanley Laurel) was our brother, in a funny photo-article by me and Claudiu, after a night of homeric laughter.
Masonic Forum was a bridge to my brethren. Around Claudiu, around his project, as years went by, wonderful people gathered, full of passion for various domains of the Craft. There was something to learn from each of them. They will have to pardon me for not mentioning their names, but there is not enough space for all of them. But if you have followed the previous 49 issues of the magazine, you will have seen them among the authors. Let’s not forget about the box of acknowledgments. And let’s not forget about the interviews that grace each and every issue of the Masonic Forum, which have brought so close to me and to us the brilliant spirits, the strong characters, the Brethren.
A pleasure to my heart it has been, the website www.masonicforum.ro, a bridge to the Romanians thrown by fate away from their motherland of their birth. The e-mail of a brother from Australia, who confided in us, full of emotion, that he had not read a Masonic text in Romanian for more than 40 years before picking up our magazine will always be the fondest recognition of my work in Claudiu Ionescu’s team. And other such emails followed, from Germany as well as France, and from Israel, and both the Americas.
In the latter years, we have all taken a liking to the omnipresent photo galleries from all corners of the obedience. They have shown us the beauty of the work of our brethren. The beauty of the temples they erect. The luminous events they manage to organize. The Masonic Forum, presenting them for us, unites us and at the same time represents us. And for me, initiated in the modest temple in Calea Victoriei, it is a thing of pride to belong to an expanding order, with involved brothers who are better and better trained.
The external representation, however, is perhaps the most wonderful accomplishment of the Masonic Forum. Due to its bilingual format, the magazine was to be, even from inception, a messenger of Romanian Masonry toward all horizons. Whether it has succeeded in this or not, whether it has made a contribution to the integration of Romanian Masonry in the universal chain of masonry, I will leave you to decide for yourselves, and I will only point to the other articles of this special issue. For me, personally, however, it was an honor to work on the texts of the exemplary brethren, the ample figures of universal Masonic life. And the opportunity to get to know many of them personally could not be anything but an enchantment for my soul.
All the enumerations above are pale reflections of the feelings I have felt and still feel as a part of the Masonic Forum team. Words cannot even, and need not even, describe what I truly feel today. I thank Claudiu for the opportunity, I thank everyone who has led me to the gate of the bridge. But like Zorobabel, I am alone their on the bridge, and I can only tell you that I love the road on which I have started, and that I invite each and everyone among you to pss your own bridge.
May the Masonic Forum – the magazine, the website, the spirit – always provide the same support for us all in the assumption of the most important right and in the overcoming of the most important obligation of the master mason: Liberté de passer, liberté de penser. (Freedom to move, freedom to think.)