JOHN L. SHARP
PAGPurs.PZ, United Grand Lodge of England
On the 11th September 2010 Mr. Daniel Tomozeiu a Visiting Lecturer, employed by the University of London was initiated into my mother lodge, New Venture Lodge No: 7516, London. I soon discovered Bro Daniel was a Romanian national. I had never met anyone from Romania before but sensed this was to be a very enjoyable experience for me. As I had previously suspected, Bro. Daniel has since fitted perfectly into our lodge. Having regard for the aforementioned, when another Romanian national, Mr Constantin Damov was proposed into New Venture Lodge he was welcomed with open arms. Bro. Constantin was initiated on 19th February 2011 at Freemasons’ Hall London – home of the United Grand Lodge of England. Both Bro. Daniel and Bro Constantine have proven to be very receptive to our order and its teachings. In my opinion they both have great futures ahead of them in freemasonry and in particular, English freemasonry.
In conversation with Bro. Constantin I mentioned I knew nothing of Romania or its people. Bro. Constantin suggested I should visit Romania and see for myself, he also suggested he would be very willing to show me some of his country personally.
To “fast forward” Bro. Constantine informed me a new Masonic temple was being consecrated at Giurgiu in Romania. He suggested I might like to be present at this very important event in the history of Romanian freemasonry. I of course leapt at the chance to attend. On Thursday 29th September, accompanied by my partner Anne, W. Bro. Paul Ross (P.M. of New Venture Lodge) and his wife Jackie we boarded a plane at Luton airport bound for Bucharest. On arrival at Bucharest airport we were met by Bro. Constantin and driven to Sinaia mountain resort. Sinaia is a very beautiful and picturesque location; our hotel was perfect with fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. We had dinner in a wonderful traditional Romanian restaurant – needless to say the wine flowed freely and the food was fit for a King. (…) We drive to Giurgiu to begin what for me would be a Masonic experience of a lifetime.
On arrival at the new Masonic building we were given a guided tour of this most impressive edifice. The modern influence was clearly visible but one was immediately struck by the traditional being constantly present in the design. The two young architects deserve all the accolades possible for a most excellent design.
The time came for the arrival of the Most Worshipful Grand Master of NGLR, The red carpet was in place and the formal entrance of M.W. Bro. Radu Bălănescu and his Officers took place. I had the great Pleasure of being introduced to the Grand Master and his Officers. During the afternoon and evening I had the pleasure of meeting many of my Romanian brethren and was most impressed by their friendly and fraternal greetings. The ceremony of dedication was carried out in a conscientious and very meticulous manner. After this came the ceremony of installation of the New Master of St. Georges Lodge. As with the previous ceremony the work was impeccable, the brethren involved played their part in an outstanding and engaging manner. Although both ceremonies were conducted in Romanian I was able to understand most of what was going on because the installation was very similar to my own English Emulation working.
The reception which followed was a banquet never to be forgotten! The food and wine were second to none I was also most gratified to see present numerous bottles of “Dimple Whisky” a brand I’ve not seen in England for many years. I particularly enjoyed the entertainment; the cabaret was of the highest standard and absolutely delightful in its content. Most enjoyable of all was the truly world class masonic welcome given to me and my fellow Britain W. Bro. Ross, this is something that will distinguish and characterise Romanian Freemasonry throughout the Masonic world. I had the pleasure of meeting many Romanian freemasons during my visit, the names of whom sadly escape me for the moment. However, any brother who wishes to visit my own lodge or indeed any lodge in London is most welcome to contact me through W. Bro. Claudiu Ionescu.
Brethren all, may I thank you for your very kind Masonic and fraternal welcome on my visit to Romania. Romanian freemasonry has returned to light in a most spectacular and dedicated way and I am sure will continue in this direction. You will soon be hosting the world Masonic conference, an event not insignificant in its importance worldwide. I offer my congratulations and best wishes to you all for a successful and enjoyable conference. A sleeping giant has truly awoken; please allow me the honour once more of meeting that Masonic giant. May the GAOTU guide and keep you all.