EUGEN OVIDIU CHIROVICI
Past Grand Master, National Grand Lodge of Romania
Honorary Director, MASONIC FORUM Magazine
Graham Greene once wrote that a story does not actually have a beginning, nor an ending. What we tend to call “beginning” is just a moment randomly chose by the author in order to offer us a glimpse into something that in reality started some time ago and will predictably end long after that same author decides to end the narration.
Therefore, the moment I will choose to tell you my inherently incomplete and subjective fraction from the long story that is the “Masonic Forum” magazine is the start of 2001, when I met Claudiu Ionescu, the owner and editor of this publication that I had already heard of. It was right after the unification between the National Grand Lodge of Romania (NGLR) and the National United Grand Lodge of Romania (NUGLR), which took place in January 2001. It was a consequence of this unification that I became Deputy Grand Master and Claudiu wanted to record my thoughts on this in the pages of the magazine, as an interview. After the meeting, I became a close friend not only of the publication, but of its editor, as well.
So, two years later, after I was elected Grand Master, the development of the magazine became one of my top priorities, without in any way interfering in its editorial content – I had worked in journalism for twelve years and was horrified by anything that meant censorship or editorial interference. My contribution was limited to matters of logistics, to writing some leading articles and to bringing together an honorary board comprising important names of Universal Freemasonry. So the main credit for the fact that the magazine succeeded not only in lasting this long, but also for its becoming a highly appreciated voice in the internal and external Masonic world belongs, without a doubt, to Claudiu. A voice that the Regular Freemasonry in Romania, awakened from the slumber of the communist night, needed in order to be heard, especially in the international arena. Also, internally, the magazine became an actual tribune for debate, a vehicle for disseminating the preoccupations and approaches of the lodges in the jurisdiction, a binding material for brethren from different Orients. At first viewed with some reluctance by some brethren and with condescendence by others, over time “Masonic Forum” has become the most important means of communication between the lodges in the NGLR, on the one hand and the Regular Freemasonry in Romania and the regular jurisdictions abroad, on the other. Many times during my foreign pilgrimages I was told that the magazine is considered one of the most important Masonic publications in the world, both in its form and its content. For me it was a permanent and important component in the general architecture of my call to building a proper imagine of our jurisdiction on an international level – an image that oftentimes finds itself in the crossfire of detractors which our Grand Lodge has unfortunately never lacked. Through his work, Claudiu made this call easier for me and for that I would like to thank him once again, as all our brethren in the jurisdiction should.
Two decades means the blink of an eye in the life of an Order that counts its age in centuries, but it means a significant portion of the active life of a Brother that has chosen to dedicate his determination, tenacity and talent to an ideal we all share: a strong and mature Romanian Freemasonry, capable of becoming an emanation of good in the territory where it chose to fulfill its destiny. I think all of us were lucky that Brother Claudiu chose to dedicate all these years to the project that is the “Masonic Forum” – I, who was at the helm of the Order for seven years in circumstances that were often extremely difficult, more so than most. Therefore, may the story of the magazine we now celebrate never end.
Florence, November 2020