Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Russia

Now and till the end of my life I keep in my memory his voice, loudly saying “For the first, second and third time I hail, salute and proclaim the Most Worshipful Brother Andrey Bogdanov Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Russia and I call upon all the Brethren to recognise him as such and salute him by eleven copying my example”.

Thomas Jackson installed and proclaimed me as Grand Master of the GL of Russia in June 2007. It was the culmination of the most difficult annual communication in all the history of the Russian Freemasonry. I hope Tom did at that moment the choice that he never had to regret.

We became friends since then. For an Apprentice Grand Master that I am he became the Grand Teacher and the faithful guide through the tangled maze of the world masonic system. I was impatiently looking forward for every meeting with him. I tried as much as I could to ask questions about the history, traditions but also about the managerial side of the masonic work. Tom was responding those questions with an infinite patience. And what was amazingly important is that most of that information could not be retrieved from any other source would it be the Internet or any imaginable books. He knew everything about the Grand Lodges: their history, their rituals their current situation.

But the most important lesson that he taught to me was the science of building the fraternal relations in any situation and to be sensitive to any problems of Brothers. And he taught me the art of silence that he learned being Apprentice and that he kept till the highest positions in Freemasonry.

It was almost fifteen years of friendship, we met multiple times in different countries and on different continents. My preferred joke was then telling him that he should be named honorary pilot of all the Americas for the number of flights he does.

But our meetings in Russia are particularly memorable. He visited Russia seven times in fifteen years. And every visit was like a lesson for all the Russian freemasons. There were no boring lectures, all our talks were very instructive, and we always could appreciate his incomparable sense of humour.

It’s difficult to use the past tense when speaking about Tom. I just don’t want to tell him goodbye. I always feel like at some upcoming annual communication he’ll come again to tap me on the shoulder and to say: “well, now we take a glass of good whisky, and we talk”…