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By W Bro Varpal Singh Sagoo, DDyGDC

31 January 2023 , London, England

Tercentenary Celebrations of the 1723 Constitution

Seven Brethren from the District Grand Lodge of the Eastern Archipelago, led by our own District Grand Master, R.W. Bro. YBhg Dato' Jeyaraj Ratnaswamy braved the cold wintery London morning to attend the Especial Meeting of Grand Lodge dedicated to the celebrations of the Tercentenary of the 1723 Constitution. We first gathered at the renowned Philomena's which is the usual haunt for brethren of DGLEA to meet and regroup before or after Grand Lodge meetings. While some warmed themselves with usual hot coffee others chose to buffer the cold with the warmth of fine spirits so generously provided by WB Rajash Singh which was faithfully received and well applied by the Brethren present.

The meeting, as we have come to expect from our Grand Lodge, was indeed a most grand and dignified affair. There were 1,600 Masons in attendance including Grand Masters from various Constitutions, Representatives from American and European Grand Lodges and not forgetting the Grand Masters of the order of Women Freemasons formally known as Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (HFAF), a fraternity for women and organised by women which was a first for many of us. We all watch as these woman as they strode in gracefully when being announced. Although at first it seemed strange to see them in their chains and regalia there is no doubt they looked majestic.

Our DGM joined the procession together with the Pro Grand Master and as usual all was flawlessly performed. No mean feat for such a huge procession. Speaking from my point of view of a DOC, I could not wonder how many days of practice it would have taken to get that in order.

Having been seated the program commenced with the opening and welcoming address by the Pro Grand Master followed by talks by Dr Ric Berman and the Prestonian Lecturer for 2023 as well as the former Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Washington DC, Akram Elias who spoke flawlessly for a good 20 minutes without reference to any notes while captivating the audience's attention with his clear voice and eye contact. It was one of the better talks that I have heard on Freemasonry for a long time that commanded our full attention throughout.

The highlight of the meeting was of course a short film on the origins of the 1723 Constitutions which was screened at the meeting and performed by our own Freemasons from London. They were so natural and accomplished one would not know that they were not professional actors. To many of us the film was the highlight of the meeting and gave all of us an insight as to how the 1723 Constitutions must have come about in the early years of modern Freemasonry.

The meeting ended with the National Anthem and the Pro Grand Master's procession retired with the same pomp and precision as at its entrance.

Those who had bought the ticket for lunch then adjourned to the Connaught room for the banquet with the Pro Grand Master and the rest of the dignitaries. The brethren from DGLEA and our DGM shared a table with the DGM of Ghana and brethren from Ghana. The lunch was superb and well accompanied by the red and white wines. However what will always be remembered was the wonderful fellowship and friendship we shared with the brethren of DGLEA and those we met at the meeting.

After the lunch as is customary, the few remaining Brethren minus our DGM, who was a bit under the weather, regrouped at The George Bar for a few more drinks before we left. All in all it was a wonderful meeting, well worth the long trip to attend as it was much different from the annual investiture.

We were able to see another side of Grand Lodge not seen before. To end this article and for those who have yet to visited Grand Lodge you owe yourself such a visit. Till next time my dear Brethren.

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