Historical outlook of the Scottish Lodges in Lebanon.
Extract from “A Brief History of the District Grand Lodge of Lebanon” – Bro Roland Prince
1861 – LODGE PALESTINE No. 415
The first ever regular Masonic Lodge to be consecrated in Beirut was LODGE PALESTINE No. 415 chartered in May 6th 1861 working under the rolls of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The Lodge’s petition was considered and reviewed at Grand Committee meeting held at Freemason’s Hall on March 4th 1861.
At a meeting of the Grand Lodge held at the Freemason’s Hall on May 6th 1861. With the M. W. Grand Master Bro. George Augustus Frederick John, Lord Glenlyn, afterwards sixth Duke of Atholl presiding, The Resolution of the Grand Committee was confirmed, and a Charter issued on May 6th 1861. In 1868, Palestine Lodge had a membership of about 75 members, scattered all over Greater Syria, with a substantial number in Beirut. It had a succession of eminent Masters and drew its members from the elite of society and the intelligentsia, especially from the ranks of the American and English Schools of Higher Education, and the merchant class that represented British, French and other European firms. (5). Lodge Palestine seased operating
The Scottish Masonry flourished under the Ottoman empire despite many tribulations and subsequent condemnation. During this period many charters for Lodges were issued by the Grand Lodge of Scotland:
1900 – Foundation of Lodge Peace 908 – Beirut
1904 – Foundation of Lodge Sannine 969 – Choueir
1906 – Foundation of Lodge Kadisha 1002 – Tripoli
1908 – Foundation of Lodge Zahle 1047 – Zahle
1914 – Foundation of Lodge el Mizab 1130 – Tripoli
1923 – Foundation of Lodge Mount Lebanon 1312 – Shweifat
1926 – Foundation of Lodge King Hiram 1351 – Tripoli
1952 – DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT
In 1952 there were two District superintendents to govern over the Lodges in the region and their role was overlapping the geographical distribution of Lodges. These District were:
- District Superintendent of Palestine – governed by Dr. G.L. Colenso-jones Tripoli, Lebanon.
The District Superintendent governed over the following Lodges: Carmel 1085 – Haifa; Jordan 1339- Jaffa; The Golden Thrown 1344– Jerusalem; King Hiram 1351 – Tripoli; the Lodge of the holly City 1372 -Jerusalem; Rubin 1376 – Haifa; Mizpah 1383- Jerusalem; Sharon 1387 – Tel Aviv; Aviv 1397- Tel-Aviv.
- District Superintendent of Syria and Lebanon – governed by George A. Ashkar- Beirut, Lebanon.
Peace 908 – Beirut; Kadisha 1002 Tripoli; Zahle 1047- Zahle; Light of Damascus 1058- Damascus; Emessa 1125- Homs; El Mizab 1130 – Tripoli.
1954 – 1960 in 1954 the Lodges were redistributed under the District Superintendent of Eastern Mediterranean – but still under the governance of Dr. G.L. Colenso-jones London and included the following eight Lodges.
Peace 908 – Beirut; Zahle 1047- Zahle; Light of Damascus 1058- Damascus;
Emessa 1125- Homs; El Mizab 1130 – Tripoli; Jordan 1339- Amman; The Golden Thrown 1344– Jerusalem and King Hiram 1351 – Tripoli
1964 – With the Closing of King Hiram in the early sixties, the Lodges working under the District superintendent of Eastern Mediterranean were reduced to seven.
By 1968 the eight Lodges registered under the District Superintendent Eastern Mediterranean – Dr. G.L. Colenso-jones London were as follow:
Peace 908 – Beirut; Kadisha 1002 – Beirut; Zahle 1047- Zahle; Light of Damascus 1058-Damascus; El Mizab 1130 – Tripoli; Mount Lebanon 1312 – Beirut; Jordan 1339- Amman; and The Golden Thrown 1344– Jerusalem;
In 1969 The name of the District changed to the “District of Lebanon” and remains under Dr. G.L. Colenso-jones London and the Lodges were reduced to five limited only to the Lodges working within the Lebanese territory:
Peace 908 – Beirut; Kadisha 1002 – Beirut; Zahle 1047- Zahle; El Mizab 1130 – Tripoli; Mount Lebanon 1312 – Beirut with the two Lodges, Jordan 1339- Amman and The Golden Thrown 1344– Jerusalem going under the Direct supervision of the Grand Lodge. This remains the case up until 1987.
In 1987 – Due to the re-instigation of the Civil War in Lebanon the District of Lebanon was suspended as four out of the Five Lodges working under the District Superintendent of Lebanon went dormant with the exception of Peace Lodge 908 as registered in the Grand Lodge Year Books of the related Years. Peace Lodge 908 remained working but with direct supervision from the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
In 1991 – Lodge El Mizab 1130 regained operation to be the second Lodge under the direct Supervision of Grand Lodge. Lodge Zahle 1047 regained operation in 1998 to total three Lodges in operation.
In 2005 – June 9th 2005 Lodge Harmony 1830– Zahle charter was issued by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
District Grand Superintendent of Lebanon
In 2007 The Grand Lodge of Scotland commissioned a District Grand Superintendent for Lebanon to govern over the four operating Lodges in Lebanon: – Lodge Peace 980 – Lodge El Mizab 1130, Lodge Zahle 1047 and Lodge Harmony 1830. During this period two Lodges were reponed and added to the list of operating Lodges:
In 2010 – Lodge Kadisha 1002 has had his charter restituted
In 2012 – Lodge Mount Lebanon 1312 was relaunched in December 2012
District Grand Master for the District Grand Lodge of Lebanon
2012 – The Idea of commissioning a District Grand Master for Lebanon was stimulated.
2013 – June 1 – The Consecration & Installation meeting No. 001 of the District Grand Lodge of Lebanon, was held at 4:00 PM, on Saturday the 1st of June 2013 with the presence of Grand Master Mason Bro. Charles Iain R. Wolrige Gordon of Esslemont, Bro. W. Ramsey Mc Ghee Depute Grand Master Bro. David Begg, Grand Secretary – Bro. Andrew E. Paterson – Grand Librarian.
2014 – February 6th – The charterer of Lodge Pythagoras 1841 was issued as the eighth Lodge to open under the Scottish Constitution.
2016 – February 4th at Grand Lodge Communication Lodge King Hiram 1351 chartered on August 5th, 1926 was reponded with Bro. Andrew E. Paterson as the first reponing Master presiding over the Lodge. Bro. Ramsey Mcghee – Depute Grand Master Mason proceeded with the installation ceremony on July 17, 2016.
Following the resignation of the DGM Brother Charles Iain Robert Wolridge Gordon of Esselmont, Grand Master Mason, assigned Bro. Andrew E. Paterson as Acting District Grand Master for the Grand Lodge of Lebanon to cover the vacant office until the end of term and the appointment of a new District Grand Master.
Two additional lodges were consecrated between 2016 – 2018
2016 – October 29th – The Chartered of Lodge Trinity 1846 was issued.
2018 – February 1st The Charter of Lodge Al Nour 1847 was issued.
2018 – June 9th – The Installation of a new DGM Brother Rabih Jarmakani as DGM took place.
The District Grand Master within his plan for restructuring and enhancing the work of the district created the following committees: – FINANCE – BENEVOLENT – EDUCATION – GROWTH & PLANNING – PR & PUBLICITY – MEDIA PRODUCTION – DIGITAL – RITUAL & CEREMONIES. The Education went on to take the focal point of this strategy and many Lodges took Masonic Education as main activity within their meetings.
2018 – February 1st The Charter of Lodge Al Nour 1847 was issued.
2020 – February 6th The Charter of Lodge Al Arz 1853 was issued.
- History of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel) No.1. By David Murray Lyon, Benno Loewy (p324)
- History of freemasonry in the near east.
- Billy Kay. 2012. The Scottish World: A Journey into the Scottish Diaspora. Edinburgh and London: Mainstream Publishing. 319 ss.
- Historic Freemasonry in the Middle East – Isaac Bar-Moshe
- Freemasonry in the Ottoman Empire – A history of Fraternity and its Influence in Syria and the Levant. – Dorothe Sommers – 2015
- Grand Lodge of Scotland Year Books – 19526
- Grand Lodge of Scotland Communications.
- District Grand Lodge Proceedings.