This came about after a Romanian dentist, Victor Bejan, was Initiated into the Lodge of Obedience, No. 1753 in July 2015. When the time came for his raising to the Third Degree in September 2016,Victors father, (also called Victor), together with his friend, W. Bro. Catalin Turliuc, Pro Grand Master of Romania, came over for the ceremony.
As so often happens, over a beer in the bar, the idea of a group visiting a Masonic Lodge in Romania, came up. Victor Junior contacted his father, and the trip was organised for the first week in June. It happened to coincide with a Symposium to commemorate the formation of Greater Romania in 1918, and our party was invited to attend.
On arrival at Iasi airport we were met by the Bros Bejan and conducted to our hotel in the city centre. Our hosts looked after us splendidly and had a full schedule to occupy us, both socially and Masonically. They had arranged for us to visit two Lodges during our stay, Mihail Kogaliniceanu, and Alexandru Ioan Cuza.
The warmth of our reception and the hospitality afforded to us was superb, as was the festive board. Whilst we fellows were at the Lodge meetings, wives of our hosts took the ladies out and dined and entertained them extremely well.
Also on our itinerary was a visit to a vineyard, owned by a Brother mason, which needless to say, included many tastings!
What was very impressive was that at Alexandru Ioan Cuza, the labour of the Lodge was an explanation of the First Degree apron, with large visual effects, and the Brethren delivering the work had learnt it, in English, in 2 weeks, to present it for us. It takes on average 12 months for a Candidate to progress to the next degree, despite them meeting twice a month. During this time the Candidate is expected to undertake considerably more work than we expect in the UK.
The Symposium was held in the Palace of Justice, in the presence of the Grand Master, Pro Grand Master and other Masonic Officials, during which a paper was presented with respect to the role of UGLE in the First World War. This was followed in the evening by a Classical concert. In all, this was a superb visit, fantastic friendship and hospitality, and one that we hope can be repeated in the future.
W. Bros. E. W. (Bill) Richardson, Paul Hands, Peter Southwell, Dennis Thorpe and Tony Clapham.