Distinguished guests and Brother Knights, I begin by offering you all a most hearty welcome to our Chapter of Great Priory in London today. Many of you have made a huge effort to be with us and I do sincerely hope that the occasion will prove a memorable and happy day for you all. I have been pleased to create 3 new Knights Commander this afternoon and I know you would all like to join me in congratulating Right Eminent Knights Professor Guy Charlesworth, the Rev. Malcolm Lane and Ryan Williams. Right Eminent Knight Guy Charlesworth has been our Provincial Prior for The Transvaal since 2006 and has done, and is doing, outstanding work for Freemasonry in that part of the world. I don’t think I need tell you anything further about Malcolm Lane or Ryan Williams so I will ask you to join me in wishing these three Knights well in their new stations.
In our congratulations we include all the Brother Knights who received appointments and promotions in Great Priory today. This is your day, your special occasion and I trust you will enjoy your new roles to the full, ever remembering that with rank comes added responsibilities and even more so as Great Priory Officers. We look to you to offer help, encouragement and support to your Preceptories and the Brother Knights therein and never to rest on your laurels. As a pattern for imitation consider that glorious luminary of Great Priory, Very Eminent Knight Eddie Magee, our 1st Great Constable. Eddie came on to the Grand Master’s Body Guard in 1984, was appointed Deputy Commander in 1994 and has served as Commander from 1997 until this very day. He and his Deputy, E.Kt. Robert Clark, have both decided to retire today, so Brother Knights, let’s wish them well for the future.
I can hardly believe that it has been a year since I was installed as your Grand Master and I wish to thank you for re-electing me for a further term. I do hope that I can fulfil your expectations of me and live up to the ideals of our wonderful Christian Brotherhood. The past year has seen the installations of five Provincial Priors, four of whom I had the pleasure of installing personally. On 27th June last year R.E.Kt. Graeme Hutchinson took charge of Derbyshire. In Southampton on 5th September I installed R.E.Kt. Charles Aspinell for Hampshire & Isle of Wight. Later that month R.E.Kt. Brian Shegar was installed for the Province of South East Asia, and I do apologise Brian for not being with you on that occasion. 28th October saw us in Worcester for the installation of R.E.Kt.Eric Bourne for that Province and just last month on April 14th we installed R.E.Kt. Roger Wortley into charge of Northampton, Huntingdon and Bedford. Now Brother Knights, let’s give them a welcome in their new roles in quintuple measure.
Brother Knights, for over 100 years our Order has provided financial support to the St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital – a partnership we can all be proud of, as it enables the delivery of better front-line eye care for adults and children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Jerusalem and further afield. During my visit to Jerusalem in February along with the Great Vice-Chancellor, we witnessed the most dedicated of staff treating patients as best they could in the absence of the most up to date facilities and equipment.
Through the outstanding support of Brother Knights across the Order, we are fortunate to have increased the reserves of the Benevolent Fund in recent years to such an extent that dispersing further funds for the benefit of the Eye Hospital is appropriate. The pressing need for further funding for all aspects of the hospital’s operation, but more particularly in the field of paediatrics, caught the interest of the Grand Master’s Council and I am delighted that they have felt able to recommend a further, significant grant to the hospital to assist in this very important area of its operation. Your approval today of that recommendation, so ably explained by the President of the Council, to allocate a further £250,000 specifically for paediatric care will have a direct and positive impact on those children requiring in-patient treatment and post-operative care through the refurbishment of the children’s ward at the Jerusalem hospital as well as enabling hundreds of children to receive cataract surgery. Add to this the funding of fellowship training for a paediatric doctor and I hope you will agree that this represents a worthwhile use of our resources at a time when the Fund is able to provide such assistance. I can’t too strongly express my gratitude for the support you give to the Benevolent Fund and, believe me, what we saw on our visit to Jerusalem and the surrounding areas would inspire every Brother Knight to renewed efforts on behalf of our special charity. On June 26th a few of us from Great Priory will attend a Gala Dinner at the Guildhall here in London to celebrate the work of all the St.John staff, partners, volunteers and supporters across the globe who are working to end preventable blindness in the Holy Land. There are a limited number of places still available to join us for this event, which is a rare opportunity to dine at this Iconic venue, which has played host to the Lord Mayor’s since 1502. The evening will be held in the presence of His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester with a Keynote Speech from Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan. There is a St. John stand outside the doors of the Grand Temple which I hope you will have time to visit after our meeting and pick up a leaflet. I now turn to welcoming our distinguished guests from Sister Great Priories who have collectively made the proceedings of this afternoon that much more special for us all. It may be better on this occasion to withhold your applause until the end of the list.
Great Priory of Scotland
M.E. & Rev. G.M., James Robert Hodge
R.E.Frater Pringle Johnstone GCT Grand Secretary
R.E.Frater Raymond King GCT Grand Treasurer
Great Priory of Greece
M.E. & Rev. G.M. Andreas Spyropoulos
Great Priory of Finland
V.E. Kt. Jussi Tuovinen, Great Vice-Chancellor
Great Priory of the United Orders of France
M.E.& S.Kt. Alain Curtet, Grand Master
M.E.& S.Kt. Christian Pajolec, Past Grand Master
V.E.Kt.John Weir, Great Marshal
V.E.Kt. Bernard Wakin, Deputy Great Marshal
E.Kt.Dr.Ronald Barham, Honorary Great Marshal
Grand Priory of Italy
M.E.& S Kt.Antonio Catanese Grand Master
R.E.Kt. Alessandro Fisco, Great Seneschal
R.E.Kt.Giorgio Ferrario, Grand Secretary
R.E.Kt.Francesco Florian, Grand Provost
R.E.Kt.Alberto Massimo, Grand Organist
R.E.Kt.Saba Dell’Oca, Dep.Grand Mareschal
R.E.Kt. Angelo Spizuoco
Great Priory of Benin
M.E.& S.Kt. Emmanuel Degand, Grand Master who I had the pleasure to install in February this year.
V.H.& R.E.Kt. Gilbert Houndjo, Great Seneschal
Let’s show our distinguished guests the warmth of our welcome.
We now turn to the Brother Knights from Overseas within our own Constitution and Heads of other Orders.
Province of South East Asia
R.E.Kt. Brian Shegar, Prov. Prior
E.Kt. Ian Banks received P.Gt.St.B.(B)
E.Kt. Ronald Ng (Ing)
E.Kt. Karl Nadrianov received Gt.Chamberlain
E.Kt. Vijay Natarajan received P.Dep.Gt.Swd.B.
E.Kt. Michael Jayesuria
E.Kt. Capt. Julian Brown
Kt. Pratapkaran Paul
Kt. Bharat Epur
Province of South America
E.Kt.Wagner Rodrigues received P.Gt.St.B.(B)
E.Kt.Jayme de Freitas Filho received P.Gt.St.B.(B)
Province of Transvaal
R.E.Kt. Prof. Guy Charlesworth KCT Prov Prior
V.E.Kt. His Honour Mr.JusticeThomas Cloete
E.Kt.Phillip Venn received P.Gt.A.-de-C.
Province of Far East
E.Kt. Robert Bull
Grand Priory of Knights Beneficent of the Holy City, Grand Master R.E.Kt. Michael Herbert GCT
Grand Imperial Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine, Grand Sovereign, R.E.Kt. Graham Flight KCT
Grand Council of the Order of Royal and Select Masters, Grand Master, R.E.Kt. Kessick Jones KCT
Grand Council of the Order of the Allied Masonic Degrees, the first time many of us have seen him since his fall last November, Grand Master, R.E.Kt. Thomas Firth Jackson KCT
Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, Supreme Magus, R.E.Kt. John Paternoster KCT
Grand Conclave of the Order of the Secret Monitor, Grand Supreme Ruler, R.E. Kt. Andrew Sweeney KCT
Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, Pro Grand Master, V.E.Kt. Raymond John Smith P.1st Gt.Con.
Grand College of Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests and Order of Holy Wisdom, Grand High Priest, V.E.Kt. Christopher Maiden P.1st Gt.Con.
Ancient and Masonic Order of the Scarlet Cord, Grand Summus, E.Kt. Ian Currans. P.Gt.Herald
Let’s express our appreciation for the attendance of all these Brother Knights.
Before we close, I would like to express my personal gratitude to the Great Vice-Chancellor and the staff at the Chancery for all they do to ensure the smooth running of the Order and this meeting in particular. Similarly to the Great Marshal and his Deputies for the exemplary Ceremonial we have enjoyed today, and a special ‘thank you’ to the Grand Master’s Body Guard, who in my experience, has always set the standard for meetings of Great Priory.
I also wish to thank E.Kt. John Vasquez and those at Freemasons’ Hall for all their support and for making these magnificent facilities available to us.
Today has seen a very important and significant meeting for us, and I feel more than ever that we are highly privileged in being members of this great Order, drawing its inspiration from the Christian Religion and the faithful practice of Christian virtues. It extends to us the privilege of sharing in its priceless heritage of the past, as defenders of the Faith.
Thank you Brother Knights, for your attendance today and I look forward to seeing you all again at our Malta Great Priory in November.