Warwickshire Companions on tour

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On Saturday 1st June 2019 the Chapter of Melita No 349 celebrated the 200th anniversary of its founding in 1819. The guest of honour was the Most Excellent Companion Gareth Jones OBE, the Third Grand Principal accompanied by acting Grand Director of Ceremonies E Comp Nick Bosanquet. Of course, the Grand Inspector for the Malta Group of Lodges Excellent Companion Dr Larry Leon Porter was present as were a number of distinguished guests including the Grand High Priest for the Supreme Chapter of Greece, the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent for Cyprus and the Grand Inspector for Portugal.

There were also three Companions from Warwickshire present wearing their Warwickshire ties by kind permission of the Grand Inspector and of course the customary Warwickshire smile.

In addition to 200 years the Chapter celebrated the return to its original name, “Chapter of Melita No 349”. In 1983, for local political and legal reasons in Malta, the Chapter was obliged to gain permission from the First Grand Principal to adopt the name “Chapter of St John and St Paul”. In the 200th anniversary year the First Grand Principal has kindly given his permission for the Chapter to return to its rightful name.

It was an early start, the Companions had to be seated at 9:30 ready for the Chapter to be opened by the three Principals – in a slightly different way to the Warwickshire working!

After the Grand Inspector and the Third Grand Principal had been received the Grand inspector gave an Oration on the history of the Chapter.

The Chapter Historian, E Comp Eddie Kalogeropoulos, presented the book containing the history of the Chapter to the Principals and the Grand Principal.

The Grand Principal presented the Charter of Chapter, re-enfaced to the original name of “Chapter of Melita” and a Commemorative Plaque was unveiled, recording the change of name.

Eight of the junior Companions of the Chapter delivered the (Aldersgate version of the) Symbolical Lecture in an exemplary manner, including two companions who had only been Exalted 5 days before!

Meanwhile the ladies and other non-masonic guests were treated to a talk entitled “Magdalene Nuns and Penitent Prostitutes” by author Dr Christine Muscat – “Founded in the late 16th Century, the one-time Magdalene monastery in Valletta took in the widest spectrum of ladies of pleasure, from affluent courtesans to back-street wenches. They either surrendered voluntarily in quest of security or were forcibly incarcerated within the bleak Monastery walls.”

After pre-dinner drinks at the Masonic Hall we all headed to the nearby Grand Excelsior Hotel for a celebration lunch that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Stephen Wall