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The Scottish Rite in Greece

The Scottish Rite in Greece

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Published by Roberto Amato

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Published by: Roberto Amato on Nov 10, 2012
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The Scottish Rite in Greece
 Andreas C.Rizopoulos,
fficially,the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite
has beenpresent in Greece since July 
when the first Supreme Councilwas established by Demetrius Rhodocanakis under the authority given to him as active member ofthe Supreme Council ofScotland.Thus it now has a fully documented history ofover
 years.The Scottish Ritein other forms has been present in Greece,or at least in what is the presentGreece for almost an additional one hundred years,that is since
.This paperdoes not aim to present the complete history ofthe Rite in Greece,which wouldnecessitate a full-length book and most probably would only interest a very lim-ited audience.Instead,I intend to present the most important developmentsduring these
 years and to comment on the origins and on some contentiousevents ofthe period and finally to raise a number ofquestions.
The Beginning ofGreek Freemasonry
the first Masonic lodge was erected in Corfu,the capital ofthe sevenIonian Islands,under the authority ofthe Grand Mother Lodge ofVerona atPadova and ultimately under the National Directorate ofLyon ofthe FrenchRectified Scottish Rite and was named Beneficenza (Benevolence or Charity).This lodge became dormant shortly after the Venetian Republic started per-secuting Freemasonry.It was revived in
when the French occupied theIonian Islands for a briefperiod and again became dormant until
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the French came to the islands for the second time.Then it was revived againand united with Lodge Filogenia,which was working in Corfu,under thename Beneficenza-Filogenia Riunite,Filogenia meaning friendship ofthenation.On
Count Dionyssios de Roma applied to therecently revived Grand Orient ofFrance to place this lodge under its aegis.Following the approval ofthe Grand Orient,Roma turned the lodge into a“Provincial Mother Lodgethat is,a lodge with the authority to create new lodges in the area.Eventually after the beginning ofthe British Protectorate in
Roma and the other Freemasons ofthe time,decided to declare the lodgeto be the Serene Grand Orient ofGreece.That was a very bold move ifwe areto consider that at the time there was no country existing under the name of “Greece.It is noteworthy that after the launch ofthe War ofIndependence in
,Klemens von Metternich,the influential Austrian Foreign Minister,stated that he knew ofno country with the name of“Greecebecause he couldnot find it on his maps.Roma took another bold initiative by approaching the Grand Master ofthenewly formed United Grand Lodge ofEngland (U.G.L.E.),Augustus Duke of Sussex,offering him the position ofGrand Master ofthe new Grand Orientheadquartered in Corfu.Records existing in the French National Archivesconfirm that the Duke accepted the position,although I have not been able tofind any mention in the
ofthe U.G.L.E.It seems that Roma on theone hand was trying to obtain legitimacy ofthe new body and on the otherhand to serve a political purpose.The kettle ofthe revolution was already onthe fire,and the Ionian Islands were the only part ofGreece that was beyondthe reach ofthe Ottomans.This situation was to be exploited during the War,but that is another story.
The Demise ofthe First Grand Orient ofGreece
Despite the fact that this new Grand Orient was effectively placed under theU.G.L.E.,all Ionian Freemasons traced their identity from the Scottish Rite.Thus we find them signing all documents,including Craft diplomas,with theirScottish Rite ranks.A large number were
°,Sovereign Princes Rose Croix,andRoma and a couple ofother leaders held only the
°.This was not just a localconfusion,but signing all Masonic documents with ones “highest”rank fol-lowed the practice in the French Rectified Scottish Rite.One would haveexpected,though,that after deciding to establish a closer relation with Englandthey would have adapted to the English practice,which did not acknowledge
Andreas C.Rizopoulos
the “High Degrees.But this consideration comes out ofhindsight,since at thatperiod these distinctions were not really clear-cut in the Continent.So I believe that it is sound to state that the Scottish Rite was present in Greecefrom the first beginnings ofFreemasonry.The demise ofthe first Grand OrientofGreece is also indirectly due to the Scottish Rite.Here are the relevant events.During the War ofIndependence (
) it seems that there was noMasonic activity as such in Greece.Greek Freemasons were active in the Warand instrumental in its success,but that was not the time for regular Masonicactivity.Following the liberation ofGreece,the Ionian Islands remained underthe British Protectorate,and Freemasons continued with their normal activi-ties.At the same time in the mainland the first Governor,Ioannis Capodistria,although a Freemason himself,in
proscribed all secret societies,includingFreemasonry.It was not until the
s that Freemasonry was revived.In Corfu there was now located Anthony Dandolo,a former officer in thearmy ofNapoleon and a
°,S.G.I.G.,from a French lodge.Dandolo for a num-ber ofyears createdMasons under the authority ofhis
°within the clandes-tine lodge Phoenix that he reportedly erected in
.Dandolo was Francophile,and for many years he engaged in political activity against the British Protec-torate.In all those years it seems that the regular Freemasons ofthe Grand Ori-ent simply avoided Masonic contact with him.When the Duke ofSussex died in
,the Grand Orient,together with the English Pythagoras Lodge,working inCorfu since
,decided to organize a memorial service.Dandolo,despite hisanti-British feelings,demanded to be present and to be received with the hon-ors pertaining to his
°.It seems that both Greek and British Freemasons refused his demand,andDandolo was so incensed that he applied to Grand Orient ofFrance for a char-ter to place Phoenix Lodge under the French aegis.He received the charter acouple ofmonths later,and from then on,for the next seven years,there wasconstant warfare between Phoenix and the Grand Orient ofGreece.The GrandOrient sent a number ofmemoranda both to the Grand Orient ofFrance andthe U.G.L.E.protesting against the establishment ofa “Frenchlodge in aMasonically occupied territory,but to no avail.Then around
the GrandOrient ofGreece ceased to exist.Unfortunately we have not been able to pin-point the exact time and the potential final stroke.The fact remains,though,that the developments are again flavored by the Scottish Rite,since everythingseems to have been initiated from the offense felt by Dandolo when his powersemanating from his
°were not acknowledged.
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The Scottish Rite in Greece

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