Thirty Years Later
Because we are celebrating these days the thirty years anniversary of the Romanian Revolution in December 1989, and considering the fact that the historical truth must be spread and, above all, respected, I will recount the things I lived and, particularly, felt those days … and afterwards.
The thirty years elapsed since the Revolution could not erase my memories of those times. The stories that you will hear in the following minutes belong to someone who, in those days, had the opportunity to be one of the most informed civilians involved in the events in Timișoara.
As a result of accidental circumstances, I was the only civilian who had access to the “Operations” office at the headquarters of the Timisoara garrison, after Timișoara had been declared the first city free of communism. I witnessed the communications sent from and the manipulations of the office of the garrison commander, I could see the “battle log” of those days, but also the battle for power that took place among several groups of the army and Securitate. I saw the organizational naiveté of the Leadership Committee of the FDR (later FSN) in the Opera building. I became the first spokesman of the Army and of the Revolutionaries to officially inform the foreign journalists that started to come in hoards to Timisoara.
When the riots began on the streets of Timișoara, I was a “young and restless” locksmith at the Motorcar Company, and therefore, even from the first moments I couldn’t stay away from them. It seems that I haven’t healed yet…
My mother was a practicing Reformed (Calvinist) believer, a member of the church where Rev. László Tőkés served. She would bring the minister food and firewood daily, so I was keeping track of what was happening both in the church and around it, even in the minister’s family.
On the evening of December 16, my mother called and told me to stay away from her place by any means – she lived 300 meters from the Reformed Church – because “there was big scandal there”. Of course, I did not listen to her, and, on my way to St. Mary Square, I was caught and put in a police van, together with a drunken citizen. I escaped because another policeman, that stopped the van in the Mărăști area, was a former schoolmate. He got me out of the van and succintly said: “Run home!”
But the next day I was back on the streets.
On Sunday, December 17, I wanted to take my three-year-old son to the Puppet Theater. I found out that the performance had been canceled…. Then, with the child in my arms, I tried to go to the Reformed Church to see what was happening. A line of Securitate soldiers and civilians dressed in leather coats and jackets, were in the Küttl (Mocioni) Square, next to the belfry of the Orthodox church. I approached the line and they ordered me to stop and leave. Because I was holding the baby in my arms, I obeyed the orders but… the unpredictable happened: my son suddenly shouted: “Down with Ceaușescu!”. I started a run and, looking over my shoulder, I saw how a civilian dressed in a leather jacket stopped two others who were ready to follow me. Later, in 1990, I would find out that the civilian’s name was Gelu Popovici, he was a captain in the police and became – until he was assassinated in 1999 – one of my best friends.
Toward noon, hearing that the events were getting hot at the county headquarters of the communist party, I contacted my friend Tiberiu Budău and we decided to go there.
Since we couldn’t get into 23 August Blvd., as the road was blocked by the army and armored vehicles, we decided to make a detour and go on Bega’s bank, towards the small bridge that led into the Pioneers’ Park.
Once there, we found a small group of protesters; however, they were standing, scared by the military line and the four TABs (amphibious armored vehicles) that were stopped, engines running, on the street that led to the “Decebal” Bridge.
Tibi and I wanted to cross the bridge, but we were stopped by a group of conscripted soldiers and an officer whose gun was out of its holster… “Stop! Back off! Don’t try anything or we will start the fire!” the officer shouted. We stopped and tried to convince him that we were paying a visit to a friend. The lie didn’t work, and the officer cocked his pistol. One of the soldiers, who was in front of him, slowly pulled out the magazine of his AKM rifle to show us that they had no ammunition….
However, fearing the officer, we backed off…
Once again arrived at the junction of Pestalozzi and Pârvan streets, we saw that quite a large group of protesters was coming toward us from the “Timișoreana” Beer Factory. When that group approached us and we united, two TABs took off from where they were stopped and started to chase us around the crossroads, aiming to break us apart.
One of the TABs followed the group of protesters I was part of and ran a woman down and killed her – two meters behind me – later, I found out that her name was Rozalia Popescu. I was faster and more fortunate, as I flung myself down the Bega embankment, down the small bridge that connected the crossroads with the Pioneers’ Park. From there, I ran several tens of meters downstream, then I went up the street again and returned to the goddamn crossroads, asking the people at the windows and balconies across the street for empty bottles and gasoline, to set the armored vehicles alight.
Despite our desperate calls, not one of people at the windows of the apartment buildings across the street wanted to bring us empty bottles or to give us gas (petrol in UK), except for a young man who brought us two bags with empty beer bottles… so, along with my friend Tiberiu Budău, I attacked the TABs that were trying to scatter the group of protesters with empty bottles, injuring an officer who had come out of a TAB’s hatch, right at his eyebrow.
On 20. December, after lunch, we went with the column of protesters, who were enthusiastic because the army had sided with us, to the county headquarters of the communist party. I had a spray with red paint, used to detect cracks in metallic surfaces – graffiti sprays not being yet invented at that time – and with that spray I had written anti-communist slogans on the wall of the Botanical Garden and the facades of some apartment buildings on Torontal Rd, carefully guarded by my late friend, the artist Marius Iuliu Mare.
There, in the crowd gathered in front of the county headquarters of the communist party, together with some colleagues from I.A.T, I was wondering “Nevertheless, where are the secret police agents?… they are swarming among us for sure!”. As a result, we started to watch attentively the people around us when – oops! – my gaze was drawn to a guy wearing a khaki sweatshirt, hooded… “How are you, buddy?” I said, friendly patting his back and I startled, feeling the shape of a… gun! “Catch him, he’s armed!” – I shouted and my fellows, along with others around held him still. They almost lynched him, but we managed to hand him over to the ones inside, namely a militiaman/policeman and a revolutionary, who were guarding the entrance. We circled around the building and, at a certain moment, I noticed that the guy held by us was escaping through the ground floor window and ran toward the Bastion. We tried to catch him, but we failed…
The revolutionaries that were inside negotiating with Dăscălescu had not come out for a long time to communicate to us how the negotiations were going.
The crowd started to scatter slightly. Some persons came and urged us to go to the Opera Square to occupy the Opera building. I felt that something had to be done, to give a boost to the crowd, to keep them on the spot, not to leave those inside the building, because we risked leaving them to the militia/police and to the Securitate forces that were presumably also inside.
I thought about spraying a slogan on the wall of the building. I got in front of the wall, two people lifted me up, and for an instant I was scared, realizing how exposed I was. I knew I couldn’t back off and decided to write something as… equidistant as possible, so I wrote: “The People have won!”.
Loud acclamations followed my move, people took the spray from my hand and, in about ten minutes, the entire frontispiece of the county headquarters was covered with slogans against Ceausescu and communism.
On the evening of December 22, I visited my mother, who was living on 6 March Blvd., and there I found one of her neighbors in the apartment. Gheorghe Toader, a retired Securitate captain, who had taken refuge at my mother’s place, afraid of being killed, as according to his own account there were already attempts earlier in the day. Watching “Revolution Live”, the TVR (Romanian Television) broadcast, I noticed a person who was holding an object that looked like a remote control and announced that the device was found in the basement of the TV studio.
Seeing the keypad, the neighbor cried out with fear: “They will all blow up! TVR is a ‘strategic objective’ and can be blown up by typing a code on such a detonator!” He said he used to work on something like that in Bucharest, in a special enterprise of Securitate (secret police). As I insisted, he finally agreed to write an anonymous statement, which I took personally to the garrison headquarters and I promised that I would not expose him.
Once I arrived at the garrison headquarters in the Piața Libertății (Freedom Square), I showed the letter to Colonel Mancu – who was by chance at the gate and who led me to Colonel Zeca – the garrison commander. Reading the statement brought by me, he called superiors in Bucharest right away and he reported the content of the declaration. Afterward, he asked me to reveal the identity of the man, arguing that he might still hold vital information that would help to avoid further victims.
At first, I refused, but Colonel Mancu gave me his officer word that if Gheorghe Toader had proved to be in good faith, he would be safe.
Given the situation, I agreed to tell him the name and I had to drive with a patrol in an ARO off-road vehicle and pick the Securitate officer from my mother’s house. The outcome? Towards morning, I saw on the TV set in the commander’s office how an officer came in front of the cameras and declared that the explosive that mined the Television building had been defused!
The next morning, in one of the walks to the garrison headquarters in Piața Libertății, I witnessed the arrival of a group of foreign journalists. Because foreign languages were not widely known in the army, besides Russian, someone needed to facilitate communication between journalists and army leaders. Knowing four languages, I came forward to be the translator. Thus, a few hours later I was accepted as a spokesman by the commander. At the journalists’ suggestion, we organized a press conference every evening, at the “Continental” Hotel’s brasserie.
Given that on the morning of 23. December, I was shot upon on Brediceanu St. – from the roof of the IELIF building, I asked Colonel Zeca to give me a gun and to assign me to a reconnaissance group, to detect and kill the shooters who made victims and decoy. These activities filled my nights, until New Year’s Eve, when I finally got home to my wife. I mention that I wore the weapon only during night scour missions.
During the day, I was also the spokesman of the revolutionaries who were based in the Opera building, and their official announcements were forwarded by me to the foreign journalists. I would go to the Opera building twice a day, to find out news or to convey the messages between the garrison commander and the leaders of the Revolution.
The first press conference, attended by journalists and TV stations from all over the world, was held on the evening of December 23rd, but the meeting was cut short with the journalists laid on the floor because outside they started to fire at hotel “Continental”. In the days that followed, until December the 31st, I accompanied the representatives of the foreign press to the hot spots of the city, and, at night, I participated in actions of search and annihilation of the shooters together with the reconnaissance directed by Major Bănescu.
I was part of the group of military and civilians who arrested Septimiu Tașcău, the manager of GIGCL, on Christmas Eve. Guns were fired from his office window, at me as well, and the bullet fired by him passed through my hair! A rifle with scope was found on Tașcău and its barrel was still warm, with the specific smell.
I also saw an invidual looking as an Arab arrested; he was dressed in a black jumpsuit, and as a response to my question “why do you shoot at us”, he kicked me, even though his hands were tied. Both detainees disappeared from the garrison’s arrest within 48 hours.
I narrate you all these only to tell you that the “myth of terrorists” was not a myth, but a reality, lived by many but known by few.
Rod Nordland, a “Newsweek” journalist, was among the important names of the international press arrived in Timisoara – he was the head of the Eastern Europe office. Another one was Ettore Mo, representing “Corriere della Sera”.
Rod Nordland asked me to take him around the city, to various important targets. I also took him Traian Sima’s house, who was the former Securitate leader of the Timiș county who managed to escape. Lots of stuff were stolen “officially” from his house, bags with money (lei and foreign currency!), foreign food and drink, cigarettes and coffee, audio/video electronics were carried away…
Again, together with Rod Nordland, I discovered the room in “Continental” where the secret police held the bugging/translation equipment. I ran after the security guard who came to retrieve the devices, but he locked himself in another room. I broke the door, yet he was gone. He disappeared, though the room was on the fourth floor.
On 2. January, I left with Ettore Mo, from “Corrierre della Sera” for Mineu (Sălaj county), to make an interview with Rev. László Tőkés. We were among the first journalists to interview him. He was still guarded by the army.
March 1990, my office in the building of the county council. The phone rings.
– Hello, is this Corneliu Vaida?
– Yes. Who is this?
– Nevermind… Watch out, it’s not OK that you are listed as a witness for “The Timișoara Trial”!
– You don’t say …. No shit?!
– I would be more cautious if I were you! Your son has just received an orange crate on your behalf… He might find one hard to chew!
I slammed the phone and made off from the County Council to the Iosefin neighborhood, in the house where my son was taken care of by his grandparents. I bustled in and saw the elders together with my son in the kitchen, as they were enjoying the crate with oranges on the table.
Without a word, I took the crate and sprang out the door, crossed the street and threw the crate into the Bega, under the astonished gaze of several passers-by and my family watching me dismayed from the gate.
– Why have you thrown my oranges away? Paul asked me, tears in his eyes…
– Don’t worry, daddy will bring you other oranges tonight… And don’t you ever accept anything from anybody, brought on my behalf! – I told the grandparents bluntly.
If you ask for my opinion nowadays, 30 years after the events of the Revolution, I can assert:
“There were two groups that fought against each other, the secret police/Securitate and the army. Now we only know the winners… They are the crypto-communist gang of the 2. Echelon of the former communist party.
I do not know what would have happened if the television headquarters had blown up on December the 22nd, what would have happened if the plan to slay the revolutionaries in the Opera building, which was stopped at the last moment, would have been completed, if the army in Timisoara had not fought back, after Elena Ceaușescu had ordered that the city be wiped off the face of the earth!
The above-mentioned things are a pale description of what I went through back in the days, as I wanted not to exceed two pages, which have become… four(six) …
Feelings? Experiences? They were many and various: from the exaltation experienced at the news that “it started”, to the fear I felt in the police van, to the hatred, the perseverance and the helplessness facing the army that fired guns and killed people, to the fear and, later, the enthusiastic carelessness as I was perched on the wall the party’s building… to the sadness that stroke me hearing the news that a friend was killed, the enthusiastic fervor and the unconscious courage that prompted me to scour houses’ attics for terrorists who were shooting innocent civilians, to the compassion for the wounded that I visited in hospitals together with the representatives of the international press and finally the pride to be part of the illusion of victory… all these culminating with the fear for the life of my child!
Yes, I mentioned the pride to be part of the illusion of that victory, a pride that turned into disappointment, frustration, and reproach over time. Yes, self-reproach, because I blame myself for not finishing what I started back then!
Maybe someone else will do it nowadays… not compelled… someone younger or not, more prepared, more clearheaded, more thorough.
I must tell you that it wasn’t easy for me to write these words! Blurry memories and contradictory feelings overwhelmed me as I was writing. I felt nostalgia, anger, smile, and tears… However, there is one feeling that remains solid, the feeling of pride that, at that time, I did everything in my power to fight for the freedom of my people and the democratization of my country.
At the same time, I wrote this text with sadness, with the sadness of someone who, although being officially acknowledged for his deeds, by a document signed by the president of the country, yet is – together with other fighters of the Revolution – left into oblivion by the state and by most of his fellow citizens.
Nowadays, the word “revolutionary” has gotten a pejorative meaning… Anyway, I was, I am, and I will be a fighter for my freedom and the freedom of my fellow citizens! With or without written proof.
Dear Mark Brethren and Royal Ark Mariners,
It is with very great pleasure that I extend to you and your families my very best wishes for a Joyous Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year. May you and your family enjoy a wonderful Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year in 2020. I look forward to being in your company again in the New Year.
Yours sincerely and fraternally
What a Wonderful time from November 2016 to November 2019
Please let me start this musings which started on November 12th 2016.
(It is true to say that it may/did start a few months before this in a small tavern somewhere!)
But on the 12th 5 Brethren of the Craft Internet Lodge 9659 were advanced into “The Mark Internet Lodge 1975” at the Lodges first regular meeting in a small masonic hall in Castleton (just of the M4 between Newport & Cardiff).
I should like to add I became the first joining member at the meeting.
The first five advances with the WM tmil1975 WBro Royston Morris PGStdB
Please keep this photo in your head or mind as it shows Brother Cristian Mihutoiu
and the WM WBro Royston Morris in the Castleton temple.
From that first meeting it was like a “Roller Coaster” the next meeting under dispensation was held in Bucharest, advancing 32 on the Wednesday and (just) 29 more on the Thursday, BUT first we have to experience Tuesday.
Leaving our hotel in a wonderful air conditioned coach and headed for rehearsal at the Temple in Club Del Vecchio, in Bucharest (only 20 mins away). Well rehearsal was fine with full AC!, when we managed our way around Monmouthshire workings!
I speak to soon as we were exiting the Temple for finger buffet lunch the room was plunged into darkness and getting warmer (30-40 and rising) as the AC was cut. We latter found that a digger had sliced through a local HT electricity cable, thankfully the driver and workers were fine if not shaken!
Shirt sleeve order with no AC!
Look this way!
The Lodge was ready for the afternoon candidates
So lunch and then a ceremony in shirt sleeve order with light from the windows, we were in a private park, so not overlooked, 30+ advances an experience not to miss. Festive board was taken in the private park with a wonderful BBQ!
Topping of the visit with a wonderful Grand Gala Dinner with the ladies
Wednesday seemed to be a “doddle” with power now fixed but opting for the outside BBQ
Wednesday Brethren and candidates “Relax”
The PGM (now PPGM) of Monmouthshire Derek Thomas & the GM (Craft) of Romania Radu Balanescu RELX in the gala dinner.
Well it was back to the UK for most of the members of 1975, and prepare for the next regular meeting in Blackwood, Monmouthshire and the installation of our new WM WBro Michael Herman.
Now wait its still November 2017 and another visit to Bucharest for more advancements into the order, power permitting!
It’s a two-day event again in the Temple in Club Del Vecchio again its 30+ candidates each day without BBQ festive board, well it is November!
What a wonderful event with new friendships struck up and old ones (not that old) rekindled.
And for the waistline no Grand Gala dinner!
Tuesday’s Event Wednesday’s Event
So we are home for Christmas and preparing for the next meeting, in March and this time is not just advancements but the consecration of the first Mark Lodge in Romania The Alexandru Valida-Voevod Lodge No 1988.
However, the European weather is try its hardest to put the dampers on the event with the “Beast from the East” raging in UK, I sat with others on the tarmac of BHX for 5+ hours before being told to disembark as we were going nowhere! I manage to get a taxi home as I live very close to Birmingham airport whilst other were coached to Warwick and Longbridge island Hotel.
Birmingham Airport Friday night (not a lot better Saturday!)
But the next day my wife (with difficulty) drove through the snow to drop me back at BHX, and we archived V1 and take off for OPT and Bucharest, sadly our airplane couldn’t arrive until the festive board was in full swing after tmil1975 meeting BUT were and the visitation and consecrating team from London were there in the afternoon.
The Brethren and officers of Alexandru Vaida-Voevod Lodge No 1988
So a different Hotel but the Temple prepared in the Ramada North.
Rehearsal conducted by the Grand Director of Ceremonies were practiced and perfected, making the ceremony a wonderful delight, as a brother seeing one consecration was an eye opener and GRAND, I didn’t expect the next 6!
The Consecrating Team
Topping the day off with a Grand Gala dinner and charity presentation to a local children’s orphanage didn’t leave to many dry eyes!
The Children from the orphanage who entertained at the dinner
Now a break BUT no June 2018 see the second Lodge Nicolae Titulescu No1991
consecrated, this time at HQ in 86 St. James with Brother Cristian Mihutoiu becoming the Worshipful Master. Fantastic, I can say no more.
The WM and consecrating team for Nicolae Titulescu Lodge No 1991
The Mark Internet Lodge now has its next regular meeting in Radlett, preparing for the next sojourn to Constanta (Black Sea resort) in October.
21 members of tmil1975 fly Wizz air from Luton to Constanta, on arrival late in the evening I am directed by the Wizz air dispatcher to put the party on airport bus 1, and to tell Romanians on the plane they must go to buses 2,3 & 4!
So with the 21 on the airport bus we went the distance of! No more that 250 meters!
The airport terminal entranced VIP was adorned with 2 pillars (I’ll go no further) a red carpet Union, Romanian, EU and NATO flags with refreshments for all. Passports were asked for and parted with (after questions from my wife!) cases identified but told to leave as they were packed into the coach, not all of us could fit into the coach so my wife and I were driven to the Hotel with the coach as escort. A welcome meal and rest.
The next day saw the consecrating team and their ladies given the same VIP treatment, with yesterday’s arrivals enjoying the out of season Constanta city, after first advancing brethren into tmil1975
So the ceremonies with tmil1975 advancing more candidates into the degree and a third consecration the Mihail Kogalniceanu Lodge No 1993. Thank you to all the consecrating Officers for a wonderful ceremony.
Members of the newly consecrated Lodge of Mihail Kogalniceanu Lodge No 1993
The Consecrating team
Grand Gala Dinner followed a short drive away to a wonderful setting overlooking the beach and the lapping waves of the Black Sea.
November 2018 see’s the installation of WBro Timothy Huckle in Chepstow under dispensation, with a box of new officers to fill their offices.
Now we thought 2018 was hectic, 2019 brings more journey’s to Romania, April to the city of Iasi in the East (Moldovia next street?).
Iasi a wonderful city if not a little damp with culture visits to palaces and meeting in the Palace of Culture. These meetings include advancing more candidates into tmil1975 and the Consecration of Eugeniu Carada Lodge No 2004. Not to mention someone’s birthday party David!
Happy Birthday Provincial Grand Master!
Eugeniu Carata Lodge No 2010
The Consecrating team enters
May to Timisora to the West again advancing brethren into tmil1975 and the consecration of The Traian Vuia Lodge No 2010. Timisora was the second city in the world to have electric street lighting.
The Advances and tmil1975
The Brethren of Traian Vuia Lodge No 2010
The consecrating team and Lodge members Traian Vuia Lodge No 2010
June see tmil1975 in Portland (not USA) Dorset for its regular meeting and only 1 brother to Advance Bro Haddon Sullivan, but with equal enjoyment from the members and their ladies for a much smaller Gala dinner.
Not to worry we are soon (July) either flying Wizz, Blue Air or even Ryan Air again this time to Sibiu again in the West for advancement’s and the consecration of Mihai Cristea Lodge No 2011 a beautiful colourful city.
The advances and tmil1975
Members of Mihai Cristea Lodge No 2011
The consecrating team
And so to the latest sojourn to Bucharest for advancements, consecration of a new (7th) Lodge and the consecration of the Grand Inspectorate of Mark Master Masons of Romania
From touch down at OPT to take off for BHX a fantastic weekend,
Started with the Installation of Bro Vasile Condoiu (NOW Worshipful Brother) and the Nicolae Titulescu Lodge No.1991 on the Thursday lunch time, conferring secrets of the chair to Bro’s Florin Carata & Adrian Dimitriu two of the most wonderfully hard-working Marked men from Bucharest.
Lunch was enjoyed and the afternoon free to meet and greet brethren arriving from all points west.
Members and guest all of The Nicolae Titulescu Lodge No 1991
The PPGM (Mons) Derek Thomas & the newly installed master WBro Vasile Condoiu
The PPGM (Mons) Derek Thomas & WBro Florin Carata & WBro Adrian Dimitriu
So an early start on Friday with the Lodges emergency meeting to advance more very keen masons from Bucharest into the Mark Internet Lodge No 1975. 36 advanced with the declared candidate “John” being conducted through the ceremony by visiting officers from the Province standing in for regular officers who sadly were unable to attend (You missed a GREAT weekend).
Advances and members of tmil1975
Following a snack and juice break it was quickly back into the Temple for rehearsal for the consecration of Romanian Mark Lodge Nicolae Balcescu Lodge No. 2015.
The consecrating team and members of Nicolae Balcescu Lodge No 2015
What a wonderful ceremony, at least the parts I was able to see, and I have no reason to expect that part performed within that above Brothers below the chair would be any different. So, ceremonies for the day over and photos taken it was relax? Never.
Then what an evening of great enjoyment in the Military restaurant in the Centre of Bucharest where even though over booked! What wonderful friendship formed and renewed?
Camera shutters were clicking away as we viewed and recorded the fantastic architecture and decorations of this wonderful building. Taxi’s back to the Hotel and then “Rest”!
Saturday and the BIG day for the Mark degree in Romania the consecration of the “Mark Inspectorate of Romania” and the first “Inspector” our very own WBro Cristian Mihutoiu . Rehearsals over and Photos taken so as to give a clean exit for our festive board. Working under the safe guiding hand of the Grand Director of Ceremonies RWBro Francis Charles Spencer (my PProv GM Worcestershire) and regular visitor to my Worcestershire Lodge, the parade of the Pro Grand Maser entered with other RWBros, and WBros, including our own Prov Grand Master RWBro David Powell as SwdB, RWBro Derek Thomas, RWBro Tom Quinn PGM London, RWBro Ryan A Williams Grand Sec, RWBro Mike Whelan PGM Dorset, WBro Brendon Williams, WBro Wynford Jones, WBro Richard Paisley, RWBro Radu Balanecu &
WBro Chris Malpus on the keyboard.
The consecrating team for the Grand Inspectorate
What a ceremony, what a privilege to have been there it was a wonderful event.
After the formation of the Grand Inspectorate with WBro Florin Carata and WBro Adrian Dimitriu now in their respective Offices we were further entertained and educated in a daily advancement into the degree by no less than the Grand Master Lodge of Instruction and the ceremony of Advancement.
The Grand Inspector VWBro Cristian Mihutoiu receives his patent from the MWBro Raymond J Smith
WBro Adrian Dimitriu & WBro Florin Carata
Then a super festive board after a slight hick-up with the elevator! The festive board and toast and speeches over it was time to relax change and prepare for a Grand Gala dinner with our ladies and friends.
During the dinner we were entertained by wonderful artists including the children of the orphanage who were presented with a charitable collection from the brethren matched by GLMMM Charities.
Then it was back to reality lazy Sunday to watch the TV but I’ll not go into The score!
What a Fantastic start for a lodge consecrated in 2016 and then assisting in consecrating 7 Lodges in its first three years along with the witness of a Grand Inspectorate.
Bring on 2020
The Mark Internet Lodge No.1975 (TMIL)
The Mark Internet Lodge was a concept formed in the mind of W.Bro. Royston Morris, a Past Master of the Craft Internet Lodge No.9659 (East Lancashire). He recruited the support of several 9659 Past Masters, including myself, and members of the Lodge and persuaded the Provincial Grand Master of the Mark Province of Monmouthshire, Rt.Wor.Bro. Derek Thomas that such a Lodge was a good idea. Fortunately he saw merit in the idea and the Lodge was Consecrated at Mark Masons Hall on June 4th, 2016 with Roy Morris as our Primus Master.
On November 12th, 2016, at our first Regular Meeting, in a small masonic hall in Castleton, just of the M4 between Newport & Cardiff, 5 Brethren of 9659 were advanced into the Degree. Those 5 were members of the Craft Grand Lodge of Romania, a very significant moment in the Lodge history!
Through their influence, our next regular meeting, held under dispensation, was in Bucharest, when we Advanced 32 Romanian Craft Masons on the first day and a further 29 more on the second, including the Craft Grand Master of Romania and most of his Executive. Then back to the UK for the next regular meeting in Blackwood, Monmouthshire and the installation of our second Master, WBro Michael Herman. November 2017 saw us again in Bucharest for a two-day event to Advance another 30+ candidates each day.
Our next meeting, in March 2018 was back in Bucharest and this time is not just more advancements but the consecration of the first Mark Lodge in Romania The Alexandru Valida-Voevod Lodge No 1988 by a team from Mark Masons Hall with the day ending in a wonderful Gala Dinner where were entertained with folk dances by the children from a local orphanage to which were delighted to make a considerable, charitable donation.
In June 2018, the second Romanian Lodge Nicolae Titulescu No1991 was consecrated, this time at Mark Masons Hall with our own Brother Cristian Mihutoiu becoming their first Worshipful Master. Then our our regular meeting was held back in Radlett, Hertfordshire before the next Romanian visit, this time to the Black Sea resort of Constanta in October, sadly out of season so very quiet and deserted! At Constanta we advanced yet more candidates into the degree followed by the third consecration, the Mihail Kogalniceanu Lodge No 1993. November 2018 saw the installation of WBro Timothy Huckle in Chepstow.
2019 was no relaxation of our work with more journey’s to Romania, in April to the city of Iasi in the East where meetings include advancing still more candidates and the Consecration of Eugeniu Carada Lodge No 2004. Then, in May, to Timisoara in the West of Romania again advancing brethren into the Degree and the consecration of The Traian Vuia Lodge No 2010.
Our UK meeting in June, was in Portland, Dorset to Advance 1 British brother, but with equal enjoyment from the members. However we were very soon on our travels again this time to Sibiu in Transylvania for yet more advancement’s and the consecration of Mihai Cristea Lodge No 2011, Romania’s 6th Mark Lodge.
Coming right up to date, October 2019 and back to Bucharest for advancements, consecration of a new (7th) Lodge and the creation of the Grand Inspectorate of Mark Master Masons of Romania! An early start on Friday for the Lodges “emergency” meeting to advance 53 more, very keen masons from Bucharest into the Mark Internet Lodge No 1975 then after a brief snack lunch, it was quickly back into the Temple for the consecration of Romanian Mark Lodge Nicolae Balcescu Lodge No. 2015.
Saturday was a very special day for both the Mark Degree and for the Brethren in Romania with the consecration of the “Mark Inspectorate of Romania” and the first “Inspector” our very own WBro Cristian Mihutoiu .
Working under the safe guiding hand of the Grand Director of Ceremonies RWBro Francis Charles Spencer, the Most Worshipful Pro Grand Master’s Team included our own Provincial Grand Master RWBro David Powel, our PPGM RWBro Derek Thomas as well as RWBro Tom Quinn PGM London, RWBro Ryan A Williams Grand Sec, RWBro Mike Whelan PGM Dorset, WBro Brendon Williams, WBro Wynford Jones, WBro Richard Paisley, RWBro Radu Balanecu & our own WBro Chris Malpus on the keyboard.
After the formation of the Grand Inspectorate we were further entertained and educated by the Grand Master Lodge of Instruction who demonstrated the ceremony of Advancement. Then another Gala Dinner and more dancing by the children of the orphanage, who received a charitable donation equivalent to £4,000.
What a truly wonderful start for a lodge only consecrated in 2016! We have assisted in consecrating 7 Lodges and witnessed the creation of a Grand Inspectorate.
And the story has not yet ended! The VW Grand Inspector (who, incidentally, is currently in the Chair of the Craft Internet Lodge) tells us there are plans to Consecrate another 7 Mark Lodges in Romania in the coming year with the first, again in the West of the country, being held on May 30th, 2020. Sadly, there will be few members of TMIL attending as we have our next regular meeting in Dartmouth on the same day.
That’s the story of our, somewhat unusual Lodge to date. From a concept in 2016 to a membership of several hundred and the formation of the Inspectorate of Romania in 2019! And we are still attracting members from all over the world. Our Secretary, Bro. Alan Breward is almost inundated with potential Joiners from all over the world, especially from the USA, and we have requests for Advancement from several more places “in Amity” with Mark Masons Hall. All get in touch with us through our web site, themarkinternetlodge.online, where a joining/advancement form can be downloaded.
We are very proud to represent this beautiful incredibly friendly degree across the UK and to promote membership throughout the world.
W.Bro. Rev. Dr. Derek J. Oliver, PPGJW (Essex)
Founder & Chaplain
The Mark Internet Lodge No.1975
The Mark Internet Lodge will be sojourning to Bucharest, Romania for an emergency meeting to advance a number of brethren into the Lodge, as well as assist in the Consecration of the 6th Romanian Lodge along with witnessing the consecration of the Mark Inspectorate of Romania.
For further information, contact the secretary at email@example.com
With the assistance of our Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother David Powell, Worshipful Brother Mike Hatherall, the Worshipful Master of the Albert Edward Lodge of Mark Master Masons presents a Cheque to Ms Lynda James MBE, the Chief Executive of BulliesOut. A South Wales based Anti–Bullying charity.