Η ομιλία - χαιρετισμός του Μεγάλου Διδασκάλου της Μεγάλης Στοάς της Ελλάδας του Α.Α.Σ.Τ αδ. Παναγιώτη Θαλάσση στο συνέδριο του Βελιγραδίου
On behalf of the Greek delegation and of the standing by me our Sovereign Grand Commander, beloved MIlBr Iordanis Poulkouras, who has authorized me to speak on his behalf, I would like to express my delight in being here, in this meeting, with all of you. The topics treated in this meeting of the “Initiatory Encounters of Central Europe”, proved to be of exceptional interest indeed, for the additional reason that it is the first time they are discussed in an international masonic congress. Therefore, let us congratulate the Grand Lodges who conceived this idea as well as all those who undertook the task of organizing the symposium and worked hard for it; precisely, the Grand Lodge of Serbia that played host of this meeting, the Grand Master of France who had the original idea, the Pres. of the Conf. who supported that, the Grand Masters of Bulgaria and Romania who contributed to its, becoming an actual fact.
As for us, the Grand Lodge of Greece of the AASR, we are really delighted, both with the concept and the consistent works that have been accomplished today. Since Greece has a glorious worldwide, well-known, past in Mysteries, please allow me to remind you of the Aristotelian saying on Tragedy that points (upon my view) the initiatory experience up: one participates in mysteries “not to learn, but to suffer and get disposed”.
Freemasonry has raised initiatory procedures to collective experience, to brotherly practice. Freemasonry is based on the meaning of “brotherhood” that enables us – strangers to strangers in any other case – to get together here, to rejoice and deepen the relations between European people.
For us Greeks, being here is a fact of major mental and national significance since Balkan Peninsula has always been our natural and social space, our neighborhood. As recent historical events give proof of, there are many bonds linking Balkan peoples together, such as ideas, personalities and wars !. Together have-we started fighting for freedom against the Othman Empire. Together have-we suffered of the hereinafter wars. Together we’ve experienced brotherly links in Freemasonry under the ideas of European Enlightenment. A considerable number of our compatriots (I mean of all the Balkan nations) struggled and died for these ideas. It is just for these very ideals that a prominent historical figure of European Enlightenment and universal Humanism has wrestled, at the cost of his life.
I am talking about Rigas Feraios Velestinlis who is recognized as a hero of the entire Balkan region, regardless of his place of origin. He dreamt of and proclaimed the freedom of all Balkan nations through fraternity, being inspired by the Masonic ideals and practices. He, the alleged brother, became the living example of Masonic initiation as a tool of personal and national improvement, while his actions and he himself became the symbol of a cultured Masonic consciousness, historically proving the rightfulness of the idea of “Initiatory Encounters”, in line with what we have heard in these past days from the honorable speakers.
I have paid special personal attention to the work of this Balkan illuminist, both as ambassador of the Enlightenment in our geographical neighborhood and as a symbol of the Balkan brotherhood. This was exactly the subject of our research Lodge in Greece when I had the honor of being its Worshipful Master and I hope it will also become the subject of a future common research among all Masonic Orders in the Balkans, as in this region Freemasonry has always been intrinsically tied to the national liberation movements and the region’s life after those.
Don’t miss, the above Rigas’ ideas and desired relations between individuals and Nations, in mutual respect and equity, are not past, they are not any chatters. In the upcoming hard days, perhaps they will be our unique shield against the already existing specters of the Economic Depression, Racism, Secularism, Xenophobia and the resulting internal social problems and international conflicts.
I have been authorized by all the brothers of the Greek Order of Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite to pledge that we shall have a constant participation in these Initiatory Encounters, hoping that in the near future they can also be organized in Greece.
I would like to conclude by confessing an innermost personal desire: the 150th anniversary since the Grand Master of Grand orient of Italy, brother De Luca, provided the patent to establish the Grand Lodge of Greece falls next year. I do hope and I do wish we shall be able to invite you so that we can all meet to celebrate together this anniversary in Athens.
P. Thalassis / Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Greece