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Short History of the Great Priory of Greece

On 12, 13 and 14 March 1976 York Rite Masonry was started in Greece. Eleven Companions and Knights from Germany
arrived in Athens under the leadership of William E. Kaloudis, in his dual capacity as Grand High Priest of The Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Germany and as Commander of Heidelberg Commandry Nr. 2 under the Grand Encampment of the United States of America and Knighted 21 Greek Master Masons, after having conferred all other necessary degrees. All three Orders i.e. Chapter, Council and Commandry thrived and grew rapidly in membership. On 17 October 1976 a Charter under dispensation was granted to “Digenis Akritas” Commandry receiving its regular Charter in 1977, by The Grand Encampment of the USA. The Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Greece was Constituted as a Sovereign and Independent Order on 25 November 1977.

The Grand Council of Greece received its Charter on 26 July 1978 and was Constituted the following November. Greek Brethren were blessed to have the first two Grand Bodies as Sovereign, Autonomous and Independent however The Order of The Temple was not. The Triennial Meeting of The Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America was held in the city of Indianapolis in 1980. By then, there were three Commandries and applied for a Charter to become Sovereign and Independent. Besides representing Greece, William E. Kaloudis, was also part of the Committee from Germany with his esteemed friend and Brother Knight Rio Beutner, one of the architects of bringing Masonry back to life in Germany after WWII. In utter amazement and deep disappointment which overwhelmed both Knights, the Chairman of The Jurisprudence Committee informed them that the Constitution of The Grand Encampment did not permit it to grant a Charter creating a Sovereign and Independent Order equal to themselves. They offered to make Greece and Germany Grand Commandries which would be the same as a Provincial or District Grand Priory. After having discused this at length, both esteemed Knights agreed that they would not accept the offer. A little while after these events, MEm & Rev Kt William E. Kaloudis and Grand Master Liddle-Grainger arranged to meet in Edinburgh where they hammerd out an agreement to place Greek Knights under Scotland with the understanding that they would become Autonomous when found worthy.

The same would hold true for Germany if they were willing to accept these terms. A few weeks later the three designated Preceptors for “Digenis Akritas” Nr.1 William E. Kaloudis, “Constantinos Palaiologos” Nr.2 EmKt Stephanos Paipetis and “Dionysios Areopagitis” Nr.3 EmKt Efstathios Liakopoulos, went to Edinburgh and were installed as Preceptors. Work under The Great Priory of Scotland commenced in the Autumn of 1980. After having been installed on 17 March 1981 as Grand Prior of The District Grand Priory of Greece, William E. Kaloudis petitioned for a Charter of an Independant Great Priory. The request was appoved at the next quarterly Meeting and the date was set for 28 November 1981. The Consecration took place on the pre planned date, followed by the installation of William E. Kaloudis as Most Eminent and Reverend Grand Master. The ceremony was the crowning of the dream and aim to have all Masonic Bodies in Greece Sovereign and Independent. It is needless to say that it was conducted in the most impressive manner by the Grand Master of the Great Priory of Scotland, MEm & Rev David Ian Liddle-Grainger, assisted by his Grand Constable (at that time) Robert McIntyre who later became Grand Master.

This concludes the short history of the formation of the Great Priory of Greece. The history of the first years will have to be written in the future, commencing with the fulfilment of the historical idea of initiating the World Synods of Great Priories.