Back in October 2019, The Old Reptonian Lodge, No 3725 was approached by Grand
Lodge to host nineteen visiting brethren from Sweden keen to visit Freemasons’ Hall in London and attend a Lodge meeting.
The Swedish Brethren were members of St Johanneslogen Arcturus Lodge, a Lodge in Östersund, Sweden, founded in 1901.
Sadly, their visit coincided with work in in the Grand Temple, but happily, R W Bro John Pagella GSuptWks is a member of the Lodge, and after visiting the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, their tour continued with a glimpse through the doors of the Grand Temple at the restoration works now underway followed by a private viewing of some of the impressive private Lodge Rooms in Freemasons’ Hall. Bro John explained the work currently in hand to keep the building in repair, and the challenge of introducing change in a structure subject to public control through the UK’s legal protection afforded to buildings considered to have special architectural and heritage significance.
Wishing to put on a good show for the Swedish Brethren, and the Old Reptonian Lodge being a member of the Public School Lodges’ Council of 35 Lodges, the Secretary made contact with the other 34 member Lodges to see if a Candidate needed to be Passed or Raised. Happily, the Old Rugbeian
Lodge No 3551 was pleased to provide one of their Entered Apprentices, so he was Passed to the Second Degree by Officers of the Old Reptonian Lodge. The visiting Brethren enjoyed the ceremony very much, and while there were some similarities in the workings, there were many interesting points of difference.
The Swedish Brethren were also keen to experience a Lodge dinner at one of the London clubs, and we were delighted to host them at the Farmers’ Club in Whitehall. Their senior Brother, Bro Fredrik Högbom presented our Worshipful Master with a replica banner from their Lodge, as well as a replica of the Östersund Frösö Runestone, with the inscription commonly translated as “Östman Gudfast’s son, had this stone raised and this bridge built and Christianised Jämtland. Åsbjörn built the bridge. Tryn and Sten carved these runes”. One of the visiting brethren in attendance, Bro Gudfast Hellby, happened to be a direct descendant of Östman Gudfast.
It was indeed a day to remember and a perfect example of the camaraderie and friendship of our ancient fraternity, extending across geographic boundaries. Members of the Old Reptonian Lodge are keen to keep in touch with the Brethren from Sweden, and we are looking at a reciprocal visit next year.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 40 April 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 40 here.