History of the Lodge:
The lodge was formed, so it is stated in the first paragraph of its original bye-laws, ‘for the convenience of English and Greek speaking brethren, and the main objects of the lodge shall be research and instruction with lectures and discussions on masonic and related philosophic and biotic matters’.
The moving spirit in founding the lodge was Bro A J Boyazoglu, a Professor of Agricultural Economics at Witwatersrand University, and the first Senior Warden of Orphic. The Charter Master was W Bro L F Maingard and amongst its 26 founders were the wellknown names of Harry Laver, District Grand Master, his Deputy, Thomas Chard Smyth, Jack Folly (then District Grand Director of Ceremonies) and Albert Ernest Oliver, the District Grand Secretary, The first honorary members were RW Bro Vernon Fairbrass, RW Bro His Majesty George II, King of the Hellenes, and MW Bro Papageorgiou, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Greece, while Bro the Hon Sir Evelyn Baring, the British High Commissioner, was added a year later.
The first few years were marked by a period of frenetic activity to build a strong membership. In the 19 month period from June 1944 to December 1945 the lodge held 19 regular meetings and 18 emergency meetings, and by February 1948 the membership stood at 90. In earlier years lectures and discussions were combined with rehearsals.
An interesting tradition was the singing of the Greek national anthem at the festive board after the initiation of a Greek-speaking candidate, with an English translation being available. The original clear distinction between English and Greek speaking brethren, at one time admitted alternately, has long been abandoned. However, the lodge retains many members of Greek ancestry and two of these, RW Bro Gerry Fotinakis, (Past District Grand Master and Past Grand Superintendent), and W Bro Costas Carides, Past Junior Grand Deacon in the Craft and Past Grand Standard Bearer in the Royal Arch, have made very marked contributions to leadership and administration of the Lodge and District.
Before his retirement in 2010, RW Bro. Fotinakis was the most senior District Grand Master in the English Constitution, testimony to his 17 years tenure as DGM. He left a vibrant and wealthy legacy which was epitomised by his attention to detail and excellent knowledge of the ritual. Despite his huge contribution, RW Bro. Gerry can often be seen delivering floor working to the members of Orphic Lodge, when called upon.
Other members to have made their mark at Orphic Lodge are W. Bro’s Leon Eliades and Louis van Zyl who were stalwarts of both the Lodge and Chapter, doing much to set the high standard of ritual always evident at meetings.