Table of contents
Lodge Národ, No. 1, Grand Lodge of the Czech Republic
1. Years 1919–1951
In the turmoil after the end of World War One and the founding of the new state of Czechoslovakia, the Lodge Národ was founded in March 1919. The unusual way the lodge was founded shows that light comes to us in many different ways.
Acknowledging the firm character of individual brethren during the war hardship, which was vouched by bro. Udo Dadone, a special envoy of the Italian Scottish Rite, twenty-five founding brethren of Lodge Národ were accepted into Loggia Nazionale Or. Di Roma Valle del Tevere, passed as Fellow Crafts and Master Masons in January 1919, all by correspondence. The appropriate papers received from Rome were given to the brethren on 21 March, when they swore their masonic oaths and agreed to meet the following week. Thus on 28 March, 1919, the first ritual team was elected and the lodge founded. The actual charges were issued by Rome on 15 June and the lodge was consecrated on 5 November in the same year.
The lodge was consecrated by the Serenissima Gran Loggia Nazionale Italiana (National Grand Lodge of Italy), specifically by its Scottish Rite, and thus was working under the Italian Constitution. The name Národ ("Nation") was chosen after the magazine of the same name, whose editor-in-chief used to be František Sís, the man who was a leading person in the founding and the first WM. A number of journalists from that magazine, along with politicians of the time, writers and university professors were among the lodge founders.
Numerous brethren were then initiated in rapid speed: by the end of October 1920, a year after its founding, the lodge numbered 78 brethren. The newly initiated brethren were the ones who lead the lodge more towards a standard masonic work, away from its political-national roots. The large number of brethren lead to the creation of informal groups, which lead into forming new lodges: Fügner, Dobrovský, Šafařík, Týn, Dílo, 28. říjen – 49 brethren left Národ for different lodges. After František Sís, Ladislav Syllaba, professor of the medical school, became the Worshipful Master for seven years, with a half-year interruption, and it was him who definitely gave Lodge Národ leadership, its spiritual content and character that lasted to its shut down in 1939.
The Grand Lodge of Czechoslovakia was formed in 1923 by Lodge Komenský, Dobrovský and Lodge Národ with another two of its daughter lodges. Národ is arguably the second oldest Czech lodge, since Komenský – which was not reconsecrated after 1990 – a predominantly German speaking lodge working under the constitution of GL of Hungary – was founded later but consecrated six weeks before Národ.
Ladislav Syllaba, Karel Weigner and Václav Hora from Lodge Národ were among the Grand Masters of the pre-war Grand Lodge of Czechoslovakia. 1923 to 1938 was the period when Czechoslovakian freemasonry was flourishing.
As other Czechoslovakian Lodges, Lodge Národ had shut itself down after the Munich Agreement and occupation of the country by Nazi Germany in early 1939. Freemasons were among the most fated people by the new regime and by peculiar coincidence, the Ministry of Education was responsible for completing the list of all and particularly most prominent freemasons. Professor Kapras, past master of Lodge Národ was a top figure on the list, himself being a Minister of this Ministry at the time...
After the war, the situation was not much in favour of freemasonry – the Ministry of Interior was already under the Communist control and it took until 1947 to regularly reopen the Grand Lodge. From more than 100 Národ members, 82 joined the post-war lodge, with at least ten lodge members being victims of the war. It was also a new start for Lodge Národ, which did not last too long. The Communists took control of the state in February 1948, and the Lodge shut itself down for good in 1951, with Jiří Syllaba, son of the Lodge‘s second WM, being its last WM. Several young brethren were initiated in this short period.
2. Years 1991–today
The bright new start of the Grand Lodge and Lodge Národ itself came after 17 November, 1990, when the Grand Lodge was reconsecrated with 28 masons from pre-war and post-war periods, who formed three lodges. Lodge Národ, as the most senior of the three being No. 1. Jiří Syllaba – then the only freemason of 33rd degree of the Scottish Rite – has become Lodge Národ WM again and – quite interestingly for English brethren – GM at the same time.
After the awakening, the number of brethren has grown in a steady way ever since. Lodge Národ uses Czech national ritual, which is based primarily on Emulation, with minor differences, which are always of great interest to visiting English brethren. The ritual has been adopted and translated in a nice poetic language by Jaroslav Kvapil, a playwright, poet and the first Grand Master, in the 1920s.
In 2010 , after 19 years, with 55 members, we were the largest lodge in the country. We served as a patronising lodge for the group of brethren that reconsecrated Lodge Dobrovský in Pilsen, other brethren were active in establishing two other lodges with their specific programs.
Five Lodge Národ brethren served as Grand Officers in 2010, including Immediate Past Grand Master Petr Jirounek, Second Deputy Grand Master František Čermák and Grand Secretary Jan Tomsa. Our bro. Jaroslav Oehm was the Chairman of the Grand Lodge Masonic Court. Other members were active in several committees and informal activities of the Grand Lodge and lodge Národ itself.
The lodge meets twice a month for ten months of the year – once for a ritual meetings, and once for instruction meeting with a lecture. Along with participating at Grand Lodge and other lodges activities, our brethren are quite happy to meet outside of the lodge schedule – in the last years, we have visited Bangor Union Lodge in Bangor, Province of Down, where we performed our initiation, then Summum Bonum Lodge in Middlesex, and Old Blackburnian Lodge.
We are a rather young lodge, with most brethren in their forties and fifties, and we hope to keep contributing to the flourishing of our brotherhood for many years.
For visitors of Lodge Národ
The Lodge Národ No. 1 works under the Grand Lodge of the Czech Rep., which is recognised by
the United Grand Lodge of England, Grande Loge Nationale Française, United
Vereinigte Grosslogen von Deutschland, Grossloge von Ősterreich and more
than 150 other Grand Lodges.
Lodge meetings take place in Prague regularly. The ritual is performed in Czech language, however many of brethren speak English and other foreign languages.
You are welcome to visit us!