The reactivation of Národ Lodge after 1989

M. W. Bro. Jiří Syllaba, the first Worshipful Master of Národ Lodge after 1989
M. W. Bro. Jiří Syllaba, the first Worshipful Master of Národ Lodge after 1989

After the fall of the communist regime at the end of 1989, only 28 Masons lived in Czechoslovakia who remembered the temporary suspension of Freemasonry in 1951. Since that year, the Order was inactive. However, Brethren remained in contact. They were gathering in their apartments and preparing lectures. They also tried to communicate with Freemasons abroad, mainly through The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) and The Grand Lodge of Finland (Suomen Suurloosin). During their journeys to Czechoslovakia, some members of the mentioned foreign Lodges were even personally visiting our Masons which was in that time very risky for both sides.

Czechoslovak Brethren living in German exile were meeting in two Lodges, in the Tomáš G. Masaryk Lodge No. 957 in Bonn and in the Three Stars Lodge No. 969 (Zu den Drei Sternen) in Munich. In 1990, these two Lodges organised a masonic gathering in Prague on Žofín under the auspices of The Grand Lodge of Germany (Grossloge der Alten Freien und Angenommenen Maurer von Deutschland). 160 Czechoslovak Masons living abroad took part in it. Later, the Three Stars Lodge moved its activity from Munich to Prague.

The Grand Lodge of Czechoslovakia (Veliká Lóže Československá) was re-established on November 17, 1990. Jiří Syllaba, member of the Order since 1926, was elected the first Grand Master of The Grand Lodge of Czechoslovakia. Thanks to his perseverance in communication with foreign Lodges in Europe and the USA, UGLE fully recognised the continuity of the Czechoslovak Freemasonry between 1923 and 1990. Many other foreign Grand Lodges all over the world also recognised our continuity. November 17, 1990 was an extremely important day for the modern Freemasonry, because with the re-establishment of The Grand Lodge of Czechoslovakia, Lodges Národ, Dílo and Most were reactivated.

The ceremonial act took place in the Martinicky Palace at the Hradčany Square with the presence of 18 original Czechoslovakian Masons (with the average age of 81) and 86 foreign guests from 13 countries. The Festive Board was prepared in the restaurant Vikárka at the Prague Castle. The ceremony hugely resonated among the participants. One of the American participants said: “We were leaving the Prague Castle with a feeling that we took part in a historical event which we don’t need to see again in the next thousand years. We saw here such enthusiasm which is rarely seen in the USA.”.

After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993 which split Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Grand Lodge of Czechoslovakia was renamed as the Grand Lodge of the Czech Republic (Veliká Lóže České republiky – VLČR), but it still included the Lodges on the Slovakian soil. The Grand Lodge of Slovakia (Veľká Lóža Slovenska) was founded on May 21, 2009 after being recognised as regular by the Grand Lodges of England, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany. Today, there are six active Lodges in Slovakia – Kozmopolis, Libertas, Humanizmus, Quatuor Coronati and Generál Štefánik in Bratislava and Pavol Jozef Šafárik in Košice.

An important milestone in the Czech Freemasonry of last 30 years was the merging of the VLČR with the Czech Grand Orient (Veliký Orient český) that was established in 1993 by three Lodges from the Grand Orient of France. By the time of the merging with the VLČR on March 8, 2008, the Czech Grand Orient included five active Lodges (Comenius 17. 11. 1989, Dílna lidskosti, Cestou světla, Lux in tenebris and Petra Solaris) and one dormant Lodge (Bratrství).

Since 1990, The Grand Lodge of the Czech Republic has expanded from three reactivated Lodges (Národ, Dílo and Most) to 25 active Lodges. Several Lodges work in foreign languages which allow the engagement of foreign Brethren, living and working in the Czech Republic. You can find here a French, an Italian, two English and two German Lodges.

Every year in the last five years, a new Lodge is founded in the Czech Republic outside of Prague (the reactivation in the case of the Laffayetova na třech rovinách Lodge in Olomouc). This supports the fact that the Czech Freemasonry is flourishing. Nowadays, the Order in the Czech Republic has about 600 members.