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The History of the Grand Lodge of Cyprus
Cyprus is an ancient land, a crossroads for pilgrims, conquerors and friends for millennia. Templar Knights built fortresses here 900 years ago during their ascendance. In the centuries since, empires have held sway, one following another, even down into the modern era. In 1878 the British occupied this land, giving way to the forces of self-determination in 1960 when we finally gained our independence. Now the British are friends more than occupiers; the British still maintain two military bases and many vacation homes on our soil with our blessing, while the northern third of our island is held by the Turks in a stubborn fight for influence against the Greek majority. It seems that in spite of independence, Cyprus remains a jewel of the Mediterranean, which others would seek to control.
Modern Cypriots are proud that in spite of this history of occupation, we remain friendly to travelers from wherever they may hail. The average Cypriot appreciates the stability provided by the British bases, and welcomes her ex-pats who sojourn with us. This has long been our way.
As old a civilization as we are, it is not surprising that there are indications that Freemasonry has existed in Cyprus for over 200 years. Historical records place freemasons in the Larnaca District where at that time all Consulates were located. Larnaca was then considered the capital and is a main port of the island. This is documented by the existence of graves bearing Masonic marks and by an 1815 circular against Masons, written by the Archbishop of Cyprus, Kyprianos.
It is believed that lodge meetings were held whenever there were sufficient brethren visiting as officers or passengers of ships in port to augment the freemasons in Larnaca. However since Cyprus was then under Ottoman occupation, and even though there were Cypriot Freemasons who had joined the craft while studying abroad, it was not possible to create permanent Lodges. In 1888, ten years after the British occupation of Cyprus, the United Grand Lodge of England established its first Lodge in Cyprus and the Grand Lodge of Greece followed in 1895. With independence in 1960, still the Masonic situation remained as before until the creation of a district Grand Lodge by UGLE in the early 1980s and the creation of the Grand Lodge of Cyprus in 2006 by the Grand Lodge of Greece, the Grand Lodge of Austria and the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
The 6 Lodges that found the Grand Lodge of Cyprus were originally consecrated by the Grand Lodge of Greece and have been regularly working under them in honor and faith for almost 100 years. With 11 Lodges currently under its auspices, the Grand Lodge of Cyprus has over 520 brethren. According to its Constitution, dual membership is not permitted, therefore all brethren are of single membership, unlike the UGLE where many brethren belong to two, three or even more Lodges.
The Grand Lodge of Cyprus fully meets the conditions of Recognition observed by our founding grand lodges which are (a) legally consecrated and (b) regularly working.
Cyprus is a member of the United Nations and has been a full member of the European Union since May 2004. Therefore, the Grand Lodge of Cyprus in its own right may legitimately claim to be the governing Masonic body for the Republic of Cyprus. In spite of this, we recognize and support the rights of English lodges on our soil to continue their obedience to the English Constitution, and seek no more than friendly interrelations with them as a matter of Treaty.
As a sovereign Grand Lodge, Cyprus respectfully requests fraternal relations, mutual recognition and the exchange of representatives with All Regular Grand Lodges for the benefit of Freemasonry in General.
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