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Theo Devagnanam
Good evening Brethren,
09.04.2022

It is a great pleasure to be with all of you after two and half years and I have really missed our regular gatherings. Let us all hope that Masonic activity in our District can now return to normalcy. Our hosts, Lodge Rock, have made excellent arrangements for the meeting, despite the various constrains that they have had to face and I am sure you are all enjoying their warm hospitality.

For me, personally, this is a very special occasion. Brethren, one hundred years, one month and twelve days ago my Grand Father W.Bro. Samuel Devagnanam was initiated into this Lodge, on July 1, 1922 and it is indeed a pleasure to be presiding over this meeting in his Mother Lodge, a century later.

I would now like to extend a very warm welcome to V.W.Bro. K R Giridharan ARGM, representative of R.W. Bro. V.G. Madhusudhan, the Regional Grand Master of The Regional Grand Lodge of Southern India and his team of officers and W.Bro. Rajash Singh, representative of R.W. the District Grand Master of DGL of Eastern Archipelago.

Grand Lodge

W.Bro. Mathew Joseph has been conferred the rank of Past Asst. Grand Director Of Ceremonies.

Brethren, on my behalf and on behalf of all of you I would like to convey our congratulations to both of them.

The Grand Secretary V.W.Bro. Dr. David Staples has resigned from his post and the new Grand Secretary will be invested at the quarterly communication of Grand Lodge, next month. We wish V.W. Bro. Dr. David Staples all success in his future.

During the Annual Investiture Meeting of our District a mention was made of three of our Brethren who had joined the prestigious Lodge Sine Nomine No. 10000 EC. The Lodge held its first working meeting on June 17, 2022 and Bro. Anjan Sreenivas of The Lodge of Southern Brotherhood attended the meeting. He was given the opportunity of performing a portion of the ritual.

The much awaited33 Hermes software is currently being rolled out by the Grand Lodge. It will, however, probably be another year before our District will go on-stream.

District

I would like to congratulate W.Bro. K.V Kunhamed of Lodge Kerala who has completed sixty years of illustrious service to Masonry. I was pleased to issue him a citation which was presented to him, on my behalf, by W.Bro. Sukesh Menon, in Lodge Kerala on July 6, 2022.

After a short suspension of the newsletter The Coromandel Courier has been released in a new format, similar to the First Rising from Grand Lodge. This will now be a monthly issue which will be sent to every member of our District by our District Grand Communications Officer who has assumed his new role with great enthusiasm and action.

Our District Grand Membership Officer has been receiving quite a few enquiries for membership through the UGLE website. We have formed a committee consisting of the membership officer, the President of the Board of General Purposes and the District Grand Secretary who will short list worthy candidates and recommend them to the appropriate Lodges. I urge all Lodges to make use of this opportunity to increase on membership. I think, I must draw your attention, Brethren, to the fact that only five or six years ago the membership in our District was actually growing, albeit slowly. In the last five or six years, however, membership has dropped by almost 15% and we will need to do all that we can to boost it back up.

The District Grand Mentor, and District Grand Orator have been as active, as Covid has permitted, and the reports that they have been sending are encouraging. Our District Grand Orator has also started the Warden’s Club which will serve as an excellent foundation for the future leaders of our District.

Over the last couple of years I have been extremely pleased to see how involved and vibrant our L&D team has been. The most recent occasion was when I inaugurated the On-boarding sessions for Entered Apprentices. They were extremely well attended. This effort will be followed by On-boarding sessions for Fellowcrafts and Master Masons.

The L&D team recently organized a competition amongst our Brethren to write articles on Masonic subjects. Nine entries were received of which that of Bro.Chandan Lohia of St. John’s Lodge and Bro. Aravind Ramachandran of Lodge Minchin turned out to be a best written article. Brethren, let us all congratulate Bro. Chandan and Bro. Aravind. The L&D team has also organized a virtual talk given by W. Bro. Ben Zion on May 15. W.Bro. Ben Zion is the author of the book, ”Whence Come You”. The first of a series of podcasts entitled, “The Rising’, has just been released and I was pleased to be featured in the inaugural episode. The team is working to make this a regular feature.

Charity

Thanks to the efforts of W.Bro. Mathew Joseph and W.Bro. K. Kannan. We have now come to an agreement with the tenant of the Cornwallis Masonic Home , whereby he will pay the full rent from the month of July 2022. This is going to be an excellent support for our charitable activities and I am sure it will be thankfully received and faithfully applied.

Installations

I would like to convey my sincere thanks to W.Bro. K. Kannan for representing me at the installation of the Lodge of Southern Brotherhood No.3311 on May 23, 2022 and W.Bro. S. Sundaresan for representing me at the installation of The Cauvery Lodge, No.3848 on June 9, 2022.

Our Asst. District Grand Master, W.Bro. Sunil Koliyot attended the quarterly communication of the Grand Lodge held in June. During his visit to the Grand Lodge he met and got chatting to W.Bro. John M.Y. Wood, Past Provincial Asst. Grand Registrar of the Province of Northumberland who happened to be the Secretary of the River Lodge Association of the UGLE. This is an association of Lodges which are named after Rivers. W.Bro. Sunil immediately informed him that we have one such Lodge, Lodge Cauvery in our District. Action was immediately taken to enroll Lodge Cauvery in the River Lodges Association and I am pleased to say that they have now received a certificate of membership. W.Bro. John M.Y.

Wood had planned to visit Thanjavur and had booked his tickets as well. However, due to delay in getting his visa he could not attend the installation meeting of Lodge Cauvery in June.

Brethren it is always a great pleasure for all of us to express our sincere thanks to all those Brethren who give of their time and effort to keep the District administration and Masonry itself, on a sound footing in our District. A very special thanks to the L&D lead and his team, DGCO, The DGMO , The Presidents of the Board of General Purpose and the Charity Council, The DGDC, The DGT, The DGS and last but least our DAGS and his team in the DGL Office. Brethren your involvement is very greatly appreciated by all of us and I now look forward to working closely with you in the future.

Obituary

Very sadly, Brethren, since we last met the following Brethren have been summoned to the Grand Lodge above.

W.Bro. Capt. Sohni George, PDSGW The Lodge Cochin No.4359 30.04.2022
W.Bro. Cdr. A.K. George, PDSGW The Lodge Southern Brotherhood No.3311 10.06.2022
Bro. K.R. Govindarajan, MM The Cauvery Lodge No. 3848 23.06.2022
W Bro K.P.M. Unnikammu, PDG Org The Lodge Kerala No 2188 & The Lodge Ampthill No 3682 04.08.2022
W Bro E. Balakrishna Pillai, PDG Org The Lodge Quilon No 5839 06.08.2022

Brethren please be upstanding to observe a minute silence in their memory.

I would like to thank every one of you who have made an effort to attend this meeting. I greatly enjoyed being with all of you and I wish you the very best till we meet again in February next year.

The Most Excellent, Grand Superintendent’s address at the half yearly Convocation at Trichy on 13.8.2022 – Morning

Good Morning Companions,

Welcome to Trichy and the warm hospitality of Lodge Rock.

It is two and half years since I last attended a DGL Meeting and I know that we have all missed our regular gatherings.

I have great pleasure in welcoming our visitors this morning.

E.Comp. M Padmakumar, Senior Officer in Charge who is here representing the Grand Superintendent of the Regional Grand Chapter of Southern India and E.Comp. Rajash Singh, PDG II Asst. Sojr, representative of the Grand Superintendent of the District Grand Chapter of the Eastern Archipelago.

A warm welcome to you Companions and to the officers who are accompanying you.

Supreme Grand Chapter

It is with great pleasure that I inform all of you that the ME the Grand Superintendent of the Supreme Grand Chapter of England has seen fit to honour members of our District with Grand Ranks and Promotions.

E.Comp. Dr. K.K. Varma has been promoted to Past Grand Sword Bearer.

E.Comp. Mathew Joseph has been appointed as Past Grand Standard Bearer.

E.Comp. Viji Joseph has been appointed as Past Asst. Grand Director of Ceremonies.

Companions I congratulate all three of you and would once again reiterate that these honours must serve to encourage greater involvement in the future.

The Grand Scribe E Comp. Dr. David Stapels has tendered his resignation and will handover charge at the quarterly communication in September. We wish him the best in the future.

District Grand Chapter

The Royal Arch in our District continues to be well governed with the District committee of the General Purposes, headed by E.Comp. S. Sundaresan making sure that everything is in order. The growing membership drive in Craft Lodges, I trust, will also serve to stimulate Chapter membership. I call upon all Lodge membership officers to act as Royal Arch representatives in their respective Lodges and do everything possible to encourage Master Masons to join the Royal Arch.

Installation Convocations

I had the pleasure of attending the Installation Convocation of Chapter Excelsior No.1285 on June 24 where I was given the privilege of installing E.Comp Theo Devagnanam III as first Principal. I also had the pleasure of attending the installation convocation of Chapter Benson on August 5, 2022. The records of these Chapters were inspected by E.Comp. T.P. George.

I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to following Companions who represented me at other Installation Convocations.

E.Comp. Mathew Joseph Chapter Rock No.260 01.07.2022
E.Comp. Viji Joseph Chapter Southern Brotherhood No. 3311 28.07.2022

They also inspected the records of the Chapters.

Obituary

Companions it is with heavy heart that I inform you that the following Companions have passed away since we last met.

E.Comp. Capt. Sohni George, PAGDC, Chapter Cochin No.4359 30.04.2022
Comp. K.R. Govindarajan Chapter Cauvery No.3848 23.06.2022
E.Comp. K.P.M. Unnikammu, Chapter Ampthill No.3682 04.08.2022

Companions, please be upstanding to observe a minute’s silence in their memory.

I will be addressing the District Grand Lodge in greater detail this evening and would like to conclude by expressing my thanks and appreciation to E.Comp. S. Sundaresan, President of the Committee of General Purposes, E.Comp. Ilango Raphael, District Grand Scribe Ezra, E.Comp. Viji Joseph, District Grand Treasurer, E.Comp. George Pius, District Grand Director of Ceremonies, and the entire team in the District Grand Chapter Office for working so cheerfully to see that our District is well administered.

Archives

Message for July 2011

Brethren,

It's time to say 'farewell' – as this will be my last message as your District Grand Master – and as you will have my worthy successor installed in this Chair, next month.

I have conveyed more than one hundred such thoughts since it was first launched on our website in January 2003, with messages to the end of 2007 having been reproduced in a volume, and distributed to as many Brethren as asked for a copy, with a contribution of Rupees Fifty only each, for our Charity Fund.

My address at the last District Investiture Meeting in February in Chennai conveyed all my thoughts and completed tasks, and which anticipated my demitting office, as I had by then, already indicated to the Rulers of our Grand Lodge, my desire to step down, when I was still in good health. To depart when one is too ill to hold this prestigious office was not an option I wished ever to exercise, and as I had already accomplished all the tasks and objectives I had set out on assuming office in 2001 – it was time to bid good-bye.

I do not, however, propose to fade out into the good night, but will continue to participate in such Masonic activities, as my Lodges of which I have been a subscribing member for more than four decades, may require and to continue to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.

My successor Bro. Theo Devagnanam, will be the fifth District Ruler since Independence, and by far the youngest to hold this office. I am sure you will all render him your unadulterated loyalty and support to continue the efforts to put the District of Madras, and its Masonic achievements up there with the best in the fraternity. Bro. Theo brings with him not only relative youth but a well-recognised record as a successful corporate chief, and above all, a solid record in charitable initiatives. May the GAOTU bless him, his charming lady Vasanthi and the Brethren of this District who have all given me their love and affection. Any success that has devolved upon the District as a Masonic enterprise has been almost entirely due to those sentiments having been translated into harnessed team-work by its Brethren. Thank you one and all !