Gregorios Lodge

No 865, United Grand Lodge of Victoria

History of Gregorios Lodge

The Gregorios Lodge was Consecrated and came into existence in March, 1980. This is how it all started.

In 1967, WBro. Dimitri K. Zervos was installed as Master of the Lodge of Cordiality No. 331 under the register of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria, Australia. Amongst the visitors on this particular occasion was WBro. William (Bill) Campbell GStdB, member of the John Knox Lodge No. 636 and an officer of the Grand Lodge active team. At the south, when the time came for the newly installed Master to propose the toast to the Grand Master, Dimitri asked Bill to do the honours, as he was the highest ranked officer. This gesture pleased Bill who subsequently visited Dimitri at many meetings and a strong friendship developed between the two men.

On one of the visits to the Cordiality Lodge, Bill mentioned that he was about to retire, and that as a reward for his many years of loyal service to the company that he was working for, he had been offered a six-month paid holiday, and that he was wondering where he could go that was not too expensive. At that time, Greece was well known as a low-cost holiday destination, and Dimitri suggested that Bill and his wife might enjoy a visit there.

One thing led to another, and Bill and his wife Irene did indeed spend an extended holiday in Greece, where they were looked after by Dimitri’s relatives and acquaintances. They enjoyed themselves so much, that they returned there several times. While there, Bill visited Greek lodges and became quite interested in Greek Freemasonry.

In 1975, Bill and Dimitri (as well as their wives) were in Rhodes together. The two men discussed Freemasonry and how beneficial it would be for the Greek community in Melbourne to establish a Greek Lodge under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria. By this time, both Bill and his wife had become really enthusiastic about the Greek culture, so much so that, back in Melbourne, they attended night classes to learn the language.

About that time, the Greek immigration in Melbourne had reached the 200,000 mark. Indeed, Melbourne became the third-largest Greek-speaking city in the world. The Greek culture began to influence the social life of Melbourne. The Greek cafes, groceries with products never before seen in Australia, the Tavernas with the bouzouki and excellent mezethes became very popular, and Greek music was played everywhere. There were many Greek businessmen, university graduates, lawyers, doctors, scientists – indeed, there were Greek Australians in every field of endeavour in Melbourne’s society.

The Greeks in Victoria constituted one of the strongest ethnic groups in Australia, and many members had joined Freemasonry and progressed to senior positions within various Lodges. There were, however, many Greek Australians who, for lack of confidence in or knowledge of the English language, were reluctant to join Freemasonry. Bill Campbell, bearing this in mind, discussed with the Grand Master the idea of forming a Lodge under the Victorian Constitution that would be Greek in character and thus help those people to become Freemasons. This was not unprecedented, as there were already German and Yugoslav Lodges in existence at the time.

The Grand Master was very sympathetic towards the idea and was prepared to support its foundation as long as it was financially sound, and held enough experienced members to carry out the ceremonial work strictly as per the Victorian ritual.

Encouraged by this favourable attitude of Grand Lodge, Bill and Dimitri started to plan how the project might be realised. In 1978, then Bro. Nick Pateras, who was Senior Warden of Cordiality Lodge, asked that Dimitri carry out his installation as Worshipful Master of that Lodge assisted by a team of Past Masters of various Victorian Lodges. A team was recruited, and trained by Bill Campbell and some colleagues from the Grand Lodge team.

The installation was a great success, and the ritual work was of such a high standard that all were convinced that the level of experience was indeed more that adequate to ensure that a Greek Lodge would be able to perform the ritual work at a high standard.

Work then began in earnest, and on March 15, 1980, sponsored by Cordiality Lodge No. 331, Gregorios Lodge No. 865 was consecrated in a ceremony presided over by MWBro. R.E.Gregory, MBE, G.M.

Although WBro. Chris Chris was elected as Master Elect to become the first Worshipful Master of Gregorios Lodge, his wife Mary was taken seriously and suddenly ill, so he was unable to continue. The first Worshipful Master of Gregorios Lodge was WBro. Terence Pampakas.