EXCLUSIVE | Interview with the first (woman) Grand Master in the history of the Republic of Uruguay, Alicia TOYOS

Thursday 30 April 2015

This interview has an exclusive character, being part of the Exclusive Collection of Interviews of the Masonic Press Agency. The printable format of the interview (for Grand Lodges only) will be available at the end of this week and will include information about Alicia TOYOS. The republication (total and/or partial publication) of this interview is strictly prohibited.

Freemasonry has always been a Brotherhood of free and good-standing men. The emergence of the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster in 1717 marked the birth of the Speculative Freemasonry in its institutional form as we know it today. Two centuries later England hosted the first Women's Grand Lodge in the world.

Today, in the 21st century, the Woman Freemason and Women's Grand Lodges in Europe and Latin America enjoy development and represent a reality of Universal Freemasonry, even if the moment has not come for the Grand Lodges of tradition (male Grand Lodges), to recognize them. Despite this reality, there are regular Grand Lodges which admit the existence Women's Grand Lodges in their jurisdiction and, in some cases, work with them in the philanthropic, social and cultural sector.

For the first time in the history of the Masonic Press Agency a woman, a woman Freemason, the first (woman) Grand Master of the first Women's Grand Lodge in the history of the Republic of Uruguay, Alicia TOYOS (Immediate Past Grand Master, Serene Grand Master of Honour ad vitam) was interviewed. This interview is part of the Exclusive Collection of Interviews of the Masonic Press Agency.

Most Worshipful Sister, why Feminine Freemasonry and not Mixed (Co-Masonry)?

Before 2004, in Uruguay there were male and mixed Lodges. Detecting the desire of many women to work exclusively with other women, a great Freemason and I started working on the formation of Feminine Lodges.

Who is the main leader of Feminine Freemasonry in Latin America?

I do not think there is a leader in Latin America. Each Grand Master, in a certain moment, is the leader of her jurisdiction.

Do the Feminine Grand Lodge of Chile offer Light to the Feminine Grand Lodges in Latin America?

No, the Feminine Grand Lodge of Chile conferred regularly in Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Cuba and Panama. Other Latin American countries have received Light from other Obediences.

In 2012, the Feminine Grand Lodge of Uruguay celebrated five years of existence and this year celebrates 8 years. How many Feminine Lodges there are and how many Women Freemasons has the FGLU?

In April 2015 takes place the kindle of Light of Acacia Lodge #15. Overall we have 500 Sisters.

Which is the procedure for founding a regular Feminine Grand Lodge Feminine?

The steps taken by us were, first, to approach the Feminine Grand Lodge of Chile, which already conferred regularly in Bolivia and Argentina and, shortly, already had international fame and after that it was founded in 2004 the first Feminine Lodge in Uruguay. In 2006 it was founded the second and the third in 2007, giving us the right to receive a Constituent Charter for our Grand Lodge.

What is the difference between a regular and irregular Feminine Grand Lodge?

The difference, in almost all cases, lies in its origin. Many Obediences are formed due to dispute between Sisters and dissidences form another Grand Lodge without following the steps of regularity, and this leads to an abundance of Obediences thus created.

Other cases are those in which they do not comply with the precepts that traditionally define Freemasonry.

What is the relationship between the Feminine Grand Lodge of Uruguay and the Grand Lodge of Freemasonry of Uruguay?

And how does this bilateral relationship manifests? The relationship between the two mentioned Obediences is one of respect, cordiality outside the Temple and joint social work.

We know that now you are working in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. Who gives you these high grades?

Just as Chile has given us regularity, in the same spirit, France, thanks to many trips made to Paris, gives us the High Degrees.

What is the relationship between the Feminine Grand Lodge of Uruguay and Feminine Grand Lodges of England and France?

Regarding the Feminine Grand Lodge of England, we have relationships with our Sisters in Scotland that we met on our trip to Rosslyn Chapel in 2012.

With the Feminine Grand Lodge of France we have a strong relationship. We signed a Treaty of Amity and Mutual Recognition, we received twice the visit of Grand Master Catherine Jeannine-Naltet and we visited five times the Feminine Grand Lodge of France.

When can we speak of a Feminine Supreme Council in Uruguay?

In 2016, the Sisters of Feminine Supreme Council of France will come to Uruguay to found the first Lodge of Perfection and after the group of Masters strengthens they will come again to establish the Feminine Supreme Council of Uruguay.

Annual Communication and Installation Ceremony of the new Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Slovakia

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Bratislava, Slovakia. From 24 to 26 April 2015 took place the Annual Communication and Installation Ceremony of the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Slovakia. The event was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Bratislava. The ceremony was attended by several European Grand Lodges: Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro and Austria.

On Fridey, guests visited Bratislava's Masonic Temple and in the evening was offered a dinner hosted by the Grand Master of Slovakia at Stefanka Restaurant, near the Presidential Palace. Saturday was organized a walk through Bratislava followed by a lunch. After this, took place the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Slovakia and the Installation Ceremony of the new Grand Master, followed by a gala dinner.

Freemasons help earthquake victims in Nepal

Tuesday 28 April 2015

London, United Kingdom. The earthquake that rocked Nepal last week caused more than 5,000 deaths and almost 10,000 wounded. In Nepal there were many tourists when the earthquake occurred, and over 8 million people (in Nepal and neighboring countries) were affected. Nepal's Government estimates that the damages reach 5 billion, nearly a quarter of the gross domestic product of Nepal.

Following this tragic event various Grand Lodges around the world rushed to help victims through donations. The United Grand Lodge of England has already donated (through FREEMASONS' GRAND CHARITY) £ 50,000 to the Red Cross for Nepal's victims.

WORLD PEACE FORUM to take place in Baia Mare, Romania

Baia Mare, Romania. From May 7 to 10, 2015 will take place the ninth edition of the WORLD PEACE FORUM. The event is held annually by the Schengen Peace Foundation (President Dominicus H. Rohde) of Luxembourg, an NGO founded in 2005 and approved in 2007 by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. The meeting to be held this year in Romania is organized by TEAM BM | Advocacy (Baia Mare's NGO coalition which includes Rotaract TEAM Baia Mare).

President of the World Peace Forum - Romanian Chapter (host of the meeting), Mr. Dan Adrian POP, stated for the Masonic Press Agency that: "The event is supported by voluntary contributions of participants and other international organizations. At the local level, in Baia Mare, currently the largest sponsorship was that of the Mayor, Mr. Catalin Cherecheş, Rotary clubs and Maramures County Council".

Also, President Dan Adrian POP noted that "the participation in the event is not subject to payment of a fee but, given that we are a non-profit organization, contributions suggested to cover costs are between 39 and 499 euros". Payments are made through EVENTBRITE.

The topic of this year's meeting is "Finding Common Global Values". For this event already announced their presence delegations from USA, Pakistan, Ukraine, France, Luxembourg, Spain, Argentina, Germany, Brazil, Peru, India, Portugal, Norway, Croatia etc.

Among the speakers are: Vicki Hansen (ex Vice President of the Democratic Party, Advisor to President Obama), Martha Llanos (UNESCO Ambassador), Patricia Pellegrini (Minister of Education of Argentina), Jordi Molto (Catalan Government representative), Prof. José Felix Bentz Oliver (President of the Royal Art Circle of Spain), Prof. Dr. Raphael Pitti (Army General (r) & peace activist in Syria), Naveed Elahi (Advisor to the President of Pakistan) etc. The official press release and the Forum program will be published in the coming days.

Historical event: Grand Master of Spain is the new president of the IMC

Thursday 23 April 2015

Madrid, Spain. From 10 to 14 April 2015 took place the General Assembly of the Inter-American Masonic Confederation (founded in April 14, 1947), an event organized by the Grand Lodge of Spain  in the Auditorium Hotel of Madrid.

The meeting was attended by representatives of Grand Lodges of Latin America and Europe (IMC members) and representatives of the Grand Lodges in Europe, recalling here the Grand Chancellor of United Grand Lodge of England, and the Executive Secretary of the World Conference of Grand Lodges, Radu Balanescu (Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of Romania). A total of 51 Grand Masters together with 120 officials of over 50 Grand Lodges and Grand Orients.

This was a double historical event for the oldest, most active and largest regional Masonic organization in the world (IMC) because it was for the first time in history that the General Assembly was held outside Latin America and it also was for the first time in history that the President of the confederation is from Europe: Oscar de Alfonso Ortega, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Spain. The Executive Secretariat was taken by the Past Grand Master of Bolivia.

At only 47 years old, Oscar de Alfonso made history with the revitalization of the Grand Lodge of Spain, the restoration of the relations with the Supreme Council for Spain and for being the first European in history to occupy the position of President of the Inter-American Masonic Confederation.

Conference of Grand Masters of North America: Freemasonry in Bulgaria is moving towards unification

Vancouver, Canada. The Conference of Grand Masters of North America took place this year in Canada. According to the report issued by the Commission on Information for Recognition, Bulgarian Freemasonry made significant progress towards the unification of the Grand Lodges in dispute and it was estimated that this would be done this summer.

Regarding the situation in Serbia, the United Grand Lodges of Serbia came into contact with the Commission in order to submit a report in Vancouver. On 11 February, the United Grand Lodges of Serbia announced that they will not be present at the meeting in Vancouver. The Commission considers that the Regular Grand Lodge of Serbia (Grand Master Ranko Vujacic) is still the representative of Freemasonry in Serbia. The situation in Serbia was presented last month by the Masonic Press Agency and Masonic Times.

Annual Communication of the Grand Orient of Italy - 2015

photo: www.loggiagiordanobruno.com
Rimini, Italy. From 10 to 12 April 2015 took place the Annual Communication of the Grand Orient of Italy attended by many Grand Lodges from Europe and not only. The event was held at the Palacongressi. The Grand Orient of Italy (GOI) is the most active, numerous and powerful Masonic organization in the peninsula and is currently headed by Most Worshipful Grand Master Stefano Bisi.

As a result of the new approach of Grand Master Bisi, GOI is constantly developing both at national and at European and international level. The topics discussed during the conferences were centered on the needs of Italian society and not only. The debate was attended, among others, by Gian Maria Fara (Eurispes Chairman), Renato Soru (founder of Tiscali) etc.

The Masonic Press Agency has a new Editorial Policy

The Masonic Press Agency conducted from 30 March to 21 April 2015 a series of internal and external reports, for which the Agency's public activity was reduced. Starting with April 21, 2015 the Agency adopted a new editorial policy.


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