Freemasonry was introduced into Germany during 1737 and was enthusiastically received there, particularly in intellectual circles where the members of the newly consecrated Lodges looked forward to learning how to help to create a worldwide brotherhood which would benefit all the citizens of the country in which Lodges were established beyond the constraints of class distinction and religion.
During 1769 Bro Abraham Chiron, a member of Lodge Zur Einigkeit in Franfurt am Main, Germany arrived at the Cape and some three years later he and several other brethren from different countries became founder members of Lodge De Goede Hoop. He was duly elected as the first presiding Master of the Lodge, which was established in 1772 and he played an active role in promoting Freemasonry in the Cape during the late 1700s.
Other Freemasons of German origin like Herman Schutte from Bremen and Anton Anreith from Freiburg were instrumental in building and decorating the De Goede Hoop temple, which was completed during 1801. It is as a result of the dedication and commitment of brethren such as these that we are privileged to still conduct workings in this Temple, almost 250 years later.
As more and more Freemasons of German origin settled in the Cape during the 1800s, some 9 Master Masons petitioned the German Grand Lodge, Royal York Zur Freundschaft, in Berlin for a charter to establish a Lodge in the Cape. This charter was granted in 1888 and Lodge Zur Eintracht was duly consecrated in the De Goede Touw temple on 21 December 1888 under the jurisdiction of the German Grand Lodge. The original Charter was apparently inscribed on a tanned pigskin with its lettering in red ink and its edging decorated in gold leaf.
As a result of the political turmoil in Europe during the late 1800s, it was later agreed that the Charter, which had been issued by the German Grand Lodge would be withdrawn and that the Grand Lodge of the Netherlands would issue a charter for Lodge Zur Eintracht and this unique German speaking Lodge then operated in South Africa under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the Netherlands from 1892.
Further political interference caused the Lodge to cease its operations during and after the two World Wars and it was only during 1970 that Lodge Zur Eintracht was re-opened, now under the new Grand Lodge of South Africa and it commenced its work in the German language according to the approved Grand Lodge degree rituals.
Certain diligent members of the Lodge thereafter translated and amended these rituals to conform with the old German rituals and during 1993 Lodge Zur Eintracht was granted permission by the Grand Lodge of South Africa to use its present rituals.
With this history of its foundation, let us remember that this Lodge also rests on the three symbolic pillars of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty.
WISDOM is defined as knowledge gained through learning. One must first acquire knowledge through learning and only once one has applied that knowledge in practical situations and has gained experience as a result thereof, can one venture to apply this Wisdom to the benefit of others.
STRENGTH does not only mean physical prowess. None of us possess the physical strength of the Biblical Samson and so our strength is rather measured by our determination and perseverance to overcome difficult obstacles and situations which present themselves in our lives. We are further measured by our Strength of character to know and conquer our own shortcomings.
BEAUTY is not only in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is no less than being known for one’s honesty, trustworthiness, humility, compassion, selflessness, respectfulness, courtesy and helpfulness.
The members of Lodge Zur Eintracht have surely acquired sufficient Masonic knowledge since its establishment and have further weathered the many storms that it has encountered and have so gained the experience necessary to operate as a viable Lodge. Their determination and perseverance through adversity has demonstrated their strength of character and their ongoing commitment to Charity has shown that they have and still are continuing with their Masonic work to the honour and glory of the GAOTU.
We are taught that there is no man so devoid of power or opportunity that he cannot do much for the welfare of his fellow man.
It has been well said that a HERO is one who sets up blazing torches on the dark paths of life, while a SAINT is one who walks along these dark paths of life, HIMSELF reflecting the LIGHT of the LOVE of GOD.
RW Bro John Smith
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