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Theo Devagnanam
Brethren,
09.02.2019

Good evening Brethren. It is a pleasure to have so many of you here with us this evening and I am sure that it has something to do with our hosts, the Lodge Faith Hope & Charity. I trust that all of you are comfortably accommodated and have been enjoying the events of the past couple of days. It is wonderful to have so many visitors at this meeting and I extend a very warm welcome to R.W.Bro. M. Varghese Mathews P.S.G.W, P.Dy. R.G.M. , who is here representing R.W.Bro. Abraham Markos, the Regional Grand Master of The Regional Grand Lodge of Southern India, R.W.Bro. Ferhad Nilgiria, the District Grand Master for Sri Lanka, R.W.Bro. Percy Driver, the District Grand Master for Bombay, R.W.Bro. Dato Jeyaraj Ratnaswamy, the District Grand Master for the Eastern Archipelago, all of who have travelled considerable distances to be with us.

I thank you all for being here. Welcome to all our other visitors. My congratulations to the Wor. Master and Brethren of the Lodge of Faith Hope & Charity who have worked extremely hard to make sure that this week-end has been enjoyable for all. My sincere thanks to all of them.

Grand Lodge

The administration of the Grand Lodge is now in the hands of Bro. Dr. David Staples, who was appointed Grand Secretary last year. He and his team of 90 or so staff of the Grand Lodge are responsible for the 200,000 members spread worldwide. I am confident that we will see a greater amount of transparency in the administration of Grand Lodge, going forward.

The Members’ Pathway has now been rolled out in most of the Provinces and in some of the Districts and as you knows we have commenced the roll out in our District. It is reported that the Members’ Pathway and its training programmes, have resulted in a greatly increased public interest in Freemasonry and an increase in the number of applications for membership.

Following the stated policy of the Grand Lodge on gender assignment, we have been informed that the Grand Lodge is not against the sharing of our temples and premises with the Honourable Fraternity of Antient Freemasonry for Women save that they do not interfere in our working. Brethren, you will see that the Grand Lodge continues to be progressive in its policies.

The District

I am very pleased to say that the District continues to be administered well with our dues all paid and our regular contribution to Freemasonry Cares, continuing. We continue to have approximately 1100 members and we would really like to see this number grow.

At the end of November last year, about 20 0f us had the pleasure of visiting the District Grand Lodge of Sri Lanka and participating in the Installation of R.W. Bro. Ferhad Nilgiria as the D.G.M.

I would like to take this opportunity to record my sincere thanks to V.W.Bro. Abdul Jifri, Past Deputy District Grand Master, and W.Bro. D. Rajasekaran, Past Assistant District Grand Master, both of whom have been pillars of support to me during their tenures in office. I will miss their wise counsel although I am sure that I will be able to call on them for advice in the future. I wish them the very best.

I look forward to working closely with W.Bro. A.C. Patel, Deputy District Grand Master and W.Bro. S. Ponnaiya, the Asst. District Grand Master and I wish them both all success in their new positions.

The following Brethren of Lodge John Miller were honoured on the completion of 50 years in Freemasonry and presented with the 50 year pin and citation:

1 W.Bro. V.R. Bhakthavatsalam
2 W.Bro. Dr. B.Krishna Rau
3 W.Bro. Lodd Satyanarayanadas

My congratulations to all of them.

I must also congratulate W.Bro. Dr. K.K. Varma and W.Bro. N. Jayakrishnan Nair both of whom have completed 50 years as Freemasons. I would like to apologise to them for the delay in presenting them both the 50 year pin and citation and to confirm that this has now been planned for the first week of March.

Mentoring

Our District Grand Mentor, W.Bro. M.S. Duleep, has been most active in commencing the roll out of the Members’ Pathway programme. To this end we have had a very successful officers’ training programme yesterday the attendance of which was actually by application. Brethren, you will be pleased to know that we had over 100 applications for this programme which covered training for selected officers of the Lodge. The benefits of such programms are far reaching and we look forward to many more.

I would like to place on record my thanks to W.Bro. A.K. Nair who has done an excellent job as District Grand Orator over the past few years and has now demitted office. I welcome W.Bro. Mathew George in his place and I am sure he will do equally well.

Brethren, there have been several appointments made this evening and I would like to congratulate every one of you who has been invested with active and brevet ranks. Let me, once again, remind you that these ranks are not given to you in recognition of past services but rather to encourage you to further efforts in the discharge of your respective duties.

A special word of thanks from all of us is due to W.Bro. Sukesh Menon who has served as a very able President of the District Grand Charity Council and who, during his tenure in office, has been extremely dynamic in collecting and disbursing large sums of money following natural disasters in our District of which there have been a few during his term in office, the floods in Chennai, cyclone Vardha, the floods in Kerala and cyclone Gaja, during all of which he and his team have rendered enormous service to those adversely affected. He now moves on to take over as President of The Board of General Purposes following a very successful term by V.W.Bro. S. Sampath to whom we must also render sincere thanks. V.W.Bro. S. Sampath has also been a very active Chairman of the Premises Committee, a role in which he will continue.

Our thanks are also due to W.Bro. Sunil Koliyot, our District Grand Director of Ceremonies, who apart from discharging his own duties faithfully and sincerely, has also gone out of his way to assist W.Bro. Sukesh Menon and other officers in the administration of the District and the Charities.

I welcome W.Bro. Mathew Joseph who has been appointed President of the District Grand Charity Council.

Brethren, congratulations are due to District Charity Steward W.Bro. V. Sukumaran Nair who has created history by collecting a record sum of Rs.30.54 lakhs for charity. Brethren, he has been able to achieve this by personally visiting all the 18 Lodges in the District and making each Lodge member aware of his obligation to Masonic charity. Thank you W.Bro. Sukumaran Nair.

Installation Meetings:

I was represented by the following Brethren at Installation meetings:

W.Bro. S. Sundaresan The Cauvery Lodge No.3848 14.07.2018
W.Bro. D. Rajasekaran, The Lodge St. George No.2532 28.09.2018
The John Miller Lodge No.1906 21.11.2018
The Pitt Macdonald Lodge No.1198 08.01.2019
The Lodge of Perfect Unanimity No. 150 11.01.2019
V.Wro.Bro.S.Sampath The Lodge Southern Brotherhood No. 3311 26.11.2018
The Lodge Ampthill No.3682 19.01.2019
W.Bro.Sukesh Menon The St.John’s Lodge No.434 27.12.2018
The Lodge of Rock No.260 05.01.2019
The Lodge Quilon No.5839 12.01.2019
The Lodge Cochin No.4359 19.01.2019
The Golconda Lodge No.3249 01.02.2019
R.W.Bro. K.R.N. Menon The Archibald Campbell Lodge No. 4998 31.10.2018
The Lodge of Universal Charity No. 273 21.12.2018
V.W.Bro.Abdul Jifri The Kerala Lodge No.2188 05.01.2019

I would like to thank you Brethren for representing me and for inspecting the records of those Lodges.

I also thank W.Bro. Sunil Koliyot and W.Bro. Viji Joseph for having inspected the records of the The Archibald Campbell Lodge No.4998and the The Lodge of Universal Charity No.273, respectively.

Brethren, it is with immense grief that we record the demise of the following Brethren since we last met:

W. Bro. C.N. Ramachandran, PDG Chap.,
The John Miller Lodge No.1906
on 21.08.2018
Bro. Dr. P.T. Pillai, MM, The Lodge Quilon No.5839,  on 29.08.2018
W.Bro. V. Deivasigamani, PDG Std Br,
The Cauvery Lodge No.3848
on 07.09.2018
W.Bro. J.J. D’Silva, PG Std Br, PDG Chap,
The St. John’s Lodge No.434
on 31.10.2018
Bro. Y.S. Mathivanan, MM,
The Lodge Ampthill No.3682,
on 12.11.2018
W.Bro. C.V. Sreeramkumar, PDAGDofC,
The John Miller Lodge No.1906
on 16.11.2018
W.Bro. S. Dhanrajan, PAGDC,
The Lodge of Faith Hope & Charity No.1285 and
The Lodge Southern Brotherhood No.3311
on 01.12.2018
W.Bro.S.Rajkumar, PDG Chaplain
The Lodge Southern Brotherhood No.3311
on 10.01.2019

Upstanding Brethren to observe a minute’s silence in their memory.

Our Collective thanks are due to W.Bro. Ilango Raphael, District Grand Secretary, W.Bro. Viji Joseph, District Grand Treasurer, and W.Bro. P.B. Shankar and the entire team at DGL Office for all that they do to ensure the smooth functioning of the DGL Office and the general administration of the District.

I would like to once again thank the visiting deputations for being with us this evening and I take this opportunity to invite them to join us at the festive board following this meeting.

Until we meet under the banner of The St.John’s Lodge No.434 in August, Brethren, I wish you God Speed.

Most Excellent. Grand Superintendent's address at the District Grand Chapter Annual Investiture Convocation at Ootacamund on 09.02.2019 - Morning

Good morning Companions and welcome to the Nilgiris.

It is gratifying to see this meeting so well attended.

I am also delighted to see that we have so many distinguished visitors amongst us to all of whom I extend a very warm welcome.

E.Comp. Percy Driver, the Grand Superintendent of the District Grand Chapter of Bombay, E.Comp. Ferhad Nilgiria, Grand Superintendent of District Grand Chapter of Sri Lanka and E.Comp. Dato Jeyaraj Ratnaswamy, Grand Superintendent of District Grand Chapter of Eastern Archipelago.

Companions, a very warm welcome to all of you and our sincere thanks for having travelled so far to be with us this morning.

Supreme Grand Chapter

In his address, on the 14th November last year the ME Pro First Grand Principal, Peter Lowndes, once again stressed the importance of explaining the continuing journey of a Mason after completion of his Third Degree as, probably, less than half of those made Master Masons, actually join the Royal Arch.

District Grand Chapter

Companions, the District continues to be administered well and I am pleased to say that our membership continues to increase although very slowly. Since we last met about 20 of us had the pleasure of visiting the District Grand Chapter of Sri Lanka and participating in the Installation of E.Comp. Farhad Nilgiria as the Grand Superintendant.

I must say a very very special word of thanks to E.Comp. Mathew Joseph, The President of the Committee of General Purposes who has made a very great effort to visit various Chapters, identify their problems, if any, and find solutions. He has also come up with a concrete plan to improve the working of our various Chapters. Companions, I request all of you to please co-operate with him and assist him in achieving his goals.

Our collective thanks are due to E.Comp. Ilango Raphael, District Grand Scribe Ezra, E.Comp. Viji Joseph, District Grand Treasurer, E.Comp. Sunil Koliyot, District Grand Director of Ceremonies and the entire team at the District Grand Chapter Office.

Companions, my special congratulations to E.Comp. A.C. Patel, E.Comp. Sukesh Menon, and E.Comp. W.C. Thomas on their new appointments. I welcome them to the new offices and take this opportunity to remind them, and all of you who have been invested this morning, that the higher you are elevated in rank the greater your duty.

Installation Convocations

I would like to thank the following Companions who have represented me at the installation Convocations and inspected the records of those Chapters:

E.Comp. Sukesh Menon Chapter Rock No.260 07.07.2018
Chapter John Miller No.1906 03.10.2018
Chapter Cochin No.4359 08.12.2018
Chapter Ampthill 14.12.2018
Pitt Macdonald Chapter No.1198 17.12.2018
Chapter School of Plato No.150 23.01.2019
Chapter Universal Charity No.273 24.01.2019
(The records of Chapter Universal Charity inspected by E.Comp.Mathew Joseph)
E.Comp. Abdul Jifri Kerala Chapter No.2188 03.11.2018
E.Comp. A.K. Nair Chapter Minchin No.2710 30.11.2018
E.Comp.K.Muralidharan Chapter Southern Brotherhood No.3311 31.01.2019

Obituary

Companions, it is with grief that I inform you that the following Companions have been called to the Grand Lodge above since we last met

E.Comp. C.N. Ramachandran, Chapter John Miller No.1906 21.08.2018
Comp. Dr. P.T. Pillai, MM, The Lodge Quilon No.5839 29.08.2018
Comp. C.V. Sreeramkumar, Chapter John Miller No.1906 16.11.2018
E.Comp. S. Dhanrajan, PAGDC, P D II Gr. Pr.,
Chapter Excelsior No.1285 and
Chapter Southern Brotherhood No.3311
01.12.2018
E.Comp.S.Rajkumar, PDG Reg
Chapter Southern Brotherhood No.3311
10.01.2019

I request you to stand and observe a minute’s silence in their memory.

Companions I shall be addressing you at greater length this evening. Till then farewell.

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 !