2nd International Workshop in Athens 26th – 30th August 2015.

Crest of the Workshop.

Crest of the Workshop.

Wor Bro McClintock and I travelled to Dublin, enroute to Athens, and got caught up in all the excitement and disruption arising from the Hanger Fire at Dublin Airport, on our morning of departure. We were boarded onto our plane and then held on the ground for two hours, before finally being allowed to take off. Needless to say, this played havoc with our travel plans and it took considerable time, and an extra flight to finally get us to our destination in Athens. But all congratulations to The Philotection Society in Greece, their car was waiting for us at the airport and took us straight to the Workshop Hotel, where we met up with our hosts for a quick chat and some liquid refreshment.

A View of the Acropolis.

A View of the Acropolis.

On our first morning in Athens, we set off on a bus tour to the Agora – the ancient marketplace of Athens, where people gathered to tak, to listen to Orators such as Socretes, to trade and to conduct all the business required to run govern the City State of Athens. As most of you probably know, this was the site where Democracy, as we now know it, first came to the fore as a political model to rule the state. Above, on one of the surrounding hills is the Temple of Athena, located on The Acropolis, the spiritual centre of Athens.

Dr Anthi Dipla ( in the red ) guiding our group around the Agora.

Dr Anthi Dipla ( in the red ) guiding our group around the Agora.

Dr Dipla, from the University of Athens, gave our group a comprehensive presentation on the Agora, explaining the history of the site and the use and structures of the many buildings spread over the site. As we approached the site, we first saw The Library of Hadrian, a name that we tend to associate with the wall between England and Scotland. Hadrian however had been governor of Athens before he went to the wilds of Britain. Next, we wandered over to visit a number of the other sites including Stoa, which is the greek term for Porch or covered way. One such Stoa is the Stoa Poikile, the Painted Porch from where Zeno of Citium taught the philosophy of Stoicism.

Stoa Poikile.

For the religious in our midst, you may be interested to learn that there was once a jewish synagogue located in the Agora, a few metres from the north east corner of the Metroon, an ancient Greek temple dedicated to the Mother Goddess Demeter. In the Book of Acts it is said thet the apostle Paul visited this synagogue and delivered a sermon, on his way to Rome in 50AD. Across the way is the glorious Stoa of Attalus located along the Eastern boundary, 115M long x 20M wide. The Stoa still survives, and was renovated in the 1950’s by an American Architectural Practice to turn it in to a modern exhibition space to exhib the many statues and artifacts recovered from this area in Athens.

Stoa Attalus - the current exhibition space in the Agora.

Stoa Attalus – the current exhibition space in the Agora.

By now Dr Dipla had been speaking continuously for some three hours, so we took the opportunity to thank her for her very informative lecture on Greek History and then returned to our air conditioned chariot, and made our way back to the Conference Centre for Lunch.

Printed Volume of All the Papers Presented at the 2014 Workshop.

Printed Volume of All the Papers Presented at the 2014 Workshop.

Rt Wor Bro Dimitrios Kontesis opened the afternoon session at 18.30PM with a review of the previous Workshop in 2014 and a report on the progress being made by the Philotection Society on the back of last years Workshop. Finantially the Workshop just about broke even, an excellent result from their First Workshop. They have now published a bound copy of the complete proceedings from 2014 and all attendees this year received an individually numbered copy, as part of their welcome pack. Some of the remaining copies will be sent to Masonic Liberies throughout Europe and the remainder ( a relatively small number ) will be available from the Philotection Society in Athens at a cost of 35 euros plus postage.

Part Two will follow shortly.

About irishfreemason

Rt Wor Bro Bashford lives in Ireland where he joined the Masonic Order in 1977. He became a Master Mason in 1978 and served as Master of his Mother Lodge, Moyarget No. 280 Irish Constitution in 1990. He was appointed Richard Robinson Memorial Lecturer in the Irish Masonic Province of Antrim in 1992 and 2004. In 1996 he was appointed Grand Master's personal Standard Bearer by Most Wor. Bro Darwin Templeton, G.M. In 2000 he became the Millennium Master of the `irish Lodge of Research No. 200, and in 2001 went on to become Excellent King of the irish Chapter of Research No. 222.He is the current Editor of the Irish Lodge of Research, and has been since 1992, and of the Irish Chapter of Research since 1996. He was appointed Representative of the Grand Lodge of Portugal at the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 2006 ( a ten year appointment), giving him the courtesy title of Right Worshipful Brother. He is currently Provincial Grand Librarian for the Province of Antrim, and Curator of the museum at their headquarters in Belfast.
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