St Stephen Lodge No.7

Welcome to St Stephen Lodge.

We are part of the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary, and are an English-speaking Lodge, working in extended Emulation.

A home for English-speaking Masons in Hungary.

Our logo is the ancient sigil of Saint Stephen, surrounded by a square and compass and chain. The square and compass represent Freemasonry, and the chain represents the strength of the brethren.

This year, 2024, St Stephen Lodge celebrates its 25th anniversary with a two day event in the city of Kecskemét: starting on the Friday 28th June with an informal barbecue in the evening. After a sleep-in, Saturday starts mid-morning with a Passing, lunch, followed by the Installation of our new WM with a full extended working of the original Emulation Ritual with Inner Working.

We are doing something a little bit special this year: we are holding a White Lodge: our partners and non-masonic friends will be able to sit within the body of the Lodge after lunch while we do our work (less signs and other secrets), and also join us for our Festive Board. After the Festive Board, we’ll retire to the garden and bar area of the hotel to continue the night’s festivities, until the last person withdraws to bed!

There are several ways to enjoy our weekend:

  • Full Weekend Programme – includes 2 night’s accommodation, all meals (including the Festive Board), wine, beer, soft drinks.
  • Full Weekend Programme with no accommodation, for those who live locally or prefer to make their own arrangements – all meals (including the Festive Board), wine, beer, soft drinks.
  • Full Weekend Programme for two brothers sharing a room – all the fun, but sharing a room brings the cost of the ticket down.
  • Saturday Programme – for those arriving on Saturday, includes one night accommodation, the lunch, Festive Board, wine, beer, soft drinks.
  • Saturday Programme with no accommodation – for those who live locally or prefer to make their own arrangements – the Festive Board, wine, beer, soft drinks.
  • Saturday Programme for two brothers sharing a room – all the fun of the meeting and Festive Board, but sharing a room brings the cost of the ticket down.

Click on the Hairy Hand to see the venue!

Click on the candle to go to the shop!

St Stephen Lodge’s History

St Stephen Lodge can trace its history back to 1864 when it was consecrated as Hungary’s first Budapest Lodge.

There are many comparisons to its modern successor in so far as it operated in a language other than Hungarian (German) and its membership was drawn from a largely expatriate community. Like it’s modern day incarnation, it also met on Saturdays and was a pioneer in areas such as Charity for children in need of medical assistance.

St Stephen Lodge as it exists today was reborn in 1999 and is warranted by the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary to work in the English language. It uses a form of old Emulation Ritual and draws it’s membership from both the Hungarian and expatriate community in Budapest – although it also boasts a large international membership.

It’s members have included a Past Grand Master of the SGLH , Deputy Grand Master and has provided Grand Secretaries, Grand Registrar’s, Grand Treasurer, Grand Tyler as well as other distinguished members of the Board of General Purposes.

It has grown from it’s 7 Founding fathers to a vibrant Lodge of more than 50 members and can boast a registered Charitable Foundation which is directed at the welfare of Children through it’s belief in HOPE (Health, Opportunity, Protection and Education).

It also sponsors one of the Hungarian Royal Arch Chapters – Cockfosters, a founding Chapter of the Symbolic Grand Chapter of Hungary.

The United Grand Lodge of England.

Freemasonry can trace its origins in Europe as far back as medieval times. Since then it has evolved into what we know today. Throughout these hundreds of years Freemasons have been sure of being able to find and identify a group of men, wherever they might be in the world, who live their lives according to the three basic tenets of the Craft – Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.

As part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the history of Freemasonry in Hungary parallels that of all Central Europe. The first Hungarian Lodge is documented in Brasso, Transylvania, in 1749, although little is known of it. There were certainly military-type lodges working in Hungary by the 1770’s, notably to the twin cities of the then Buda and Pest, and a lodge is documented in Pozsony in 1775. Hungarian lodges were united with those of Austria in 1781 under a Provincial Grand Lodge, which functioned until 1786. The Hungarian Emperor started to suppress Masonry about 1780, and in 1795 Imperial Edict dissolved lodges.

Hungary became a separate kingdom in 1867, enabling Freemasonry to formally re-establish itself. In addition to St Stephen Lodge which was warranted in 1864, seven further lodges were erected under the Grand Lodge Zur Sonne of Bayreuth, Germany, and in 1870 they formed a National Grand Lodge (often called The Grand Lodge of St. John). A Grand Orient was erected separately in 1872 by several lodges chartered by the Grand Orient of France. These two bodies united in March 1886 to create The Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary, then comprising twenty-six lodges.

By the First World War, the Grand Lodge possessed thirty-two lodges in Budapest and fifty-one in wider Hungary, with over 10,000 members. The Grand Lodge was widely recognized as regular throughout the Masonic world.

Sadly, the Grand Lodge was dissolved by decree in 1920, and by the end of the Second World War there were only about 300 Masons left in the country. The Grand Lodge was revived in 1946, and made very rapid progress, and by 1950 membership had recovered to 1500, although the communist takeover in 1948 saw a large increase in Masonic emigration.

On 12 June 1950, the secret police occupied and confiscated the Grand Lodge building in Budapest, and the Grand Lodge was forcibly dissolved. Thereafter, a Masonic Aid Fund for Hungary was set up under the sponsorship of the Austrian and German Grand lodges, which cared for Masons in Hungary. Hungarian Masonic refugees set up lodges in Canada, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, France, and Austria.

Following the fall of the communist regime in 1989, plans were made to resuscitate the Grand Lodge. Four lodges were chartered in Vienna, and these were transferred to Budapest on 27 December 1989, and the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary re-consecrated under the sponsorship of the Grand Lodge of Austria. Fraternal recognition has followed from many Grand Lodges and the United Grand Lodge of England recognized the SGLH in September 1990.

The Grand Lodge celebrated 250 years of masonry in Hungary in 1999, the year that St Stephen Lodge was re-consecrated.

Shaquille O’Neal was Initiated on 11th June 2011, a brother of Widow Son Lodge 28,
Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts

Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation. Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.”  “The grand object of Masonry is to promote the happiness of the human race.”
— George Washington

“Freemasonry is an institution calculated to benefit mankind.”
— Andrew Jackson

Why become a Freemason?

There are many personal benefits to becoming a Mason, and the rewards can be different for each person. But all Masons share a common goal: making good men better. Only individuals believed to be of the finest character are favorably considered for membership.

TRADITION

For all of history, men have come together to build. Fathers taught the secrets of their trade to their sons. Families learned to work together and these builders began to erect evermore beautiful edifices. Freemasonry teaches, exactly, those time tested principles which bring men together amid who can best work and best agree. Those principles apply to building anything, from friendships to communities, private aid to Charities, or simple fun. Just as time has not changed male human nature, Freemasonry has not changed what works.

MORALITY

You’ll share the values of the great men who founded the Hungarian State: Men who believed in the brotherhood of man and the ideals expressed in the Countries Constitution. Freemasonry is built upon the tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. Brotherly love is the practice of the golden rule. Relief embodies charity for all mankind. Truth is honesty, fair play and adherence to cardinal virtues. Above all, men of all faiths are welcome, as long as they believe in a Supreme Being.

SELF-IMPROVEMENT

Masons seek to improve themselves and to help others, not because they think they should, but because they want to. Because of this crucial distinction, Masons give freely of themselves and ask nothing in return. Nationally, Masons give to charitable causes that relieve suffering. When you’re a Mason, the satisfaction derived from selfless service is immeasurable, for it is in helping others that one most helps himself.

FRATERNITY

Masons come from all walks of life: accountants, teachers, office workers, laborers — you name it. They represent all creeds and cultures, and all are welcome. You are bound to develop lasting friendships, meet new business associates, and broaden your circle of friends. No matter where your travels take you, it’s great to know there are Brothers you can depend on and trust.

FELLOWSHIP

By attending Masonic Lodge meetings and learning from your fellow Masons, you’ll strengthen the bonds of fellowship as you join together with like-minded men who share ideals of both a moral and metaphysical nature. You’ll enjoy the friendship of other Masons in the community, and you’ll be welcomed as a “Brother” by Masons everywhere in the world. Freemasonry also promises that should you ever be overtaken by misfortune, sickness, or adversity through no fault of your own, the hands of our great Fraternity will be stretched forth to aid and assist you.

CHARITY

From its earliest days, charity has been the most visible Masonic activity. Freemasons have always been devoted to caring for disadvantaged children and the sick and the elderly. Masons are also actively involved in a great deal of community volunteer work.

EDUCATION

The Grand Lodge has advocated the education of members since its foundation years. Its ceremonies provide instruction to all members, supplemented by various other activities such as seminars, lectures, workshops, reading and use of audiovisual materials and the Internet. Because Freemasonry is an esoteric society, certain aspects of its work are not generally disclosed to the public. Freemasonry uses an initiatory system of degrees to explore ethical and philosophical issues, and the system is less effective if the observer knows beforehand what will happen. It is described in Masonic craft ritual as “a beautiful system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.”

LEADERSHIP

Freemasonry offers its members leadership opportunities at the Lodge and Grand Lodge level. As Freemasons progress through the craft, they discover different aspects of themselves and develop a range of skills that even they might not have known they possessed. By developing leadership techniques that fit their personality, Masons unlock the door to their full potential both in the Lodge and in their life in general.

ADVICE TO THOSE WHO SEEK MEMBERSHIP

Having expressed a desire to become a Freemason, we presume you have thoroughly considered the step you propose to take. The exact nature of our Institution being unknown to you, we consider it advisable that you should be informed on certain points, the knowledge of which might affect your decision to apply for membership.

Not all men can become Masons, however. Masonry does not purport to make “bad men good,” only “good men better.” This distinction is critical in that from its early days the Fraternity took itself out of the “rehabilitation” game – which is the purview of religion and the criminal justice system. Only men of good character are accepted into the Fraternity. Masonic Lodges review every applicant’s character – and the centuries-old “blackball” system is still in place; candidates for initiation must be voted by a 100% vote of the Lodge members present.

Freemasonry strives to teach a man the duties he owes to God, his neighbor and himself. It has for its foundation the great basic principles of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, and requires a belief in the immortality of the Soul. It interferes neither with religion nor politics. Admission to the Institution must not be sought from mercenary or other unworthy motives, nor from hope of personal gain or advancement. Anyone so actuated will be disappointed, and in all friendship we warn you.

Freemasonry is not a benefit society. We do not subscribe so much a year to entitle us to draw financial relief or to make provision for those we leave behind. Its charity is intended for those Masons who, through no fault of their own, have met with misfortune.

Freemasonry has in all ages insisted that men shall come to it’s door entirely of their own free-will; not as a result of solicitation; not from feelings of curiosity; but from a favorable opinion of the Institution and a desire to be ranked among it’s members.

We think it is advisable to inform you that should you be admitted, it will entail certain financial obligations, which you should be able to afford without detriment to yourself or those dependent on you. In addition to the fees payable with your petition, there will be an annual subscription for the support of your Lodge, as provided by the By-Laws of the Lodge.

We trust you will consider these statements in the same spirit of honesty and friendship in which they have been presented. It is of the utmost importance to you as well as to Freemasonry that the motives and ideals governing your daily life be in substantial accord therewith.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. What are the requirements to join?
    A man, of good repute, and well recommended, 24 years or older, recommended by two Masons, no criminal record, and a belief in a supreme being.
  2. What is the application process?
    When you have asked to join our Lodge or have made enquiries about membership generally. You will be invited to meet with and get to know some of the Brethren in the Lodge. You must fill out an application form and submit this for the Lodge’s consideration.
  3. How long is the application process?
    Once you have submitted an application to a Lodge, your petition is read at a regular meeting and a team is assigned to meet with you. Their investigation results are read at the next Lodge meeting and then a ballot is taken. If approved by the members you will be assigned a mentor and you will be asked to schedule a date for your initiation. This can take between three and six months, dependant upon the Lodge meeting dates and workload.
  4. What financial commitment is to be expected?
    Joining costs about HUF 100,000 – 150,000 depending on the time of year you join. Annual dues vary with age as shown below. Before considering membership you should be personally financially secure and be able to support your family (correct as at January 2024).
    • Under the age of 29: HUF 75,000
    • Under the age of 36: HUF 84,000
    • Under the age of 51: HUF 106,000
    • Under the age of 61: HUF 84,000
    • Aged 61 and over: HUF 66,000.
    • Overseas members: HUF 75,000 (under the age of 61).
  5. How long do meetings last?
    These meetings typically take about three hours and include business and educational content. Typically there is a meal or festive board following the meeting.
  6. How do I know that St Stephen Lodge is right for me?
    You will have ample opportunity to get a feel for the Lodge through the Masons you meet. Ask questions. You will not be able to attend meetings until you become a Mason, but we have many social events that you may be invited to attend. You may already know some Masons, if so, talk to them. We take our ritual and masonic ritual very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously: our Lodge is a place of humour, banter (without malice), and camaraderie.
  7. What is Freemasonry?
    Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it’s about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it’s about being able to help deserving causes – making a contribution to family and for society. But for most, it is an enjoyable hobby.
  8. Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisation. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.
  9. What happens at a Lodge meeting?
    The meeting, which like those of other groups, are open only to members, is normally in two parts. First, there are normal administrative procedures such as minutes of the previous meeting, proposing and balloting for new members, accounts, news, charity work etc. Second, there are the ceremonies for admitting new members or progressing to higher degrees, and the annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers
  10. Why do Freemasons take Oaths?
    New members make solemn promises concerning their behaviour both in the Lodge and in society. Members also promise to keep confidential the way they recognise each other when visiting another Lodge. Freemasons also promise to support others in time of need but only so far as it does not conflict with their family and public obligations.
  11. Are Freemasons expected to give preference to fellow members?
    Certainly not. This would be unacceptable and may lead to action being taken against those involved. On joining, each new member states that he expects no material gain from membership.
  12. Who do the Masonic Charities donate to?
    Whilst there are Masonic charities that cater specifically, but not exclusively, for Masons or their dependents, others make significant grants to non-Masonic organisations. Our main charity donations go towards a home for mentally disabled children, and an institute undertaking research into curing glaucoma.
  13. What is Freemasonry’s relationship with Religion?
    All Freemasons are expected to have a religious belief, but Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Mason’s religion or provide a substitute for it. It deals in a man’s relationship with his fellow man, not in a man’s relationship with his God. We have as current members of our Lodge Jews, Christians, Muslims, as well as other faiths and those who have faith, but no membership of an established religious body.
  14. Why do some Churches not like Freemasonry?
    There are elements within churches who misunderstand Freemasonry and its objectives. They confuse secular rituals with religious liturgy. There are many Masons in churches where their leaders have been openly critical of the organisation. Masonry has always actively encouraged its members to be active in their own religion. Some churches do not like the fact that we have people from many religions meeting as equals and acting in harmony with each other.
  15. Does Freemasonry Accept Roman Catholics?
    Yes. Many Grand Masters of the Order throughout the world have been Roman Catholics. Today there are many Roman Catholic Freemasons.
  16. Do we accept LBGT?
    Yes. Just as we have members of different religions among our members without issue, so does no-one have issues with your legal proclivities: we treat everone as equals.
  17. What is Freemasonry’s relationship with Politics?
    Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a view on politics or state policy. The discussion of politics at Masonic meetings has always been prohibited. Any political extremist would be unlikely to be accepted as a member, and any brother who attempts to introduce politics into a Lodge meeting would soon find himself excluded. In our lodge we have as many differing political views as we do members. We respect each others’ opinion as we respect our own.
  18. Who shouldn’t join Freemasonry?
    Conspiracy theorists and those hoping to get rich from doing business with other Freemasons. The only conspiracy is how we manage to make organising a dinner for 25 people look so difficult. There can be business relations (though this should be done with caution, so as to avoid any possible disharmony within the Lodge if a business fails): the business side mainly takes the form of members being able to help each other with advice and contacts: e.g. ‘You need a warehouse in the Netherlands, I’ll introduce you to a couple of businesses I used there last year.’ This is never discussed in Lodge, but only outside of it, and is a conversation between two people who know each other: there is nothing ‘masonic’ about it.
  19. Is Freemasonry an International Order?
    Freemasonry exists throughout the world. However, each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent. There is no international governing body for Freemasonry, although some Grand Lodges carry more prestige and history than others. Within each country (or US State) the Grand Master is sovereign and not answerable to any other body.
  20. Are there Women Freemasons?
    Yes. Whilst the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary in keeping with all other Regular Grand Lodges, following the example of medieval stonemasons, is, and has always been, restricted to men, women Freemasons have two separate Grand Lodges, which are restricted to women.
  21. Why do you wear Regalia?
    Wearing regalia is historic and symbolic. Like a uniform, the regalia indicates the rank of the wearer in the organisation.
  22. How many Freemasons are there? 
    Worldwide, there are approximately six million Freemasons.