The traditional Knights Templar opening ritual set the high standard for a very special Friday evening in Budapest early in March.
A robed senior officer of our Order held the hilt of a heavy medieval-style word for each Brother and guest in turn to touch the centre of the cross made by the hilt and pommel before crossing themselves or touching their foreheads (depending on their denomination). This ancient ritual is said to have originated as a way of confirming that no Muslims were present!
Next, a representative of KTI Grand Master McBride (sadly prevented from attending by ill-health) presented a Certificate of Appointment and – even more important – the sword and robe of office, to the newly chosen Grand Prior of Hungary.
All present then sat to eat together, with the Catholics breaking their daytime Lenten fast with a vegetarian option and the rest enjoying traditional Hungarian soup and duck dishes as all present made new friends and contacts. I
In the background, music and hymns from every traditional Christian confession quietly filled the ancient brick-vaulted dining room in the heart of the ancient city next to a famous old Church re built on the site of an Ottoman Mosque.
Our Brethren and guests included an MP, Mayor, parliamentary aides, representatives of other lay religious orders, Hungarian cultural and pro-Life associations and members of Middle Eastern Christian communities in exile.
More reports from Hungary over the next few days