One of the most developed Masonic institutions of the world, with 217 mutual recognition treaties with the regular powers of the universe, the Grande Loja Maçônica do Estado de São Paulo (GLESP) has more than 23 thousand workers, and more than 800 hundred Lodges in the State of São Paulo. Besides developing actions of great social relevance through its Lodges and patronized entities, GLESP keeps excellent relations with the institutions of São Paulo society, searching to participate and support initiatives that may promote social welfare, justice and peace between men. Not neglecting to worship the respect and the reverence to the Order’s traditions and the wealth of its history, GLESP keeps itself in constant harmony with the present and looks forward, to prepare itself for the future. For GLESP, the yesterday, the today and the tomorrow constitutes the vertex of a triangle in which the greater meaning is the moral and spiritual enhancement of man, anywhere and anytime.
Since from its start, Brazilian Masonry had active participation in important events of the national history, as, for instance, the process of Independence, the Slavery Abolition and the establishment of the Republic. Maintaining this tradition, GLESP kept weaving, in its way, very close relations with the facts and events that marked the Country. Along its existence, the institution and its members had strong influence in facts and historical movements, as well as have suffered the consequences.
Headquarters in São Paulo
The world passes by deep transformation in politics, economy, arts and society. It was the time where the middle class, in the whole world, including Brazil, emerged and claimed greater participation in decision making. Mainly formed by persons coming from this segment, Brazilian Masonry strengthens and joins progressive causes, representing the Equality, the Liberty and the Fraternity ideals. Mario Behring, then President of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for Brazil – occupied that charge from 1922 to 1933 – in returning from a congress in France, observed that Masonry, in Brazil, was not being practiced as in the rest of the world, that is, organized in Symbolic Powers of smaller jurisdictions. So, he took the initiative to build up a movement that would, sometime later, give birth to Brazilian Grand Lodges. It was the opening way for the installation of the Grande Loja Maçônica do Estado de São Paulo. In July 2nd, 1927, at the Centenário Temple, which belonged to the Lodge Amizade nº1, in Rua Tabatinguera, 37, was kept the GLESP Installation Meeting, and to direct it, was named a provisional administration. As first Grand Master, Brother Carlos Reis was nominated, taking charge in the same meeting. It was also decided that the Grande Loja headquarters would stay, at first, at that same address.
The Reis Family
Between 1927 and 1950, GLESP was under the direction of the Reis family. The first Grand Master’s mandate lasted for four years, from July 1927 to August 1931, when the first direct election to the highest office of São Paulo Masonry happened. At that occasion, Benjamin Reis, Carlos Reis carnal brother, was elected. This second GLESP Grand Master stayed for two mandate terms, which lasted 15 years. In 1944 after a new election, Carlos Reis Junior was elected as Grand Master, and stayed in charge until May, 1950. These times were remarked by great changes in Brazilian society. In 1937, for instance, with the inauguration of the “Estado Novo” (dictatorial), built up by the, then President Getulio Vargas, Brazilian Masonry was forbidden to act, and GLESP interrupted its activities for two years and nine months. During the Reis administration, for various reasons, the Grande Loja headquarters changed address three times. In July, 1940, when the Order restarted normally, the members of GLESP came to meet in its fourth address, at Rua Bresser, 1145. The institution remained at this place until 1949.
In 1950, GLESP saw the election of Brother Alcides do Valle e Silva, first Grand Master who didn’t belong to the Reis family. Of his achievements, stands out the creation, in 1952, of a newspaper distributed monthly to the workers and to national and international Grand Lodges, which would give birth to the “A Verdade” magazine. In 1953, GLESP moved to its first own headquarters, at Rua São Bento, 405, and maintained this address until December 1958. In 1956 the fifth Grand Master was elected, Brother Francisco Rorato, one of the most brilliant members of Brazilian Masonry. Brother Rorato managed GLESP with great courage, dynamism and determination. His dream was to build a Grand Lodge’s own temple, worthy of its importance, tradition and historic role of the Institution. After purchasing a ground at Rua São Joaquim, 138, in Liberdade district, the project was started and, later the construction works of the new Masonic Palace. Reelected for a second term, in 1959, Francisco Rorato was able to conclude the work.
The Masonic Palace was ready in January 1960, and GLESP moved to its, now final seat, the ninth, since Rua Tabatinguera. In April 21st, 1961, the Masonic Palace, which later bore the name of its idealizer, was officially inaugurated. In 1962, Brother Washington Pelucio was elected Grand Master, and committed himself to pay the debts generated by the building of the new GLESP seat and developing a new model of administration, adjusted to the needs of the new space. Brother Pelucio was reelected in June 1965, keeping the direction of GLESP until 1968.
Succeeding Brother Pelucio, in June 1968, Brother Jair Celso Fortunato de Almeida followed the efforts in increasing the number of GLESP affiliated Lodges. Four years later, in 1971, when the possibility of reelection for Grand Master was abolished, Brother Alberto Zoffmann took over the entity’s direction and kept the same expansion philosophy adopted in the former management. In June 1974, was elected Grand Master, for a second time and for another three years term, Brother Francisco Rorato. After this triennium, in 1977 Brother Rorato, turned his place over to the ninth elected Grand Master, Brother Erwin Seignemartin, whose term was closed three years later, counting then 180 Lodges all over the state of São Paulo. Brother Mario Proietti took over then the office of Grand Master, in June 1980. He developed, during his management, a program of weekly visitations to the state capital and country Lodges, besides reformulating “A Verdade” magazine. At the end of Brother Mario Proietti’s term, in 1983, GLESP’s jurisdiction had increased with other 40 new Lodges, summing now 220 Masonic Lodges. In his place, took over Brother Walter Ferreira, whose mandate extended until 1986 and was marked by the concern of Grand Lodge’s modernization. In June, 1986, Brother Orpheu Paraventi was elected as 12th Grand Master, who, besides other initiatives, established a visitation routine to lodges, getting them closer to the administration; reorganized the works in Masonic districts; started Grand Lodge’s computerization; reformed some installations in Francisco Rorato Masonic Palace and named several commissions to study the institution’s structure. From 1989 to 1998, Grand Lodge had three Grand Masters: Salim Zugaib, Hector Luiz Pandolfo and Santo Taricano. Elected a second time in 1998, Salim Zugaib stayed in GLESP’s management until 2001. In his first term, the works for the enlargement of the Masonic Palace had begun. Also, the procedures for GLESP’s recognition by the United Grand Lodge of England were started, as well the Masonic territory sharing, in the State of São Paulo, and the mutual recognition, with the Grande Oriente do Brasil.
21st Century – Modernity allied to respect to the traditions of the Order
Between the years 2001 and 2007, GLESP was managed by Grand Master Pedro Luiz Ricardo Gagliardi, in two consecutive terms. Brother Gagliardi went on with GLESP’s modernization and fomented the organization of events with intellectual and cultural activities. He encouraged, also Lodges that worked in Emulation Ritual and supported GLESP’s greater approach towards the profane world. In March 2008, Brother Francisco Gomes da Silva assumed the charge of Grand Master, and was reelected in 2010 for a new term until 2013. At that time GLESP experienced an impressive increase in number of Lodges. He strengthened the collaboration with the High Degrees of the A.A.S.R. and with the Side Orders, and the temples in Rua Pedroso building became ready. The main lines were the transparency, financial stability and close relations with all the Masonic Bodies of the country. Grand Master Francisco Gomes da Silva’s management, in the year 2011, realized a remarkable feat in GLESP, with the purchase of an 8,5 alqueires field (equivalent to 83 acres) intended to build the Old Mason’s Retirement Home, an ancient desire of all jurisdiction Brethren. In June 28th 2013, GLESP’s administration becomes commanded by Brother Ronaldo Fernandes, freely elected for a three years term. His administrative platform seeks to keep transparency and financial stability, Power’s administrative professionalization besides the conclusion of many constructions, as the Old Masons Retirement Home and the new GLESP building at Rua São Joaquim, 129. He proposed, also, a change in Masonic behavior paradigm, by stimulating the effective social insertion intended to promote a just and equalitarian society. On the other side, Brother Ronaldo Fernandes has kept a position of effective dialogue with the constituted authorities, asking and proposing effective measures in several areas of public power activity. Grand Master Ronaldo Fernandes values family and its approach to the Masonic Lodges in benefit and cultural events and is building up, always, a more united Masonry, that values its principles and general regulations, preserving its past and its history, but keeping a watching eye on innovations that are able to make mankind happier.