INTERNATIONAL VISITORS AT "TWELFTH"
There will be an international flavour to the Twelfth celebrations in Northern Ireland this year.
Delegates from all over the world will attend a three day conference of the Imperial Grand Council and take part in various parades on Monday, July 13 and the Co. Donegal demonstration in Rossnowlagh on Saturday, July 11.
Royal York LOL 145 will be celebrating this with a Horse Drawn Brake in the procession at Belfast, welcoming the delegates.
The Imperial Grand Council meets every three years and was last held in held in Belfast in 1997.
The three day conference on issues affecting the Orange Institution will include more than 100 delegates from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, England, Scotland, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Togo and Ghana.
The Imperial Grand President, Robert Saulters, who is also Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, will welcome brethren from around the world.
“This is a very important year for us as it is our turn to host the Imperial Grand Council. The meetings will be held during the Twelfth week when many important issues relating to our Orange Institution will be discussed.
“This is the 43rd meeting of the Imperial Council, the first having taken place in London in 1867. We look forward to welcoming the delegates, visitors and friends back to our jurisdiction.
“An extensive programme of events has been arranged and I would hope that our visitors will go home and spread the good news of Ulster hospitality from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.”
Orangeism spread rapidly throughout Ireland and abroad after its establishment in 1795.
The primary means of its spread included emigration of Irish Protestants, and the extension of the Orange tradition through military warrants, lodges which met in regiments sent around the British Empire. Mission work in places such as West Africa also led to the growth of Orangeism there.
It was not until 1867 that Orangemen from across the world met to discuss how best to further the “cause of Truth, and the extension of the Orange Society”.
A year earlier, a preliminary conference had been held in Belfast to discuss the proposal of William Shannon, who was the Grand Secretary of Central Canada.
The suggestion had already won favour with many senior Orangemen, including William Johnston of Ballykilbeg and the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland gave its approval in a motion proposed by Johnston in December 1865.
The first meeting of the Imperial Orange Council of the World took place in Radley’s Hotel in London on July 17, 1867, with the Earl of Enniskillen appointed as the first President.
The Imperial Orange Council is not a governing body, as it does not make laws or rules for Orange Grand Lodges, but it does bring together the various jurisdictions in a spirit of fraternity and fellowship in witness to the founding principles of 1867.
The Imperial Orange Council meets every three years at a different country in which a Grand Lodge exists and was last held in Toronto.