On 7th October 2021, Byzantine Conclave celebrated (a little later than originally planned) its sesquicentenary at Freemasons' Hall, Leicester, having been consecrated on 2 nd March, 1871. The occasion was marked by a double Installation and the presence of the Most Illustrious Grand Sovereign, Graham Leslie Flight, G.C.C. He was accompanied by Ill. Kt. Andries Van Der Burgh, Past Deputy Grand Marshal and eight members of the Grand Sepulchre Guard; replete with their impressive regalia. The ceremony was conducted in the magnificent Holmes Temple at London Road and was attended by more than eighty members of the Order.

Although numbered 44, the Byzantine Conclave is seventh on the present Roll of Conclaves to achieve one hundred and fifty years of unbroken service. Premier Conclave (consecrated Time Immemorial), Plantaganet (consecrated Time Immemorial); St. Andrews No. 15 (consecrated 30 th August 1869); Gwent No. 23 (consecrated 25 th April 1870); Naval & Military No. 35 (consecrated 23 rd December 1870) and Dykes No. 36 (consecrated 24 th December 1870) precede Byzantine which was consecrated on 2 nd March 1871. Those on the Roll of Conclaves with lower numbers have had their warrants reponed, restored or confirmed at a later date than the date of Byzantine's consecration.

The ceremony was conducted in a most proficient and meaningful manner by the Most Puissant Sovereign, Gordon Richardson, together with his Eminent Viceroy, Philip Dodd and the other Officers of Byzantine Conclave. The two candidates, Worthy Knights Dale Page and Robert Wood received their accolade from the Grand Sovereign, who later presented a Red Cross of Constantine certificate and two Knights of the Holy Sepulchre certificates to Worthy Knights Colin Blackler and Alan Little.

A Sesquicentenary Warrant was presented to the Most Puissant Sovereign which will be framed and put on display at each of the Conclave's convocations. Special jewels to mark the occasion have been struck and as far as is known, no other Conclave has availed themselves of a similar jewel, which may be worn by members of the Conclave, present and future at all meetings of the Order.

The Grand Sovereign was elected an Honorary Member of the Conclave and was presented with his sesquicentenary jewel. R. Ill. Kt. Maxwell William Bayes (Intendant-General of the Division of East Midlands 2008 – 2013) received a promotion from the Grand Sovereign to the honour and dignity of a Knight Commander of Constantine and was presented with his regalia, baton and patent. The conferring of such an honour is usually carried out at Grand Imperial Conclave and the Grand Sovereign stated that it was only the second time in his experience that it happened away from Grand Imperial Conclave: the first time was the occasion when he received his promotion.

A booklet outlining the history of the Conclave, which highlights the fortunes (and misfortunes) of the Conclave and its members over the past one hundred and fifty years had been compiled by P. Kt. Michael England and a copy was presented to each of the members of the Conclave.

A traditional festive board was held after the official proceedings had concluded at which a donation to the Grand Sovereign's Care for Children Fund was presented and everybody parted with some wonderful memories and a sense of pride in the events that had taken place earlier. To have attained the landmark age of one hundred and fifty years provides an opportunity to reflect on the gratitude that is owed to our predecessors who made it possible.

R. Ill. Kt. Samuel John Manby