Orange Orders


Orangemen usually refers to a group of militant anti-Catholic organizations first formed as the Loyal Orange Lodge in Armagh, Ireland, in 1795. The precise number of Orangemen today is hard to determine, because some organizations are called “Orange” by their detractors while denying any such affiliation themselves, and some so-called Loyal Orange Lodges are not really exceptionable or even traditionally “Orange.” The Orange in the word Orangemen refers to William of Orange, who led Protestant troops to victory against the Catholic forces of James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. William of Orange, or William III, is also the hero of the Orange-men’s song, “In Good King Billy’s Golden Day.”
By 1797, two years after the founding of the first Orange Lodge, there were about 200,000 Orangemen, who fought Catholicism with a will. Particularly bloody fighting took place in 1828 and 1829, and the order was officially dissolved in Ireland in 1836. Meanwhile, it had spread to England in 1808. Headquarters was initially in Manchester, but moved to London in 1821. In 1827, the Duke of Cumberland lent the movement some respectability, and by 1845 the Loyal Orange Lodges were re-formed in Ireland.
The movement refuses to die, and while it does undertake some good works, it is hard to deny that its main driving force is anti-Catholicism. To this day, Orange parades to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne are held in many countries, including Ireland, and violent clashes with Catholic counterprotesters are by no means unusual. In Ireland, the Loyal Irish Lodges can claim that they are Unionists—in other words, that they support the Union of the Six Counties with the United Kingdom.

Loyal Orange Lodge of British America

This was founded in 1830 as a religious, fraternal, political order in the United States and Canada for Protestant men over the age of 18 who met a number of religious and patriotic requirements including belief in the Trinity. They publish The Sentinel 10 times a year.
In Canada (‘British America’), there were army Orange lodges as early as 1812, though the Grand Lodge of British America was not formed until 1830. Loyal Orange Lodges were formed throughout the British Empire and elsewhere throughout the 19th century. The first United States Lodge was founded in 1867, and the United States Grand Lodge was founded in 1870. On July 12, 1871, Orangemen marching in New York City were attacked by Catholics of Irish ancestry or sympathy. Sixty perished in the riot that followed. In 1891, the Loyal Orange Lodge Association of Canada took on fraternal insurance functions. It also maintains a number of children’s homes and a senior citizens’ home.
Lodges work five degrees, which are Protestant in orientation. The lowest is the Orange Degree, and the highest is the Scarlet Degree, members of which are eligible to become Royal Black Knights of the Camp of Israel. Unusually, the lodge hierarchy is fourfold, though the lowest level (Primary Lodge) may be omitted in some areas The superior lodges are County Lodge, Provincial Grand Lodge (in Canada), and Grand Lodge. The overall leader is the Most Worshipful Master; there is clear borrowing from freemasonry in the structure.

While the organization is fairly small in the United States, it is strong in Canada, where it is both anti-Catholic and anti-French Canadian.

From the orange orders the Royal Black Association of the Knights of Malta emerged, from which later the Ancient and Illustrious Order Knights of Malta was founded.
Orange Degree
Blue Degree
Royal Arch Purple Degree
Royal Scarlet Order