Masonic and Military Order
of the Red Cross of Constantine
This Order is considered by many masons as one of the reachable goals in freemasonry.
The order in its present form was founded in 1865. The name is derived from the legend of the Roman emperor Constantine. In his struggle over power with his rival Maxentius he received a vision shortly before the battle of Saxa Rubra. In this vision God gave him the order to supply all his soldiers with a large red cross in order to win. Constantine did this and won. As a result he converted to christianity.
order has five degrees: Knight
of the Red Cross of Constantine:
This degree relates the well-known story of Constantine the
Great, the Roman
Emperor who was miraculously converted to the Christian faith.
It tells of his
divine vision, the institution of a special standard, his
over the rival Emperor Maxentius and the creation of what is
claimed to be the
oldest institution of Christian Knighthood. The substance of
the degree develops
around the secret doctrine associated with the Labarum, the
banner of victory,
while the lecture contains a most interesting reference to the
Roman College of
Architects. All regular business of the Conclave is conducted
in the degree of
the Red Cross of Constantine, while the Sanctuary and
Commandery are only for
the purpose of conferring the Appendant Orders.
Knight of the Holy Sepulchre: Tradition asserts that this degree originated after the discovery of the true Cross by St Helena. It is concerned with the three days which intervened between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. This Order of Chivalry is said to have been instituted by the mother of Constantine, to maintain a guard at the Holy Place and is symbolised in the ceremony by a vigil over the HS. The duties enjoined on the Knights were the performance of the seven works of mercy.
Knight of St John the Evangelist: This is the second of the Appendant degrees which are always conferred together and is founded upon a tradition concerning a remarkable discovery made at the ruins of the Temple at Jerusalem and the subsequent foundation of the Knights of St John. The interpretation of the legend is of a most interesting and instructive nature and is striking in its attempt to explain the Craft and Royal Arch ceremonies in a purely Christian sense.
The College of 'Priests-Masons' is only open for Knights who are a Viceroy of a conclave.
The Senate of 'Princes-Mason' is only open to Sovereigns of a Conclave. The Princes-Mason represent Emperor Constantine.
This order is open for Royal Arch Masons who proclaim to work in the name of the christian Tri-Unity.
The local chapters are called Conclaves. The first Dutch conclave was founded in 1985. In 1990 the Dutch and Belgian Conclaves formed the Division Benelux under the authority of the 'Grand Imperial Conclave' of the Order.
In 2019 the Division Benelux has ten Conclaves:
On the download York Rite Invitational Orders Library we have published more rituals and other texts of this order.