The Order of The Red Cross of Constantine is administered by and under Mark Masons Hall: England and Wales is broken into 28 Divisions which are like Provinces, each with an Intendant–General such as myself.
The Order is not only Christian but the other prerequisite for membership is that one must be a Royal Arch mason. Indeed the order is sometimes known as the Christian Royal Arch degree. Many might feel this is a poor description although it is certainly true that candidates are admitted wearing their Royal Arch regalia and once admitted are known as Knights Companion. And obligations are taken in the name of the Trinity in Unity and on the Bible, reinforcing the Christian connection.
Our units are called Conclaves: In the West Midlands Division we have 16. These Conclaves are spread over quite a large geographical area – from Kidsgrove in the North of the area, to Newnham-on-Severn in the South – something like 120 miles, and from Rugby in the East to Worcester and to Leominster in the west.
The full title of the Order is “The Masonic and Military order of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Orders of the Holy Sepulchre and of St John the Evangelist” so that The Red Cross is in fact three separate distinct Masonic Orders; not degrees but Orders: The Red Cross of Constantine itself, when you are installed a Knight Companion, and then the Additional Orders of the Holy Sepulchre and the order of St John the Evangelist
The later two involve further ceremonies and further teachings, but they are always conferred at the same meeting. The two ceremonies are to some extent interwoven, but all the orders have a separate structure within the Conclave, and all have had a separate history and separate development.
Many Masonic historians and thinkers have seen the Order of the Red Cross of Constantine and its associated Orders as not only the Third Great Pillar of Christian Masonry but the climax of Christian Freemasonry. And as it takes its name and ceremonial from the life of Constantine the Great who convened the Council of Nicaea by which the Bible was arranged in its present form and from which we derive the Nicene Creed still used in Churches today 1700 years later one can see why. Certainly in my view the ceremony of the Appendant Orders is the most sublime I have ever met in Freemasonry and probably the most beautiful ceremony I have ever been involved in or witnessed.
As a Masonic and Military order our charities include the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham and Acorns Hospice.
R Ill Kt Colin V Young
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