Somerset & Bristol Division of the Red Cross of Constantine

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The Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Orders of the Holy Sepulchre and of St. John the Evangelist.

History of the Order Regalia

The exact date that the Order was founded is unclear, but appears to have been worked in some form or another from about 1770 and was formalised in 1865 when the Grand Imperial Conclave was constituted in London.

There are five different degrees:

  1. Knight of the Red Cross of Constantine
  2. Knight of the Holy Sepulchre
  3. Knight of St. John the Evangelist
  4. Consecration as an Eusebius
  5. Enthronement as Sovereign

The first of these degrees relates the story of Constantine the Great and his conversion to the Christian Faith when, after praying to his gods for help on the eve of battle he saw a miraculous sign in the heavens of a Christian Cross and using this as the emblem on his banner the next day, in the battle which made him Emperor of all Rome, won him over to Christianity.

The second and third degrees, known as the Appendant Orders, are taken together at the same meeting. The second degree, as the name implies concerns the Easter Story and the guarding of the Holy Sepulche by Christian Knights over the three days from Good Friday to the Rising of Christ on Easter Day.

The third degree relates to the travels made by St. Helena, the mother of Constantine, who went in search of the true cross. Having made her discovery the ritual relates the finding of the ruins of the second Temple, which the Emperor Julian attempted to construct but laboured in vain as we now build Temples in our hearts when we believe in the resurrection. This then being the link with the title of the Knights of St. John the Evangelist.

There are explanations in this ritual of how the ritual and tools in the Craft and Royal Arch ceremonies can be related to the Christian teachings.

The fourth degree is equivalent to being appointed as a 2nd or 3rd Principal and the fifth degree as the ‘Z’ in the Holy Royal Arch.

Membership requirements

A subscribing member of a Royal Arch Chapter and profess belief in the Holy Trinity.

The regalia of a Knight Companion of the Red Cross of Constantine consists of a purple sash and a breast jewel of a red cross suspended from a purple ribbon.

Knights having taken the Appendant Orders wear a white sash together with an additional breast jewel consisting of a black eagle suspended from a white ribbon.