HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
Constantine, a Roman, was destined for the College of Emperors, but following the death of his father, he was hailed by the Legions in York as Augustus and became the Governor of Britain and Gaul. After several successful battles across the Alps and Italy he eventually established himself as the lawful Emperor of both the East and West, and transferred the capital of The Empire from Rome to Byzantium, later to be named after him.
He was the first Roman Emperor to openly encourage Christianity. His conversion began one evening after a long day's march with his army when, in what he believed was a sign from Heaven, he and his army saw in the sky, and by the rays of the setting sun, a pillar of light in the form of a special cross. To sanctify the minds of his pagan army, he had made a standard, bearing a Cross like that seen, and ordered it to be carried before him in the wars. Several Christians in his army came forward and avowed their faith following which Constantine directed that they should wear on their armour - a red cross.
Having been successful in battle, it is said that Constantine, with the help of his Chief Bishop, Eusebius, opened a Conclave of the Knights of the Order, whose members became the bodyguard of their Sovereign.
The 'Masonic' Order of the Red Cross of Constantine appears to have been first organised in the United Kingdom by Charles Shirreff about 1780 AD, and was re-organised in 1804 by Waller Rodwell Wright.
During the next fifty years, the Order was not very active until, in 1865, Grand Imperial Conclave was reassembled for the election and enthronement of William Henry Wright.
Since 1865, there has been steady and continuous working, and daughter Grand Imperial Conclaves have been formed from England throughout the world, and in recent years, in Germany, France and Finland.
The Order of the Red Cross of Constantine belongs to the 'East and West' class of Initiatory Rites, and consists of three degrees - Knight, Priest-Mason and Prince-Mason - titles which represent grades in the scale of Initiation.
By - W.Kt. Philip J. Hoy
Div. Chamberlain District Information Officer
Meetings and Joining
The Conclaves meet three or four times a year.
An invitation to join is not required. The Red Cross of Constantine is a particularly good Order for Masons, who are interested in knowing more about Masonry, and the foundation of early Christianity. Any member will be pleased to discuss the Order, should you be interested in finding out more information or considering joining.
There are Conclaves in Radlett, Royston, Cheshunt, Watford and St. Albans. We are also considering forming a new Conclave in Bishops Stortford and are looking for Founders.
If you would like further information about this Order, locations of the Conclaves, or information on how to join a Conclave, please go to the CONTACT page and contact the Divisional Recorder.
Regalia for the Order is simple, just a sash and a jewel.
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