Grand Imperial Conclave of Canada

Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine


The Order of The Red Cross of Constantine is an invitational organization and is considered by many to be the highest honour that can be awarded within York Rite Masonry.  The membership of each Conclave is limited.  An individual must have demonstrated a high level of dedication and performance in his Masonic activities, be proposed for membership by a member knight, and pass a unanimous ballot.

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.

The organization has three orders: Knight of the Red Cross of Constantine: This Order 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 subsequent victory 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 Order 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 order 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  Orders 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 Order of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Appendant Orders is open for Royal Arch Masons who proclaim to work in the name of the Christian Trinity.