Constantine the Great statue at York MinsterThe Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Appendant Orders of the Holy Sepulchre and St. John the Evangelist provide a thought provoking Christian masonic journey explaining the allegories of Craft and Royal Arch Masonry in their Christian context.

The Order of the Red Cross of Constantine contains three separate masonic degrees. The first degree, Knight-Mason, is a unique masonic ritual wherein a companion of the Royal Arch is duly received as a pilgrim and elevated to the sublime rank of a Perfect Knight-Mason. The ceremony is short and simple based upon the story of the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine to Christianity prior to the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312AD.

In the second degree, performed in a College of Priests-Mason, the Knight-Mason is consecrated as a Venerable Priest-Mason and an Eusebius (representing Constantine's chief Bishop). The ceremony is very spiritual in nature and incorporates more overtly religious symbolism and ritual. Having received this degree the Venerable Priest-Mason is qualified to serve as a Viceroy of a Conclave.

In the third degree the Sovereign-elect completes his Christian journey, the title of Perfect Prince-Mason is conferred upon him and he is installed as the Most Puissant Sovereign of the Conclave. This degree completes the Rite of the Order of the Red Cross of Constantine.

Prior to a Knight Mason taking the second degree he must have had conferred upon him the degrees of Knight of the Holy Sepulchre and Knight of St. John the Evangelist. The original Knights of the Holy Sepulchre are alleged to have been founded as a Chivalric Order in 326AD following the discovery of the True Cross by (St.) Helena, Constantine's mother. The symbolic ritual of the Masonic Order of the Holy Sepulchre is based upon the devotion of a select body of Knights designated to guard the Holy Place.

The ritual of the Masonic Order of the Knights of St. John the Evangelist refers to the events that took place during the brief reign of Emperor Julian (the Apostate). It relates how he failed in his endeavours to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem, and how a remarkable discovery was made amongst the ruins. This ritual successfully encompasses the legends of the Craft and the Holy Royal Arch ceremonies from a purely Christian standpoint.

Within the Division of East Anglia we currently have 9 Conclaves meeting in Bury St. Edmunds, Cambridge, Chatteris, Dereham, Great Yarmouth, Ipswich, Lowestoft and Sheringham. Candidates for these very interesting and beautiful Orders of Freemasonry must be members of the Holy Royal Arch and profess a belief in the Trinitarian Christian faith.

Intendant-General, Division of East Anglia