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The full title 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". We are governed by a Grand Imperial Conclave, which usually meets in London or Birmingham, and is administered from its headquarters in St James's Street, London. As the full title suggests, there are in fact three distinct Orders conjointly controlled and administered. The Order of the Holy Sepulchre and the Order of St John the Evangelist are sometimes referred to as "the Appendant Orders"..
The Order of the Red Cross of Constantine consists of three separate 'degrees', or stages of progression. Members are admitted to our Order by taking the first degree, and becoming Knights of the Red Cross of Constantine. They must subsequently be admitted to both of the appendant orders (the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and the Order of St John the Evangelist). Having been admitted to all three Orders, members are entitled to advance within the Order of the Red Cross of Constantine, by taking the second degree (Priest-Mason, or Installed Eusebius) and the third degree (Prince-Mason). In most cases the second degree is conferred only upon those who have been elected to serve as a 'Viceroy' (the second in command of a local Conclave of the Order), and the third degree is conferred only upon those who have been elected to serve as a 'Sovereign' (the presiding officer of a Conclave). There are, however, exceptions to every rule, and the second and third degrees may be conferred on other members, by dispensation from the Grand Sovereign.
As may be guessed from the titles already used, our Order is founded upon the Christian faith, and candidates must fulfil certain requirements to qualify for membership. They must be Christians, and profess their belief in the Holy Trinity; they must also be Freemasons, and members of both parts of 'pure, ancient Freemasonry', namely Craft Freemasonry and Royal Arch Freemasonry.
The Order, ceremonially speaking, is based upon the story of the conversion of the Emperor Constantine the Great from paganism to Christianity. Both Constantine himself, and his mother Saint Helena, are particularly celebrated within our combined Orders. Constantine's conversion, which led to the legalisation of Christianity within the Roman Empire, resulted from a vision granted to him in which he beheld a cross in the sky, and which heralded a great military victory against the rival Emperor. These events, which took place in the year 312, were a turning point not just for the Christian religion, but for both eastern and western society more generally.
Thames Division Red Cross of Constantine
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