Red Cross of Constantine

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


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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.

It is said that his conversion to Christianity began one evening after a long day’s march with his army. He believed he saw a sign from heaven; a pillar of light in the form of a special cross. A standard bearing a cross was ordered 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.

It seems likely that the Order of the Red Cross of Constantine was being worked in England by 1780. After a number of changes to the organisation, the earliest documented date of the Order in its present form is 1865.

This Christian Order is in two parts. The first ceremony consists of the Candidate’s admission, obligation, and then the Installation as a Knight-Companion of the Red Cross of Constantine, in which the historical basis of the Order is also detailed.

In separate ceremonies the Knight-Companion builds on what he has already been taught and in the ceremony of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and St. John the Evangelist this knowledge is further expanded and the ultimate aims of Freemasonry are revealed. These, together with the two Installation ceremonies leading to the principal Chairs in the Red Cross of Constantine, are undoubtedly among the most impressive ceremonies in the whole of Freemasonry.

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Red Cross of Constantine

Address by The Most Illustrious Grand Sovereign 2019

Address by The Most Illustrious Grand Sovereign
Graham Leslie Flight, G.C.C.
to the Annual Assembly of Grand Imperial Conclave
Tuesday, 2 July 2019

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Worthy Knights, we are almost at the end of another Annual Meeting of Grand Imperial Conclave and I will try not to keep you too much longer.

My thanks to you all for attending today in such good numbers and for your continued support and I hope you have enjoyed the proceedings in Grand Conclave so far particularly those who have received an appointment or promotion in Grand rank.

The Grand Team has again had a relatively quiet year with only one new Intendant General appointed, who is Raymond Johnson installed on 16th March this year as Intendant General for West Yorkshire following the retirement of Right Illustrious Knight Tony Llewellyn after ten years of service. Ray, would you please stand and be recognised.

There has been one new Conclave consecrated in the last year, Sepulchri Custodes Conclave number 528 in Burton on Trent on 30th May this year as a Sepulchre Guard Conclave for the Division of Derbyshire.

For the coming year we already have the Consecration in London of Seven Hills Conclave scheduled for the 8th July, that is next Monday, and so the new team will have an immediate call to duty less than a week after their appointment. I am confident they will all perform well.

A little further away and a long way away is a planned trip to the Caribbean at the end of October and for those who think this sounds like a nice little jolly I can tell you it will be hard work!


Three Consecrations on three different islands followed by the installation of the new Intendant General for Jamaica following the retirement of Errol Alberga who was installed in July 2012 when I was last there as Grand Marshal.

During the last year I have continued to visit at home and abroad representing the Order and in particular this year my first visit to Cyprus in November 2018 where the Grand Marshal and I were very well looked after and not made to work too hard for our supper. I am hoping to go back to Sofia, Bulgaria, in November to see them perform their first Appendant Orders Ceremony since their Consecration in 2014.

On my travels without the Grand Team, but always with the Grand Marshal or a Deputy and often with  the Grand Sepulchre Guard, it was my great pleasure to visit Sussex (my mother Division) and present a 50 year jewel and certificate to Illustrious Knight Harold Piggott at Rose of Sussex Conclave on 29th November 2018 and without travelling too far today to present V Ill Kt George Bristow with his certificate and  jewel and to field promote both these deserving knights to Past Grand Junior General for this very special achievement.

I also visited Rose of Sharon Conclave in Birmingham for their Centenary Celebrations on 1st December (my birthday) and St Helena and Wharfedale Conclaves for their Joint Appendant Orders meeting in Harrogate in April 2019.

Having mentioned my overseas visits, it is a great pleasure for me to have such a gathering of visitors to our meeting today. I will introduce them all to you and please contain your applause until I have completed the usual extensive list.

[The Most Illustrious Grand Sovereign then proceeded to welcome many Distinguished guests and Honoured Members of the Order]

Worthy Knights, please continue to support the Grand Sovereign’s Care for Children Fund in your Divisions and Conclaves. These funds are for organisations that help and support children in sickness and distress and I can assure you they are always well spent and well received. Intendants General should not hold back in submitting worthy applications.

I, of course, congratulate all those Worth Knights that I have appointed or promoted today in Grand Conclave. This is your special day and I hope you have enjoyed either your first experience of a Grand Imperial Conclave meeting or repeat visits for those who have been before. You rank’s are a reflection of your continued support for the Order for which I am personally most grateful.

You will see that I have again reappointed my Deputy and my Grand Eusebius. They both continue to give me their full support (and sometimes even their own opinions!) and to represent me at meetings around the country.

I must thank my Grand Officers of the last year for their support and to my Grand Sepulchre Guard for being with me on all official occasions and ensuring my safety and well-being at all times.

I must also thank the Grand Recorder and his staff at St James’ and the Grand Marshal and his team for their hard work and help today and throughout the last year and the staff here at Freemasons Hall for allowing us the use of the Grand Temple and its facilities.

Worthy Knights your attendance today in such numbers is a sure sign to me of the happiness and enjoyment we all get from belonging to this wonderful Christian Order of Masonic Knighthood. We continue to face challenges in the future but with such support I am confident we will see our Order continue to flourish and provide as a special place for us all to enjoy and participate in our Masonry.

Worthy Knights continue to support your Craft Lodges and Royal Arch Chapters and do not be afraid to talk to their members about the Red Cross of Constantine.

I greet you well Worthy Knights with the watchwords of our Order, Faith Unity and Zeal, and God bless you all.


M.Ill.Kt. Graham L. Flight, G.C.C.
Grand Sovereign

R.Ill. & Em.Kt. Christopher John Macdonald, G.C.C.
Deputy Grand Sovereign

R.Ill. & Ven.Kt. The Revd Timothy J. N. L'Estrange, G.C.C.
Grand Eusebius


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