The Red Cross of Constantine is officially: The Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Orders of the Holy Sepulchre and St. John the Evangelist, the latter two of which are called the Appendant Orders. There are also two chair degrees conferred on the Viceroy and Sovereign of a Conclave, and two honorary orders: Knight Commander of Constantine and Knight Grand Cross. The governing body of the Order for Croatia is The Grand Imperial Conclave of the Red Cross of Costantine in Croatia established in May 2009 by the Grand Imperial Conclave of the Red Cross of Costantine in Italy.
The purpose of the Constantinian Orders are to commemorate the first elevation of Christianity from the position of a despised and proscribed heresy to that of a legally recognized and honored religion, to cultivate the social virtues, appeal to the intellectual and moral qualities, preserve as far as possible the customs of the fraternity and bring about good fellowship and understanding between all branches of Masonry.
Knights Companions of the Order meet in Conclaves of the Red Cross of Constantine and a member must be a Royal Arch Mason in good standing and subscribe to a belief in the Christian religion as revealed in the New Testament. The Red Cross of Constantine is an order of Masonic knighthood and is considered by many to be the highest honor that can be awarded within York Rite Masonry. The membership of each Conclave is limited and 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 1st. Degree of the Order, that of Knight Companion, leads from the Pagan Dispensation to the Christian, using the Legend of Constantine the Great's conversion as a symbol of that conversion. The candidate comes as a 'Knight of Rome' desiring to embrace Christianity, and he must, in accordance with the General Statutes of the Order, be a Royal Arch Mason.
The 2nd. Degree is that of Venerable Eusebius and is one of the symbolic Priesthoods. A Knight who has attained to this status is eligible for the office of Eminent Viceroy in a Conclave provided he is a member of the Appendant Orders of the Holy Sepulchre and of St. John the Evangelist and that he is regularly elected to that office.
The 3rd. Degree is confined to the Most Puissant Sovereign and who represents Constantine, Sovereign-Prince of the East and West. A Sovereign shall have served for one year in the office of Viceroy in a regular Conclave. This Degree completes the Rite of the Red Cross of Constantine.
The Appendant Orders of the Holy Sepulchre and of St. John the Evangelist were attached to the Order of the Red Cross of Constantine at an early date and a separate certificate is issued to members of this Order. There is no connection, historically or ritually, between the Masonic Degree of Knight of the Holy Sepulchre and the mediaeval Military Order of the same name, which is said to have been founded in the eleventh century.
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. The Order of Knighthood is based upon Trinitarian Christianity and was traditionally founded by Constantine the Great after the Battle of Saxa Rubra in 312 A.D. While no direct connection can be made with that legendary Order, the principles and attributes have been carried over into modern Freemasonry.