The Order of the Red Cross of Constantine is an invitational order of knighthood stemming from Royal Arch Masonry. The basic organization of this order is known as a Conclave and is presided over by the Puissant Sovereign. There can be multiple Conclaves to a jurisdiction which is referred to as a Division and an Intendent General is appointed from the national level which in the US is known as the United Grand Imperial Council and that body is presided over by a Most Illustrious Grand Sovereign.
The officers of a Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine are the Puissant Sovereign, Eminent Viceroy, Senior General, Junior General, Treasurer, Recorder, Prelate, Prefect, Standard Bearer, Herald, Sentinel, and Orator. The first six officers are elected annually and the last six are appointed by the Puissant Sovereign.
The presiding officer of the Conclave, and corresponding to the Worshipful Master of a Blue Lodge, is the Puissant Sovereign who represents Constantine. Traditionally, a sovereign is the supreme authority of a government (such as a monarch) and the Puissant Sovereign stands supreme within the Conclave, but is bound by the rules, regulations, statutes, and laws of his Conclave and of the United Grand Imperial Council. "Puissant" is rooted in the Old French word "poeir" meaning "to be able" and is used as an adjective to indicate strength and power. The etymological root of "sovereign" is "superanus" which is Vulgar Latin meaning "chief or principal."
Equivalent to the Senior Warden in the Lodge, the Eminent Viceroy sits as second-in-command of the Conclave and represents the Venerable Eusebius. Historically, a Viceroy is a ruler exercising authority in a country, colony, city, province, or sub-national state on behalf of a sovereign. The word "eminent" stems from the Latin word "eminentem" meaning "standing out, projecting, prominent, or high." "Viceroy" is a combination of two Old French words "vice" meaning "deputy or in place of" and "roi" meaning king; roi comes from the Latin "regem" (the nominative form is "rex"). So etymologically speaking "viceroy" literally means "in place of a king." This is accurate of the Eminent Viceroy who assists the Puissant Sovereign in the government of the Conclave.
The next two officers are the Senior General and Junior General who, while elected officers have duties like those of the Junior Deacon in the Lodge; that of ensuring the security of the Conclave. A general is a senior military officer who commands troops and as a military order, it is not unusual to see an officer with a military title within this order. The word "general" comes from the Middle French "capitaine général" which was shortened in the 16th century.
Like the Chaplain found in the Lodge, the Prelate has the duty of offering prayers to God in the Conclave. A Prelate is traditionally a high-ranking member of the clergy and the word is derived from the Latin word 'prelatus' referring to a clergyman of "high rank or of preference over others." The Prelate being the senior-most appointed officer demonstrates our commitment as a religious order.
Just as the Senior Deacon does in the Lodge, the Prefect attends at the altar as well as receives and conducts candidates throughout the Conclave. Traditionally, a prefect is often a magisterial or administrative officer whose authority was conferred upon them by a higher authority. The etymological root of this officer is from the Latin word "praefects" meaning "public overseer, superintendent, or director" which is an accurate description of this officer who oversees the aspirants as they are initiated into the order.
The next officer of the Conclave is the Standard Bearer and the Marshal is the closest comparison since the Standard Bearer displays the banner of the order just as the Marshal is the master of ceremonies in the Lodge. Historically in military orders, the duties of the Standard Bearer included being the paymaster and ensuring the equipment (to include the horses) was kept in working order.
The inner guard of the Conclave is known as the Herald and can be compared to the Junior Deacon in the Lodge. A Herald was traditionally an officer who conveyed messages or proclamations as well as acted as diplomats or ambassadors for monarchs. This word derives from the old French word 'heraut' meaning "messenger or envoy."
As the outer guard of the Conclave, the Sentinel ensures that the Knight Companions are securely guarded. This word is rooted in the Latin word "sentire" translating as "feel or perceive by the senses."
While there is no Orator known in the Blue Lodge, many Grand Lodges have a Grand Orator. Within the Conclave, the Orator takes part in the ritualistic initiation and delivers the history of the order to a new candidate. An orator is a public speaker, often known for their eloquence. The word "orator" comes from the Latin word "orare" meaning "to speak."
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