The History of
Knights of the Red
Cross of Constantine
St. Cyprian Conclave was chartered on the 18th of June,
1920, of the Red Cross of Constantine chartered by the Grand Imperial
Council of Knights of the Red Cross of Constantine and Appendant Orders
for the United States of America, Empire of the West.
On the 28th day of October, 1918, Charles C. Homer, then the Grand Master
of Masons in Maryland, called together in his office fourteen
leading Maryland Masons. He discussed with them the fine things he had
heard and seen about a Masonic organization called the Red Cross of
Constantine. The group decided to apply for a Conclave in Maryland to be
known as Saint Cyprian Conclave of Baltimore. The Imperial Council at
its June meeting in Boise, Idaho, granted the request; and, according to
their records, issued a Dispensation which was to be returned with a
report of all activities before a charter could be issued. We are known
as Saint Cyprian No. 41, although no charter has ever been found and it
is doubtful if one was ever received. Nevertheless, we continue to
operate and to hold our standard high. A total of 109 members have come
into Saint Cyprian in our 77 years, an average of 1.4 per year.
During these years meetings have been held in a variety
of places. At first it was required that they be held only once a year
(in December for election and installation). Special assemblies could be
called, however, by the Sovereign or by any five members in writing.
Most of the meetings have been held in Baltimore. But they have also
been at Gettysburg, York, Boiling Springs and Pittsburgh, Pa.,
Alexandria, Va., and in various parts of Maryland - Ferry Hill,
Hollywood, Olney, Ocean City, and Braddock Heights. Governor Harry W.
Nice, a Saint Cyprian member, invited the Conclave with their ladies, to
dinner in the Governor's mansion in Annapolis
(which the minutes note as "most delicious"). One of the most delightful
of all sessions was hosted by Grover L.
Michael, Sovereign in 1954, executive of a steel company, who maintained
a second home in Pittsburgh. He brought the entire Conclave and their
ladies in buses to Pittsburgh, put them up in the finest hotels over a
weekend, wined and dined them, and took all on a cruise up the Allegheny
and Monongahela Rivers in a paddle-wheel steamer. Other outstanding
meetings within our state include one in Denton and a weekend in
Cumberland. Then there was a unique meeting in a large pavilion at
Gambrill State Park near Frederick on September 12, 1970. In addition to
our ladies, the widows of deceased Sovereigns were included. Senior
General and Mrs. Elmer R. Bokesch were hosts for dinner. During the
program, two members were added to our roster. Another distinguished
guest was Knight Companion William E. Yeager, Grand Sovereign of the
Grand Imperial Council, who came down from his home in Pennsylvania and
addressed us briefly. Copies of the first history of Saint Cyprian by P.
S. Ed Saunders were distributed during the meeting and later printed.
Our Conclave has been honored in having two of its
members reach the title of Grand Imperial Sovereign. They are Harry O.
Schroeder, K.G.C. (known by all who knew him as "HaS") and Joseph C.
Bryan, III, K.G.C., each of whom was well known and respected throughout
the realm of Red Cross of Constantine. In the year of Joe Bryan's reign
the international convention was held in Baltimore, attended by more
than 500 visitors who acclaimed it as one of the best, if not the best,
Imperial Session that they had attended.
So Saint Cyprian is proud of its past and accepts the
challenge that has been laid before us to equal, even strive to surpass,
the record of our forebears.
by William M. Koenig