Knight Masonry is sometimes referred to as “The Irish Branch of Masonry or the Green Degrees.” In the United States it is considered to be a part of the York Rite and exist as an invitational order with membership being extended to those York Rite Masons who have served the craft, civic organizations or their community in leadership roles.
The Knight Mason Degrees have their origins to the earliest records of Masonry – in fact there is some indication that the Knight Mason Degrees may have been developed even before the degree of Master Mason!
The history of the Judean people, as contained in the Book of the Law, including the Books of Ezra, Jeremiah and Esdras, records three outstanding episodes intimately connected with Ancient Irish Knight Masonry:
1. The building of King Solomon’s Temple
2. The repairs of the Temple by King Josiah
Irish Royal Arch Masonry
3. The building of the Second Temple by Zerubabbel after the returnof the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin from their seventy years ofcaptivity in Babylon, circa. 536 B.C.E.
Until the mid-Nineteenth Century they were worked in Ireland under the auspices of the Royal Arch Chapters and later the Commandery Preceptories.
The Grand Council of Knight Masons was formally constituted in 1923 and assumed responsibility for the degrees which were previously worked by Royal Arch Chapters, Preceptories of Knight Templars and even a Prince Rose Croix Chapter.
In 1936 a group of Masons in North Carolina brought the degrees to the United States under a Provincial Grand Superintendent. The councils in the United States formed the Grand Council of Knight Masons of the United States of America in 1967. The Grand Council in Dublin recognized this Grand Council in 1969. There are currently Knight Mason Councils in Ireland in the United States, South Africa, Jamaica and as far afield as Hong Kong.
There are three Degrees in Knight Masonry formerly known as the Red Cross Degrees:
Knight of the Sword – formerly Red Cross of Daniel or Babylonian Pass, in which we learn of Zerubabbel’s visit to the court of King Cyrus of Persia.
Knight of the East – formerly Jordan Pass, which covers Zerubabbel’s later visit to the court of King Darius.
Knight of the East and West – formerly Royal Order, when Zerubabbel returns to his fellow countrymen in Jerusalem.
These three degrees – Knight of the Sword, Knight of the East, and Knight of the East and West. These “Green” degrees are ancient and are in essence “Old Testament.” The 15th, 16th, and 17th degrees of the Scottish Riteand the Order of the Red Cross of the Commandery are to some extent similar and all are based on the legend of Zerubbabel.
Today, there are over 90 Councils of Knight Masons in the U.S.A. with more than 8000 members. The Knight Masons Councils in Ohio are still operating under the Grand Council of Ireland, but are recognized by the Grand Council of the United States. Not every state has Councils of Knight Masons as their existence is at the will and pleasure of the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. The membership includes many of the leaders, both at the Grand and the National level, of Masonry in the United States.
There are four Councils of Knight Masons in Tennessee:
Tralee Council # 41 in Rosemark, Tennessee
Gaelic Council # 60 in Chattanooga, Tennessee
William Benjamin Anderson Council # 73 in Knoxville, Tennessee
Ezra Council # 89 in Columbia, Tennessee
W W Cannon Council # 96 in Johnson City, Tennessee
An invitational body originally sponsored by the Knight Masons of Ireland. It is also known as the Green Degrees. In England, the parts of the degrees are worked as part of the Order of Allied Masonic Degrees under the title of the Red Cross of Babylon. Membership once required affiliation with the Knights Templar in Ireland, but only with the Royal Arch in the U.S.A.
|73||Wm B Anderson||Knoxville||Knox||4th Wednesday of April, August, November|
|96||W W Cannon||Greeneville||Greene||5th Tuesday|