Fourth Degree Knights
On February 22, 1900, the first Fourth Degree exemplification or degree ceremony was held in New York City. The Fourth Degree imparts a lesson on the virtue of patriotism. The primary purpose of this degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism in members and the community at large and encourage active Catholic citizenship. Today there are some 300,000 Fourth Degree Knights out of the total 1.7 million member Knights of Columbus.
Local units, called assemblies, draw their members from Knights of Columbus councils. The qualifications for membership in the Fourth Degree are: membership in the Knights for at least one year and being a Third Degree Knight.
A Fourth Degree Knight may become part of the assembly's color corps. These members are recognized widely by their distinctive attire of tuxedo, feathered hat (chapeau), cape and sword. These members regularly take part in civic events such as parades and wreath-laying ceremonies, and at ecclesial functions at Catholic churches. The various colored capes and chapeau feathers denote different officer positions within the Fourth Degree.
The Dove, the classic symbol of the Holy Spirit and Peace, is shown hovering over the orb of the Earth or Globe. Both are mounted on a variation of the Crusader's cross, that which was found on the tunics and capes of the Crusading Knights who battled to regain the Holy Land.
Our Honored Order cherishes as its patron Christopher (Christ Bearer) Columbus (Dove of Peace), symbolizing the Paraclete.
Spiritually, the sacred symbols on the emblem typify the Union of the Three Divine Persons in one Godhead...the most blessed Trinity.
The Globe... God the Father, Creator of the Universe
The Cross...God the Son, Redeemer of Mankind
The Dove...God the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of Humanity
The colors of the symbols are:
A Blue Globe with the lands of the Western Hemisphere in White
A Red Cross with gold borders, and gold knobs at the ends of the Cross
A White Dove.
Red, White, and Blue are the colors of the flag of the country in which our Order originated;
and are used to stress the basic principle of the Fourth Degree: Patriotism