The Patriotic Degree
The Fourth Degree was established on February 22, 1900, on the principle of patriotism—love for and devotion to one’s country. Fourth Degree Knights focus the majority of their activities on this principle. It is the highest and most prestigious degree within the Knights of Columbus. It is a group of outstanding Knights who are dedicated to the service of the Church, their country and our Order. These men are unified in the Fourth Degree to support religious, civic and charitable causes.
Any Third Degree member in good standing, with at least six months membership in the order is eligible for membership in the Fourth Degree.Fourth Degree members must retain their membership as Third Degree members in the local council to remain in good standing. Certain members of the Fourth Degree serve as honor guards at civic and religious functions, an activity that has brought worldwide recognition.
The Emblem of the Fourth Degree
The triad emblem of the Fourth Degree features the dove, the cross and the globe. The dove, hovering over the orb of the Earth (globe), is the classic symbol of the Holy Spirit and peace. Columbus' name in Italian (Colombo), also means "dove." Both the globe and dove are mounted on a variation of the Crusader's cross, which was found on the tunics and capes of the Crusading knights who battled to regain the Holy Land from the Muslims.
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 land of the Western Hemisphere in white.
- A red cross with gold borders and gold knobs at the end of the points forming the ends of the arms of the cross, also known as the Isabella cross.
- A white dove.
- Red, white and blue are the colors of the flag of the country in which the Knights originated. They are used to stress patriotism, the basic principle of the Fourth Degree.