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On February 22, 1900, the first fourth degree exemplification was held in New York City. The ritual added patriotism to the three original principles of the Order: charity, unity and fraternity.
All Knights are guided by our first three principles of charity, unity, and fraternity. The Fourth Degree supports our principal of patriotism.
Any Third Degree member in good standing, one year after the anniversary of his First Degree, is eligible for membership in the Fourth Degree. The primary purpose of the Fourth Degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism by promoting responsible citizenship and a love of and loyalty to the Knights' respective countries through active membership in local Fourth Degree groups called assemblies.
You can recognize us anywhere -- those men wearing plumed hats (chapeaus), brightly colored capes, white gloves and swords dangling from their hips. You’ll find us dressed in our formal regalia at Catholic ceremonies, including ordinations and special Masses. But what you don’t usually see is all the good work done behind the scenes by these men - - the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization.