This Order is said to be derived from a very ancient Order in Ireland, consisting of freemasons and said to have been erected and patronized by the Kings of Ireland, for it is claimed that in early times Eriu (Ireland) possessed a literature and history equal to that of the most highly developed of ancient nations. While it is generally accepted that Bro. John Yarker (1833-1913) was at one time the head of the ‘English Revived Order of the Red Branch of Eri.’ Certain records relate that Bro. F. G. Irwin, while Worshipful Master of the Inhabitants Lodge, No. 178 at Gibraltar in 1858, received the Order at the hands of the captain of an American trading vessel, to whom it had been transmitted from father to son, dating back to 1757, when his Irish forbear emigrated to New York while a District Grand Master of the Order. Major Irwin is then purported to have restored and reorganized the degree in England under the aegis of the Grand Mur-Ollamham. The Order possessed two Psalters, the Major Psalter being basically the rituals or the degrees and the Minor Psalter comprising the laws and rules of the Order. The degrees embodied in the Order are (1) Man-at-Arms, (2) Esquire, (3) Knight, (4) Knight Commander, and (5) Grand Cross.
The English body languished for quite some time, starting during the latter part of Bro. John Yarker’s tenure as Master, and was worked only upon rare occasions with long periods of inactivity in between. It was revived sometime after the turn of the 20th Century, and attached in nature to the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, with restrictions that the Order could only be conferred upon invited SRIA members of VIº or higher.
Both the American and Canadian bodies use the rituals as used by the English body under the stewardship of Bro. John Yarker. The Minor Psalter of the English body is not used as it pertains to peculiarities of English Freemasonry and their Order.
In Canada, a newly-initiated brother is acknowledged as a Man-at-arms and an Esquire. He may then attend a session when the Knight degree is conferred. That is usually at the Annual Assembly, or at a District meeting. Once he has completed a term as Sovereign Master, he may apply for the rank of Knight Commander. That is a rank to be held by an appointed grand officer. An Elected grand officer applies for the rank of Knight Grand Cross. The final rank, Supreme Grand Cross, is given to the newly-installed Sovereign Grand Master.
The Enlightened Knight Commander of the Red Branch of Eri of Canada
Right Venerable Brother Michel Vigeant
On the 24th of October 2020, the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Québec held a virtual Grand Communication, where it installed Most Excellent Companion Michel VIGEANT as Grand First Principal for the 2020-2022 Masonic years.
Born in Iserlohn, West Germany in 1962 to a military family, Michel was educated in various educational institutions, notably, St. Patrick’s High School, Québec City, St. Lawrence College, Sainte-Foy and the University of Ottawa.
Michel joined the Boy Scouts, Army Cadets(R22R) and the Canadian Forces Reserves (Militia), 55 Military Police Platoon, Saint Mâlo and 55 Military Police Platoon, Ottawa. Corporal Vigeant participated in two divisional exercises in Gagetown, NB and Wainwright, ALTA as a Military Policeman.
Following studies in Criminology at the University of Ottawa, Michel was hired by the Provincial Police in Ontario (OPP) in 1985 and served at Detachments in Lancaster, Gore Bay (Manitoulin Island) and Ottawa (Kanata). Provincial Constable Vigeant was deployed throughout the Province as a Field Coordinator, with the Centre of Forensic Sciences (Toronto), teaching the Theory and Operation of various Breath-Testing instruments to various Municipal, Provincial and Federal Police Officers.
Michel deployed to Haïti in 1996 and again in 2006 on multinational United Nations Peacekeeping missions to bring stability to an impoverished island nation with close ties to Canada. Provincial Constable Vigeant received numerous awards and accolades over the term of his career. An avid motorcyclist, Michel had the honour, in the course of his duties, of providing Police motorcycle escorts to various Heads of State, including Her Majesty the Queen, His Eminence the Pope, Presidents and Prime Ministers. Provincial Constable Vigeant retired from the OPP with 33 years of service in 2018.
Masonically, Brother Vigeant joined the Masonic Order in Gore Bay (Manitoulin Island), ON in 1995. Following a work transfer, Michel affiliated with Carleton Masonic Lodge in Carp, ON, becoming Worshipful Master in 2005. Worshipful Brother Vigeant is presently a member of Loge Lorraine #141, GLQ, in Gatineau, Qc. Companion Vigeant was exalted at Coronation Chapter, Royal Arch Masons of Québec, in Gatineau, Qc, becoming First Principal (Master) in 2012. Excellent Companion is a life member of the order of the High Priesthood. In 2015 Right Excellent Companion Vigeant was honoured to serve the West District as Grand Superintendent (DDGM), Royal Arch Masons of Quebec. On October 24th, 2020, Most Excellent Companion Vigeant was installed as Grand First Principal of Royal Arch Masons of the Province of Quebec. The Royal and Select Masters beckoned and Companion Vigeant joined the Cryptic Rite, later to become Thrice Illustrious Master of Gedeliah Council in 2015. Very Illustrious Companion Vigeant serves the Grand Inspector General (DDGM) of District ‘A’ as secretary, Royal and Select Masters of Ontario. Very Illustrious Companion Michel is a life member of the Order of the Silver Trowel, Royal and Select Masters of Ontario. The Knights Templar cast their net and ensnared Eminent Knight Vigeant where he became Presiding Preceptor (Master) of Ottawa Preceptory in 2019. Preeminent Companion Knight Michel is a member of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America serving as Governor (Master) of St. Aidan’s College in 2016 and recorder at the present time. Knight Priest Michel is an affiliated member of Midland Bay Tabernacle, Holy Royal Arch, Knight Templar Priests, Midland, ON. Knight Companion Vigeant is a member of St Justin’s Conclave, Grand Imperial Conclave of Canada, meeting in Gatineau, Qc. On the fun and philanthropic side of the Masonic Order, Illustrious Sir Michel joined Tunis Shriners in 2004 becoming Potentate in 2013 and riding Mini-Bikes in Shrine parades. In the Shrine family, he is a member of the Cabiri (Past Potentates) and the Royal Order of Jesters.
Michel is a member of the executive and Board of Directors of the Fraser Recovery Program in Québec City, a drug and alcohol treatment facility for teenagers and young adults.
Michel is happily married to Wendy Verrecchia, a retired Police Officer and between them, have five children and enjoy the company of their three Grand Children.