The Hierarchy of the Knights of Columbus leadership starts at the Supreme Council and moces to States, Districts, and Local Councils. All members must belong to a Local Council. For those that have completed the 4th degree, there are Assemblies which are grouped by Districts, Provinces, and finally governed at the National level.
The Supreme Council consists of the State Deputy and the last living Past State Deputy of the state Councils; the Past Supreme Knights; Supreme Officers as ex officio members (Supreme Knight, Supreme Chaplain, Deputy Supreme Knight, Supreme Secretary, Supreme Treasurer, Supreme Advocate, Supreme Physician, and Supreme Warden); the Supreme Directors (24 insurance members elected for three-year terms by the Supreme Council at its annual meeting); and such delegates that are chosen by the State Councils. (Section 4 of the Charter, Constitution, Laws)
The State Council includes the State Deputy, State Chaplain, State Secretary, State Treasurer, State Advocate, and State Warden. State Directors include the Program Director, Membership DIrector, and Operations Director. The State Council also includes the last living past State Deputy, the Grand Knight, and Past Grand Knight from each local council.
The State Deputy is the only officer to have a dress jewel. State jewels contain the offical seal of the state in the middle. (Section 11 of the Chater, Constitution, Laws)
The District level includes the District Deputy. Districts are composed of several councils in the same geographic region. The District Deputy has general charge of the local councils, is responsible for overseeing the Exemplification of the Second Degree and installs Council Officers. His jewel is a sextant and feather with the words "District Deputy" across them and suspended from a red ribbon. They symbolize his role in helping to guide the councils in his district. (Sections 60-62 of the Charter, Constitution, Laws)
At the council level there are 17 officers in which 12 are elected. Continue below for a brief explanation of each office, the jewel he wears and a description of his ceremonial robe.
At the council level there are 17 officers in which 12 are elected. View the Official Knights of Columbus Emblems and Council Jewels for a brief explanation the jewel he wears.
Provides spiritual guidance and direction to the Council. He is selected by the Grand Knight, Deputy Grand Knight and hte three Trustees on an annual basis in accordance with the rules of the Bishop of the diocese. The Chaplain's jewel is the Isabella Cross in silver and blue suspended from a black ribbon. His ceremonial office robe is black with black trimmng and a yoke with white projecting collar. The cincture is black with silver fringe. (Duties from section 128 of the Charter Constitution, Laws)
The top ranking officer of the Council. He oversees all the council activities and is elected by the members of the council. Some of his duties include presiding over meetings, countersigning orders and checks, reading vouchers and notices relative to the Fourth Degree. The Grand Knight's jewel is an anchor which is suspends from a purple ribbon. The anchor is indicative of Admiral Christopher Columbus and has also been a variant form of the Cross for centuries. The ceremonial officer robe is royal purple. He wears a white cincture with silver fringe and a purple mantle with a white roll collar. (Duties from section 135 of the Charter Constitution, Laws)
The second ranking officer of the Council and is elected by the members of the Council. He presides in the absence or inability of the Grand Knight. His jewel is the Compass, also known as the Compass of Virtue, suspended from a purple ribbon, with the four main points representing Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. The 32 points around the outside represent the virtues which a man can possess. It is an important tool in navigation. The Deputy Grand Knight's ceremonial officer robe is royal purple with a white cincture and silver fringe. (Duties from section 136 of the Charter Constitution, Laws)
Virtues of the Compass
Charity (N): benevolence, sympathy, amiability, patriotism, sumission, unity, obedience
Hope (E): modesty, temperance, patience, self-control, fortitude, chasity, prudence
Faith (W): piety, gratitude, impartiality, justice, equity, honesty
Truth (S): constancy, wisdom, integrity, brotherly-love, forgiveness, benightly, kindness
The third highest ranking officer of the Council, elected by the Council members. He assists the Grand Knight and Deputy Grand Knight in the performance of their duties and takes charge during the incapacity or extended absence of both. The Chancellor exercises a special interest in new members and members who are sick or in distress. His jewel is that of a skull and cross bones on the Isabella Cross. It is suspended from a black and white ribbon. The cross bones remind us of our immortality. His ceremonial officer robe is black trimmed with white. He wears a white cincture with silver fringe and a black mantle with a white roll collar. (Duties from section 137 of the Charter Constitution Laws)
The Recorder keeps the minutes of the meeting and the historical records for the Council. He is elected by the Council members. In the absence of the Grand Knight, Deputy Grand Knight, and Chancellor, the Recorder will preside over the meeting. He is responsible for the correspondence of the Council as directed by the Grand Knight. His jewel is crossed quill pens suspended from a white over yellow ribbon. The quill pens are symbolic of his record keeping functions of the Scribe. His ceremonial officer robe is black, with black trim. He wears a white cincture with silver fringe. (Duties from section 138 of the Charter Constitution Laws)
He handles the financial transaction record keeping including issuing and collecting bills, membership cards, etc. The Financial Secretary is appointed by the Supreme Knight and is compensated in a manner approved by the Board of Directors. His jewel is the quill pen (record-keeper) and the key (money, safe-keeping, and secrecy) crossed; and suspended from a white over yellow ribbon. This symbolizes his record keeping functions of the financial matters of the Council. The ceremonial officer robe is black, trimmed in black with a white cincture with silver fringe. (Duties from section 139 of the Charter Constitution Laws)
He is responsible for the funds of the Council and is elected by the members of the Council. His duties include such functions as maintaining bank accounts and issuing checks based on receipts turned in by the Financial Secretary. His jewel is crossed keys, which represents responsibility for the safe keeping of the funds, suspended from a blue ribbon. The Treasurer's ceremonial officer robe is black trimmed with black. He wears a white cincture with silver fringe. (Duties from section 140 of the Charter Constitution Laws)
The Lecturer is responsible for the entertainment at the Knights of Columbus meetings and functions. He is selected by the Grand Knight on an annual basis. His jewel consists of the Scroll over the Lyre suspended from a white over blue ribbon. The scroll and lyre represent literature and music. His ceremonial robe is black, trimmed with national blue. He wears a blue cincture with silver fringe. (Duties from section 141 of the Charter Constitution Laws)
The Chief Legal Officer for the Council as elected by the members of the Council. His jewel is a scroll and sword suspended from a yellow ribbon. The scroll represents the legal literature and law; the sword represents his authority to enforce those Laws. The Advocate's ceremonial officer robe is black, trimmed with golden yellow. He wears a yellow cincture with silver fringe. (Duties from section 142 of the Charter Constitution Laws)
He assures that all members at the meetings possess the current membership card and is elected by the members of the Council. He is custodian of all Council property except for funds and is in charge of properly setting up the Council Chamber. He directs the activities of the Inside and Outside Guards. His jewel consists of an axe bound by fasces suspended froma red over black ribbon. Guards or protectors of Roman Magistrates generally carried the axe and fasces as a sign of authority. The Warden's ceremonial officer robe is black, trimmed with scarlet. He wears a scarlet cincture with silver fringe. (Duties from section 143 of the Charter Constitution Laws)
The Inside and Outside Guards are in charge of security at the meetings and are to assist the Warden as needed. Their jewels each have the same symbol consisting of crossed axes and key, representing their authority as sentries at the door, and is suspended from a white ribbon. Their ceremonial officer robe is gray with a yoke, trimmed with black. They wear a black cincture with silver fringe. (Duties from section 144 of the Charter Constitution Laws)
There are three Trustees for each Council (1st Year Trustee, 2nd Year Trustee, and 3rd Year Trustee). They oversee the financial transitions of the Council, review all bills and financial reports, and audit the Council's financil records semi-annually. Their jewel is a corssed key and sword, which represents their financial authority, suspended from a green ribbon. Their ceremonial officer robes are black, trimmed with green. He wears a green cincture with silver fringe. (Duties from section 145 of the Charter, Constitution Laws)