What’s a Muscovite?
We thank you for your interest in the Noble Order of Muscovites! But, you’re probably wondering what you’re getting yourself into.
- Recognize that it’s not an organization. Seriously. There are no dues or meetings to attend. Rather, it’s a social group that will gather to put on the degree and raise some money from time to time.
- To become a member, one must first belong to a community organization that predicates membership on having “good moral character.” Rotary? Check. Freemasonry? Check. Odd Fellows? Check. Credit Union? No check for you!
- We don’t haze. PERIOD. End of discussion.
- It’s not structured. There are no national officers. Our Charter is issued from a group in Oregon, which has been recently resurrected.We operate in the best way for us, provided that we follow the rule about who can be a member, don’t haze, and recognize other Muscovites if they want to visit.
- Titles are for funsies, so enjoy them. The ritual is for funsies, so enjoy it. ENJOY IT!
- Don’t talk about Fight Club. Wait… wrong list.
What’s with the name?
When the Muscovites were founded, they did not number their local bodies. Each local body chose their own name, which was either the same as a Russian city or territory (Kremlin Moscow), a contraction of the local area (Kremlin Sodak), or just a regional name (Kremlin Black Hills.)
Without a number, the local bodies were able to change up the traditional naming convention of fraternal bodies. Rather than being referred to as “Moscow Kremlin No. 0,” they instead chose to place the word Kremlin first, creating a unique framework all their own.
Kremlin Penza is named for the Penza Oblast, the center of which is the Russian city Penza about 400 miles south and east of Moscow. The region is known for its support of industry as well as being a regional center of higher education.
A Brief History of the Muscovites
The first social group officially founded for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows was the Imperial Order of Muscovites, which arose in Queen City, Ohio, near Cincinnati, in 1893. Invariably, the originators must have been influenced by the Shriners, Grotto, and other Masonic bodies that were gaining prominence in that era. While Arabian themes were all the rage for social groups, the Muscovites went with a decidedly different motif – that of Czarist Russia.
To start, there were 20 members of the group, but by May of 1894, the group had blossomed to about 80 participants. They promptly declared the initial body the “Imperial Kremlin” and decreed that all local bodies would be called Kremlins. The president of the group was to be known as the Czar, while the national president would be styled the Imperial Czar. With the basics of the fraternity down, the members began spreading word of their new club. The Muscovites first spread in Ohio, then to Topeka, Kansas, and throughout the Midwest. At one time, Kremlins existed from Ohio to Washington state, with membership in the tens of thousands.
In Oregon, the Muscovite movement would take a different turn, as the members seceded from the Imperial Order and founded the Improved Order of Muscovites. Later, after the Imperial Order of Muscovites had officially failed (in the early 1930’s), the Order would once again be resurrected as the Royal Order of Muscovites. This group operated in the State of Oregon until the late 1960’s.
In 2015, interest in the Muscovites began to take hold and it was found that many members of the Royal Order were still alive. A ritual and documents were uncovered in an old Lodge building in Portland, Oregon. A ceremonial was organized and the degrees were put on anew, this time under the auspices of the Noble Order of Muscovites.