“If fraternal love held all men bound, how beautiful this world would be” - Justus H. Rathbone
The Knights of Pythias is a fraternal and philanthropic organization that was founded on February 19, 1864 by Justus H. Rathbone. Rathbone was inspired by the Greek legend of Damon and Pythias, which illustrates true friendship, and this tenet is at the heart of the organization. The organization provides aid to members "in distress", homes for elderly members and help during natural disasters.
The order is organized into local "castles" or "subordinate lodges", state "Grand Lodges" and national "Supreme Lodges". Today, the order has approximately 50,000 members worldwide, but at its peak in the 1920s, there were over a million members. While membership in the Knights of Pythias is only open to men, there are the Pythian Sisters for women, Pythian Sunshine Girls for girls and Junior Order of Princes of Syracuse for boys.