The Parish of St. Joseph of Arimathea
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From the Rector

Dear Friends,

September has arrived, and with it, an end to most of the smoke and heat we've had to endure. Also with September, the Apostolic Johannite Church celebrates a diverse set of days and figures in the month of September-

The Descent of the Holy Sophia (Sept 8)
St, Hildegard of Bingen (Sept 17)
Martinez des Pasqually (Sept 20)
The Apostle Matthew (Sept 21)
The Gnostic Restoration (Sept 22)
St. Michael the Archangel (Sept 29)

In this regard, September seems to aptly embody the blend of traditions, practices and theology of the Apostolic Johannite Church. I do want to briefly highlight a couple of these days here.

The Descent of the Holy Sophia commemorates the Gnostic story of the fall of Sophia, Wisdom personified, the Divine Feminine, into the realm of the world (or to be more theologically precise, from the Pleroma into the Kenoma). This signifies or foreshadows the journey of every being in the Gnostic myths, which like Sophia, undergo trial and transformation, towards eventual return or reitegration.

In some Gnostic calendars, ours among them, this day overlaps with the Nativity of Mary, Theotokos. While there are groups who have sought a type of replacement theology, swapping out Christian figures for the Gnostic mythos, there is understanding to be gained by exploring them individually and together- and a good example of this comes with these very overlaps. Just as the Descent of Sophia typifies the Gnostic journey and represents the descent of the Divine Feminine into the world, so does the Nativity of Mary mark the birth of the greatest of female saints into the Christian calendar, the Divine Feminine as expressed in the Christian tradition, the Theotokos, who gives birth to Wisdom in the form of the Logos, or Christ.

September also sees St. Hildegard of Bingen, a popular saint inside and outside of the AJC, known for her music and visionary theology. If you want to learn more about the life of this extraordinary mystic- give a listen to the late Rev. Dr. Juliana Eimer's presentation from Conclave 2016 on the life and work of St. Hildegard, you can find it here.

On Sept 20, the AJC commemorates the life and work of Martinez de Pasqually, founder of the Martinist tradition (which takes its name from both Pasqually and one of his principal students, Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, also on the AJC calendar). A noted theurgist, freemason, kabbalist and magician, Pasqually was the originator of the Elus Cohen, an initiatory system based around a Kabbalistic cosmology which is remarkably Gnostic, especially considering it pre-dates the discovery and translation of the Nag Hammadi texts by 200 years.

From his system, its teachings and students, would ultimately derive the Martinist Order, an esoteric Order and path of Initiation dedicated to the Reintegration of humanity with the Divine Source.

Last on my short list is the Gnostic Restoration.The Gnostic Restoration, ushered in by Jules Doinel (1842-1903), played a huge historical role in many of the Gnostic groups and Churches that we have today- including ours.
 
Jules-Benoît Stanislas Doinel du Val-Michel had a spiritual experience in which he claimed to have been consecrated a Bishop by the Aeon Jesus, and from there, reportedly sought out Gnostic and Cathar spirits through seances held at the home of Maria de Mariategui, Lady Caithness, Duchesse de Medina Pomar.
 
It was during a series of these seances, that he would receive communications from Sophia, the Synod of Cathar Bishops and others. Doinel would reportedly be addressed by the head of the Cathar Synod, instructing him (like Sophia in another instance) to establish (or reestablish) a Gnostic Church. 

This Gnostic Church would eventually see its lineage fused with the lineage of ancient Apostolic Succession- vesting that generation and those Gnostic Churches to come with a dual heritage rooted in both the creative and revelatory nature of Gnosis, and the time-honoured and ancient traditions of the universal Christian Church. 

While there would be esoteric and Gnostic Churches tha tpreceeded Jules Doinel's Eglise Gnostique, such as Vintras' Church of Carmel and older yet still l'Église Johannite des Chrétiens Primitifs (Église du Christ) led by Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat, it was Doinel's legacy and lineage that would become the most widespread. 

The Apostolic Johannite Church, it should be noted, has lineages from all three of these bodies. 

Despite his relative success in his own time and the continuance of some of his work through the modern Gnostic Churches, he was a figure of controversy at times in his own day, and remains so today. 
 
His Grace, the Primate of the United States, Mar Thomas, discusses all this and more with a lecture on Jules Doinel and the Restoration in two parts at our Conclave in Colorado, in 2011- it's well worth a listen. Dr. Siobhan Houston also discusses the Restoration on Talk Gnosis, from January 2014.
 
This Month at St. Joseph's

Join us this month as we commemorate the Descent of the Holy Sophia with the Contemplative Rite of the AJC, Sept 12th at 7:30pm. While we usually have two meetings a month, the second being a dinner and discussion night, we will not be doing that this month, as I will be visiting the AJC's Holy Grail Narthex in Montreal, Quebec to celebrate Liturgy.

Ad Sacram Flammam,
+ Shaun Mar Iohannes

News and Education from Around the Church
Available now on YouTube and The Lectern Podcast: Magic and the Liturgy with Dr. William Behun, Primate of the United States
Now Available on Talk Gnosis: Chaos and the Archons: An Interview with Gordon White, Would you care for a side of chaos with your gnosis? Chaos magician and author Gordon White joins Father Tony and Rev. Jonathan for a discussion of chaos magic in the 21st century. Mr. While offers a fascinating look at this highly practical system of magic and a pointed discussion of Gnosticism. Bonus: Tune in to learn why Ashton Kutcher is the hierophant we all deserve.
Johannite School

The Apostolic Johannite Church has an ongoing enducational site-  'Johannite School' - a place to learn more about the thought, practice, community, and history of the Apostolic Johannite Church. Our aim is to make it easier for new members of the church, as well as interested people who aren’t close to a local community, to find out more about the AJC.

Johannite School is free.

As the school curriculum grows, it will cover popular topics like,

  1. Introduction to Johannite Concepts and Theology
  2. What do Johannites do (practice, ritual, traditions)?
  3. What is the AJC about (structure, definitions, community)?
  4. What is Gnosticism (introduction)?
  5. History of Johannite communities (33CE to today)
  6. What is Hermeticism and why is it relevant?

The first of these courses,Introduction to Johannite Concepts and Theology” (which includes a total of eighteen modules!) has already begun and you are welcome to join in.

All courses include video lectures, written notes, extra resources and homework exercises. Each course is self-paced. The school includes a forum area where you can meet other students and ask for help.

To sign up- visit https://johannite.org/learn/

Upcoming Schedule
 

Liturgy: 7:30pm @ The Unitarian Church of Calgary
Room 4, Side Entrance
1703 1 Street Northwest
Calgary, AB T2M 4P4

Coffee and Discussion:
7:15pm @ Ricky’s @ North Hill

1668 14 Ave NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1M7

August 8th - Liturgy - Transfiguration
August 22nd - Discussion - Theosis

September 12th - Liturgy - Descent of the Holy Sophia
September 26th - Discussion - Open Discussion

 

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