From the Rector
The heat wave continues, but I see that the trees are slowly beginning to turn and we can hope this means that the season is right behind. If not, I'll be writing next month's newsletter from the comfort of my freezer, assuming I can fit.
With our arrival at September, we turn to one of the most significant portions of the history of Gnosticism in the Modern Age- that of the Gnostic Restoration.
Liturgically, as all times of year, we celebrate a host of different figures and events in the Gnostic and Christian tradition, and every year at this time, I highlight one in particular-
Most of the year, the things we recall or celebrate, as gnostics in the modern age, are ancient. Ancient myths, legends, and saints and teachers. September brings us one of the few relatively recent portions of Gnostic history that most Gnostics, of the ecclesiastical variety anyway, highlight and recall.
I'm speaking of the 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 that preceeded 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
Closer to home, we will be celebrating the Contemplative Eucharist in honour of another September mystic- St. Hildegard of Bingen on September 13th. If you want to learn more about this great Christian mystic, composer and Abbess- take an hour and listen to the late Rev. Subdeacon Juliana Eimer, Ph.D discuss her life and work.
We'll also be meeting for coffee, food and discussion, on September 27th at Jerusalem Shawarma, 301, 16 Ave Nw Calgary at 715pm. In harmony with our liturgical evening, we will be discussing the role of music in spirituality.
I hope to see you there.
Ad Sacram Flammam,
+ Shaun Mar Iohannes