1. Église Gnostique Universelle Catholique -EgliseGnostique

de France


Episcopal Seal of Doinel  

JULES DOINEL and the Eglise Gnostique Universelle Catholique

The "Universal Catholic Gnostic Church" was ' spiritually' founded (without apostolic succession) on September 21, 1890 by Jules Doinel ( Jules-Benoît Stanislas Doinel de Val -Michel, 1842 - 1903 ). Doinel, a Freemason (member of the ' Grand Oriënt de France' ), was a librarian and Spiritist. As a practising Spiritist he had recurring visions of the Divine Feminine 'aspect '. Doinel became convinced that it was his destiny to take part in the restoration of the Divine Feminine aspect and to give it its proper place in religion, the reestablishment of the fallen church of the Sophia. In 1888 Doinel discovered in the library of Orléans a Charter dated 1022 which was written by a forerunner of the Cathars, a certain Canon Stephan de Orléans, a schoolmaster who taught Gnostic doctrines. He apparently was burned later the same year for heresy. Doinel started to become fascinated by the Cathars and their predecessors, the Bogomills, Paulicians, Manicheans, and various other Gnostic movements. He studied their doctrines and became convinced that "Gnosticism was the true religion behind Freemasonry". In the second half of 19th century France a growing interest in the Cathar-movement had been developed. Around 1874 a succesful book was published, titled "Histoire d'Albigenses", written by Napoléon Peyrat, Federico Mistral and others re-established the

"Compagnie des Jeux Floraux" ( see "FUDOSI Orders & Societies - on Viscount de la Passe), in 1896 appeared the magazine "Montsegur", published by Prosper Estieu and Joseph Péladan published his short treatise "from Parsifal to Don Quixote, the secret of the Troubadours". The Cathar-hype conquered all of France and was of special interest for the Parisian occultists at the end of the 19th century. Doinel's contribution to the Cathar-hype at that time was the "legend of the first Gnostic Mass which was held at the parade-ground of the castle of Montsegur", thus Doinel.

One night in 1888 Doinel had a vision in which the "Aeon Jesus" appeared. Doinel alleged that he was consecrated that night as a Patriarch by Jesus Christ himself who was assisted by two Bogomil Bishops in this miraculous vision. Doinel also received instructions to establish a new church.

Doinel was spiritually consecrated as "Bishop of Montségur and Primate of the Albigensians" (Dates vary with regard to Doinel's vision, another source mentions May 1890, "Montségur" referred to the famous Cathar castle near the city of Foix, in the south of France ). After this miraculous vision Doinel started his attempts to contact Cathar and Gnostic Spirits in seances which were held in the salon of Lady Marie Caithness and her circle, a circle which would later become known in France as the "Societe Theosophique d'Orient et d'Occident". Doinel's Gnostic seances were attended by many notable occultists of the time, one of them being the Abbé Roca, a former Catholic Priest and close associate of both Stanislas de Guaita and Oswald Wirth. These communications with Spirits were received through a pendulum suspended by the Duchess over a board of letters. The following words were received during a séance by Doinel and Lady Caithness (excerpt of a communication between Doinel and a spirit " whom Valentinus had named Sophia-Achamôth" )

Lady Marie Caithness (1842-1895)

Maria de Marietegui, Lady Marie Caithness, the Duchess of Pomar, was approached around 1882 by H.P.Blavatsky, Colonol Olcott, and Annie Besant, to establish the French artery of the Theosophic Society. The Duchess organized seances in the same oratorie that over the years served as the "Meditational Sanctuary" of the "Societe d'Theosophique de Paris". She was one of the first members of the T.S. and one of the first European followers of Spiritism. "Spiritism" was highly influental as a movement on the Occultists at the time, many occultists were affiliated to Spiritist-circles and made use of certain practises which belonged to the "spiritist-curriculum" ( séances, Automatic Writing etc.). These practises were generally accepted within the Occult movement of the day. Many writings of that period (1875-1925) which are nowadays considered as "Classics of Occultism" were written "under guidance" (or 'attunement' ) of some kind of "spirit", "hidden Master" etc. (Blavatsky's "Secret Doctrine", Crowley's "Book of the Law", A.M.O.R.C.'s 'key-document' the "Nodin-manuscript" etc.). "Visions", apparitions, "voices" etc. were commonly accepted within the occult movement as 'genuine' communications with the Supernal world. This common trust in these practises and experiences explains the "success" of people such as Jules Doinel. This aspect is generally forgotten nowadays in writings concerning the history of the occult movement at the "fin-de-siecle"…

Lady Caithness was of Spanish origin. She was married to the English Lord Caithness. She'd inherited an incredible fortune after her first husband had died, the Duke of Pomar, and owned i.a. a palace in Nice, named "Tiranti". The palace in Nice became a meeting-place of Spiritists and Occultists. One of the visitors was Helena Petrova Blavatsky, years before she would establish the T.S. The circle of Lady Caithness attracted many of the well-known spiritists and occultists of the "French Occult revival" at the end of the 19th century. Lady Caithness was a disciple of Anna Kingsford of the TS. She considered herself to be the reincarnation of Mary Stuart. Doinel had been a long-time associate of Lady Caithness. It is of interest that a séance held in 1881 had foreshadowed to the Duchess "a revolution in religion which would result in the ' New Age of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit' " ( source : "History of the Gnostic Catholic Church" by T.Apiryon ).

In September 1889 Doinel allegedly contacted the "Very High Synod of Bishops of the Paraclete", a synod consisting of 40 Cathar Bishops who "manifested" and gave their names. The names were later checked against records from the National Library and were proven to be accurate. Apparently the Head of the Synod was a Guilhabert de Castres, a Cathar Bishop of Toulouse who had lived in the 12th century. De Castres instructed Doinel to reconstitute the Gnostic Doctrine by establishing a Gnostic Church, the "Assembly of the Paraclete". Doinel was spiritually wed with his "Helene-Ennoia" (Simon Magus' "Sophia"), his ' Helen' who would serve as an oracle. He was also ' ordered' to take the Fourth Gospel, "the Gospel of John", as the holy book of the forthcoming Gnostic Church. Male Bishops and female "Sophias" would administer Doinel's Gnostic "Cathar" Church, a neo-Albigensian Church. The year 1890 was proclaimed by Jules Doinel as the beginning of the "Era of the Gnosis Restored" . Doinel assumed the office of "Patriarch of the Gnostic Church". Doinel took the mystic name of Valentin II, "in homage to Valentinus (80AD-165AD), the 2th century founder of the Valentinian school of Gnosticism" ( "History of the Gnostic Church", T.Apiryon ). According to Tau Charles Harmonius II ( Robert Cokinis ) Doinel had received his ' Nomen Mysticum ' during his miraculous vision : "At this particular sitting it appears that the disembodied spirits of ancient Albigensians, joined by a heavenly voice, laid spiritual hands on Doinel, creating him ' Valentinus, …Bishop of the Holy Assembly of the Paraclete and of the Gnostic Church…"

( "The Balzac of the Occult & the Russian Sphynx", Tau Charles Harmonius II ).

Papus, Sédir, and Chamuel

+Sacred Synod of the Gnostic Ecclesia+

Doinel started to consecrate a number of Bishops and Sophias, among the first to be consecrated were Gérard Encausse ( Papus, 1865-1916), as Tau Vincent (Sept. 14, 1892), Bishop of Toulouse ; Paul Sédir (Yvon Le Loup, 1871-1926), as Tau Paulas, coadjutor (second) of Toulouse ; Lucien Chamuel (Lucien Mauchel), as Tau Bardesanes, Bishop of La Rochelle and Saintes. These three men ( all of them being leaders and dignitaries of Arcane Orders in France, OKR+C, O*M*, HB of L ) would form the "Sacred Synod of the Gnostic Ecclesia". In the year 1892 Doinel consecrated other "celebrities" of the Parisienne society, such as Louis-Sophrone Fugairon (born 1848, Tau Sophronius), Bishop of Béziers ; Albert Jounet (1863-1929, Tau Théodotus ), Bishop of Avignon ; Marie Chauvel de Chauvignie (1842-1927, Esclarmonde), as Sophia of Varsovie, the first "Sophia" to be consecrated ; Léonce-Eugène Joseph Fabre des Essarts ( Tau Synésius ), Bishop of Bordeaux. It is said that a close associate of HP Blavatsky, the Countess d'Adhemer, was designated as Tau Valentin's "Helen" ( "Il Retorno dello Gnosticismo", M.Introvigne, 1993 ). Francois-Charles Barlet and Jules Lejay , both members of the Martinist Supreme Council, were also consecrated. The mystic name was prefaced by the Greek Letter Tau, which represents the Greek Tau Cross or Egyptian Ankh. At the end of 1890 Doinel joined the Martinist Order of Papus and according to T.Apiryon (in "History of the Gnostic Church") Doinel also became a member of its Supreme Council ( Doinel does not appear on the listing of the members of the First Supreme Council of Papus' Martinist Order of 1891, so I suspect that his membership of the Supreme Council was of a later date, probably between 1893 and 1895, the year of Doinel's conversion) . Doinel was also a member of a small occult circle, ‘L’Institut d’études Cabalistiques’. Other members of this Kabbalistic circle were Firmin Boissin, Louis Lechartier, and Leo Taxil ( see chapter " 1908 FRATERNITE DES POLAIRES " ).

The theological doctrine of Doinel's Gnostic Church Doinel was a mixture of the doctrines of Simon Magus, Valentinus and the Valentinian Marcus ( the Valentinians, "who claim not only lineage from Paul, but also that he has imparted to them certain esoteric knowledge that is the foundation of their theology. The Valentinians claim succession from Paul's disciple Theudas sometimes referred to as (Theodotus) to the sect's founder Valentinus"-source: 'Anoki" ).

The sacraments were derived from the Cathar Church (i.a. the "Consolamentum" , the sacrament of becoming a "parfait", perfect one). Doinel considered the Gnostic Cathar Church to be the "depository of the esoteric knowledge of the Bible". In Doinel's publication "Premiere Homélie" from 1890 on the "Sacred Gnosis" he refers to an article of Lady Marie Caithness published in a Theosophical review, in which is written "the Gnosis is the essence of Christianity". But to Jules Doinel it is much more than that, in Doinel 's conception the Gnosis is the "complete and definitive synthesis of all beliefs and concepts of humanity with regard to it's origin, past, present and future, it's aim and goal, its nature and "survival". The "Premiere Homélie" is dated August 18th 1890,"the ninth year of our Lady of the Holy Spirit". Doinel apparently referred to a "Deuxième Homélie" which would be published to "complete the pending doctrinal aspects", but this document was never published because of Doinel's defection. Doinel's "Consolamentum" and the "Appareilamentum" are, besides the Cathar symbolism, having correspondences with the so-called "Rituel de Lyons" which was discovered in 1852 at the National Library Medieval Archives. The Gnostic Mass which was composed was known as the "Fraction du Pain" (Breaking of the Bread). Doinel emphasized the fallen state of matter in the rituals of the Church, its opposite state being the higher perfect order of the Pleroma. Doinel also proclaimed that the Gnostic Church was intended to present a system of mystical Masonry. In April 1890, Jules Stany Doinel published "La Gnose de Valentin" in which he praised and thanked Papus for the attention given to the Gnostic Church in the monthly review "l'Initiation". The 'Gnosis of Valentinus' contained i.a. Valentine's doctrine of the threefold classification of mankind ;

+" La Gnose de Valentin" +

"A mes frères et mes soeurs de l’Eglise Gnostique répandus dans les ténèbres de ce monde Hylique."

The decrees of the "Holy Gnostic Synod" appeared in the review "L'Initiation", dated September 1893 ( source : René Le Forestier, "L'Occultisme en France …", English Transl.: Elias Ibrahim )

The Holy Gnostic Synod decrees:

Article One

The re-establishment of the hierarchy permits the Restoration of gnostic symbolism .

Article Two

The Consolamentum, the Breaking of the Bread and the Appareillamentum of the Albigensian Assembly are re-established .

Article Three

The Bishops and their coadjutors can alone confer the Consolamentum

Article Four

Every pneumatic , Parfait or Sup.: Inc.: can perform the Breaking of the Bread .

Article Five

The Appareillamentum is the exclusive privilege of the patriarchal seat .

Article Six

"L'Initiation" will repeatedly publish the three rituals .

Article Seven

The Martinist Order is declared to be of gnostic essence . Every Sup.: Inc.: takes their place at the level of the Parfaits .

Article Eight

The Gospel of John is the only Gnostic Gospel .

Given at Paris under the seal of the Very High Gnostic Synod, the 28th day of the seventh month of the year IV of the Restoration of the Gnosis.

+ The Gnostic Patriarch, the primate of the Albigensians , Bishop of Montsegur.

+ The Bishop of Toulouse

+ The Bishop of Beziers

+ The Sophia of Varsovie

+ The coadjutor of His Grace , the Patriarch Bishop of Milan .

+ The coadjutor of Toulouse , bishop of Concorezzo.

+ The Bishop elect of Avignon.

By mandate of his grace and of the Very Holy Synod . The referendiary Deacon Enforceable The Very Holy Pleroma , being invoked , we ordain that the aforementioned decree of the Very Holy Gnostic Synod will be put into action in the assemblies.

T. Valentin Gnostic Patriarch Primate of the Albigensians , Bishop of Montsegur , 1893.

Other texts which were (for use within the Gnostic 'congregation') published by Doinel :

"Premiere Homélie" ( on "the Sacred Gnosis") September 1890 , "Restauration de la Gnose", september 1893, "La fraction du Pain" (Gnostic Mass, "Breaking of the Bread"), May 1894, and the Cathar Sacrament " l' Appareillamentum " , June 1894.

( these texts are partially published on P.R.Koenig's website at : http://www.cyberlink.ch/~koenig/church.htm "Gnostic Catholic Churches" ).

Lucifer Démasqué

An interesting statement is made by Frater Navitae when he states in his article "Apostolic Succession of Relevence to the E.G.C. and O.T.O." , that Doinel had founded his Universal Gnostic Church "in the hopes of reviving the teachings of Origen (185-254). Origen was one of the founders of the Catholic Church and a former Gnostic", thus Fr.Navitae (unfortunately no source available). It is known that the Abbé Julio based his doctrines, through Jean Sempe, on Origen. And, as we'll later see, Doinel's successor, Synésius, was a disciple of Abbé Julio. Doinel's Church consisted of the "high clergy' ( bishops and sophias ), the 'low clergy' ( deacons and deaconesses ), and ' lay members' , who were referred to as "Parfaits/Parfaites" ('perfect one'), a term which derived from the Cathars. Most of the names of the offices in the Gnostic Church were derived from the Roman-Catholic Church. The first years of existence of Doinel's Gnostic Church were rather turbulent mainly due to the unstable personality of its founder, Jules Stany Doinel. Then suddenly in 1895 (or at the end of 1894), Doinel converted to Roman Catholicism.Tau Charles Harmonius II states :" In 1895 Doinel hesitates in the midst of fast moving energy, begins to doubt, and probably due to the Palladium controversy ( coming to light this very year ), Tau Valentin abdicates his office and returns himself to the obedience of the Holy Latin See ( Rome ). Doinel left the Church he had created, resigned from his Masonic Lodge, and started to write articles in which he denounced the organizations that were once so dear to him. Doinel collaborated with Leo Taxil (G.A.Jogand-Pages), who had started the notorious offensive against Freemasonry and "other similar organizations" in the 1880's. According to Taxil , a former mason ( he had been expelled from the order), these organizations were satanic in nature and were secrently controlled by the "Order of the Palladium", allegedly headed by Albert Pike. In 1997 Taxil admitted that the story was a hoax at the expense of the Church of Rome. Jules Doinel published in 1895 his denunciation of Freemasonry in his book "Lucifer Démasqué" ( Lucifer Unmasked ) using the pseudo-name Jean Kostka. Doinel supposedly wrote this book with a co-author, again , Leo Taxil (there's no proof for the assumption made). An excerpt taken from page 162 of "Lucifer Unmasked" :

"Lucifer Démasqué", as published by "A.Barruel Publishing", edit. 2001, August.

In this book Doinel apparently also revealed a ritual which belonged to the 'Chevaliers Bienfaisants de la Cité Sainte', Willermoz' C.B.C.S. This ritual is known within this rite as the"rituel d'armement". Doinel's pseudo-name ' Jean Kostka' was derived from the name of a 16th century early deceased hero of the Polish Jesuits, Stanislas Kostka. The Polish Jesuit is mentioned in a private correspondence between the French novelist J.K. Huysmans and Jules Doinel. These correspondences are preserved at the "Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal ", filed under "Lettres de Jules Doinel " and "Lettres de J-K H". The Arsenal Library was incorporated in the National Library of Paris in 1934, and is listed as a special department of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. Both men converted to Roman Catholicism and in 1895 Huysmans describes Doinel in a private correspondence as "a very educated and intelligent man" who had finally devoted his life to 'God' . Huysmans describes Doinel in 1901 ( in a private correspondence addressed to Adolphe Berthet aka Jules Esquirol, dated January 2, 1901) as a man who's pride could not support to live a life of a simple Christian. Doinel had requested his readmission as a Bishop in the Gnostic Church in 1900…. (Lettres inédites de Jules Doinel à J-K. Huysmans ). It is interesting to note that there exists an 'alternative' explanation for Doinel's return to the Gnostic church. The explanation is quite simple, Doinel actually never abandoned his Gnostic belief. It is stated that Doinel 'collaborated' with Taxil to expose all the lies and superstition that were circulating at the time with regard to the movement of initiatic organizations, including 'his' Gnostic Church. It is said that Doinel's statement with regard to his "defection" is documented. Doinel apparently had never been openly attacked after he left the Église Gnostique by his former associates. Papus' remark "Doinel faced a choice between conversion or madness, and let us be thankful that the Patriarch of the Gnosis has chosen the first way" is rather 'diplomatic' then anything else…

Tau Synésius ; L.E. (Eugene) J. Fabre des Essarts

It is stated that Doinel's decision to leave the Gnostic Church in 1895 caused a lot of problems but the Church 'somehow' managed to survive. The Synod of Bishops assumed the control of the Church and in 1895 or 1896 (depending on which source one uses, P.R.Koenig in his article "Stranded Bishops" claims 1894 as the year in which "Doinel surrendered his office to the Martinist L.E. (Eugene) J. Fabre des Essarts" ) a High Synod was held to elect the successor of Doinel as Patriarch. Tau Charles Harmonius II states : " Finally in the same year, Papus, Synésius, Sedir, Chamuel and other convoked a sacred synod to ratify the Eglise Gnostique and apparently to abjure the defection of the Patriarche Valentin as well as to designate his successor who would be Tau Synésius ("The Balzac of the Occult & the Russian Sphinx" http://www.geocities.com/ega_church/balzac.htm )

Tau Synésius was the mystical name of Léonce-Eugène Joseph Fabre des Essarts (1848-1917). The Sacred Synod was once again held in the oratorie of Lady Caithness, who was to die in November 1895. Therefore the year 1895 is probably the correct date of Tau Synésius' election as Patriarch of the Gnostic Church of France. Fabre des Essarts, a Symbolist Poet and Occultist and a close friend of the Abbe Julio - J.E.Houssay, started to collaborate with Louis-Sophrone Fugairon ( Tau Sophronius ) to develop the Gnostic Church and introducing new elements into its teachings. According to Robert Ambelain's "Abbé Julio, Sa Vie, Sa Oevre, Sa Doctrine" ( Edit.Vermet 1981, p.15) Fabre des Essarts was the Abbé's "direct disciple". The context in which the referrence to Fabre des Essarts is made, is a conversation between the Abbé Julio and a Mgr.Richard which took place on March 1st, 1885.

It is also stated that another lineage was included in the Gnostic Synod of 1895, it was the lineage of the "Eglise Chretiens Primitifs de Saint Jean" which came from Mgr.Mauveil and Mgr.Chatel. Mauviel was one of the founders of the Johannite church "Eglise Johannites Chretien de Primitif" and Chatel founded the "Eglise Catholique Franchise" with a Doicese in Paris, Brussels, and Nantes.

Synésius would later introduce elements of Taoism ( through Matgioi, Comte de Pouvourville ) and Sufism (through Theophane Champrenaud ) into the teachings of the Gnostic Church. The Sacred Synod (Papus, Sédir, Chamuel ) also supported Fabre des Essart's actions to enter their Universal Gnostic Church ( Eglise Gnostique Universelle) into the communion of the Eglises Gallican

( Catholique ). The Gnostic Church of France of 1896 was known under various titles and apparently changed its name several times :

In 1899 Fugairon ( Tau Sophronius) published a Gnostic Catechism called "Catéchisme Expliqué de L'Église Gnostique". In 1895 the first French translation of the "Pistis Sophia" had been published (by E.Amelineau), a book which the "Église Gnostique" ascribed to Valentinus. At the time, the protagonists of the Gnostic Church advocated a church-doctrine which contents seemed to be a hotch-potch of various ancient teachings. The advocated "doctrine" was also constantly changing and therefore it was decided to re-establish order into the apparent "chaos" of teachings by means of Sophronius' Catechism. The "Catéchisme Expliqué de L'Église Gnostique" (Sophronius, Eveque de Beziers, I-IV, Paris 1899) counts 400 pages. At the beginning of the book the "Pistis Sophia" is mentioned, but the complex system of the contents of the "Pistis Sophia" is not given the attention it deserves and is only superficially dealt with. More attention is given to Simon the Magus and the Valentinians. An exception is made on the magical attributions given in both "Livres de Jeû", two additional texts of the "Pistis Sophia", the "Codex Brucianus". In a two-piece work which was recommended by Reuss at the time of its publication called "Die Gnosis" (Leipzig, 1903), written by Eugen Heinrich Schmitt, Sophronius' "Catéchisme Expliqué de L'Église Gnostique" was strongly critized. According to Schmitt the Doctrine of the French Gnostics diverged towards a curious tendency of Roman-Catholicism. Schmitt criticizes i.a. the transsubstantiation of Bread and Wine, which he refers to as a "Fetish-Belief" of Roman-Catholicism, a belief which was embraced by the Neo-Gnostics and adapted to their customs. Schmitt considered the French Neo-Gnostic Church to be superficial ; a church which view lacked any "depth". Schmitt was probably an academic researcher not well acquainted with the world of esotericism and occult organizations (although he corresponded with Doinel). But his remark on the superficiality of the French Neo-Gnostics is characteristic of his ignorance. Schmitt stated that he considered such French occultists as Papus and Sédir

( ! ) having a much more profound knowledge and view on "Gnosticism" then the so-called Gnostic Church itself ! Nevertheless, that does not mean his "criticism" was not fundamental.

In the year 1899 Doinel started to correspondent again with Synésius, and in 1900 he requested readmission as a bishop in the Gnostic Church. Doinel was reconsecrated by Synésius as Tau Jules, Bishop of Alet and Mirepoix. In 1903 Doinel died. It is said that after Doinel's reconsecration he once more became apostolate, so the question remains:"Did Doinel die as a Gnostic or a Roman-Catholic?" In spite of the "alternative explanation" of Doinel's defection, we have to remember that Doinel was a medium, led by "visions" which he often could not 'control ', Papus himself stated that Doinel lacked the scientific knowledge "to be able to explain the wonders that the invisible world had presented to him". Doinel was known for his 'unstability'.

In 1900 the first issue of the Gnostic review was published, "Le Reveil des Albigeois". In 1901 Synésius consecrated Jean "Joanny" Bricaud (1881-1934) as Tau Johannes, Bishop of Lyon.

The doctrine of the "Sacred Gnosis" as formulated by Jules Doinel in his "Premiere Homélie" of 1890, was further developed and "completed" by Fabre des Essarts and Joanny Bricaud. Both men worked on the completion of the "ritual(s) and ideologic patrimony of the renewed Christian gnosis". In the document "Gnostic Conciliation" ("Conciliation Gnostique"), Fabre des Essarts presented a connection to the Gnosis that preceded the period of the Cathars, namely to the period of the Alexandrian Gnostics of the 2nd - 4th century A.D.

The reasoning of defense applied by Fabre des Essarts reminds of the Luciferian "doctrine". Fabre des Essarts- like many other French occultists at the time, extended Gnosticism towards all religions and rites of the ancient world.

Fabre des Essarts/ Synésius consecrated 12 more Gnostic Bishops between 1903 and 1910, including Leon Champrenaud (1870-1925) as Tau Théophane, Bishop of Versailles ; René Guénon (1886-1951), as Tau Palingénius, Guénon joined Synésius' Gnostic Church in 1909 (other sources claim 1908 ) after his expulsion from the Martinisist Order. Guénon became the editor of "La Gnose", a periodical described as ' the official organ of the Universal Gnostic Church' ; Patrice Genty (1883-1964), as Tau Basilide, Genty who would later become the last Patriarch of the "Eglise Gnostique de France". I've found an interesting remark in Anrew Rawlinson's "The Book of Enlightened Masters: Western Teachers in Eastern Traditions" on René Guénon and his membership in Synésius' Gnostic Church. He states that René Guénon was consecrated as a Gnostic Bishop and that "there was no lower rank than this ". Rawlinson's remark is of course related specific to Fabre des Essarts' "l'Église Gnostique" ( after the establishment of Bricaud's schismatic branch ) , which would later become generally known as "l'Église Gnostique de France", but still …

In 1906 ( December 7, 1906 ) a Constitutional Synod was convoked by Tau Synésius I at the "Sanctuary of the Gnosis" at the Prefecture of the Seine in Paris for a public declaration of the doctrine of the "Eglise Gnostique Universelle" ( Gnostic Universelle Ecclesia ).

A constitution of Synésius' Église Gnostique was drafted which represented the 'The Constituations and the Accepted Bylaws of 1906", with regard to the leadership of the Gnostic Church the 1906 Constitution stated :

According to P.R.Koenig in his treatise "Stranded Bishops, EGC" the name of the "Église Gnostique " was changed to "Église Gnostique de France" ( at the beginning of the text Koenig states that in "1906 the name 'Église Gnostique' was enlarged to "Gnostic Catholic Church", EGC, Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica", to my knowledge the EGC/ECG was the title of Bricaud's schismatic Church founded in 1907, rather confusing. ). Koenig also states that in the same year Fabre des Essart's Gnostic Church introduced a Mass that was based on, or derived from the "old Catholic tradition" ; the Church described their Mass as being similar to the 'old catholic rite'. The Gnostic Church is often referred to as "L'Eglise des Inities", the "Church of the Initiated". According to Stephan A.Hoeller of the 'Ecclesia Gnostica" this means that Roman Catholics who have been initiated into secret orders of a Masonic, Martinist, Rosicrucian and similar character and who have therefore incurred excommunication from the Roman authorities were and are able to attend the services and receive the sacraments of the Gnostic Church".

In the beginning of the 20th century the Church also included a 'Inner circle", an ' Esoteric Section ' reserved exclusively for the Clergy. According to John Cole " This section was initiatic, earlier in this century, this section varied somewhat in different geographical areas where the Church operated. This initiatic work centered very heavily on Kabbalah, Alchemy and Theurical techniques, very interesting and powerful work". One of their Theurgical practises was known as the "Fire Baptism" (or "Baptism of Fire"). This "Ceremonial prayer" was practised to "obtain the 'Beatific Vision of Jesus Christ", as it was known to the Elus Cohen. Within the history of the Gnostic Church there's some talk of a certain group called the "Chevaliers de Saint Montsegur", it seems reasonable to think that the "Knights of Montsegur" are the Initiatic inner circle of the Ecclesia Gnostica.

Apparently the promulgation of December 7th , 1906 attracted "an array of dignitiaries" to the new Sanctuary of the Gnosis including "the Grand Masters and Hierophants of the Ancient and Primitive Rites of Memphis and Misraim as well several orders of the Rose-Croix" (Tau C.H.II "Major Synods of the Gnostic Church…" ; http://www.geocities.com/hiram_abyss/Synods.html )

Among the "dignitaries" who entered into commitment was, according to Tau C.Harmonius II (R.Cokinis), Doctor Arnoldo Krumm-Heller ( Tau Huirachoca ), who was consecrated by Tau Basilides. It is known that Krumm-Heller was a disciple of Bishop Dr. Arturo Clement, who acted under the aegis of Jean Bricaud (Tau Jean II). Generally it is assumed that 'Basilides' is Paul Genty. However, a German Gnostic named Peithmann (Pastor Dr. E.C.H. Peithmann, 1865-1943) also carried the mystic name of 'Basilides'. In a German book called "Lexikon des Geheimwissens" from H.E.Miers it is stated that Peithmann was a member of "the Grail Order", one of the many Orders that were founded at the end of the 19th century. This "Grail Order" was founded in 1893. Peithmann introduced certain sex-magical practises into this Grail Order, which he incorporated and developed later in a Church he founded around 1920, the "Altgnostische Kirche von Eleusis" ( Ancient Gnostic Church of Eleusis"). Koenig relates that Peithmann's Gnostic Church of Eleusis was dedicated to the "transformation of sexual energy" and the "liberation of the seed from servitude". In 1923 Gustav Meyrink became a member of Peithmann's Church, although his membership was short-lived. Returning to Krumm-Heller, in the Rosicrucian review "Revista Rosa-Cruz" , Vol. IV Nº 3, Berlin 1930 (review of the F.R.A. of Krumm-Heller in South-America ) Krumm-Heller relates the following event with regard to his ordination as a gnostic Bishop, it was Peithmann who passed on the succession to Krumm-Heller ;

( P.R.Koenig, "Stranded Bishops-EGA" : http://www.cyberlink.ch/~koenig/bishops.htm )

Krumm-Heller clearly states that he was consecrated as a Bishop of the Gnostic Church in 1930. Tau C.Harmonius II also mentions Dr.Rudolf Steiner and John Yarker as those who "entered into commitment". Although Steiner was heavily influenced by Rosicrucianism and Gnosticism, i've never seen any "evidence" that Steiner has ever been, at any time, a member of the Gnostic Church. Steiner was appointed "Generalsekretär" (Secretary-General) of the German branch of the "Theosophic Society" in 1902. In 1904 he became the leader of the 'inner section' of the TS, the "Esoteric School of Theosophy" ( E.S. ) for Germany and Austria. Steiner also received a charter from Theodor Reuss which made Steiner the "Amtierenden General Großmeister des Obersten General Großrates des ägyptischen Ritus (90°) von Mizraim in Deutschland", dated June 15, 1907. This charter made Steiner the leader of the Memphis-Misraim rite in Germany. Steiner used his authority within the M.M.rite to establish his own "Esoteric School" which consisted of three departments, one being the "Misraim-Dienst".

( source : Steiner, Rudolf - " Zur Geschichte …..", H.Wiesberger, Dornach Schweiz, 1987 - page 92, Charter published at : http://members.aol.com/dilloo/doc.htm#FFm_Steiner )

John Yarker held many offices and received many "Honorary" diploma's.Yarker kept up a lively correspondence with almost all of the occult authorities of his time, including Papus. Papus made Yarker " Head of the Ordre Martiniste for England " and Yarker also received a honorary diploma, "Doctor of the Hermetic Sciences" , which was conferred by Papus in 1899 (October 10, 1899). In return Papus had received in 1901 a charter which granted Papus to open a "Swedenborgian Lodge" called I.N.R.I. ( see chapter "Papus & the Orders & Societies" ). Although its quite possible that Yarker also received a honorary title of the Gnostic Church ( Yarker was after all the Grand Hierophant of the Memphis-Misraim rite, a rite which Papus and his successors tried to fuse with the Martinist Order and the Gnostic Church ; a structure that is often referred to as the "three Luminaries" of the French movement which descended from Papus, De Guaita, Détre, Bricaud, Blanchard etc. ), but I've never seen any proof of Yarker's involvement within the Gnostic Church… Then in 1907, Jean Bricaud breaks ( with the "assent" of Papus, Fugairon and other Martinists ) with Synésius' Gnostic Church to establish his own branch of the Gnostic Church. The schism was probably a devastating blow to the "Église Gnostique" of Fabre des Essarts. After his death in 1917 Synésius was succeeded by Léon Champrenaud ( Tau Théophane ), Champrenaud was the Patriarch until 1921 when he was succeeded by Tau Basilide, Patrice Genty, who led the "Église Gnostique de France" until 1926 when this branch was put to rest.

The "Église Gnostique de France" after 1917

The death of Fabré-des Essarts in 1917 almost disbanded the Gnostic Church of France. Not much is known about the events which followed upon Synésius' death. The following information is derived from René le Forestier 's "L'Occultisme en France aux XIXème et XXème siècles, L'Église Gnostique", which was republished by Arche Milano in 1990. The original text can be found on pp 158-159 and was translated into English by Elias Ibrahim.

  1. de la Thibauderie ; I suspect this is Ivan-Gabriel Drouet de la Thibauderie, head of the Gallican Church (Giraud)
Jean "Joanny" Bricaud ( 1881-1934 )

Jean Bricaud had studied for the priesthood at a Roman Catholic seminary, at the desire of his parents. At the age of 16 he had left the seminary and started to work as an employee of the Crédit Lyonnais. In Lyon he starts to visit Elie Alta ( author of i.a "Le Tarot Égyptien, ses symboles, ses nombres, son alphabet, 1863 ) , the spiritist and therapeutist Bouvier, pupil of Eliphas Jacques Charrot, who instructs Bricaud into the Kabbalah and Occult philosophy. In 1889 Bricaud corresponds with Brahme Kopp-Robur, who dissuades Bricaud from embracing a religion incomprehensible to the western mind. In 1889 Bricaud also met Papus. In 1901 Synésius consecrated Jean Bricaud as Bishop into the "Église Gnostique". Bricaud, Tau Johannes, received the "Episcopate of the Diocese of Grenoble-Lyon".

Bricaud ( left) as Priest in L`Eglise Apostolique Catholique Gallicanne

After his consecration as a Gnostic Bishop he received his Martinist S::I:: degree in 1903. Before his involvement with the "Église Gnostique de France" Bricaud already was involved with the "Oeuvre de la Miséricorde" ("Work of Mercy"), the Occult 'church' which Eugène Vintras ( 1807-1875) had founded in (or around) 1839, and the "Church of Carmel" ("Sanctuary Interior of the Carmel of Elie") , also established by Vintras after he had returned to Lyon around 1851.

Bricaud also became involved with the "Eglise Johannites des Crétiens Primitif" ( "the Johanitte Church of Primitive Christians"), founded by Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat ( 1777 - 1838 ), a Templar revivalist and Grand Master of the "Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani" (OSMTH). As mentioned earlier on, Fabre des Essarts introduced new elements into the Gnostic Church. Fabre des Essarts' interest in Occultism apparently did not include "Martinism", because it is known that he never was, at any given time, a member of Papus' "Ordre Martiniste". Many of the dignitaries of Doinel's neo-Albigensian Church were members of Papus' Martinist Order, including its founder and its Sacred Synod. It seems that there was a "strong desire" among the (Martinist-) members to have a church which was more closely tied to the "Ordre Martiniste", including a doctrine and structure more closely related to the Roman Catholic Church. Doinel's original Church was a Cathar-Church, it was Doinel himself who'd said that he was consecrated as "Bishop of Montségur and Primate of the Albigensians".

According to Gérard Galtier in his book "Maçonnerie égyptienne, Rose-Croix et néochevalerie" (footnote No.9 , page 331) the EGC of Bricaud was more directed towards occultism and the Western Mystery Tradition in general, whereas Fabré des Essarts' Église Gnostique was more philosophical and of a 'Universalist' nature, which incorporated Eastern metaphysics into its system.

1907 l'Église Catholique Gnostique

In 1907 Bricaud was apparently supported by Papus when he decided to found his own branch of the Gnostic Church. Louis-Sophrone Fugairon ( Tau Sophronius ), once a close associate of Fabre des Essarts, decided also to join Bricaud's schismatic branch. Bricaud, Papus and Fugairon established their branch of the Gnostic Church under the name of "Église Catholique Gnostique", the "Gnostic Catholic Curch". Bricaud also published a "Gnostic Catechism" in 1907.

"L'Église Catholique Gnostique" proclaimed to be a fusion of the three existing 'Gnostic' churches of France :

Sometimes a 4th Gnostic "school" is mentioned, to which is referred as the (new) Valentinian ' school' or 'college'. The so-called 'New Valentians' were allied to many of the (Masonic-) Rosicrucian organizations and fraternities. The original Church of Fabre des Essarts continued their activities, the Church became known as the "Église Gnostique de France". In February, 1908, the episcopal synod of the EGC elected Bricaud as its Patriarch, it was stated that Jean Bricaud was appointed as "Evêque Primat de France" ( primary Bishop of France) in the Gnostic Curch under the name of Tau Jean II. On the occasion of his appointment as Patriarch of the new Gnostic Church Jean Bricaud delivered a sermon in Lyon. " - We believe in the Divine Archetype [Proarche] and the eternal Progenitor [Propator], in the unending and almighty Being, come forth from the Heavenly Powers into perfect Presence, God in One and Three …" , the Creed of the Eglise Catholique Gnostique at Lyon, 1908 ( complete text can be found at : "Stranded Bishops" : http://www.cyberlink.ch/~koenig/bishops.htm )

Jean Bricaud's writing "Homélie", published shortly after his election as Patriarch of the "Holy Church of the Paraclete", represents the vision of the Gnostic church in which Bricaud states that there's a 'natural need ' for a new religion, Catholicism does not meet the needs for a modern society any longer, thus Bricaud : "The religious evolution shows a new religion is needed". The "Église Catholique Gnostique" included a Priesthood. This Church also included a baptism with water. Several of Bricaud's writings, among which such titles as "Homélie", "Profession de Foi", " Église Gnostique Universelle", as well as writings of other Gnostics (Fabre des Essarts, Doinel) can be found at Peter R.Koenig's site : 'Gnostic Catholic Churches' at: http://www.cyberlink.ch/~koenig/church.htm

June 1908, Congres Maconnique Spiritualiste

In June of 1908 the "Congres Maconnique Spiritualiste" ('Masonic and Spiritualist Congess' ) was held in Paris at the co-masonic temple of "Le Droit Humain" ( see also : 'FUDOSI 1934-1951', "The Preceding Years" and "1891 Supreme Conseil de l'Ordre Martiniste", "A & P Rite of Memphis Misraim"). A year before, in May 1907, there was a preceding Congress of which a report was published in the "Voile d'Isis" ('Veil of Isis') of June, 1907.

The congres was organized by Papus, Victor Blanchard, Téder and others, and many of the attendants belonged to the (French-speaking) "occult élite". It was organized as a Spiritualistic Congress combined with a convent on "Spiritual Masonry", which represented Masonic ( 'Higher Degrees' ) rites of a spiritual nature. Among the visitors and participators were Henri Durville (famous painter and dignitary of Péladan's R+C order), Georges Descorniers (' Phanég' ), Réné Guénon, Albert Jounet, and from abroad Frosini ( prominent Italian Occultist, member of the M.'.M.'. and future "Legat gnostique de l'Eglise Gnostique Universelle" ), John Yarker (not present, represented by Téder ?) and Theodor Reuss. The 'complete report' on the 1908 Congress was published in 1910 (COMPTE RENDU, Complet des Travaux du Congrès et du Convent maçonnique Spiritualiste Spiritualisme - Christianisme ésotérique Magnétisme et Sciences annexes - Maçonnerie Spiritualiste PARIS LIBRAIRIE HERMÉTIQUE 4, rue de Furstenberg, 41910 ) and the few copies that existed quickly became very rare and for a long time it was generally accepted as being 'unfindable'.

As stated in the series of Papus' Martinist Order "the main themes of the congress were Spiritism, Magnetism, Spiritual Masonry and Esoteric Christianity". Many prominent speakers delivered lectures on these themes. Among the speakers were Papus, Victor Blanchard ( see "FUDOSI - Addendum 7 Victor Blanchard " for his ' opening address to the Masonic & Spiritual Congress of 1908" ), Albert Jounet, Phanég ( lecture on "l'Occultisme Chrétien"), Joseph Heibling ("l'Initiation Hebraique et les Sciences Occultes"), Téder etc. Fabre des Essarts, at the time of the congress the Patriarch of the "Eglise Gnostique de France", Doinel's original Church, also delivered a lecture. Synésius' theme was the Gnostic Church . Synésius' lecture is a valuable historical document because it was just given after the schism of 1907, when the wounds were still fresh. I've translated some excerpts of the original speech of Synésius which reflects in a way Synésius thoughts and feelings on the schism and his thoughts on Gnosticism in general.

"L'EGLISE GNOSTIQUE" by Synésius, Congres Maconnique Spiritualiste, June 1908 (excerpts)

It is very clear how Tau Synésius felt about the schism of 1907. According to Synésius, there's only one true church, the "Église Gnostique de France", Bricaud and Papus' "Église Catholique Gnostique" of 1907 is considered as a heretical church. Synésius' lecture was delivered in front of an audience which included his former associates, Papus, Sédir, (probably) Fugairon and other former members of Doinel's neo-Albigensian "Église Gnostique".

Synésius continued his lecture informing the assembly on the existence of the Oratory of the "Église Gnostique de France" in Paris, where "Initiations are taking place in a regular way. But I have to add that our meetings are absolutely private". Synésius continues in explaining that the original intention of the Cathar church was "to have a temple open to all" but in time the Church was forced to reconsider its original intention. "Just like the abbé Vilatte we closed our Treshold to the profane". Fabre des Essarts furthermore refers to a series of articles of the church' doctrines in a review called "La Voie", while the remaining part of Synésius' lecture deals with the "Dogma of Feminine Salvation" ( 'le dogme de la salvation féminine' ).

"The work of the Father is achieved, that of the Son likewise, which remains is the work of the Spirit which can only determine the final salvation of Humanity and which prepares thus the Reconstitution of the Adam-Kadmon".

Synésius explains that the Spirit, "Paraclete" as called by the Cathars, corresponds to the feminine part of "Divinity". In ancient Hebrew 'Spirit' is "Ruach", a female noun. Salvation lies in the "Feminine Divine", thus Fabre des Essarts / Synésius. Fabre des Essarts finishes his lecture with some information on the (minor) developments of the ""Église Gnostique de France" abroad. He briefly mentions a branch of the ' Gnostic Church' which apparently existed around the time in Prague. This branch was led by a certain 'frère Jérôme', who was the Patriarch of the Bohemian branch. The Gnostics of Prague were not necessarily part of the Martinists and probably did not even belong to the French movement. Synesius refers to this 'Gnostic Church' as an old Bohemian branch which had its seat in Prague . Synésius also mentions a Belgian branch, a small but, according to Synésius, very active branch.

It is stated that before the actual congress, there were some attempts to confine Synésius' Gnostic Church within the organization. As mentioned before, the Congress represented various central themes ; Spiritism, Magnetism, Spiritual Masonry and Esoteric Christianity. Special commitees were set up that were assigned to one of the themes. Synésius was a member of one of the commitees in which René Guénon (1886-1951) acted as one of Synésius' secretaries. It is stated that Guénon entered on this occasion in the "Gnostic Church of France", with the episcopal name "Palingénius", although Guénon's entry into the Gnostic Church during the Congress (or shortly hereafter) is not entirely certain. Others claim, as I've stated earlier on in this text, that Guénon joined after his expulsion from the Martinist Order in 1909. "As a result of the establishment of the Ordre du temple, Guénon and his followers were expelled from the Ordre Martiniste by Gérard Encausse". Guénon became the editor of the Gnostic periodical "La Gnose" ( devoted to the study of Esoteric Sciences ), the "official organ of the Universal Gnostic Church". Another famous Gnostic who was involved with the publication of "La Gnose" was Albert Puyoo, Comte de Pouvourville. The "Comte" was one of the closest associates of Synésius. Albert Puyoo had been initiated into a Chinese Taoist secret society a few years before; his Taoist name was ' Matgioi'.

Guénon's interest in the Gnostic Church (supposedly) abruptly ended in 1912 when Guénon decided to become muslim, under the name of Abd al-Wahid.

+ Synésius' Lecture taken from Robert Amadou's


1908 l'Eglise Gnostique Universelle

On June 9, 1908, at the masonic congress Papus was chartered by Theodor Reuss to establish a "Supreme Grand Council of the Unified Rites of Antient and Primitive Masonry for the Grand Orient of France and its Dependencies at Paris". The constituting letters of Patent were sent to Berlin by John Yarker on June 24, where Reuss signed them. It is generally assumed that Papus and Reuss (and others) exchanged titles, offices etc. at the congress. After receiving authority in the M.'.M.'. Rites, Papus apparently granted Reuss episcopal and primatial authority in the "Église Catholique Gnostique", which Reuss translated into German as "Die Gnostische Katholische Kirche" ( G.K.K. ). Reuss included the Gnostic Church within the framework of the "Ordo Templi Orientis", O.T.O. The French "Église Catholique Gnostique" of Jean Bricaud supposedly changed its name during the masonic congress of the 9th of June, 1908 to "Église Gnostique Universelle". Reuss represented the "Gnostic Catholic Church" of which he became the (self-proclaimed) Patriarch, as can be seen in a document dated 1917, which is the written introduction to Crowley's / Reuss' "The Gnostic Mass", appendix, p.42-46, in which Reuss presents himself as:

The "Église Gnostique Universelle" had its seat in Lyon, Bricaud's hometown. The High Synod, "Le Suprème Conseil du Haut Synode" consisted of Jean Bricaud and Louis Sophrone Fugairon as Primary Bishops (Évêques-Primats ), together with Jean Baptiste, Bishop of Russia, B. Clément, Bishop of the United States, Marcel Cotte, Deacon, and Houdja IIetzel, Deaconess. Bricaud's Church published a review called "Le Réveil Gnostique". On Koenig's research-site on the O.T.O. there's a document published, "Église Gnostique Universelle", written by Bricaud which confirms a statement made earlier on in this text with regard to a possible inner circle or Esteric Section existing within the Gnostic Church at the beginning of the 20th century. Bricaud states in this text : In 1911 Papus, Bricaud, and Fugairon proclaimed the Église Gnostique Universelle to be the 'official church' of the Ordre Martiniste (proclamation published in L’Initiation of August 1911, page 178).The Gnostic Church was officially connected to Papus' Martinist Order, one of the organizations under Papus' leadership. Apparently it was stated that the Gnostic Church represented the exoteric aspect and the Martinist Order the esoteric aspect of Papus' organization. As stated in the series on ' Martinism' , Papus wanted to create a Union of Initiatic orders and brotherhoods and at the time of the proclamation of 1911 Papus' organization of (initiatic-) orders and societies consisted of : "Ordre Martiniste", "Ordre des Elus-Cohen", "Rite Ancien et Primitif de Memphis-Misraim", "Ordre des Kabbalistique de la Rose-Croix", and the "Église Gnostique Universelle". The Gnostic church provided sacramental offices to initiatic adherents. The "official" churches at the time, Catholic and Protestant, officially condemned fraternities such as Freemasonry, Martinist- and Rosicrucian Orders, and members of these fraternities were usually excommunicated by the church. As mentioned before, Bricaud's branch claimed to be the fusion of the three Gnostic Churches of France, Doinel's church, the Carmelite church of Vintras, and the Johannite church of Fabré- Palaprat.

Bricaud's filiation of 1) Doinel was received from Papus and Fabré-des Essarts

The succession of the 2) Johannite Templar Gnostic Church was received from B.Clément (member of the EGU 's 'High Synod' as Bishop of the America's), and Bricaud's filiation 3) of Eugène Vintras' "Carmelite Church" was received from "the last Pontiffs of the 'Carmel Eliaque', named by Vintras himself : Marius Breton who died in 1908 and Edouard Souleilon who died in 1918. The representatives of these three traditions (Papus, Bricaud, Clément, Breton, Souleilon) officially accepted the union of "their three churches" in order to form one unique Catholic (as in: 'Universal' ) Gnostic Church ( source: G.Galtier "Maconnerie Egyptienne …" ). With regard to the general idea of a Church as an institution, it is generally accepted that Bricaud "created" the idea of Carmelite- and Johannite "churches". Even Téder had ridiculed Bricaud for "play acting the Priest" and inventing the Carmelite Church of Elias and the Johannite Church

(source : R.Ambelain : "Le Martinisme", 1946 ).