Stream 1 - the Johannine
In 1804, Ledru, de Chevillon, de Saintot
and Bernard Raymond Fabré-Palaprat restored the Order
of the Temple based on the "Larmenius' Charter,"
which detailed the chain of transmission from 1324. Additional
documents used issued in the reestablishment of the Order
were the Manuscript statutes of 1705, and 'a journal of
proceedings of the Order of the Temple.' Ledru had purchased
these documents through the sale of the properties of the
deceased Duke du Cosse-Brissac, a former Grand Master of
the Société d'Aloya, which was established
in Paris in 1789. The society claimed to be a continuation
of the medieval Templar Order.
According to these documents, the Order was reestablished
in 1705 by the Duc d'Orléans using the Charter
of one Jean-Marc Larmenius, the purported successor
of Jacques De Molay. The whole history of the foundation
of Fabré-Palaprat's "Ordre du Temple" can be
found in numerous books written on the subject.
The Evangelikon / Levitikon
The "Evangelikon" is described as a version of the
Fourth Gospel, which is preceded by an introduction
and a commentary that carries the name "Levitikon,"
said to have been written by Nicephorus, a Greek monk
of Athens. Fabré-Palaprat's "Johannine Church"
is grounded in this version of the Gospel of St. John.
According to oral tradition, Fabré-Palaprat purchased
a vellum manuscript in a secondhand bookseller in Paris,
1814. Fabré-Palaprat adopted the contents of
the manuscript as the future doctrine of the Templar
Order. The manuscript consisted of two parts:
1) The religious doctrines, including the rituals of
ordination of the nine grades of the inner order of
the Templar Order; a description of the Templar "Church
of John" and an explanation of the name "Johannine."
2) The "Gospel of St. John," with the last two Chapters
(20-21) missing. It also eliminated all hint of the
miraculous from the stories of the turning of the water
into wine, the loaves and fishes, and the raising of
Lazarus, and certain references to St. Peter. In short,
the "Levitikon" was a condensed version of the Book
of John, which also claimed, "Our Lord was an initiate
of the Egyptian Mysteries."
In 1811, the Order published the "Manuel des Chevaliers
de l'Ordre du Temple, which was printed for private
circulation among the members of the Templar Order.
Both publications ("Manuel des Chevaliers" …and
the "Levitikon") relate that the Templar Order
had continued its existence since the time of Jacques
de Molay. Fabré-Palaprat composed the Johannine
History of the Templars from these manuscripts. According
to Jean-Marie Ragon, the Templars "learned from the
initiates of the East a certain Judaic doctrine which
was attributed to St. John the Apostle; therefore they
renounced the religion of St. Peter and became Johannines"
("Cours philosophique et interprétatif des initiations
anciennes et modernes," Ragon, 1842).
Fabré-Palaprat claimed to be heir to the Apostolic
Succession of Saint John the Divine, and it is on this
bases that he finally founded the "Sainte Église
du Christ," erroneously called "Église Johannites
des Chrétiens Primitifs" by those outside her
ranks, in 1828. It is this "Johannine Church" which
became connected with the French Neo-Templars, and which
would eventually dwindle in prominence with the Church
being subsumed forever within the authority of the Eglise
Gnostique of Joanny Bricaud and his successors.
[Ed. Note: la Sainte Église du Christ and
l'Église Chrétienne are the two names
actually used by the church of Fabré-Palaprat
and Mauviel, both in the Ordination rituals, and on
the certificates of teh church.]
[Ed. Note: "Evangelikon" may likely be a misnomer
for the proper word 'Evangelion' - which is an Eastern
Orthodox commentary on the Gospels. It should also be
noted that the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches
preserved more of the original mysticism of the early
church than did Rome in the west. Rome had to take a
more rational and political stance when it essentially
took over as the Roman Empire after its "fall". Whereas
the Orthodox churches continued for several hundred
years in their original format only later being interrupted
by the onslaught of the Ottoman Empire ... and in reverse,
did not assume political control, but retreated and
focused on the inner and mystical orientation of Christianity.
Even to this day, the Orthodox churches are fairly unknown
in western Europe, so encountering anything of the sort
would certainly make the mind reel.]
l'Église Johannite des Chrétiens Primitifs
Name given to the Church by those who were never members
co-founded by Fabré-Palaprat and a man named
Mauviel, an ecclesiastic who had been consecrated in
1800 in Paris as Constitutional Bishop of Cayes in Haiti.
Fabré-Palaprat had apparently been ordained as
a Priest by the Bishop of Lot (and again later by Mauviel).
The Primate of the Johannine Church was a certain Mgr.
Machault. Machault then consecrated a Monsieur Chatel
within the Johannine Church. In 1831, Mgr. Chatel received
the title "Bishop of the Gauls."
The Johannine church faced many difficulties, not the
least of which was a resistance to the introduction
by Fabré-Palaprat of this new Johannine doctrine,
and after Fabré-Palaprat's death in 1838, both
his Order of the Temple and the Johannine church declined.
It is alleged that a small circle of French and Belgian
noblemen who directed the order's activities continued
the "Primitive Christian Church" in small select groups,
but this is speculation.
The Templar Order experienced a schism after Fabré-Palaprat's
death, dividing advocates and opponents of the Johannine
Church. Chatel continued to lead the Johannine Church
after Fabré-Palaprat's death. There are some
indications that the two branches of the Templar Order,
led by Count Jules de Moreton de Chabrillan (an advocate
of the Johannine Church) and Admiral William Sydney
Smith of England, reconciled in 1841 under Jean-Marie
Raoul; however, as for the Johannine Church, the Gnostic
Bishop and Patriarch Jean Bricaud received the succession
of the Johannine Church from B. Clément, who
was also a member of Bricaud's Universal Gnostic Church,
and was proclaimed the Patriarch of the Johannine Church
Stream 2 - the Gnostic/Valentinian/Cathar
Jules Doinel and the Église Gnostique.
Jules Doinel founded, on September 21, 1890, the Gnostic
Church. Doinel (Jules-Benoît Stanislaus Doinel
de Val-Michel, 1842 - 1903), a Freemason (member of
the 'Grand Orient de France'), was an archivist and
a Spiritualist. In 1888, Doinel apparently discovered,
in the library of Orléans, a Charter dated 1022,
written by a forerunner of the Cathars, a certain Canon
Stephan d'Orléans, a schoolmaster who, it seems,
taught Gnostic doctrines. He was burned later that same
year for heresy. The Cathars and their predecessors,
the Bogomils, as well as the Paulicians, Manicheans,
and various other Gnostic movements fascinated Doinel.
[Ed. Note: In communication with the Department
of Orléans, they have no current records of a
Charter of this sort. It is possible that Doinel, having
such access, may have appropriated this document, however
its present whereabouts are unknown. We have, although,
been given access to a couple brief historical accounts
of the "heresy" in Orléans, and will
make those available in English translation as time
One night in 1888, Doinel had a vision in which the
"Aeon Jesus" appeared. Doinel alleged that Jesus Christ
himself, assisted by two Bogomil Bishops in this miraculous
vision, consecrated him that night as a Patriarch. Doinel
also received specific instructions to establish a new
church, the Church of the Paraclete, the Consoler or
Doinel's consecration was as "Bishop of Montségur
and Primate of the Albigensians" ("Montségur"
referring to the famous Cathar stronghold near the city
of Foix, in southwestern France). After this miraculous
vision, Doinel began attempting to contact Cathar and
Gnostic spirits in séances which were held in
the salon of Lady Marie Caithness and her circle, a
circle which would later become known in France as the
"Société Théosophique d'Orient
et d'Occident." Doinel's Gnostic séances 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 Guaïta
and Oswald Wirth. These communications with Spirits
were received by menas of a pendulum suspended over
a board of letters by the Duchess. Doinel and Lady Caithness
received the following message during one of these séances:
(excerpt of a communication between Doinel and a spirit
"whom Valentinus had named Sophia-Achamôth")
"I address myself to you because you are my friend,
my servant and the prelate of my Albigensian Church.
I am exiled from the Pleroma, and it is I whom Valentinus
named Sophia-Achamôth. It is I whom Simon Magus
called Helene-Ennoia; for I am the Eternal Androgyne.
Jesus is the Word of God; I am the Thought of God. One
day I shall return to my Father above, but I require
assistance in this; to intercede for me, the supplications
of my Brother Jesus are required. Only the Infinite
is able to redeem the Infinite, and only God is able
to redeem God. Listen well: The One has brought forth
One, then One. And the Three are but One: the Father,
the Word and the Thought. Establish my Gnostic Church.
The Demiurge will be powerless against it. Receive the
At various séances, the Canon Stephan and Guilhabert
de Castres, a Cathar Bishop of Toulouse in the 12th
century who was martyred at Montségur, were contacted.
At another séance in September of 1889, the "Very
High Synod of Bishops of the Paraclete," consisting
of 40 Cathar Bishops, manifested and gave their names
which were later checked against records in the National
Library and proved to be accurate. The head of the Synod
was Guilhabert de Castres, who addressed Doinel and
instructed him to reconstitute and teach the Gnostic
doctrine by founding an Assembly of the Paraclete, to
be called the Gnostic Church. Helene-Ennoia was to assist
him, and they were to be spiritually wedded. The assembly
was to be composed of Parfaits and Parfaites, and was
to take for its holy book the Fourth Gospel, the Gospel
of John. The church was to be administered by male bishops
and female "Sophias" (sometimes also called "Kephra"),
who were to be elected and consecrated according to
the Gnostic Rite.
Doinel proclaimed the year 1890 as the beginning of
the "Era of the Gnosis Restored." He assumed the office
of Patriarch of the Gnostic Church under the mystic
name of Valentin II, in homage to Valentinus, the 5th
century founder of the Valentinian school of Gnosticism.
He consecrated a number of bishops, all of whom chose
a mystic name, which was prefaced by the Greek letter
Tau to represent the Greek Tau Cross or the Egyptian
Ankh. It should be noted that the Patriarch of the Gnostic
Church was said to be the direct descendent of the beloved
Aspostle John. This Johannine influence is apparent,
not only with the succession of the Order of the Temple
and the Eglise Johannite des Chrétiens Primitifs,
but also with the importance of the Gospel of John,
and the Knighthood conveyed by Doinel. In addition,
Doinel proclaimed that the head of the Gnostic Church
was the direct descendant and heir to John the Beloved.
Thus, the head of the Eglise Gnostique occupies the
throne of John - among others.
Among the first to be consecrated by Doinel were Gérard
Encausse (Papus, 1865-1916), as Tau Vincent (Sept. 14,
1892), Bishop of Toulouse; Paul Sédir (Yvon Le
Loup, 1871-1926), as Tau Paul, coadjutor of Toulouse
; Lucien Chamuel (Lucien Mauchel), as Tau Bardesane,
Bishop of La Rochelle and Saintes. These three men would
form the "Sacred Synod of the Gnostic Ecclesia."
In the year 1892 Doinel consecrated other "celebrities"
of Parisian 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.
The Church consisted of three levels of membership:
the high clergy, the low clergy, and the faithful. The
high clergy consisted of male/female pairs of Bishops
and Sophia, who were responsible for church administration.
They were elected by their congregations and later confirmed
in office by formal consecration by the patriarch. The
low clergy consisted of pairs of deacons and deaconesses,
who acted under the direction of the Bishops and Sophias,
and were responsible for conducting the day-to-day church
activities. The Faithful, or lay members of the Church,
were referred to as Parfaits (male) and Parfaites (female),
designations which translate as "Perfect," and which
derive from Catharism. However, in Doinel's church,
the term "Perfect" was not understood in the Cathar
sense as someone who had taken strict vows of asceticism,
but was interpreted as including the two higher divisions
of the Valentinian threefold classification of the human
race: the Pneumatics and the Psychics;
but excluding the lower division, the materialistic
Hylics. Only individuals judged to be of high
intelligence, refinement and open mind were admitted
to Doinel's Gnostic Church.
Doinel's Gnostic Church combined the theological doctrines
of Simon Magus, Valentinus and Marcus (a later Valentinian
noted for his development of the mysteries of numbers
and letters and of the "mystic marriage") with sacraments
derived from the Cathar Church and conferred in rituals
that were heavily influenced by those of the Roman Catholic
Church. At the same time, the Gnostic Church was intended
to present a system of mystical Masonry.
A Gnostic Eucharist, called the Fraction du Pain
or "Breaking of the Bread" was composed. The sacramental
liturgy of the Church was completed by the inclusion
of two Cathar sacraments, the Consolamentum and
In April 1890, 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 Valentinus' doctrine of the
threefold classification of humanity:
"The Human race is divided into three classes:
1) The Pneumatics or Gnostics, higher and initiated
spirits, which follow the Light of Achamôth; 2)
The Psychics, which hover between Light and Darkness,
between Achamôth and the Demiurge; 3) The Hylics,
subjects of Satan, whose hearts are materialistic and
who will be destroyed. These three categories are represented
by SETH, ABEL, and CAIN." ("Traité Méthodique
de Science Occulte,' by Papus)
The decrees of the "Holy Gnostic Synod" appeared in
the review "L'Initiation," dated September 1893:
The Holy Gnostic Synod decrees:
The re-establishment of the hierarchy permits the
Restoration of Gnostic symbolism.
The Consolamentum, the Breaking of the Bread and
the Appareillamentum of the Albigensian Assembly are
Bishops and their coadjutors alone can confer the
Every pneumatic, Parfait or Sup.: Inc.: can perform
the Breaking of the Bread.
The Appareillamentum is the exclusive privilege
of the Patriarchal seat.
"L'Initiation" will repeatedly publish the three
The Martinist Order is declared to be of Gnostic
essence. Every Sup.: Inc.: takes their place at the
level of the Parfaits.
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, Primate of the Albigensians,
Bishop of Montségur.
+ The Bishop of Toulouse
+ The Bishop of Béziers
+ The Sophia of Warsaw
+ The coadjutor of His Grace, the Patriarch, Bishop
+ 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 decrees
of the Very Holy Gnostic Synod will be put into action
in the assemblies.
Primate of the Albigensians,
Bishop of Montségur, 1893.
Other texts published by Doinel for use within the
Gnostic congregation: "Première
Homélie" (on "the Sacred Gnosis") September
de la Gnose," September 1893, "La fraction
du Pain" (Gnostic Eucharist, "Breaking of the Bread"),
May 1894, and the Cathar Sacrament "l'Appareilamentum,"
In 1895, 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, referring to their being 'too pagan'.
Doinel collaborated briefly 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 secretly controlled by the "Order of the Palladium,"
allegedly headed by Albert Pike. Jules Doinel published
in 1895 his denunciation of Freemasonry in a book titled
"Lucifer Démasqué" (Lucifer Unmasked),
using the pseudonym Jean Kostka. Doinel supposedly wrote
this book with a co-author, again, Leo Taxil. In 1897,
Taxil admitted that the story, in fact all his stories,
were nothing more than a hoax at the expense of the
Church of Rome.
In his book Doinel apparently also revealed a ritual
which belonged to the 'Chevaliers Bienfaisants de la
Cité Sainte', from the inner order of Willermoz'
Rectified Scottish Rite, the C.B.C.S. This ritual is
known within the rite as the "rituel d'armement."
Doinel's pseudonym 'Jean Kostka' was derived from the
name of a 16th century hero of the Polish
Jesuits, Stanislaus 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." Both men returned 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. Doinel had maintained, throughout
all of this, a very close relationship with the Bishop
of Carcassonne at that time, Mgr. Félix Arsène
Billard. Carcassonne is a restored 12th century walled
town near Montségur. Doinel wrote a book on one
of the monasteries in the area with his cooperation.
This Bishop of Carcassonne, it is believed, protected
Doinel from persecution due to his 'Gnostic' dealings.
Interestingly, is this same bishop to whom the Abbé
Saunière confided at least part of the secret
of what he discovered at Rennes-le-Château. Perhaps
all three knew one another? Also interestingly enough,
shortly after th edeath of Doinel, Mgr. Billard also
died, and the new bishop of Carcasonne was elected,
a certain Mgr. Paul-Félix Beurain de Beauséjour,
who was the individual who then began to persecute Abbé
Some view Doinel in a more negative light and take
for example the following. In 1901, Huysmans describes
Doinel (in a private correspondence addressed to Adolphe
Berthet AKA Jules Esquirol, dated 2 January 1901) as
a man whose pride could not support the life of a simple
Christian. And so Doinel requested his readmission as
a Bishop in the Gnostic Church in 1899 (Lettres inédites
de Jules Doinel à J-K. Huysmans). 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 initiatory organizations,
including the Gnostic Church.
Tau Synésius; Léonce Eugène
Fabre des Essarts
Doinel's defection was a devastating blow to the Gnostic
Church, but it managed to survive. Interim control of
the Church was assumed by the Synod of Bishops, and at
a High Synod, in 1896, they elected one of their Bishops,
Léonce-Eugène Fabre des Essarts, known as
Tau Synésius, to succeed Doinel as patriarch.
Fabre des Essarts was a Parisian esotericist, a Symbolist
poet and a scholar of Gnostic and Esoteric Christianity.
He and another Gnostic Bishop, Louis-Sophrone Fugairon
(Tau Sophronius), a physician who was also a scholar,
of the Cathars and the Knights Templar, entered into a
collaborative relationship to continue the development
of the Gnostic Church. Together, they began to shift the
emphasis of the teachings of the Gnostic Church away from
Gnostic theology and toward a more general view of "esoteric
It is also stated that another lineage was included in
the Gnostic Synod of 1896 - none other than the lineage
of Palaprat's "Eglise Johannite des Chrétiens Primitifs,"
which came via the participation and inclusion of Mgr.
Mauviel and Mgr. Chatel.
The Gnostic Church was apparently known under various
titles and changed its name several times. The list is
"L'Église Gnostique" in 1892. Also "lÉglise
"L'Église Albigeoise et Provençale."
(unattested in documents currently available)
"L'Église Chrétienne Moderne (néognostique)"
as of 1902 under Tau Synesius.
"L'Église Gnostique de France" after 1906.
"L'Église Catholique Gnostique" in 1907
when Joanny Bricaud was named Patriarch of the Vintras
and Johannine Churches.
"L'Eglise Gnostique Universelle" in 1908 under
Jean Bricaud at the international congress in Lyon.
"L'Église Gnostique Apostolique" as
founded by Robert Ambelain in 1953 and also later with
the legitimate Patriarch of the church from Bricaud and
Chevillon, René Chambellant.
"L'Église Gnostique Apostolique Catholique
(ou Universelle)" under Pedro Freire. Also called
"L'Église Gnostique Catholique Apostolique"
particularly under Herard, Primate of North America under
[Ed. Note: Although no longer part of the ecclesia,
André Mauer and later Edmund Fieschi (see below),
both with valid successions from the church founded by
Ambelain, continued to claim authorities as independent
branches founded by them and which suited their own purposes.
Both seem to have settled upon the name of L'Église
Gnostique Apostolique d'Antioche." Today, the branch
once headed by Mauer is considered to be headed by Joel
Duez. Additionally, there is a branch of the EGA which
is headed by Tryantaphyllos Kotzamanis, purported successor
to Armand Toussaint. This is in addition to the EGCAL
(Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica Latina) which is headed by
Emanuele Coltro Guidi of Itay, and also the Gnostic Catholic
(Univeral) Ecclesia of North America (the official incorporation
name of the EGCA of Herard in North America, although
it's current bishop has recently preferred to revert to
using EGA exclusively); hence a multitutde of "EGA"'s.
But, for our purposes, the Church referred to is specifically
that with unquestionable succession from Bricaud which
was headed by René Chambellant, the duly elected
successor to Chevillon as Patriarch, and which we consider
to be the only legitimate, continuous Gnostic Church,
whose filiation resides with us, and whose mission we
continue as authorized by the Patriarch. We, therefore,
recognize no other claims to the heritage of the Gnostic
Church from Bricaud and Chevillon, as there are none that
could be legitimate. Most other "gnostic" churches
are derived from Ambelain but have been greatly altered,
or are recent establishments by other individuals.]
In 1899, Fugairon (Tau Sophronius) published a Gnostic
Catechism called "Catéchisme Expliqué de
l'Eglise 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 whose contents seemed to be a hodgepodge
of various ancient teachings. The advocated "doctrine"
was also constantly changing and therefore it was decided
that it was necessary to reestablish order into the apparent
"chaos" of teachings, hence the Catechism of Sophronius.
Also in 1899, two years after Leo Taxil had exposed his
hoax, Doinel began to correspond again with Fabre des
Essarts. In 1900, he requested reconciliation with the
Gnostic Church and re-admission as a Bishop. As his first
consecration as Patriarch of the new Gnostic Church, Fabre
des Essarts re-consecrated his former patriarch as Tau
Jules, Bishop of Alêt and Mirepoix. Doinel, in fact,
had had a conversion experience which drew him away from
the more occult societies and toward Christianity. Upon
his departure from the Eglise Gnostique which he founded,
the organization was to begin its transformation from
a predominantly Gnostic organization into the more appropriate
Church of Christian Gnosis. Tau Synésius began
re-writing the rituals and symbols of the Gnostic Church
shortly after his ascension to the patriarchal throne,
and collaborated with Doinel during several trips to Toulouse.
The Eglise Gnostique of Doinel ceased to exist
altogether, and Tau Synésius proclaimed himself
the First Patriarch of the Eglise Chrétienne Moderne
(néognostique). It was to this new Christian
Gnostic Church that Doinel submitted his petition for
re-affiliation, and whose liturgy and ordinations are
still a part of our church tradition. As some evidence
to this side, we note that in 1901 Doinel published his
'Gnostic Hymns' - a series of Latin hymns including:
The Triumphal Song (to
be sung on the first day of the year)
Prose in honor of the Apostle
John, Patron of Gnosis
- The Guardian Angel
The notice in this short work lists
him as "Gnostic Bishop of Alêt & Mirepoix".
Doinel died in Carcassonne in March of 1902, one year
after the publication of his Hymns. When his body was
found, he was clenching in his hands the Tau cross signifying
his Gnostic episcopacy.
In 1901, Fabre des Essarts consecrated twenty-year old
Joanny Bricaud (1881-1934) as Tau Johannès, Bishop
of Lyon. Between 1903 and 1910, he consecrated twelve
more Gnostic Bishops, including Leon Champrenaud (1870-1925)
as Tau Théophane, Bishop of Versailles; René
Guenon (1886-1951) as Tau Palingénius, Bishop of
Alexandria; and Patrice Genty (1883-1964) as Tau Basilide.
The doctrine of the "Sacred Gnosis," as formulated by
Doinel in his "Première
Homélie" of 1890 was further developed and
"completed" by Fabre des Essarts and Bricaud. Both men
worked on the completion of the rituals and ideological
patrimony of the renewed Christian Gnosis.
In the document "Gnostic Reconciliation" ("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. It is this
oriental proto-orthodoxy that would become the clear indicator
of the real Gnostic Church in staunch opposition to the
occultist variations who would later try to lay claim
to the Tradition.
Fabre des Essarts, like many other French esotericists
at the time, extended the Gnostic umbrella toward all
religions and rites of the ancient world, even while positioning
the Gnostic Church itself specifically within the framework
of Gnostic Christianity.
In 1906 (December 7th, to be precise) a Constitutional
Synod was convoked by Tau Synésius I at the "Sanctuary
of the Gnosis," the Prefecture of la Seine in Paris, for
a public declaration of the doctrine of the "Eglise Gnostique
Universelle" ( Universal Gnostic Ecclesia ). A constitution
of Synésius' Église Gnostique was drafted
which represented the 'The Constitutions and the Accepted
Bylaws of 1906", with regard to the leadership of the
Gnostic Church. The 1906 Constitution stated:
"The Gnostic Catholic (Universal) Church of France
is established under the direction of its Patriarch whose
seat is Paris, France and whose title is "l'Evêque
de Montségur" and who is Primus inter Pares (first
among equals) and therefore democratically makes important
decisions with the approbation of the Holy Synod."
Apparently, the promulgation of December 7th,
1906 attracted "an array of dignitaries" to the new Sanctuary
of the Gnosis including the Grand Masters and Hierophants
of the Ancient and Primitive Rites of Memphis and Misraïm,
as well several Rose-Croix orders.
Stream 3 - the Vintrasian
Carmelite connection and the unification of the 3 Streams
Joanny (Jean) 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 left the seminary and started to work as
an employee of the banking establishment, Crédit
Lyonnais. In Lyon, he began to visit the spiritualist
Elie Alta (author of "Le Tarot Égyptien, ses symboles,
ses nombres, son alphabet, 1863), and therapeutist Bouvier,
pupil of Eliphas Jacques Charrot, who instructed Bricaud
in Kabbalah and Occult philosophy. He also studied Magnetism
and healing with the famous Maître Philippe de Lyon.
In 1889, Bricaud corresponded with Brahme Kopp-Robur,
who dissuaded Bricaud from embracing a religion incomprehensible
to the western mind, advice which has remained as part
of the tradition - not mixing religions, but still being
able to appreciate other traditions. This is also part
of the rationale behind the distance between the Gnostic
Church and the Theosophical Society, which began to be
more and more influenced by eastern religions and practices.
That same year, Bricaud met Papus. In 1901, Synésius
consecrated Jean Bricaud as a Bishop of the "Église
Gnostique," Tau Johannès, receiving the "Episcopate
of the Diocese of Grenoble-Lyon."
Before his involvement with the Église Gnostique
Bricaud had been involved with the "Oeuvre de la Miséricorde"
("Work of Mercy"), the 'Church' which Eugène Vintras
(1807-1875) had founded in (or around) 1839, and the "Church
of Carmel" ("Interior Sactuary of Elija's Carmel") , also
established by Vintras after he had returned to Lyon around
Bricaud was also involved with the Johannine Church of
Fabré-Palaprat, receiving consecration into that
line of succession. When the organization of Fabré-Palaprat
was breaking-up, the Johannine Church was subsumed under
Bricaud's umbrella Patriarchate, since most of the self-styled
Templar Orders claiming succession from the Carta Transmissionis
of Larmemius became more and more secular or dropped the
church component altogether.
1907 L'Église Catholique Gnostique
Papus supported Bricaud in 1907 when he decided to work
separately with the Gnostic Church as the continuation
of Gnostic streams with traceable lines of succession,
if on the margin. Louis-Sophrone Fugairon (Tau Sophronius),
once a close associate of Fabre des Essarts, also decided
to join Bricaud. These three changed the name of the church
to l'Église Catholique Gnostique," the "Catholic
(Universal) Gnostic Church". Bricaud also published a
"Gnostic Catechism" in 1907, called the "Esoteric
Christian Doctrine." This catechism is based
upon the revised rituals of Synesius and company from
the period of 1901-1902 while working with Dionel for
the Eglise Chrétienne Moderne.
"L'Eglise Catholique Gnostique" was a fusion of the three
existing 'Gnostic' churches of France: l'Église
du Paraclet" or "l'Église Gnostique"
(founded by Jules Doinel) as well as Synesius' "Eglise
Chrétienne Moderne/Eglise Gnostique de France;"
the "Church of Carmel" (founded by Eugène
Vintras); and the "Église Johannites des Chretiens
Primitifs" (the Johannine Church founded by Fabré-Palaprat).
Sometimes a 4th Gnostic "school" is mentioned,
which is referred as the (new) Valentinian 'school' or
Bricaud's succession from Doinel was received from both
Fabré-des Essarts (1901) and Papus (1910). The
succession of the Johannine Templar Gnostic Church was
received from Bernard Clément (member of the EGU's
'High Synod' as Bishop of the Americas). The succession
of Eugène Vintras' "Carmelite Church" was received
from the last Pontiffs named by Vintras himself: Marius
Breton, who died in 1908, and Edouard Souleillon, who
died in 1918. The representatives of these traditions
(Papus, Fabre des Essarts, Bricaud, Clément, Breton,
Souleillon) officially accepted the union of these churches
in order to form one unique Catholic (as in: "Universal")
Gnostic Church. [Ed. Note: the above information is
acknowledged and attested to by scholars Robert Amadou
and Serge Caillet.]
In February 1908, the Episcopal synod of the ECG elected
Bricaud as its first Patriarch, l'"Eveque Primat de France"
(Primary Bishop of France) in the Gnostic Church under
the name of Tau Jean II.
From this point on, the Eglise of Bricaud and his direct
successors were recognized as the authentic repository
of the recognized churches mentioned: the Gnostic Church
of Doinel (and arguably of Synésius since Sophronius
had been so influential all along), the Carmelite Church
of Vintras and the Johannine Church. Thus, the church
of Bricaud became the sole active
church with direct succession and authority for all the
branches listed above.
June 1908, Congrès Maçonnique et Spiritualiste
In June of 1908, the "Congrés Maçonnique
et Spiritualiste" ('Masonic and Spiritualist Congress')
was held in Paris at the co-Masonic temple of "Le Droit
Humain." Papus, Victor Blanchard, and Téder organized
the congress, and many of the attendants belonged to the
(French-speaking) "esoteric and occult elite." It
was organized as a Spiritual Congress combined with a
convent on "Spiritual Masonry," which represented
Masonic "Higher Degrees" and rites of a spiritual
nature. Accordingly, 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, Albert Jounet, Phanég (lecture on "L'Occultisme
Chrétien"), Joseph Heibling ("l'Initiation Hébraïque
et les Sciences Occultes"), Téder, etc. Fabre des
Essarts, at the time of the congress still the Patriarch
of the "Eglise Gnostique de France," declined the
Synésius was not pleased with the international
and influential gathering of support for Bricaud, Papus
and Fugairon's effort, and writing about the events in
a journal, we see reflected Synésius' thoughts.
"Dear Sisters and Brothers, I am not unaware of the
controversial program of this Congress. I will only have
a few words to say. Above all, it is important clearly
to establish in which quality I am among all of you. It
was Jules Doinel, whose mystical name was Valentin, appointed
by the Most-High to restore the Holy Gnosis, who consecrated
me in accordance with the rites of the ancient Albigensians,
and among the most eminent members of this assembly I
see those who assisted my departed consecrator in this
pious ceremony. I was later appointed by the Very High
Synod to succeed Jules Doinel, with the title of Patriarch
of the Gnostic Church of France and Bishop of Montségur,
in which we remember the place where our Cathar brothers
accepted the crown of martyrdom. It is thus by direct,
regular, and authentic transmission that I was invested
with Episcopal capacities and a right to confer Gnostic
initiation and the sacraments of our majestic religion.
Any reformation connected with this church without our
approval is considered a schism and a heresy."
Synésius continued his assault trying to prove
the pre-eminence of the Oratory of the "Église
Gnostique de France" in Paris, where "Initiations are
taking place in a regular way. [But] ...our meetings are
absolutely private." Synésius continued to
explain 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 have closed our Threshold
to the profane."
Fabre des Essarts continued by providing some information
on the developments of the "Église Gnostique de
France" abroad. He briefly mentioned a branch of the Gnostic
Church that 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 most likely were not associated with the French
movement. Synésius also mentioned a Belgian branch,
small, but according to Synésius, very active.
Patrice Genty (Tau Basilide), L'Eglise Gnostique de
After the death of Fabre des Essarts in 1917, Léon
Champrenaud (Tau Théophane) assumed the Patriarchate
for the dwindling Paris group. Patrice Genty (Tau Basilide)
succeeded Champrenaud in 1921, and is said to have put
L'Eglise Gnostique de France to rest in 1926 in
favor of Jean Bricaud's Église Gnostique Universelle.
Further research, however, and contrary to most versions
of the history of the Gnostic Church, has indicated that
in December of 1926 Tau Basilide asserted his election
by the Holy Aeons as the Patriarch of the Eglise Gnostique
de France. Furthermore, in a publication dated 1931, Tau
Basilide (Patrice Genty) presented the Doctrine of the
First Gnostics, which was followed by a notice on the
Eglise Gnostique de France, indicating its survival, but
that it was a completely closed ecclesia, not seeking
requests for membership, not proselyting, not advertising,
etc. We have translated for you this rare text by Patriarch
Tau Basilide on the 'Doctrine
of the First Gnostics' which also includes his brief
notice on the 'Gnostic Church'.
Not agreeing with the decision of T Basilide to close
the ecclesia, certain members of the Eglise Gnostique
de France formed a Holy Synod and elected a president
in order to continue the activities of the ecclesia. They
elected Lucien Chamuel (T Bardesane). In 1937, following
the death of T Bardesane, the Holy Synod gathered again
to elect a successor to T Bardesane - and there was even
talk of a unification between the supporters of T Basilide
as the Patriarch and the friends and supporters of T Bardesane.
Although history leaves us with few details after this
point, in our further researches in France we are assured
that there are, at present, none who continue this tradition
from Tau Basilide.
The Église Gnostique Universelle
After assuming the Patriarchate of the Universal Gnostic
Church (read the text of Bricaud's
Homily upon ascending to the Patriarchal throne in
1908), Bricaud became friendly with Bishop Louis-Marie-François
Giraud (d. 1951), an ex-Trappist Monk who traced his Episcopal
succession to Joseph René Vilatte (Mar Timotheos,
1854-1929). Vilatte was a Parisian who had immigrated
to America early in life. He was a lifelong religious
enthusiast, but he was unable to find fulfillment within
the strictures of the Roman Catholic Church; so, in America,
he began a quest for a religious environment more congenial
to his personality and ambitions. He wandered from sect
to sect, serving for a time as a Congregationalist minister,
later being ordained to the priesthood within the schismatic
"Old Catholic" sect. He ultimately obtained Episcopal
consecration in 1892 at the hands of Bishop Antonio Francisco-Xavier
Alvarez (Mar Julius I), Bishop of the Syrian Jacobite
Orthodox Church and Metropolitan of the Independent Catholic
Church of Ceylon, Goa and India, who had in turn received
consecration from Ignatius Peter III, "Peter the Humble,"
Jacobite Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. Vilatte consecrated
Paolo Miraglia-Gulotti in 1900; Gulotti consecrated Jules
Houssaye (or Hussay, 1844-1912) in 1904, Houssaye consecrated
Louis-Marie-François Giraud in 1911; and Giraud
consecrated Jean Bricaud on 21 July 1913.
This consecration was of great import for Bricaud's church
because it provided a valid and documented apostolic episcopal
succession, which was recognized by the Roman Catholic
Church as valid but "illicit" (i.e., spiritually efficacious,
but un-sanctioned and contrary to Church policy). The
apostolic succession was perceived as reflecting a transmission
of true spiritual authority in the Christian current extending
as far back as the Apostles; and even further to Melchizedek,
the semi-mythical priest-king of Salem who served as priest
to the Hebrew patriarch Abraham. The apostolic succession
was also very important because the Church headed by Bricaud
is solidly based in Christian Gnosis, and is not afraid
of saying so - which has been challenged over the years
by groups wishing a more ecclectic and occult orientation
(although it is doubtful that any of them have a succession
from Bricaud). Bricaud maintained a very close relationship
with Vilatte during the time immediately prior to Vilatte's
death, and it was Bricaud who assisted Vilatte by publishing
his apostolic succession to counter claims against his
validity. Read some of their letters during this time
As a result of this close association with the Gallican
Church, a distinctly more "Catholic" flavor
entered into the church, as a condition of Giraud for
receiving the apostolic succession in the line of Peter.
Bricaud gathered in Lyon, France a very strong following
of Gnostic clergy and laity, essentially a gathering of
all those "outside of Rome", and on May 5, 1918,
consecrated Victor Blanchard under the name Tau Targelius
to assist him. Bricaud fell ill in 1933 and on February
21, 1934, left the material world for the eternal Pleroma.
Blanchard is said to have consecrated at least five other
Gnostic Bishops under his own authority, including Charles
Arthur Horwath, who later re-consecrated, sub conditione,
Patrice Genty (Tau Basilide), the last patriarch of L'Eglise
Gnostique de France, who had previously been consecrated
in Doinel's spiritual succession by Fabre des Essarts;
and Roger Ménard (Tau Eon II), who then consecrated
Robert Ambelain (Tau Robert) in 1946. There is much debate,
however, over the reality of a consecration of Menard
and the subsequent claims of Menard having consecrated
Ambelain, we are searching for documentation to resolve
this issue, however what we have discovered has only raised
more questions. Menard was present at Ambelain's consecration
as a bishop in 1943 by Henri Meslin, as witnessed
by Jean Chaboseau and Robert Amadou, although Menard was
only there as a Deacon. Some have cast doubt on a consecration
from Menard to Ambelain! Some have suggested that it was
an individual named delaRue who consecrated Ameblain,
not Menard, which is attested to in personal letters of
René Chambellant. [Ed. Note: There is a document
we have found that appears to attest to the fact that
consecrated Menard on 7 January 1945; There is also
a document which is purportedly the consecration
by Menard of Ambelain on 10 June 1946 (the document
is dated 15 June 1946) - however, on the right side of
the document, it indicates "Enregistré le
3 - 10 - 1943" or "registered on 3 October 1943"
- so the document was apparently entered into the archives
three years prior to its execution.] There are other
elements to this mystery, but that is another story. Blanchard
is known, however, to have definitely consecrated one
individual: Dr. Edouard Gesta. No others can be definitely
attested. Indeed, if Menard had already been consecrated,
then why was it necessary to find a consecrator for the
duly elected successor to Chevillon?
Bricaud's elected successor to the Patriarchate was Constant
Martin Chevillon, who was consecrated by Mgr. Giraud on
January 5, 1936 with the name of Tau Harmonius. Chevillon
was a very well admired individual, being both wise and
experienced in the Church, as well as holding the highest
offices of all her affiliated initiatory bodies. His writings
are thought-provoking and important to our Tradition.
He (Harmonius) was gunned down on March 22, 1944 by the
Nazis and French militia under the Gestapo subservience
of Klaus Barbie, also known as "the Butcher of Lyon."
[Ed. Note: Chevillon was ordained to the
priesthood on 3 November 1935, then to the episcopate
on 5 January 1936 - both by Mgr. Guiraud. Chevillon never
ordained anyone to the priesthood, nor did he consecrate
anyone to the episcopacy. Indeed, Chevillon did not have
the spiritual succession of Doinel at all! It was only
upon the consecration of Chambellant in 1945 that the
Gnostic Church continued with both the spiritual and apostolic
successions - and René Chambellant, when he reorganized
the legal entity of the church in 1982 under the name
of l'Eglise Gnostique Apostolique, was the only person
alive with both the spiritual succession of Doinel AND
the apostolic succession of Vilatte which had come from
Jean Bricaud. This is according to his testimony and documents
submitted to the French Government].
René Chambellant & Robert Ambelain
Chevillon had raised only four men to the order of Deacon
within the church before his murder. Although many claims
have been made that Chevillon consecrated certain individuals,
no documents have surfaced to substantiate these claims;
and, indeed, the surviving members in France have no knowledge
of such alleged action. The direct succession from Chevillon,
therefore, ended with those four Deacons. One of these
four was René Chambellant. Chambellant had been
a key individual in the whole Gnostic movement, and was
elected by the majority of the Church (including Robert
Ambelain and Robert Amadou) to succeed the martyred Chevillon
as Patriarch. Since Chambellant was only a Deacon, it
was necessary to consecrate him a Bishop. Chambellant
was consecrated to the episcopacy, on the same day as
Robert Amadou, by a man often referred to only as Dr.
X. His name was Dr. Edouard Gesta, but since his family
did not approve of his involvement with the Gnostic Church,
his name was often suppressed. Dr. Gesta had been consecrated
on 28 January 1945 by Victor Blanchard. Chambellant's
importance also comes to play in our initiatory tradition.
Chambellant had already attained the highest degrees of
the Ancient and Primitive Rite by the time Robert Ambelain
had even received his 'Entered Apprentice' degree. Chambellant
was also a major player with Ambelain, Amadou and LaGrèze
in reviving the Ordre des Chevaliers Maçons, Elus
Cohen de l'Univers. In fact, Chambellant was the reason
the Order continued non-stop during an apparent period
of dormancy in the later years of Ambelain, in part due
to communication with Gordon Stewart of Canada, who never
received notification by Ivan Mosca, Ambelain's successor
for the Elus Cohen, that the Order was to cease activities.
Chambellant saw that at the time of his consecration,
there was no interest in the Gnostic Church, with the
aftermath of World War II leaving things very unsettled.
It was the decision of the Synod that the Gnostic Church
be put in a temporary state of dormancy. He then left
Europe for a period of time to reside in Africa and to
attend to business there. Contrary to popular accounts,
he never renounced the Patriarchate of the Eglise Gnostique,
nor are there any documents to support his ever doing
so. This branch of the Church, as well as the filiations
of Martinism, Memphis-Misraïm and the Elus Cohens,
etc. would often be referred to as the Chevillon-Chambellant
filiation. This filiation is perhaps the most unsullied
filiation still in existence and, consequently, not easily
received. Many associates of Ambelain felt that the spiritual
way of Chevillon, and subsequently that of Chambellant,
was not occult enough. Also, while not quite as liberal
as some today in permitting women to participate in the
church and in masonry, Chevillon did allow this. Chevillon
even went so far as to write a feminine version of the
Blue Lodge rituals for Memphis-Misraïm. At present,
there is only one female alive who has received all the
initiations, and is the current holder of authority for
the feminine Blue Lodge rite of Chevillon, and whose rituals
are in our archives.
Robert Ambelain founded his own church in 1953, which
he called the Eglise Gnostique Apostolique, having been
consecrated in the Doinel line by Henri Meslin de Champigny,
with Jean Chaboseau, Robert Amadou and the Deacon Roger
Menard witnessing. Owing to his popularity, and his position
with the various initiatory orders, not to mention his
prolific writing, his church spread quickly. This branch
of the church, for it is, indeed, a separate church founded
by Ambelain of his own accord, saw great success.
Two of the other Deacons ordained by Chevillon were upset
at not being elected patriarch, and so went about hunting
for someone to consecrated them. Antoine Fayolle found
a man named Marcel Cotte, a bishop in the Doinel line
- although no information could be found substantiating
this or indicating in what succession. Fayolle promptly
turned around and "consecrated" his brother Deacon, Henri
DuPont. Following this consecration, DuPont proclaimed
himself the Patriarch of the Gnostic Church (with no authority
to do so.) [Ed. Note: The self-proclamation and illegitimacy
of Dupont's claim are attested to by both Robert Amadou
and Serge Caillet]. [It is interesting to note
that many of these individuals had earlier entered into
the conglomeration of H.S. Lewis as part of the FUDOSI,
including their own versions of the church, Martinism
and various other rites. Another individual, Georges Lagrèze,
had obtained a charter for Memphis-Misraïm from Yarker
in 1909. Lagrèze considered participating in Lewis'
monstrosity. Constant Chevillon, as Patriarch of the Eglise
Gnostique Universelle, was also the International Grand
Master of Memphis-Misraïm and the head of the Lyon
Martinist Order (including Elus Cohen activities); the
principal initiatory streams always affiliated with the
Gnostic Church. Obviously, this activity of Lewis and
those working with him was not well received, and on the
1st of march 1936, Chevillon composed a document to declare
that the activity of the Belgians, the Rite of Rambauts
and the Memphis-Misraïm of Lagrèze were all
considered "irregular", even calling Lagrèze a
'plagiarist' of the Rite's rituals.]
Ambelain and company had a long association with the
Grand Orient of France, and were very interested in forming
even closer ties. With the deadly shroud of the second
world war having been drawn back, the Church of Ambelain
began to spread from France to Portugal, Italy, Belgium,
North Africa, and South America, especially Brazil, where
eventually it merged its succession with that of the Brazilian
Catholic Apostolic Church (Igreja Catolica Apostolica
Mgr. Carlos Duarte Costa (1888-1961) established the
National Brazilian Catholic Church some time after June
of 1945. Costa had been Archbishop of Botacatu, but was
excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Curia in response
to his attacks against Pope Pius XII for having given
benediction to Nazi and fascist troops in St. Peters Square
in 1943. At the end of the Second World War, Archbishop
Costa's papal interdiction was lifted, though the Archbishop
declined an invitation to return to his post in the Roman
Church and founded the Brazilian National Catholic Church.
During the period of the 1950's, Ambelain (Tau Jean III)
authored and translated many Gnostic and Masonic works
and recovered some Gnostic Archives. Unfortunately, one
of his most notable works, "Jesus and The Mortal Secret
of the Templars," was greeted in Europe with such
controversy that it ultimately led to his untimely departure
from active leadership of his own Church! Ambelain, however,
is to be credited for his recognition of the growing Gnostic
spirit in the Americas. In 1956, he consecrated Pedro
Freire (Tau Petrus) of Puerto Allegre, Brazil, as Bishop
Primate of Latin America, who consecrated Fermin Vale-Amesti
(Tau Valentinus III), Primate of Venezuela, and Central
In 1960, DuPont retired from his various activities and
appointed Ambelain the Patriarch of his self-proclaimed
branch of the church with the specific charge to "re-unite
the two," further attesting to the fact that Ambelain's
EGA was founded as a separate, independent church. It
is from this branch under the direction of Ambelain that
virtually all other churches are descended.
E.G.C.A. - The Gnostic Apostolate in the Americas
The latter part of the decade of the 1960's presented
the Gnostic Church of Ambelain with great advances as
well as tremendous challenges. In 1967, its Patriarch,
Mgr. Roger Pommery (Tau Jean), learned that certain French
Bishops had ordained a woman to the episcopate, and called
a World Wide Synod of the Bishops of this Church to deal
with this practice. This synod failed to resolve the issue,
and when certain French Bishops continued the practice,
the Belgian Bishops deserted and gave way to the formation
of an opposition church known as the "New Covenant"
- L'Eglise de la Nouvelle Alliance. Meanwhile, Mauer (Tau
Andreas,) who only briefly retained the Patriarchate of
Ambelain's EGA due to poor health eventually passed the
chair to Dr. Pedro Freire. Before he had done so, he invested
Bishop Willer Vital-Herne (consecrated the year before
by Roger Pommery,) with the primacy of the Church for
Haiti, Antilles, and the Caribbean Islands. He also appointed
Mgr. Roger St. Victor-Herard as Apostolic Prefect of North
When Tau Andreas resigned on August 1, 1969, the High
Synod elected as Patriarch the Primate of Latin America,
Pedro Freire, who was consecrated originally in 1956 by
Robert Ambelain. This was the first time in history that
a Patriarchate of any Gnostic Church as part of the larger
movement was moved not only out of France itself, but
also out of the hemisphere and to the Americas.
Dr. Freire was a much loved and respected man, not only
in the Eglise Gnostique Apostolique, but also among many
other clergy of Apostolic Rites around the world. Mgr.
Dom Antidio Vargas, (Titular Patriarch of Theoupolis,
and Dean of the Cathedral of The Brazilian Holy Roman
Catholic church in the City of Lajes in the state of Santa
Catarina, Brazil) gave him a very grand coronation and
installation to the Patriarchate on December 17, 1970.
Mgr. Vargas, who was assisted by Bishops of the Armenian
Church, was famous for his own resignation from The Church
of Rome after his criticism of Pope Pius XII for political
collaboration with the Axis troops in World War II, as
previously noted. Mgr. Vargas was now the Patriarch of
the Old Roman Catholic church of Brazil. He named Dr.
Freire Mar Petrus-Johannes XIII following eastern catholic
style rather than Gnostic. At this time, Freire also added
back the 'Catholique' to the name of the church - effectively
becoming the Eglise Gnostique Apostolique Catholique (or
Ecclesia Gnostica Apostolica Catholica). The great seal
of the church was also changed during the Patriarchate
of Freire. It is worth noting that the reign of Petrus-Johannes
XIII seemed to begin a trend of ecumenism that continued
into the career of Roger Saint Victor Herard, whom he
had appointed Primate of North America on December 31,
1970. Unfortunately, Petrus-Johannes was unable to heal,
in his seven year Patriarchate, the deep division amongst
the Bishops concerning the feminine ordinand.
Soon after Roger St. Victor Herard took his chair under
the name Tau Charles I, he instituted churches in New
York, Chicago and Washington D.C. These churches were
predominantly of Haitian membership and in 1972 he named
an ex-Haitian military man, Clément Lucien Papillon
(Tau Paul) to be his assistant in Chicago, where Mgr.
Herard had made his home after moving from New York. In
1973, Herard made Gaspard Mervilus (Tau Louis) Archbishop
of New York and, later, named his as "coadjutor cum
jure succcessiones," i.e. the exclusive right to
Herard's succession. Mgr. Mervilus was also an ex-Haitian
military man and both commanded respect within their community.
Roger Herard, on the other hand, was a refugee from the
government of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, and, as a lawyer and
schoolteacher in Haiti, he fought forces of oppression
from the government, which were seeking to trample the
In as much as he held national and international respect,
difficulties in the ranks of the Haitian clergy became
apparent and Mgr. Herard described, in a journal of the
Athenea Theologica, power plays between his two Bishops,
much to his consternation.
[Ed. Note - see the document on the History
of the Gnostic Church in Haiti for a more
detailed account of who, when and how the Church came
to be, and for a brief account of the move of the Haitian
community to the United States.]
This situation came to a head when Mgr. Herard learned
of Mgr. Papillon's attempt to found a branch of the Church
of the Nouvelle Alliance in North America and in Haiti.
A final blow was yet to come, however, as on April 23,
1977, Mar Petrus-Johannes XIII passed away.
On September 22, 1977, the Holy Gnostic Synod elected
as Patriarch Edmond Fieschi (Tau Siabul). Tau Siabul,
however, resigned in December of 1977, abdicating in favor
of his coadjutor Mgr. Fermin Vale-Amesti, Tau Valentinus
III, Primate of Central America, having his Apostolic
See in Caracas, Venezuela. Mgr. Vale-Amesti refused to
accept this nomination and "proclaimed the independence
of the ecclesiastical provinces on April 7, 1978"
(Athenea Theological No. 3, pg. 22), even though he had
no authority to do so, having never been approved or enthroned
as Patriarch. Even more aware of the mounting personal
and political agendas, particularly among the Haitian
clergy, the College of Primates did, indeed, defer to
an autocephalous status. Herard, himself, agreed. Herard
also notes that Papillon, for reasons unknown, attempted
to influence the College of Primates to reverse this abolition
of an international Patriarchate for Ambelain's church,
but without success.
Cultural Separation & Rivalries Erupt
By the end of the 1970's, Roger Herard had consecrated
two more bishops in Chicago: Mgr. Carl St. Cyr (Tau Patrick)
in 1978, and Mgr. Alphonse Douyon for Washington D.C.;
both men were clergy of Haitian descent. During this time,
Mgr. Herard also began to broaden his relations to those
clergy belonging to other churches of Gnostic acclaim,
though not necessarily of the E.G.C.A. He recognized the
Patriarchate of Mgr. George Boyer in England (Tau Georgius
de Londres, Pre-Nicene Ecclesia) whose Gnostic lineage
descended from Richard Powell, Duc de Palatine, and also
Mgr. George Brister (Tau Georgius,) the Archbishop of
Oklahoma City for the Old Catholic Church, and the Ecclesia
Gnostica in Hollywood, California, under the Regionary
Bishop, +Stephen A. Hoeller, also of the de Palatine lineage.
At the beginning of the 1980's Mgr. Herard turned his
focus toward other communities within the American culture,
especially with a view toward "opening" the Church to
all Americans whose primary language was English, and
who were natural born citizens of the United States. In
August of 1984 Robert Michael Cokinis (Tau Charles Harmonius
II) was elected Bishop of Wisconsin and Auxiliary to the
Metropolitan of Chicago, with the mandate to develop Churches
for the American people, and after his consecration in
November of the same year, was authorized to incorporate
the Church in the United States and to select American
clergy for its Board of Trustees/Rectors, which he did
on November 29, 1984 under the name of the 'Gnostic Catholic
(Universal) Ecclesia of North America. Later, Mgr. Cokinis
would also register a servicemark for the seal of the
Church along with the name 'Ecclesia Gnostica Apostolica
Mgr. Herard approved the administrative title of Diocese
of the Midwest for the registered offices at that time,
since the main mission to American congregants focused
on the Midwestern states. Mgr. Herard did not wish to
include the Haitian clergy in this corporate structure,
stating that it was his plan to have a separate corporation
for Haitian congregations. Mgr. Herard had the same policy
in mind for other cultures immigrating into the U.S.,
and early in 1985 Mgr. Herard ordained and consecrated
Jorge Enrique Rodriguez Villa as an Archbishop of Bogotá,
Columbia and Miami, Florida, in order to oversee a ministry
for Spanish speaking constituents of the church. While
this may have seemed strange to some, this apparent division
of cultures within the same church, Mgr. Herard realized
that these cultures were very different, indeed, and as
such, needed leadership within their own culture, while
still being overseen by his Primacy. In effect, three
Churches would replace the one in North America. Rodriguez
headed the Spanish church, Cokinis headed the church for
Anglos, and the Haitians would maintain their own.
Late in 1985 or early 1986, Mgr. Rodriguez founded the
Iglesia Catholica Orthodoxa Apostolica and incorporated
it in the State of Illinois, assuming the title of Patriarch
for this Church, which functioned on Old Catholic lines
and was non-Gnostic, effectively breaking all ties and
authority within the Gnostic Church or as a representative.
Mgr. Herard's attention at this period was focused on
his Haitian congregations on the east coast, where again
there emerged certain rivalries and difficulties.
This time the difficulty was between Bishops Alphonse
Douyon and Gaspard Mervilus, who were in dispute over
geographical jurisdiction - the contention being that
Mgr. Douyon was allegedly recruiting priests in New York,
an area under the authority of Mervilus. Mgr. Douyon was
warned by Mgr. Herard to discontinue this activity; however,
Mgr. Douyon failed to heed this warning and allegedly
ordained two men in New York without the Primate's permission,
at the cost of being deposed from the Church by Mgr. Herard.
The problems were not over, however, as Mgr. Mervilus,
who already had a reputation for asserting his interests
over others within the Church, sought to limit correspondence
from members of the clergy, who were also members of the
Supreme Council of l'Ordre Martiniste, to the Grand Master
in Paris, suggesting that such correspondence should only
go through him, as he was the Grand National Delegate
for the Order to the United States. Mgr. Herard, who had
appointed Mgr. Mervilus to that position, was greatly
angered at this, citing that such a restriction was a
violation of a right accorded to initiators of the Order
by virtue of the "sacred chain of initiation." This controversy
eventually ended with Mgr. Mervilus' resignation from
both L'Ordre Martiniste and the E.G.C.A. leaving the Primate
(Herard) with neither coadjutor, nor clear successor.
Following the departure of Mgr. Mervilus, Mgr. Herard
abolished the Archdiocese of New York and made two new
Bishops preside over the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Queens.
They were Mgr. Louis Etienne (Tau Franciscus) and Mgr.
Luxy Achille Claude (Tau Jean), although neither of these
were coadjutors with rights of succession.
Mgr. Herard continued to keep his sights on ecumenical
relations with other Gnostic churches in the U.S. and
began to work toward his long intended goal of ordaining
and consecrating a woman within the church in the near
future. At about this same time, with enthusiastic endorsement
from Mgr. Herard, Cokinis began a series of correspondence
and telephone conversations with Rosamonde Miller (Tau
Rosa) in Palo Alto, California. Also, the Church gained
association with Mgr. Stephan Hoeller (Tau Stephanus,)
Regionary Bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica, whose apostolic
residence was Hollywood, California. He was the Bishop
to convey the successions of late Richard Duc de Palatine
to Bishop Rosamonde Miller, and Mgr. Herard was quite
eager to see unification with those two important figures
of Gnosticism in America.
In November of 1988, Cokinis had an opportunity to meet
Mgr. Hoeller (Tau Stephanus I) who was to lecture at the
headquarters of The Theosophical Society in America, located
in Wheaton, Illinois. They spoke much concerning the feminine
episcopate in general, and other important inter-ecclesiastical
affairs, including the already firm relationship between
Tau Georgius and Tau Charles (Mgr. Herard.) Mgr. Herard
was extremely pleased to know of the exchange of information
(much of which was new to him) and he hoped very much
for a more personal contact with Tau Stephanus.
In February of 1989, Cokinis and Mgr. Karl St. Cyr met
at Herard's home. They were there advised of Mgr. Herard's
intention to elect Rev. Yanick Morin, a woman of Haitian
descent, as the first female bishop of the church in the
United States. Mgr. Roger Herard himself presided at her
consecration as Tau Magdalen, Bishop of New Jersey, and
imposed upon her the special mandate to protect subsequent
successions of feminine ordinands in the U.S. so that
it would neither be ignored, nor overlooked by masculine
Bishops in the future. It was also Herard's intent that
Yanick should preside over the Haitian church.
Upon returning from New York to Chicago at the end of
July 1989, Mgr. Herard was noticeably fatigued and in
the early hours of an August morning, Mgr. Herard collapsed
at his home and was brought to the University of Chicago
Hospital in a coma. On August 16th, his physical
body ceased to contain his soul.
In 1990, the synod of Bishops in North America for the
EGCA met in New Jersey in order to begin discussion on
the future of the Church without its Primate. No significant
changes were made in the operational activities of the
Dioceses, though as the strength of the Church appeared
to be gaining, there were still difficulties in reconciling
cultural differences as well as governing issues in the
absence of the Primate. Unfortunately, those difficulties
were never resolved and bitter rivalries erupted amongst
the three churches, with the same power-plays, personal
and political agendas. There were excommunications thrown
about left-and-right, even though they were effectively
different churches striving to maintain some cohesion
where they were once united. As a result, Mgr. Cokinis,
as the senior Auxiliary, severed all ties with the Haitian
clergy and their petty rivalries.
A further clarification should be made here. Some have
made mention that Cokinis was the Auxiliary bishop of
Herard, but "without right of succession". This shows
a clear lack of knowledge of ecclesiastical protocol.
In fact, an auxiliary bishop is, unless special circumstances
require, always "without right of succession"
(Canon 403). A coadjutor does have right of succession,
but Herard had withdrawn the position of coadjutor bishop
from the Haitians and never named another. According to
Canon Law, when a Metropolitan leaves a church "impeded"
(i.e. by disability, departure or death), the coadjutor
assumes the role as successor in administration, since
there was no coadjutor, the responsibility falls to the
auxiliary (Canons 409 & 419). Also, it is the responsibility
of the successor to contact the Patriarch, or presiding
bishop, to inform him of the change in administration.
Thus Cokinis did as was totally proper and in accordance
with accepted church law. It should be noted that none
of the other bishops maintained any contact and continued
to argue among themselves.
Herard had told Cokinis that should anything happen,
he was to contact France. Being aware of Chambellant's
position, Cokinis entered into correspondence with René
Chambellant (Tau Renatus), who, as noted earlier, was
the legitimate and "constitutional" Patriarch according
to the Synesius constitution of 1906. Tau Renatus offered
informed and comforting advice and was supportive of the
efforts toward ecumenism of the associated Gnostic rites,
which had been the focus at that time. Sadly, however,
Tau Renatus passed away, in 1993.
René's passage left the Church of Bricaud-Chevillon
and Chambellant in charge of an Episcopal college, led
by Tau Gilbertus, Tau Johannès, and Tau Christianus.
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