The Holy Martyr Jacques de Molay

Jacques de Molay was a French knight who served as the 23rd and last official Grand Master of the Knights Templar. He is renowned for his courage, virtue and devotion to King Phillip IV of France.

Born into a noble family in 1244, Jacques was well-educated in military tactics and leadership. He joined the Knights Templar in 1265 and quickly rose up their ranks, eventually taking on the role of Grand Master in 1292. As leader of the Templars, he led several successful military campaigns against Muslim territories during the Third Crusade.

Jacques de Molay was considered a loyal servant to King Phillip IV and was instrumental in helping him finance his wars by providing funds to the Crown. However, this relationship soon turned sour as Jacques refused to cooperate with the King’s requests. In 1307, Phillip IV arrested Jacques de Molay and several other Templars in a highly publicized event known as the “Templar Trials”. The outcome of these trials was devastating for the Knights Templar, and Jacques was eventually burned at the stake in 1314.

Jacques de Molay has since become a symbol of courage and defiance for those who have been wronged by powerful figures. His legacy continues to this day, with many people honouring his memory by wearing the Templar cross or pledging their loyalty to him. He is remembered as an inspirational leader.

The Larmenius Charter is an important document in the history of the Knights Templar and is said to have been authored by Jacques de Molay himself. According to legend, it was written shortly before his death as a way of preserving the Templars’ secrets and traditions after they were disbanded by King Phillip IV. In the Charter, it is said that Jacques de Molay appointed a new Grand Master in order to ensure the continuity of the Order and keep its secrets safe. The Apostolic Johannite Church holds the Grandmasters of the Templars also held Apostolic Succession from the beloved Apostle John, transmitted to them by Theoclete at the founding of the Order. That succession continued with the succession of Grand Masters of the Temple, down to the Apostolic Johannite Chuch (among others).

The Larmenius Charter remains controversial today, with some historians believing it to be an authentic document and others dismissing it as a hoax. Regardless of its authenticity, it stands as testament to Jacques de Molay’s legacy and commitment to the Knights Templar.

Jacques de Molay’s legacy is remembered throughout the world today, with numerous monuments and statues dedicated to him in France and elsewhere. His story has also been immortalized in popular culture, inspiring works such as films, novels, plays, and video games. He remains an important figure in the history of the Knights Templar and an inspirational symbol of courage and integrity.

For centuries, Jacques de Molay’s legacy has endured as a reminder of his courage, virtue and devotion to justice. He remains an inspiration for those who fight against injustice and oppression. His famous last words, “God knows who is wrong and has sinned; soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us” still echo throughout history. Jacques de Molay will forever be remembered as a legendary warrior and leader who stood up against powerful forces and refused to back down in the face of adversity. His legacy continues to live on today.

Montsegur Day

Montsegur Day is a feast day held annually in the Apostolic Johannite Church to commemorate the fall of Montsegur Castle and its Cathar defenders. The event happened on March 16, 1244 and marks one of the most significant moments in Gnostic history. On this day, more than two hundred brave men and women gave up their lives for what they believed was right. As such, it has become an important symbol for freedom and justice throughout for all gnostics. This post will explore the history behind Montsegur Day, some of the practices of the Cathars, and how we can commemorate the Cathars in our own lives.

The Cathars of Montsegur were a religious group from the Languedoc region of France in the 12th and 13th centuries. They believed that humans could achieve spiritual perfection through living a life of simplicity, humility, and poverty. This was at odds with the Catholic Church which viewed them as heretics, leading to their persecution and ultimate demise. The fall of Montsegur Castle on March 16, 1244 marks one of the most significant moments in Gnostic history and the martyrdom of the Cathars is commemorated today.

The Cathars believed that humans could achieve spiritual perfection through living a life of simplicity, humility, and poverty. This belief system was based on Gnostic teachings which teach that all human beings are created equal in the eyes of God and have within them an inner spark or divine essence. The Cathars did not believe in organized religion or hierarchy, instead choosing to focus on individual spirituality. They also rejected materialism as well as any form of injustice or oppression. As such, they advocated for social justice by helping those less fortunate than themselves and standing up against oppressive regimes and structures.

Cathars who wanted to be as spiritually pure as possible lived a strict life of celibacy, humility, and adherence to the bible, and were called perfecti. They ministered to their communities through preaching and a sort of baptism: a laying on of hands called consolamentum that was meant to elevate the regular Cathar to the level of perfecti and allow the person to ascend to heaven (like the Catholic last rites, consolamentum was usually administered near death for ordinary people).

Part of this attempting to live a life of spiritual perfection was reflected in the Cathar diet. With the exception of fish, Cathar perfecti were expected to live on vegan fare, excluding eggs, cheese, and even the animal fat so often used in medieval cooking from their diets. (Their inclusion of fish likely stemmed from their devotion to the New Testament, as Jesus himself fed the multitudes with loaves and fishes.)

The Cathars allowed women to become perfectae with the same ability to teach and preach as the (male) perfecti. It’s estimated that the number of perfectae hovered around 50% (sometimes more, sometimes less), which indicates that Catharism was hugely attractive to – and accepting of – women. It would be naïve to assume absolute equality between men and women at this time; however, given that the Catholic church strictly prohibited women from nearly all positions of authority, Catharism must have seemed inviting, indeed.

The annual celebration of Montsegur Day serves to commemorate the brave Cathars who gave up their lives for what they believed was right. In many ways, their martyrdom has become a symbol for freedom and justice, and each year people gather together to honor their memory. One popular way of commemoration is by reciting the names of those who perished in the siege, while also reflection on the values of social justice and equality that they stood for. It is a reminder to all of us that freedom and justice are precious gifts that should never be taken for granted. On Montsegur Day, we remember their courage and dedication to those ideals.

Holy Pelagius

Holy Pelagius was a 6th-century theologian and church reformer who is remembered for his profound impact on western Christianity. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in early medieval Europe, having rejected the traditional view that salvation could only be achieved through works, instead espousing a belief in free will and grace. His theories of individual moral responsibility and the freedom to choose one’s own salvation had a far-reaching influence on Christian doctrine.

Pelagius was also an ardent critic of Augustine of Hippo, whom he believed held too much power in the Church. He argued that ecclesiastical authority should be based on reason rather than on faith alone, and encouraged Christians to consider the implications of faith for their own lives. He was ultimately declared a heretic and excommunicated by the Catholic Church, but his influence can still be seen in many modern Christian denominations. His writings are an important source of insight into early medieval Christian thought.

Pelagius’s legacy is complex and often contentious: he has been cited as both an innovative and heretical thinker, and his ideas continue to be debated by theologians today. Nonetheless, he is highly esteemed as an influential reformer who sought to bring the Church closer to its original teachings. He remains a symbol of Christian courage and dedication in the face of adversity. Pelagius left behind a powerful legacy that shaped the course of European Christianity, and his writings remain essential to any understanding of early medieval Church thought. His teachings on grace and salvation continue to be relevant and can offer crucial insight into modern Christianity as well. As a theologian, reformer, and defender of Christian faith, Holy Pelagius is an important figure in the history of western Christianity.

Holy Pelagius’ teachings and writings are important part of the Apostolic Johannite Church. His views on free will, grace, and individual moral responsibility were particularly influential in the development of Apostolic Johannite theology. He is remembered for his critiques of Augustine’s authority within the Church, arguing that ecclesiastical authority should be based on reason rather than faith alone. He was also a passionate defender of Christian faith who encouraged Christians to consider how their beliefs impacted their lives. The legacy of Holy Pelagius continues to be felt within the Apostolic Johannite Church today thanks to his commitment to reform and dedication to bringing Christianity closer to its original teachings. His influence can still be seen in many modern Christian denominations as well, making him an essential figure in both early medieval thought and contemporary Christianity alike.

In order to honor Holy Pelagius and his legacy, it is important to incorporate his teachings into our individual practice. We can start by learning more about the man himself and understanding his life’s work. By reading his writings, we can gain an appreciation for the depth of Christian thought during that time period, as well as understand why he was declared a heretic by the Catholic Church. Additionally, examining how modern Christian denominations have incorporated his teachings into their own beliefs can provide insight into how we might apply them in our own lives. We should also strive to be like Pelagius in our personal faith journey: bravely standing up for what we believe in even when faced with adversity or persecution from established authorities. Finally, reflecting on how Pelagius’ views on grace and salvation are still relevant today can help us appreciate just how far-reaching this influential reformer’s legacy has been throughout history. Honoring Holy Pelagius means taking these lessons learned from him and applying them to our individual practices of faith so that they may continue to live on through us today.

Holy Origen of Alexandria

Origen of Alexandria was one of the most important early church fathers. He was born in Egypt and educated in Greek philosophy and literature. Origen sought to synthesize Christianity with Greek thought, which caused him to develop groundbreaking ideas about the nature of God, creation, and redemption. His theories were controversial in his own time, but they would go on to have a lasting impact on Christian theology. Today, the Johannite Church honours Origen as a saint and revered thinker. In this blog post, we will explore some of his key theological ideas.

Origen of Alexandria was one of the most important theologians of the early church

Origen of Alexandria was an influential theologian of the early church revered for his innumerable contributions to Christianity. His view on soul and salvation have had a lasting impression on the subsequent generations, providing invaluable insight that has guided believers through the centuries. Through studying scripture and utilizing various Aristotle energies to interpret theological understandings, Origen was able to craft a distinct set of beliefs that contributed greatly to Christian thought. To this day, his unmatched legacy as one of the most important theologians of the early church is celebrated as it continues to serve hundreds of millions around the world in search of their spiritual soul.

He was born in Egypt and educated in Greek philosophy

The illustrious Holy Origen of Alexandria was a man of great influence and wisdom. Born in the majestic land of Egypt and educated in the divine art of Greek philosophy, his expansive knowledge made him singularly qualified to discern divine truths from the classical wisdoms of Mosaic law. His revolutionary interpretations of Christianity shrouded the religion in an enlightened light, allowing it to be interpreted from multiple angles – oftentimes by those characters called prophets who spoke The Word vociferously on high. To have such a grand figure emerge from within the sands of time is a blessing for humanity, for his works remain timeless symbols that God’s plan can be experienced through rational evaluation.

He believed that all people could be saved by God’s grace, and that knowledge of God was available to everyone

Holy Origen of Alexandria was a beacon of progressive religious thought in his time, as he believed that all people could be saved by God’s grace regardless of class or background. He believed that knowledge of God was available to any who sought it and could be attained through the Scriptures, prayer and meditation. He understood this knowledge to be something accessible to everyone. This revolutionary idea inspired many throughout the centuries and showed the world the power and love of forgiveness within religious teachings.

He wrote many books, including a commentary on the Bible which is still used today

Holy Origen of Alexandria was an important figure in Christianity, and his legacy continues to be felt today. His writings had a huge impact on the early Church, particularly his expansive commentaries on the Bible which are still studied by believers. Origen is credited with producing six thousand books in his lifetime – many of them seminal works within Christianity – including detailed commentaries on almost every book of the Bible. His commentaries provide tremendously valuable insight into the theology and teachings of the Church in its earliest days, as well as additional depth to Scripture that can be gained by studying Origen’s own interpretation and understanding. In many ways, Origen opened up powerful new avenues for scriptural study for believers all around the world.

He was persecuted for his beliefs and was martyred

Holy Origen of Alexandria was one of the most influential and important thinkers from early Christianity. He was a tireless defender of his deeply held beliefs and was willing to go to great lengths to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As his defenses became increasingly vocal, he came under increasing scrutiny by the religious authorities of that time, which ultimately resulted in the persecution and death of this brave martyr. His influence even centuries later has been instrumental in preserving and advancing Christian theology, particularly during times of turbulence and difficulty. May his memory be an ever-lasting light which illuminates our path towards true understanding and harmony within Christ’s Church.

His teachings have influenced many Johannites throughout history

Holy Origen of Alexandria is a prominent figure in Johannite thought, having been one of the earliest philosopher-theologians. His teachings have had far-reaching influence, resonating throughout many generations. Among modern day Johannites, his concepts remain highly regarded and central to their beliefs. His work regarding the interpretation of Sacred Scripture as well as his lectures on the Christian faith has provided invaluable guidance for Johannites throughout history, and to this day continues to be looked upon with reverence and admiration.

Thus, Origen of Alexandria remains a remarkable figure in Christian history. His dedication to serving the Lord was evident in his martyrdom. He was so devoted to gaining knowledge of God that he sought it out even through Greek philosophy, something uncommon for a humble man of faith such as himself. While his teachings may have clashed with the religious and political powers of the time, they have nevertheless shaped much of Christian theology throughout history. His books continue to provide guidance and insight into the Word today, and his legacy will continue to endure until the end of time. Through Origen’s determination and faith, God was able to spread his message far beyond Egypt and gain followers who cherished His words.

2nd Sunday After Epiphany: Sincerity

When the pearl is cast down into the mud it does not become dishonored the more, nor if its anointed with balsam oil will it become more precious. But it has its worth in the eyes of its owner at all times. So with the Sons of God wherever they may be. For they have the value in the eyes of their Father.

Gospel of Philip

This gospel talks about the pearl, and the pearl has a long history in Christian and Gnostic thought. The Gospel of Matthew has the Parable of the Pearl:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Matthew 13:45–46

In Matthew, the pearl is likened to the Kingdom of Heaven, and implies that the pearl can only be had when you sell all that you have, and purchase it with the proceeds of that. It’s commonly interpreted to mean that the Kingdom of Heaven requires diligent seeking, with the merchant being the listener. Some interpret the merchant to be Jesus, who sought the Christian Church by giving all he had to found it.

The Gospel of Thomas also contains a version of the Parable of the Pearl:

Jesus said, “The Father’s kingdom is like a merchant who had a supply of merchandise and found a pearl. That merchant was prudent; he sold the merchandise and bought the single pearl for himself. So also with you, seek his treasure that is unfailing, that is enduring, where no moth comes to eat and no worm destroys.”

Gospel of Thomas 76, Patterson/Meyer translation

Thomas puts a greater emphasis on the incorruptibility and value of the Kingdom of the Father (one assumes this is also the Kingdom of Heaven). And in this, it is the Kingdom of the father who is the merchant, and who is purchasing the pearl at great price, disposing of that which will fade; the fallen divine sparks of the Gnostics, perhaps?

The listener in Thomas is encouraged to also seek that divine spark, the unfailing treasure, the pearl. The pearl of the soul, and the gnosis that leads to it, are the unfailing, incorruptible treasures which gnostics are to seek out.

Philip’s gospel talks about those who’ve made this purchase, and paid the price. The pearl, he says, does not get less valuable for having been dropped in the mud, nor more valuable when anointed by oil. In our situation, the divine spark is not lessened for being encased in flesh, nor more valuable for temporal honors heaped upon that flesh. It is that spark that the Divine seeks to reunite with, as the merchant in Thomas. And it should be our goal to sincerely reunite with that same Divine.

Although we are here behind the illusion of separation, we are treasures in the eyes of Our Father. We are the Children of God, and loved like those children, and always welcomed home. Try to remember this as you go about your day. When you feel inadequate or unworthy, remember you are a treasure in the eyes of God, then go forth to Love and serve the Lord.

The Sunday after Epiphany: Desire for Liberation

Jesus said: The old man will not hesitate to ask a little child of seven days about the place of Life, and he will live. For many who are first shall become last, and they shall become a single one. Jesus said: Know what is in thy sight, and what is hidden from thee will be revealed to thee. For there is nothing hidden which will not be manifest. His disciples asked him, they said to him: Wouldst thou that we fast and how should we pray and should we give alms and what diet should we observe? Jesus said: Do not lie; and do not do what you hate, for all things are manifest before Heaven. For there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed and there is nothing covered that shall remain without being uncovered.

Gospel of Thomas

This is one of my favorite quotes from the Gospel of Thomas: Do not lie; and do not do what you hate, for all things are manifest before heaven.

This admonishment not to lie is especially important, as gnosis, the knowledge of oneself and of others and of the Divine, cannot be gained if there is falsehood. It is incredibly important to be honest with oneself first and foremost. If you’re honest with yourself, chances are you’ll be honest with others as a consequence.

This does not require so called ‘brutal honesty’; it does not require that one be cruel or destroy another’s hopes or perspective. It simply requires one to not shy away from those things that might be disturbing in one’s own mental landscape.

One must be especially careful to not lie about one’s actions, and to make those actions things of which you can be proud. All things will become manifest before heaven, the truth will come out in the end. The best policy is to make sure that whatever you do in the dark, you’re fine with it being found out in the light. There is nothing hidden, which will not be revealed.

When one acts this way, with their mind and their actions aligned, with the truth on your side, then you are free. Nothing can be held against you, and no lies will stand against you.

We walk in light, the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

Epiphany: Divine Guidance

Therefore he who is Gnostic is truly a being from above. When he is called he hears; he answers; he directs himself to Him who calls him and returns to Him; he apprehends how he is called. By possessing Gnosis, he carries out the will of Him who called him and seeks to do what pleases Him. He receives the repose. He who thus possesses knowledge knows whence he comes and whither he goes. He understands as someone who makes himself free and awakens from the drunkenness wherein he lived and returns to himself.

Gospel of Truth

Our Gospel reading for the Sunday of Epiphany deals with what being a Gnostic means: the hearing, the answering, the returning, the method of being called, by carrying out the will of the One Who Calls, and what the Gnostic receives: knowledge and understanding, awareness of what this life can be, and what the return means.

That’s all well and good. How does the Gnostic obtain this knowledge? In the cacophony of voices we hear: our parents, our teachers, our preachers, our leaders, the media, and the voices in our own heads – whether made up of divine inspiration or biological defect or messages absorbed before we developed filters – how do we separate the wheat from the chaff?

There is a topic being discussed among modern mystics which has been given the title Unverified Personal Gnosis (UPG). It is sort of a catch all for any spiritual revelation that is not contained in any existing lore. It is an interesting topic, for one of the main methods I use to verify my own gnostic experiences is to turn to tradition and scripture to see if they have been experienced before, and perhaps written down.

The AJC as a general rule, makes space for Unverified Personal Gnosis (UPG): If you receive something that enhances your spiritual life, then that is all to the good, and you’re welcomed and encouraged to practice it. The place where the AJC, as an institution, has to draw the line is when the gnosis received cannot be supported by scripture or tradition. The Church rightly sets down very few doctrines, and our access to both scripture and tradition is much wider than previous generations. Because of this, the doctrines set down by the Church are not changed without a great deal of consideration and research.

A good method for determining what is gnosis is to look at the traditions of the Church, the scriptures, and our own reason, and see what is revealed that can sit on all three legs of that stool: Is it supported by tradition? Can it be found in scripture? Is it reasonable? If it meets all three of these criteria, it has a good chance of being gnosis.

For more information on Divine Guidance, see my talk about Divine Guidance and Divination.

Coffee Discussion: June 23rd 2019

Coffee Meeting: June 23rd, 2019! Monsignor Rassbach will be at The Common Cup in Amity, Oregon, on Sunday June 23rd, 2019, from 11 AM to 1 PM. The AJC's theme this year is centered around the concept of the Divine Feminine in Gnosticism. He'll be there to discuss whatever's on your mind about the Divine Feminine, especially in the context of the Gospel of Mary. I'll also bring my divination cards.

Coffee Discussion: May 26th, 2019

Coffee Meeting: May 26th, 2019! Monsignor Rassbach will be at The Common Cup in Amity, Oregon, on Sunday May 26th, from 11 AM to 1 PM. The AJC's theme this year is centered around the concept of the Divine Feminine in Gnosticism. He'll be there to discuss whatever's on your mind about the Divine Feminine, especially in the context of Thunder, Perfect Mind. I'll also bring my divination cards.

Coffee Discussion: Apr 28th, 2019

Coffee Meeting: Apr 28th, 2019! Monsignor Rassbach will be at The Common Cup in Amity, Oregon, on Sunday Apr 28th, from 11 AM to 1 PM. The AJC's theme this year is centered around the concept of the Divine Feminine in Gnosticism. He'll be there to discuss whatever's on your mind about the Divine Feminine, especially in the context of the Incarnation and the Divine Mother. I'll also bring my divination cards.