FAQ

What is the Apostolic Johannite Church?
We are an esoteric Gnostic Christian communion with valid Apostolic Succession.

What does Johannite mean?
It relates to the Gospel of John, embraced by early Gnostics, to the Apostle John, and to the Initiatic Tradition of John the Baptist.

Is the Apostolic Johannite Church a Christian Church?
We are part of the “catholic” (universal) Tradition as it was understood by the pre-Nicene Christian Churches, and we use Christian form and Sacraments in our worship. While many of our members do consider themselves Christian, we welcome members from a wide variety of faith traditions including Wiccans, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, and Hermeticists.

Do you believe in the Bible?
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are sources of our inspiration, as are other works including the Corpus Hermeticum and the Nag Hammadi Gnostic Scriptures. We understand these texts from a Gnostic view, rather than a superficial or literalist one.

What do you believe in?
We invite you to read our Statement of Principles

“We affirm that there is one Great, Unknowable, and Ineffable Godhead that made manifest the Universe through Emanation and that while the Universe is contained within this Divine Godhead, the Godhead transcends it.

We affirm that every Being contains the ‘Sacred Flame,’ a Spark of the Divine and that Awareness of the Sacred Flame within constitutes the highest level of Self-Knowledge and the Experience of God simultaneously. This act of Awareness, which is held to be liberating, transcendent and experiential, is called Gnosis.”

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What do you mean by Gnostic?
Gnosticism is a pre-Christian syncretic religious tradition that stresses mysticism, personal responsibilty, revelation, and practical philosophy. We are saved from Ignorance and Deception through Knowledge (gnosis) of our own Divine origin and nature.

Do you practice the Sacraments?
We do honour the seven Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony, Penance, Holy Orders, Eucharist, and Extreme Unction as part of our Apostolic Tradition.

Are your Sacraments valid?
Yes. As an Apostolic Church our clergy and Sacraments are recognized as “valid yet illicit” by the Vatican.

Do you believe in the Trinity?
We do affirm the Trinity of the Divine as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We also use the language of Pleroma (fullness), Logos (word), and Hagia Sophia (holy wisdom).

Are you those guys in the Da Vinci Code?
The book is a work of fiction, and takes its themes to extremes for the purposes of entertainment. However, it did make many people aware of the esoteric tradition that has been part of Western religion for millennia. We are a part of that Tradition.

Do you believe Mary Magdalene married Jesus?
Literally, no. This is best thought of in archetypal terms, as the illustration of the joining of different complementary ideas: Christianity “wedded to” older traditions of the Divine Feminine, whom we identify as both Mary and Sophia.

Is there a Parish in my area?
We currently have Parishes across Canada, the United States, and recently Madrid, Spain. Please check here for your closest Parish or Narthex (study group).

How many clergy do you have?
Worldwide we currently have four Bishops (including our Patriarch), seven Priests, and four Deacons.

Are you connected with the Ecclesia Gnostica?
We have the highest regard for Bishop +Hoeller’s work and the EG, but at this time we have no formal association.

Are you connected with Freemasonry?
We welcome Freemasons in our Church, and there is a longstanding connection between Masonic and Gnostic Traditions. However we are not formally associated with any Masonic Lodge or organization.

Do you ordain women?
Yes. As in our Statement of Principles
“We recognize the Sacred Flame to be present in all Beings and therefore our Offices are open to all humanity without discrimination on the basis of gender, race, social status or sexual orientation.”

Can I attend Mass and take Communion even if I’m not a member?
Yes. We welcome all who come respectfully and openly.

Can I get a copy of your Rituals to read at home?
No. Our liturgies are neither pieces of literature nor historical documents that can be examined in a vacuum: they must be understood within the context of a living community and a living tradition. For more information on this policy see here

Why so Churchy? Aren’t you a bunch of heretics?
For centuries, Gnostic ideas flourished in the Catholic church. Countless Catholic Bishops died peacefully in their sleep after lifetimes of preaching and practicing Gnosticism. These people contributed, debated, and crafted much of what we see of Catholic liturgical culture today. The Cathars and Bogomils had Bishops. The Valentinians and Nestorians celebrated the Eucharist. And of course the Gnostic Revival of the nineteenth century also embraced the structure and liturgy of Catholicism, with a pneumatic understanding.

How can I learn more about Gnosticism?
There are some excellent sources available online;
The Gnostic Society
Wikiepedia
Gnosticism 101

We also recommend Bishop +Stephan Hoeller’s “Gnosticism” and Elaine Pagel’s “Beyond Belief” and “The Gnostic Gospels“.