"Church of the Initiates"
"Church of the Initiates"
Established in 1890 in Paris, L’Église Gnostique Apostolique (the Gnostic Apostolic Church) has long been known as “L’Église des Inities” (Church of the Initiates). What does this name mean, and what is the relationship between the Gnostic Church and Freemasonry?
Due to the brutal persecution of our forerunners, we find no reference to an organized Gnostic Church after the extermination of the Cathars in the 12th century. Instead we find numerous appearances throughout Europe of secret orders anonymously proclaiming to be true repositories of ancient Mysteries, such as the Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross. By the late 18th through early 19th centuries, leading Rosicrucian, Masonic, Martinist, and Templar figures were working (some as ecclesiastics) to restore the hidden Gnostic tradition.
Jules Doinel, who founded the Gnostic Church in 1890, was a brother of the Grand Oriënt de France. Since that time of the “Restoration of the Gnosis” the Gnostic Ecclesia has been known as “the Church of the Initiates” because it welcomed Masons and initiates of other orders to receive the sacraments when other churches condemned and refused them.
This appellation also applies because a unique initiatic function has always accompanied the sacramental and exegetical duties of the Church. From its beginning the Gnostic Episcopate (e.g.: Gerard Encausse, Jean Bricaud, Constant Chevillon, Robert Ambelain) held authorities in Martinist and Martinezist Rites, Rites and Orders of Freemasonry, Rose+Croix and Rosicrucian Orders, and Kabbalistic, Hermetic, and Alchemical schools.
During the second world war our Past Masters met in Paris under the nose of the German Army and Vichy agents who sought to search and close the secret societies and arrest the illuminists. First they attacked Masonic obediences, then the spiritual obediences, then the paramasonic organizations. Private employers who were notorious anti-masons, militant Catholics, or publicly declared anti-occultists functioned as an anti-masonic organization in service of the Government. Just like the Middle Ages, spiritual “heresy” was attacked, along with its secular animator, occultism. In 1944 the Gnostic Patriarch Chevillon was assassinated by machine gun after being removed from his home by pseudo-police who were militants of the collaborator organizations. After Chevillon, the Gnostic Patriarch Robert Ambelain maintained the strong alliance of Martinism, Masonry, and the Gnostic Church – the sanctuary of gnosis.
In consideration of the historical persecution of initiates, both ancient and modern, and inspired by the noble sacrifices of our Past Masters, we pray for the Sublime Architect of All Worlds to fashion all of our brethren by subtracting all domination from them and making them free and sovereign masters, thinking with independence, without the tyranny of reigning prejudices, having shaken the yoke of the passions, and conscious of their responsibilities.
1. Cokinis, Robert. “A Historical Brief of the Gnostic Catholic Ecclesia.” L'Église Gnostique
2. Louis-Sophrone, Fugairon (Tau Sophronius) “ Catéchisme expliqué de l'Église gnostique”. 1899. p.181-182.
3. Ambelain, Robert. Le Martinisme. Translated by Piers A. Vaughan. Paris: Editions Niclaus, 1946.