Gnosis as a Sacred Science
By Louis-Sophrone Fugairon
What is very holy Gnosis?
Very holy Gnosis is the knowledge of the three worlds, divine, spiritual or pneumatic and material or hylic, as well as the relationships between them.
Explanation: Gnosis is knowledge par excellence, the sacred science. Gnostics are men who have true knowledge, who have the explanation of, or the secret of, the things in the three worlds.
What do we call Gnosis again?
We call it the Esoteric Christian doctrine.
Explanation: We call Gnosis a Christian doctrine because it was taught to us by Christ Himself who manifested Himself on earth by the organ of a man under the name of Ieshu or Savior; and it is called Esoteric, that is to say, secret, occult, mysterious, because it was confided by him to only a small number of men through an oral teaching, with the recommendation: "Don't give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the swine, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Man does not live on bread alone, and he needs food for his spirit. This food consists of a true and certain knowledge, i.e. a science. Gnosis is what is the most refined and the most exquisite in this spiritual food. But not all minds are equal, not all can digest the bread and wine of Christ. Some remain all their lives like children, more inclined to evil than to good, curious only about terrestrial things, and in no way inclined to those of the science, they absorb nothing, or almost nothing of spiritual nourishment; others, having arrived at a certain spiritual food; and having reached a certain degree of development, are apt to digest some parts of the knowledge of the truth; others, finally, which are very small in numbers (are the elect), may arrive at a level of development which enables them to rise up to the powerful conceptions of the supreme intelligence and to assimilate all the science. As for the mass of humanity, it constitutes a muddy bottom, capable of corrupting the noble essences that penetrate it, transforming into vinegar the pure juice of the grape and changing good into evil. We must therefore be careful when revealing the secrets of the science, so as not to put in the hands of wicked men weapons they could use to the detriment of others.
Before the coming of Christ the Savior, were men devoid of Gnosis?
No, from the beginning of humanity, some men were in possession of the Gnosis, but over time, while it was completed in some parts, it was altered in others.
Explanation: What is now called the “Christian Religion,” says St. Augustine, existed "among the ancients and has never been lacking since the time of the birth of the human race until the time when Christ incarnated,” during which time the true religion, which already existed, began to be called" the Christian religion.” Christianity, therefore, must not be considered, at the time of its founding, as a new religion. It was only a rejuvenated form of the universal or catholic religion, purified in its morality, and rectified in its dogma. "(True) catholicism," says M. de Larmandie, "is the sum total of all the metaphysical truths common to all the types of worship of humanity, that is to say, the esoteric doctrine which we find is always the same amongst the initiates of all times and of all peoples.
Has not some of the ancient Gnosis been entrusted to writing?
Yes, some of the ancient Gnosis has been entrusted to writing, and the books that contain it are of three categories: 1. Some books of the Bible, having for authors Jews living in Egypt; 2. the Medo-Persian books whose collection constitutes The Avesta and whose authors are the Magi, adorers of Christ; 3. The Veda, a collection of hymns, the authors of which were the ancient Aryas, herdsmen of Central Asia, who were also worshipers of Christ.
Explanation: We see that Christ was first known and worshiped by the ancient herders of Central Asia, then by the Magi of Persia. After the captivity of Babylon, Christian Gnosis came to the knowledge of some Jews who carried the doctrine to Egypt. The books that belong to them are the books attributed to: the so-called Maccabean Psalms, the Book of Daniel, the Book of Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, the Book of Enoch, and the works of Philo. As for the oral tradition, or the Kabbalah, it was piously preserved among the Essenes of Judea and the Therapeutae of Egypt.
What are the bases of Gnosis today?
They are: tradition and science.
Explanation: The entire tradition (ancient and Christian) and the scientific observation of phenomena lend themselves to mutual assistance in the search for and the exposition of truth. Gnosis, which is the true knowledge of the three worlds, must necessarily rest on these two unshakable columns. Any alleged gnosis that does not rest on both of these, is false and should be disdainfully rejected.
(From : Louis-Sophrone Fugairon, ‘Catéchisme Expliqué de l’Église Gnostique,’ 1899, pg. 11-12, pg.16-17 as approved by Patriarch Fabre des Essarts.)
Translated by Rev. Mathieu Ravignat