The Scarlet Letter
Volume I, Number 1 | August 1993
A very brief account of the E.G.C.
by Fr. Sharash
Manifesto of the Gnostic Catholic Church
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The world has entered (March 1904) the New Aeon, the Age of the Crowned and Conquering Child. The predominance of the Mother (Aeon of Isis) and of the Father (Aeon of Osiris) are of the past. Many people have not completely fulfilled these formulæ, and they are still valid in their limited spheres; but the Masters have decided that the time has come for the administration of the Sacraments of the Aeon of Horus to those capable of comprehension. The sexes are equal and complementary. "Every man and every woman is a star" AL.I:3. The priestess must now function as well as the priest.
The expression of the above thesis in public ritual is to begin by the establishment of the Gnostic Mass which, while adhering to the vital elements of the most ancient true tradition, fixes its attention on, and its aims most firmly in, the Future.
Love is the law, love under will.
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The Ecclesiastical Gnostic Mass was written by Aleister Crowley while visiting Moscow in 1912, and perhaps is best explained by him in his Confessions as "the central ritual of O.T.O. both public and private." It is a powerful Eucharist, Thelemic in nature, that takes full advantage of both the male and female energies (just short of a live sex show) to complete the Holy Sacrament in perfect balance. Those who have been to or participated in the Mass can vouch that it's the genuine article. But what of the Eccliasiae Gnosticae Catholicae (E.G.C.), or Gnostic Catholic Church as it is sometimes refered to, as a body of itself?
When O.T.O. was reforming early this century, one of the main ideas was to envelope certain bodies under a single banner. One of these bodies enveloped was the E.G.C. This particular body was and is of particular importance to Thelema and O.T.O. Under the E.G.C.'s current manifestation in O.T.O., Thelema is established as a religion. And due to the unbroken line of the Apostolic Succession we are giving the Catholics something to think about. A True Mass.
This was made possible by the "wandering Bishop" phenomenon. Basically, once a Bishop is "Recognized", a Priest or Priestess "Ordained", or in whatever manner the Apostolic Succession is conferred, that person is empowered to perform the ceremony of the Eucharist; in short, the Mass. In the case of the Bishop, they are also empowered to pass the Apolistic Succession to another Bishop or Priest/ess.
The Succession is sacrosanct and once it is recieved, it cannot be "taken back". Once a Priest, always a Priest. This is not to say that the Pope will recognize you. Of course they recognize the Succession, how can they not? But don't expect them to acknowledge you as a Priest in their Church!
Since before the time of the Nicene Council, persons empowered by the Succession travelled the land as missionaries, and being in contact with other philosophical views, over time blended with the local religion. Later, Gnostics and all other manner of heratics of the Church emerged, passing on their particular style of religion and the Apolistic Succession with it. Until today, we have surfaced as the E.G.C. under O.T.O., with not just one, but several lines of Apolistic Succession coming into the Order.
In the late 70's, when O.T.O. incorporated as a fraternal organization in the United States, it was thought that the E.G.C. should incorporate also. That way, there would be O.T.O. for those wishing to be initiated via our chakra system; and for those not wishing to be initates but wanting only to practice Thelema as their religion, there would be the Gnostic Church. The E.G.C. would be seen as a meeting place of both inititiates and non-initiates to celebrate the Thelemic Eucharist and participate in its mysteries.
Just a few years ago, Caliph Hymenaeus Beta, (also Father of the Church), made a landmark decision in not acknowledging non-O.T.O. Bishops who had been Recognized by E.G.C. Bishops within the Order. Essentially, this keeps our particular line of succession "clean" (a great survival technique). This is not to say that their Recognition is not valid. They are perfectly capable of doing their own E.G.C. thing if they so choose. But they aren't O.T.O. and they shouldn't be confused as such. Meanwhilst, H.B. also concluded that Bishops and Priest/esses had to be of a certain initiate degree in the O.T.O. (grandfather claused, of course) before they could be Recognized /Ordained. This is not to say that a non-initiate cannot be part of the E.G.C., they just may not recieve "recognition" or ordination. A nice tight system to keep everything straight and tidy, right? But what do they DO?
Today there are many Sanctuaries (E.G.C. Churches) that overlap into official bodies (camps, lodges, etc) of O.T.O. These are in essence small pockets of Thelemic communities that come together to perform the Gnostic Mass, Feasts, Marriages, Funerals, etc.. In addition, Baptisms (acceptance into the E.G.C. community), Confirmations (asserting identity with the community), Ordinations (Priest/ess and Deacon), and Recognitions (Bishop) within the E.G.C. are also possible.
As O.T.O. initiates, it is up to us to establish the "Kingdom of the Crowned and Conquering Child" (who, I might add, seems to be a giggling toddler these days). One of the most effective ways of doing this is by the performance of the Mass. To say that most people in O.T.O. are Mass-converts might be an exaggeration, but not by bloody much!
It is my opinion and others that sometime in the far future when we all have been forgotten, the E.G.C. will be the outer mask of O.T.O. Initiates of O.T.O. will come directly from the Priest/esshood of the E.G.C. Hence, the E.G.C. for the People, and O.T.O. for the Initiates. I suppose Time would have to be oathed to testify to the truth of that, and it isn't saying.
Scarlet Woman Camp is currently performing the Gnostic Mass on a regular basis, but with extremely minimal equipment. If you would like to see the E.G.C. grow, as I do, lend a hand, or a brain or two and help make our Gnostic Mass what it could be.
Here is our list of items we need either built, or procured:
A Lance—a wooden shaft about 4'-4" with a metal lance-head would
be superb. A Crown—metal or otherwise with Ureaus serpent in front and
Thanks for your continued support!