Companions of the Sacred Flame,
This night we gather in vigil, to commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ, recalling with it, the history of our spiritual path, seeing in it, our own journeys from life to death, and experiencing through it, the initiation from death to life.
Divine Beloved, out of the tomb of separation you have called us, to rise into the Kingdom of God. The ancient mysteries of sacrifice speak to our journey.
Incarnate in each one of us, the Sacred Flame is transfixed upon the cross of space and time, May we never fear to descend into our lowest reaches, like the Logos and the harrowing of hell, to reconcile the lower with the higher- that we may rise transformed in this very life, and in the fullness of time ascend into perfect union.
– Easter Vigil of the Apostolic Johannite Church
These are the opening words of the Easter Vigil which the Apostolic Johannite Church celebrates at this most solemn time in journey of the liturgical year.
There is a reason why the Liturgical journey of the year is an annual one, and why we measure out our spiritual time in seasons and themes that repeat. The seasons and the themes do not change, we change, and in that change we acquire new perspectives and a lived meaning of the story of our own journeys – not merely in its journaling of hardship, but also in its foreshadowing of transformation. We may not know the details of our path, but the story foretells its arc provided we stay on it.
The liturgy and words are a reflection that can give perspective on the many moments of difficulty we have seen in the past year – loss, uncertainty, exhaustion, and fear of the unknown, all of which we have experienced in abundance, but also whose substance, like a spiritual alchemy, can become for us the reagents of transformation under the heat of the Sacred Flame. A transformation whose movements we can now begin to perceive by the illumination of the Easter light.
In our Johannite community, these transformations have taken the shape of new members, new ministers, new opportunities for service, new communities forming and established communities exploring their spiritual life as a community in greater depth, to name a few. There is much here to celebrate and look forward to as we kneel in vigil for the return of the Light. It is not just the Christ which comes forth from the tomb, nor is the weight of the stone in front of it, the only one that will in time be rolled away.
My prayer for you is that you may rise from difficulty, pain and sorrow and that any stone that remains within your heart, roll back like banished darkness before the light of the Easter sun.
My blessings, good wishes and prayers for all the Johannite Parishes, Narthexes, Missions, Oratories and Chapels, our solitary sisters and brothers who keep the flame burning in distant places, and all those who call the Apostolic Johannite Church home, deepening and sharing their journey here.
My thanks and gratitude on behalf of the Apostolic Johannite Church to the Johannite Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Subdeacons, Seminarians and Narthex Leaders, the Grand Master and Initiates of the Friary, the Prior, Oblates and Knights of the Order of the Temple and Saint John, and the Gnostic Wisdom Network team, for all their hard work and dedication- not only to the people we work on behalf of, but also in their own spiritual paths and in their service to each other.
Blessings and good wishes also from the Apostolic Johannite Church to the many Churches and spiritual communities of good will, especially the for Ecclesia Gnostica Mysteriorum in their time of mourning and memory, the Ecclesia Gnostica, Ekklesia Neoplatonismos Theourgia, l’Eglise Gnostique Apostolique (New York), and the Ancient Apostolic Church of Alexandria as well as the many Martinist Orders and Lodges, Ordre Martiniste, Ordre Martiniste Souverains, Ordre Martiniste of North America, and our Masonic sisters and brothers, and also the many individual friends, family, laity and clergy of good will.
May the coming year find your work and paths rich and rewarding with fruitful challenge and blessing, and balanced with rest and reflection. May your work be noble, your spirits be humble, and your hearts always full. Most of all, may you each continue to come through this time with happiness and health.
+ IOHANNES IV
Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch
The Apostolic Johannite Church