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.
The journey through the liturgical year is akin to a well worn and often reread book, that we pick up and put down through the course of our lives. We turn to it to not only navigate and mark out time and transition, but also as a measure of comfort, rekindling of our spirits, and a re-enchantment of the world. The names, faces, figures and stories – the magic that is created in the space between us and them has a beyond-perennial character – that for all of its framing in the context of time, is a magic that ultimately empowers us to reach beyond it – to see, hear, taste and touch the Eternal.
Infinity is not Eternity, and our journey through a timed cycle of our timeless relationship with the Divine, continually brings our focus to the these faces, names and seasons – to generate a kind of momentum that can enable us to break the gravity of the Finite to experience the Eternal Divine within ourselves, the world and each other. The names, faces and seasons of our spiritual journey do not change, but we do – and they are not only an engine of our spiritual work, they are also landmarks that enable us to perceive depth and distance in our own path, year over year.
The depth and distance of the year that is passing through the gate of this Easter Triduum, as it seems to me in the time I’ve been fortunate to share across the Church, has been punctuated in equal measure by difficulty, hope, and transformation. Difficulty in the inevitable change that comes with being bound up in time, material and spiritual challenge, as well as physical, mental and material struggles present for many. Hope and transformation in the personal and spiritual growth of those coming into their own, whether in their personal paths as Johannites, or in their vocations as servants of their fellow humanity, both the laity and clergy.
My prayer for you is that as we kneel now, whether in our Communities, in our own sanctuaries, or within the Holy of Holies of our own hearts – to draw to a close this liturgical and spiritual year, and ignite the flame of the one yet to come in the form of the Easter Candle – that this journey anew leads you deeper within yourself, closer to those you love, through surmountable challenge and joyful self-discovery, and into the sanctuary of the Divine itself.
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 Talk Gnosis 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, the Ecclesia Gnostica, Ekklesia Neoplatonismos Theourgia, the Ancient Apostolic Church of Alexandria, l’Eglise Gnostique Apostolique (New York), 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.
+ IOHANNES IV
Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch
The Apostolic Johannite Church