Twentieth Anniversary of The Ascension of Mar Iohannes IV to the Patriarchate

His Eminence while officiating at my wedding.

His Eminence officiating at the wedding of then Monsignor Scott Rassbach and his wife Paddy.

In my years with the Apostolic Johannite Church, I’ve often asked myself: How does he do it? How does he maintain his commitment to this band of seekers, who often disappoint, who often cannot reach even the minimum of the effort he puts in? How does he keep pushing us forward, while keeping his own shoulder to the wheel?

He’s a humble man, but through unwavering determination, has brought valuable traditions to the forefront and granted them the recognition they rightfully deserve. Today, we celebrate the Twentieth Anniversary of His Eminence Mar Iohannes IV’s ascent to the role of Patriarch of the Apostolic Johannite Church, a milestone that marks the transformation of a man into a visionary leader.

His Eminence often humbly remarks, “When people think of me, they think of the AJC, but when they think of the AJC, they do not necessarily think of me.” While this might be true, today is dedicated to the man who took up the scepter and all that goes with it, a day for us to acknowledge the unique qualities that make him special. We gather not as an institution, but as a community, to honor our brother whose approach has benefited us all.

His Eminence with a Coffee Mug

His Eminence seated with Coffee, his favorite beverage

Shaun was designated the successor as a young man, entrusted with a tremendous amount of authority and responsibility. The weight placed on his shoulders required rapid growth to accommodate the role. Yet, through nurturing care, the assistance of those around him, and a profound recognition of his own strengths and failings, His Eminence flourished and blossomed. The AJC, under his guidance, evolved into a path unique from other churches in the Independent Sacramental Movement, as a result of his unwavering dedication and conscientious leadership.  The Church became an organization in more than name only, with personnel, standards, and procedures that lead to a continuity of leadership, and have enabled us to become an expanding and vibrant community.  This community of the AJC has distinct personalities in the various locales around the world, yet embodies commonalities that bind us together as one denomination.

We must acknowledge the difficult balance he maintains, bearing the power that leadership demands (and which I’ve encouraged him to wield) while remaining true to the higher spiritual purpose and taking the temperature and advice of his communities. His Eminence walks the delicate line of leadership with grace, avoiding the pitfalls of possessiveness and control that might otherwise suffocate the tradition. It is a testament of his powerful yet humble nature to succeed in such a feat.

His Eminence seated at Rev. Mother Angie's Ordination

His Eminence seated at Rev. Mother Angie’s Ordination

When he joined the AJC as a seminarian and then a priest, he had a personal vision of what the Church should be, and what it should look like. He took hold of a vision, saw its value, and courageously built an extraordinary temple around it, allowing us all to benefit from its presence. As the years have continued, he’s incorporated the unique visions of those who have joined him in this endeavor, and while his vision remains an indelible mark upon the denomination, it has grown and adapted to meet the needs of those it serves.

In our liturgies, we remember various historical figures who embody virtues we aspire to hold as individuals. Likewise, we are now living history, witnessing the legacy of the man who knelt before the ruins and constructed the shining temple we cherish today. When we were writing the sacramentary, I remarked that 100 years from now, people would look back on these days as we do the days of the apostles, where our conversations about what we wanted to emphasize and what we wanted to adapt were decided. His Eminence has held those remarks close to his heart, and he not only takes the view of the moment, but the long view of eternity as he deliberates on our various offerings.


To answer my questions above: I believe he is inspired by the Divine, strengthened by the seekers, and possesses a great dedication to and love for the community of the Apostolic Johannite Church. As we

The Conclave Group living it up

Conclave is not always serious

honor the anniversary of Mar Iohannes IV’s ascension to Patriarch, we also recognize the temple designed by Shaun McCann for all of us to build. Let us take a moment to express gratitude for his efforts and acknowledge the significance of this day.  Let us pray for his continued inspiration, strength, dedication, and love to guide us for years to come. May we all be blessed to follow his example, and embody those virtues in our lives and in service to the Apostolic Johannite Church.  Please join me in wishing His Eminence a very happy Anniversary.

Axios! Axios! Axios!

 

Statement: Dismissal of Rev. Jordan Stratford

The Apostolic Johannite Church has terminated all official roles of Rev. Jordan Stratford with the Apostolic Johannite Church, effective as of July 2nd 2023

These actions were preceded by a revocation of license and suspension from ministry as a consequence of conduct and behaviours in the context of personal, family and health circumstances, which in turn raised significant questions about Stratford’s suitability and fitness for continued ministry. 

In order to do its due diligence, a time-limited process for remedial education and recommended professional resources together with an evaluation of fitness for ministry was provided by the Apostolic Council – this process was agreed to but was not completed.

As a result of this, with the concurrence of the Apostolic Council, we have elected to terminate his ministry and official roles within our community.

 

Brother Paul Fecteau (1968 – 2023)

It is with great sadness that the Apostolic Johannite Church announces the passing of one of its leaders – Brother Paul Fecteau, of Thomas the Twin Narthex based out of Kansas City, Missouri, after a period of significant illness.

Paul founded Thomas the Twin Narthex and launched the Sacred Texts Study Group. His spiritual practice focused on interpreting the metaphors of the divine that surround us daily. His academic background often came into play: he earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Wichita State and spent over a dozen years teaching college literature and writing courses. He also worked as an investigator, both as government contractor and as a private detective licensed in Kansas. His experimental work Liber ‘LXIII – A Re-Mythologizing the JFK Assassination was serialized in the magazine Vautrin, and he wrote iota Subscript: a micro-Column on Scriptural Weirdness on Substack.

I had the pleasure of joining in meetings of the Sacred Texts Study Group and the Narthex and Paul also sat with our local parish, St. Joseph of Arimathea to participate in its study group. Paul’s contributions to discussion and learning, both as a leader and a member, were equal parts insight, thoughtfulness, humour and engagement. He was a credit to the work of the Apostolic Johannite Church, and he will be greatly missed.

Our Deacons, Priests and Bishops will be celebrating memorial liturgies for his remembrance and repose, subject to their schedule and circumstance.

On behalf of the Apostolic Johannite Church, we send our deepest condolences to his many friends and family.

+ IOHANNES IV
Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch
The Apostolic Johannite Church

Easter Blessing 2023

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

Conclave 2023 – Saints, Demi-Gods and Intercessors

The Apostolic Johannite Church is proud to present the twenty-third annual AJC Conclave – May 26 – 28, 2023

After a review of costs involved for attendance at our host cities, the Apostolic Johannite Church has opted in favour of accessibility and affordability – Conclave 2023 will be entirely online

Each year the people of the AJC, friends and family gather together to socialize, learn, build our skills and deepen our community. It is an amazing opportunity for spiritual growth and insight to modern Gnostic practice. Conclave is a rich opportunity to deepen your practice, education and experience of Gnosticism, Spirituality, Esotericism and the Apostolic Johannite Church. 

Conclave offers lectures, workshops and panel discussions selected to develop ministry skills, support the work of church leaders both lay and ordained and deepen and enrich the spiritual lives of attendees. 

As always, we welcome you, no matter who you are or what your spiritual path, to join us for this unique week. You can come for all or part and participate as much or as little as you’d like. However you choose, we welcome you into our household.

Our theme this year is Saints, Demi-Gods and Intercessors

Our Guest Speakers

Keynote – M. David Litwa on the Hermetica

The Apostolic Johannite Church is excited to welcome and present Dr. M. David Litwa as our Keynote speaker- and he will be presenting on Hermetica

M. David Litwa, PhD, is a scholar of ancient Mediterranean religions with a focus on early Christianity. He has taught courses at the University of Virginia (Religion and Classics), the College of William & Mary (Classics), and Virginia Tech (Religion and Culture). His current appointment is at the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry (ACU Melbourne). He is a member of the steering committee of the Bible, Myth, and Myth Theory Group at the Society of Biblical Literature. His recent publications include How the Gospels Became History: Jesus and Mediterranean Myth (Yale University Press, 2019), Desiring Divinity (Oxford University Press, 2016), and Iesus Deus: The Early Christian Depiction of Jesus as a Mediterranean God (Fortress, 2014)

The Dr. Juliana Eimer Memorial Lecture – Eimear Burke on Brighid of Ireland

The Apostolic Johannite Church is excited to welcome and present Eimear Burke as our Dr. Juliana Eimer Memorial Lecture presenter.  She will be presenting on Brigid of Ireland

Eimear is the Chosen Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) and lives in Kilkenny, Ireland.

Eimear has private practice as a Counselling Psychologist and her interests in Druidry and psychology have led her to act as a Celebrant, helping people to design and enact meaningful rites of passage. She is licensed to perform legal weddings in the Republic of Ireland and can also offer non legal ceremonies. 

Eimear has a deep love of the ancient Irish tales and has a passion for storytelling.  She brings the old tales to new audiences, and – while remaining faithful to the stories – often examines them from new perspectives, so that listeners experience them as fresh and relevant.  She particularly enjoys showing people the sacred sites of Ireland and telling the ancient tales right where they happened.

Eimear is also a Priestess dedicated to Danú in the Fellowship of Isis. She is an Arch Druidess in the Druid Clan of Dana and a member of the Noble Order of Tara.

For several years, the Rev. Subdeacon Juliana Eimer, Ph.D was an active presenter and participant at our Conclaves- speaking on a variety of topics, from female Saints to the nature of Divinity. Her passing a mere months after Conclave 2016 was difficult for our community, and the Apostolic Johannite Church has chosen to remember her work here with us through a lecture series in her name.

Bridget Jeffries on The Apostle Vanishes: Junia and the Reception History of Romans 16:7

Bridget Jack Jeffries is a PhD student in church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She has written for The Hill, RELEVANT magazine, and Priscilla Papers, and her interviews on religion have appeared in The Washington Post and Religion & Ethics Newsweekly. She likes church history, hamsters, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

She will be presenting on St  Junia

 

Program of Conclave Lectures and Workshops

In addition to our featured talks, we are also excited to bring you an engaging list of speakers and activities throughout the Conclave program.

Without further preamble- here are some of the talks and workshops we have at the time of this announcement:

The Most Rev. Dr. William Behun – Daimon Love: Plato’s Symposium and Intercession
The Most Rev. Dr. William Behun – The Sacred Cycle: An Introduction to the Liturgical Year (New Series)
The Most Rev. Scott Rassbach: The Role of the Saints in the Johannite Tradition
Rev. Fr. John DiGilio: Echoes of the Apocalypse: The Enduring Legacy of St. Joachim of Fiore
The Rev. Fr. Brenden Humberdross: The Cult of the Saints
The Rev. Deacon Jonathan Stewart: Saint Expedite: Magic, History and Devotion
The Rev. Deacon Angie Wisk-Nowell: Women in Church Leadership- A Reclamation
Joanne Leone: In the image of God: Angelic creation of the psychic body in the Apocryphon of John

Costs and Registration

Full Registration: All Talks and Workshops – 100 USD
Student Registration: All Talks and Workshops – 50 USD
Individual Talk or Workshop – 25 USD

Refund Policy

Full Refund Available until May 26, 2023 (Start of Conclave)

We look forward to seeing you there and sharing your journey. Register at https://www.johannite.org/conclave/

Statement: Dismissal of Joseph Revels

Effective immediately, the Apostolic Johannite Church announces the involuntary dismissal of Joseph Revels from the clerical state.  Mr. Revels is released from all obligations commensurate with his ordination and is divested of all privileges and offices previously accorded him by his former ministry in the Church.  

Anyone having questions or concerns is asked to please direct them to Most Rev. Scott Rassbach at [email protected]

Ordination to the Sacred Order of Priesthood: Rev. Angie Wisk-Nowell

The Apostolic Johannite Church is pleased to announce the upcoming Ordination of the Rev. Angie Wisk-Nowell to the Sacred Order of the Priesthood for service with the Parish of St. Joseph of Arimathea.

Angie was raised in a non-religious family but has been captivated by spirituality for as long as she can remember. She has practiced in a variety of forms of Christianity ranging from Evangelical, Mysticism, and Gnosticism.

When she discovered the concept of the feminine divine in Christianity she was hooked and has been exploring this deeply since 2006.  Angie has been a member of the Parish of St. Joseph of Arimathea since 2017 and was ordained to the Diaconate in September 2020. She holds a B.A. in History and an MBA. She lives with her husband and two small children in Calgary, Alberta.

The Rev. Angie Wisk-Nowell will be ordained to the Priesthood by the Patriarch of the Apostolic Johannite Church, the Most Rev. Shaun McCann, in ecclesia IOHANNES IV, during a celebration of the Johannite Gnostic Mass on July 22nd, the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene at 1:00pm at Good Shepherd Moravian Church, in Calgary, Alberta.