It is with profound sadness that the Apostolic Johannite Church has received news of the passing of the Most Rev. Rosamonde Miller, Presiding Bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica Mysteriorum.
Our deepest condolences to her beloved husband, David, her family and the exemplary clergy and people of the Ecclesia Gnostica Mysteriorum.
I first had the opportunity to spend time with Her Grace at the mother parish of the Ecclesia Gnostica Mysteriorum, the Gnostic Sanctuary, in 2007 on a visit to San Francisco. This was followed the year after by a visit of the Hierarchy of the Apostolic Johannite Church to the Gnostic Sanctuary as a part of our 2008 Conclave. These weren’t the events that began the friendship between our communities though, they were the result of it and this friendship has burned brightly ever since.
This friendship, warmth and real spiritual embrace wasn’t just limited to myself or our community as a whole however, she kindled deep friendships and bonds with many of our clergy and laity of their own accord – it was after all, how we would come to meet, and the depth of loss is felt profoundly across the clergy and laity of the Apostolic Johannite Church.
More profound however than the loss to our own community and work, is the depth of loss to the Gnostic Ecclesia, the Independent Sacramental Movement and the world at large – her rich history of front line on the ground ministry, spiritual exploration, ecumenical and interfaith work, and compassionate service to the vulnerable and those most in need was both wide and deep.
It is near impossible to overstate this.
Each of these aspects of her work was pursued to such a degree that you could be convinced that it was the only thing she did, and yet she did all of them with depth, sincerity, love and fearlessness.
Standing shoulder to shoulder in accomplishment with this exemplary and humble service to humanity, was her service to the tradition of the Divine Feminine personified in both the Holy Sophia and Mary Magdalene alike, A tradition to which she was all at once, principal heir, principal proponent, towering lighthouse and unflagging standard bearer – giving voice and face, flame and spirit, and most clearly to all who knew her, hand and heart, to that most neglected of voices in the spiritual traditions of the West.
The only thing comparable to the magnitude of her presence and work, is the degree of the loss which we now feel.
Yet, that darkness when pitted against the flame of her service, strength of her character, and warmth of her heart, is a barrier that cannot stand, and that like the doors of so many hearts that opened because of the path she made, that darkness too will fall away by her presence in eternity.
In her memory, and in recognition of her service, the Apostolic Johannite Church shall conduct memorial liturgies across all of its parishes, narthexes and missions in place of their next regular service.
+ IOHANNES IV
Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch
The Apostolic Johannite Church
The Apostolic Johannite Church is pleased to announce the incardination and licensing of the Rev. Fr. Brenden Humberdross for service in the Johannite Church of Australia under the Most Rev. Tim Mansfield, Ph.D, in ecclesia Mar Timotheos.
Originally ordained to the Diaconate and Priesthood in Unified Old Catholic Church, Fr. Brenden excardinated from that community for seminary work with the AJC. After a process of evaluation, coursework and on the ground service over the past two and a half years, he has been licensed for ministry in the Apostolic Johannite Church.
Brenden Humberdross is a native of Queensland, Australia experiencing its vastness as his family moved for his father’s work. His parents always encouraged an open approach to religion as a personal matter.
As Brenden grew he gained a natural inquisitiveness about religion and at the age of 10 began actively developing his own faith. His curiosity has taken him through many different phases of personal development and has led to a deep personal faith, a life long love, and an academic interest in religion and spirituality.
This passion led to Brenden to study and receive a Post Graduate Diploma in theology from Charles Strut University and to being ordained a Deacon and a Priest in the Independent Sacramental Movement. His continued work on his own spirituality and experience with the Divine brought him to the AJC. In his time with the AJC (while studying for licensing as a Priest) he has assisted Mar Timotheos in administering St Theresa Mission (Brisbane) and founding Throne of Wisdom Narthex in Maryborough.
Brenden has an interest in the Western Mystery tradition having taken degrees in a number of Masonic bodies, is a member of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, and a Neophyte in the tradition of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
In his secular life Brenden has studied education at both an undergraduate and post-graduate level and has 18 years of teaching experience across a variety of schools and subjects. Brenden and his wife Monique live in Maryborough where they raise their blended family of 6 children.
Brenden looks forward to serving the communities of southern Queensland as the first Rector of St Theresa Parish (Brisbane); with missions in both Maryborough and Toowoomba.
The Rev. Fr. Brenden Humberdross will be formally welcomed at a celebration of the Eucharist led by the Most Rev. Mar Timotheos, who will be receiving his vows.
The Johannite and Gnostic Liturgical calendar is replete with heterodox and heretical figures, whose wisdom, trials, examples, or straight-up fantastic legends, serve as potent landmarks for understanding and reconciling our own experience of the Gnosis – that transcendent, liberating, and experiential knowledge of spiritual truth, as the Church’s Statement of Principles proclaims. There is a human want, even need, to experience, tell and hear of extraordinary figures and tales, mired as we are in the slow, thick expanse of the ordinary.
St Nicholas (March 15, 270 to December 6, 343) in the wider orthodox accounting, is the patron of sailors, merchants, children, brewers, the unmarried, pharmacists and coopers. The stories say he saved the falsely accused from execution, rescued girls from forced sex work and once punched a famous heretic in the face at the Council of Nicea. But that is not why we remember him, or how we think of him when December comes around in the secular calendar.
St. Nicholas is the precursor, type, and inspiration for the near universal figure of Santa Claus. He stands in contrast to many of his peers in the Liturgical Calendar, as a relatively ordinary figure in extraordinary company. He does the ordinary in a way that becomes extraordinary.
It is true of us, as it is true of the saints and figures of myth, legend, and history, that the extraordinary only ever happens in the midst of the ordinary. Gnosis only ever happens in the midst of ignorance, the spiritual is experienced in the middle of ordinary, material life.
The meaningful figures of our own lives are likely to be not those exceptional people for whom great tales are told, great things are accomplished, or great books are written, but rather those constant presences which have given of themselves freely and often, without note, fanfare or spectacle. Those people for whom our journeys would not be or have been possible.
Is St. Nicholas unremarkable otherwise? Of course not, but the ordinary, human, caring action of giving to another, is what he is known for – and out of that ordinary action, an extraordinary figure is made – one whose name will be spoken of with reverence and wonder long after many of the other names in the calendar are forgotten. Indeed, he has already travelled significant distances of time to reach this page, where so many others have not.
Everybody knows that communities, families, societies, and circles of friends even, are often made possible by individuals whose quiet offering of service is made to those around them, and in the culmination of life for those who live in such a way, we always say they were so dedicated, so kind, so selfless. If you are like me, you remark how you wish you could do as they have done.
Yet it does not take a lifetime of service, a life of sacrifice, bottomless pockets, bank accounts or pantries – it just takes one action, for one person, one time – and when you are able to, to do it again. Kindness then attends to itself, and acquires its own momentum, and out of a multitude of actions such as these, it becomes easier to see the face of Christ in another human being, and for his face to be seen in us – and to improve the world around us in some small way while we are doing it.
What seemingly ordinary actions can you take for your fellow travelers, seekers, and companions on the journey of life?
Those gestures may be the things that save the day, the journey, or the life of another human being.
Nicholas was called ‘The Wonderworker’ but in the legend of his person, no miraculous powers were needed but kindness alone.
+ IOHANNES IV
Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch
The Apostolic Johannite Church