Conclave 2024: Occult Influences in Orthodox Western Rite Liturgies with Rev. Dr. Edward Waters

The Apostolic Johannite Church is excited to announce an additional speaker and talk to our Conclave lineup.

Occult Influences in Orthodox Western Rite Liturgies with Rev. Dr. Edward Waters

Rev. Edward Waters is a Presbyter in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and has a scholarly interest in Liturgy. Beyond his work on the renovationist liturgical reform of Bishop Antonin (Granovsky), available online, he curates an archive of Orthodox western rite ephemera. Amongst proponents of the Orthodox western rite, its low profile within the Orthodox Church is a source of discontent. In this talk, the connections between the Orthodox western rite and Christian esotericism are explored, and the marginalisation of this liturgical perspective is re-evaluated in light of this contextual information.

Conclave 2024 – entirely online from May 31st to June 2nd, is only days away but you can still join us! For a full schedule of talks, registration, and contact information, should you wish to attend but need assistance, please visit


Easter Blessing 2024

Conclave 2024

The Apostolic Johannite Church is proud to present the twenty-fourth annual AJC Conclave – May 31st to June 2nd, 2024

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 2024 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 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 The Gnostic Ecclesia: Wherever Two Or More Are Gathered. 

Our Guest Speakers

Keynote – Dr. Justin Sledge – The Valentinians

The Apostolic Johannite Church is thrilled to welcome Dr. Justin Sledge as our Keynote speaker- and he will be presenting on The Valentinians

Dr. Sledge’s work engages with Religious Studies specifically in the so-called “Western Esoteric Tradition” or Hermetic Tradition in religious and philosophical thought.  In this line of research he seeks to grasps the philosophical commitments which underpin the alleged workings of magic, esoteric influence, spirit possession, alchemy, etc.  This field of inquiry brings him primarily into contact with philosophers and intellectuals regrettably disregarded by the modern philosophic canon

Dr. Sasha Chaitow – Beauty, Charity, Subtlety: Joséphin Péladan’s Way of Mystical Aestheticism 

Dr Sasha Chaitow is a British-Greek author, artist, and cultural historian. She is the only modern, English-language scholar to have completed an in-depth, academic study of the life and work of Joséphin Péladan:  Son of Prometheus: The Life and Work of Joséphin Péladan (Theion, 2022). She is currently working on a three-volume scholarly anthology of Péladan’s work for Theion Publishing, annotated translations for Black Letter Press, and editing health education volumes for Elsevier. Sasha has taught on esoteric topics at universities and in adult education for over 20 years. A practicing artist and gallerist, Sasha trained in an icon-painting workshop in Corfu, Greece, later attending the Vakalo School of Fine Arts in Athens. She has exhibited internationally and her art draws on her early training as well as her scholarship of esotericism.

The Rev. Dr. Siobhán Houston – The Gnostic Restoration in Modern France

The Rev. Dr. Siobhán Houston was ordained as an independent Catholic priest in 2003 by Bishop Martha Shultz. She is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and studied Western esotericism at the doctoral level with Dr. Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. She is the author of Priests, Gnostics and Magicians: European Roots of Esoteric Independent Catholicism, as well as two other books. She has also written for numerous periodicals, including Theosophical History, GNOSIS, and Parabola.

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:

  • A Gathering of the Summoned: The History of the Ecclesia from the Bronze Age to Today with Most Rev. William Behun, Primate of the United States
  • Lent: The Start and End of the Liturgical Year with the Most Rev. William Behun, Primate of the United States
  • Stirring the Coals: Group Ritual to Feed the Sacred Flame with Most Rev. Scott Rassbach
  • Consciousness of Self Organizing Systems in World Esotericism with Most Rev. Bray Weaver
  • A Gnostic Church is Impossible, Which is why we must do it with Rev. Jonathan Stewart
  • Ora et Labora: The Religious Life in History and Spiritual Practice with Rev. Fr. Brenden Humberdross
  • Divination as Community Spiritual Practice with Rev. Mother Angie Wisk-Nowell
  • Mutual Aid as Spiritual Practice with Rev. Mrs Christina Rockey
  • Gnosticism as Art, Gnostics as Artists with Jason Mehmel

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 31, 2024 (Start of Conclave)

We look forward to seeing you there and sharing your journey. Registration opens on Easter Monday (4/1/24)

Episcopal Visit to St. John the Baptist Parish, Atlanta, GA

The Apostolic Johannite Church and the Archdiocese of Wisconsin are pleased to announce the upcoming visit of The Most Rev. Scott Rassbach, in ecclesia Mar Iacomus, Auxiliary Bishop of the United States, to the Parish of St. John the Baptist in Atlanta, GA, March 9th and 10th, 2024

Mar Iacomus will be celebrating the Johannite Gnostic Mass and will also be administering the Rite of Reception for Derek Shippee, the Confirmations of Jeb Boone and Josh Mangham, the Minor Order of Cleric for Derek Shippee and Jeb Boone and receiving the Solemn Profession of Thomas Garrett, NTSJ, for the Knights of the Temple in the OTSJ. 

For more information on the Parish of St. John the Baptist, their events and community – visit

Consecration to the Episcopacy: The Rev. Fr. Brenden Humberdross

The Apostolic Johannite Church is pleased to announce the election of the Rev. Fr. Brenden Humberdross, of Maryborough, Australia to the Sacred Episcopacy for the Apostolic Johannite Church in Australia.

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 lifelong 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 ordaineda 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 several Masonic bodies, is a member of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, a Martinist Superior Inconnu, 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.

Bishop-Elect Humberdross will be consecrated on September 22nd, 2024 on the Feast of the Restoration, with the Parish of St. Teresa of Avila, in Brisbane, Australia under the name, title and jurisdiction of Mar Synesius, Bishop of Queensland.

The Consecration will be celebrated by the Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch, Iohannes IV, with the Bishop Emeritus of New South Wales, the Most Rev. Tim Mansfield, in ecclesia Mar Timotheos, as co-Consecrator. 

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!