Conclave 2019: Amor vs. Roma: Joséphin Péladan on the Secret Tradition from the Cathars and the Troubadours to Dante with Nicholas Laccetti

The Apostolic Johannite Church is pleased to announce an addition to our Conclave lineup with a talk entitled Amor vs. Roma: Joséphin Péladan on the Secret Tradition from the Cathars and the Troubadours to Dante with Nicholas Laccetti. 

Nicholas Laccetti is a Christian esotericist, a theologian, and a practicing occultist. He is the author of The Inner Church is the Hope of the World: Western Esotericism as a Theology of Liberation (Resource Publications, 2018). His writings have appeared in publications such as Patheos, Killing the Buddha, and Religion Dispatches. Nicholas holds an M.A. in Medieval Studies from Fordham University and an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary, where he focused on the interdisciplinary study of theological aesthetics and popular religion. Outside of his esoteric interests, he works in communications for the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice, an institute based at Union in New York City. 

Nicholas Laccetti’s talk is scheduled for Friday afternoon of Conclave 2019

Conclave 2019: How can we interpret the Gospel of Thomas with Dr. Andre Gagne

The Apostolic Johannite Church is pleased to announce an addition to our Conclave lineup with a talk entitled How can we interpret the Gospel of Thomas, with Dr. Andre Gagne. 

Dr. André Gagné is a tenured Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Theological Studies at Concordia University. He is also a research associate with the Centre d’expertise de formation sur les intégrismes religieux, les idéologies politiques et la radicalisation (CEFIR), and with the Center for Research on Religion (CREOR), as well as a Digital Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS). In 2017, Dr. Gagné was Directeur d’études invité à l’École pratique des hautes études in Paris for his work on the Gospel According to Thomas.

His teaching and research focuses on the Christian Right, fundamentalism, religious violence and the interpretation and reception of the Bible. In his public scholarship, Dr. Gagné seeks to explain how sacred texts and traditions are used by fundamentalist groups and individuals to cultivate violent ideas and/ or incite politico-religious violence. He also has a marked interest in studying the beliefs, practices and political inclinations of dominionist movements such as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and Christian Reconstructionism.

Dr. Gagne’s talk is scheduled for the Monday afternoon of Conclave 2019. 

See you there!


What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
– The Waste Land by TS Eliot

Today marks the beginning of Lent- a traditional Christian season of repentance (or more properly metanoia) forty days prior to the celebration of the Easter. 

More than merely repentance of the wrongs that one has committed, metanoia is a changing of mind- a reorientating of oneself in an act of transformation. 

These forty days are likened to the Gospel story of Christ’s time in the desert, of separation, comtemplation and temptation. A trial of spirit. 

Lent opens appropriately with Ash Wednesday- where through ritual, prayer and contemplation, we reflect upon our own weakness and mortality. Remember O Man, that you are dust, and to it you shall return. 

It is a day to reflect upon attachment, not only to external things which reinforce our ignorance and separation, but also especially to our own minds and bodies, which, like everything else, will deteriorate and decay with the passage of time. 

I will show you fear in a handful of dust

Yet, this day gives way to the fullness of lent- an opportunity to experience a change of mind from that which is transitory to that which is eternal. 
As Gnostics, there are many different views that can be drawn from the symbology of Lent and I’d like to share with you my own, perhaps you may find some value in it. For myself, Lenten discipline is about a few things- removing obstacles, seeing through superficiality, and renewing ourselves through our connection to the Divine- for which the former is of prime value. 

If you have encountered historical Christianity with any amount of depth, you have probably come across concepts associated with the so-called redemptive power of suffering- there are many who identify with Lent in this fashion- particularly through the temptation and trial in the desert. The idea that through trial, loss, difficulty and any other euphemism for things that are hard to bear, we can see ourselves and the Divine, as well as the relationship between them, more clearly. 

There is some truth there, but it does not rest within the realm of suffering but of reconnection. The Divine Beloved does not desire suffering for anyone, suffering is a natural byproduct of human existence. We rise, we stumble, we fall, we trip, we push, we are pushed, we bend, we break, we bind, we loose. 

Reconnection in the context of Lent, then, is not about suffering but about a willful and intentional examination of those things that are most important to us and our spiritual journeys. It is not about accepting life’s slings and arrows as some kind of noble Divine given test, for nothing could be further from the truth, but rather goes beyond what life hands us into an intentional clearing away of those things that keep us from a full understanding of ourselves and the Divine not only in us, but present in the world and in our fellow humanity. 

Does this mean we should turn Lent into a joyless enclave of ascetic rigour? – hardly. 

It is an opportunity to examine priorities, seek out again that connection to Self and the Divine, and bridge the perceptual gap between the two- not towards a more “serious” life, but towards a more joyous one. When that gap is bridged we have opportunities for greater understanding, greater happiness, great compassion, greater joy- as we not only see the Divine present in our own lives through love, creativity, communion, connection and passion, but also as we share those things with and recognize them in, others. 

In order to do that we need focus and discipline- not a focus and discipline that merely says “I’m not going to eat chocolate for lent” but a focus and discipline that says “I’m going to take some time to work on myself and my journey”. It’s something we should do every day of the year, but in case we don’t- Lent is here for just that purpose. 

As for suffering.. suffering is unavoidable. The Divine Beloved seeks not our suffering, and while suffering may not be a test, it is an opportunity. Lent is a period of purification, of clearing away, and is a process of spiritual intention. Suffering, tends to happen despite our intentions. 

Suffering is nothing other than what it is but we can take out of it an opportunity to take the lead of life and transmute it into gold. Given the things we go through as human beings, not every situation is an opportunity to do that perfectly, and sometimes the gold we create will be mere ounces to pounds of lead, but it is an opportunity just the same.

Unlike so many other times, trials and lessons in life- Lent offers the opportunity for us to reconnect, examine and explore not only our relationship with the Divine Beloved, but with ourselves on our own terms and of our own choosing.

It should be remembered that Christ went into the desert willingly and of the inspiration of the Divine

Lent offers us the opportunity to to walk to the burning and dry realms within ourselves to meet both ourselves and God there, and through the season that follows Lent, bring life to those places. 

Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch
The Apostolic Johannite Church

Conclave 2019

The Apostolic Johannite Church is proud to present the twentieth annual AJC Conclave – May 16-21, 2019 in Montreal, Quebec

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 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. Conclave is also rich in social time, time to eat, talk, pray and practice together. It’s like a retreat and a conference all rolled into one.

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 Divine Feminine

Keynote Speaker and Dr. Juliana Eimer Memorial Lecture

The Apostolic Johannite Church is excited to welcome and present Dr. Celene Lillie as our Keynote and Dr. Juliana Eimer Memorial Lecture presenter which will be delivered as one lecture.  She will be presenting on The Thunder,  Perfect Mind.

Celene Lillie (Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary) is the Director of Adult Education and Spiritual Formation at First United Methodist Church in Boulder, Colorado, and an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado Boulder.  She is the author of The Rape of Eve: The Transformation of Roman Ideology in Three Early Christian Retellings of Genesis, the director of translations for A New New Testament, and a co-author of The Thunder Perfect Mind: A New Translation and Introduction. (via the Westar Institute)

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 an annual lecture in her name.

Program of Conclave Lectures and Workshops

In addition to our Keynote, 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 Divine Feminine in the Gospel of John – Dr. David Goodin, McGill University
  • Missing Witches with Risa Dickens and Amy Torok (of the Missing Witches Podcast)
  • The Sacrament of Matrimony with the Primate of the United States
  • The Great Lady in Temple Theology with the Bishop of New South Wales
  • Centering Prayer for Gnostics with the Bishop of New South Wales
  • Incarnation and the Divine Mother with the Rev. Mrs. Christina Rockey
  • The Divine Feminine in Secret John with V. Rev. Tony Silvia
  • Mirth and Reverence: The Spirituality of Comedy and Joyful Living with Fr. Joseph McCauslin
  • The Gospel of Mary with the Rev. Mr. Clark Aitkins
  • Feminine Figures in Gnostic and Buddhist Scripture with Deacon Jason Campbell

Costs and Registration

Lodging is not included and is the responsibility of the attendee.

Full Registration

Individual- January 1st to April 1st: Early Bird: $500
After April 1st: $525

Couple- January 1st to April 1st: Early Bird: $900
After April 1st: $950

Full Registration includes All Activities and Eight Meals:

Thursday: Dinner
Friday: All Activities, Lunch and Dinner
Saturday: All Activities and Lunch.  Dinner excursion at own cost
Sunday: All Lectures, Workshops, and Dinner
Monday: All Activities, Lunch and Dinner
Tuesday: All Activities, Lunch

Weekend Package includes All Activities and Four Meals

Individual- January 1st to April 1st: Early Bird: $250
After April 1st: $300

Couple- January 1st to April 1st: Early Bird: $450
After April 1st: $500

Friday: All Activities, Lunch and Dinner
Saturday: All Activities and Lunch.  Dinner excursion at own cost
Sunday: All Lectures, Workshops, and Dinner


Saturday: All Activities and Lunch.  Dinner excursion at own cost
Sunday: All Lectures, Workshops, and Dinner
Monday: All Activities, Lunch and Supper

$125 Individual Per Day Registration (Includes activities and scheduled meals excepting Saturday Dinner)

Refund Policy

From Now until April 1st- 100% Refund
April 2nd to May 1st- 50% Refund
After May 2nd- No Refund will be issued

Registration closes May 2nd

We look forward to seeing you there and sharing your journey. Registration opens soon


Bishop Tim Mansfield: The Magdalene

Icon of Mary Magdalene, dressed in red, holding up an egg.

My intent with these short essays has been to trace parallel female figures to the two Johns depicted in the Introduction course – Mary Theotokos parallels John the Baptist, Mary of Bethany parallels John the Beloved. In the course of those explorations, we discover that the parallels aren’t direct – both Mary images deepen as well as mirror the John images. These are people after all, not mere symbols; they are themselves.

So let’s take one more step by looking at yet another Mary – the Apostle to the Apostles, the Disciple beyond compare, The Magdalene.

The image for this blog is an icon by Robert Lentz depicting a traditional story about her.

One tradition concerning Mary Magdalene says that following the death and resurrection of Jesus, she used her position to gain an invitation to a banquet given by the Roman Emperor Tiberius. When she met him, she held a plain egg in her hand and exclaimed, “Christ is risen!” The Emperor laughed, and said that Christ rising from the dead was as likely as the egg in her hand turning red while she held it. Before he finished speaking, the egg in her hand turned a bright red and she continued proclaiming the Gospel to the entire imperial house.

What I love about this story is that it vividly depicts Mary’s personal power. She isn’t a timid follower of Jesus, she is a significant woman of renown who stands up to emperors to speak the truth. In the canonical gospels, she communicates the news of the Resurrection to the apostles, but in gnostic scriptures like The Gospel of Mary, she goes much further.

[…] Mary stood up, greeted them all, and said to her brethren, Do not weep and do not grieve nor be irresolute, for His grace will be entirely with you and will protect you. But rather, let us praise His greatness, for He has prepared us and made us into Men.When Mary said this, she turned their hearts to the Good, and they began to discuss the words of the Savior.

Peter said to Mary, Sister we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of woman. Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them.

Mary answered and said, What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you.

– Gospel of Mary Magdalene 5:2-7

… and she does, laying out a complex doctrine of human freedom attained by defeating the hold of the ruling powers over the human soul. Peter – never the sharpest chisel in the toolbox – doesn’t follow.

Mary depicts a human being entering the fullness of spiritual insight, the Word flowing through her as she teaches. She isn’t merely one who has learned, she is one who Knows.

What’s Johannite for me about this image isn’t her forthrightness or her certainty, it’s her transformation.

The Magdalene earlier in the gospels is a much milder, more humble figure. Prior to the crucifixion, she is one among the followers of Jesus – but as the story advances beyond the death of Jesus, she emerges as this striking, powerful figure. Just as we see with the later stories around St John, Mary is depicted undergoing a profound transformation from follower to teacher.

This transformation also depicts a crucial aspect of the Johannite understanding of Jesus as not merely teacher, but as an exemplar – his life depicting a path which others… which we… might follow. This is crucially different to the Jesus most of us grew up with who is a singular figure worthy of devotion and worship, but not someone we might hope to emulate.

For us, Mary Magdalene (and John the Beloved later in life) depicts full human spiritual maturity, which is not simply to echo Christ, it is to be Christ – to fully realise throughout your being the total unity between the Logos and human nature.

Sept 23: Patriarchal Visit to Holy Grail Narthex, Montreal, Que.

The Apostolic Johannite Church is pleased to announce an official visit by the Patriarch of the Apostolic Johannite Church to Holy Grail Narthex in Montreal, Que, Sunday September 23rd, 2018 at 6pm.

The Patriarch will be celebrating the Contemplative Eucharist together with Rev. Subdeacon Jonathan Stewart and Holy Grail Narthex at Présence Meditation Center, located at 207 rue St. Viateur Ouest. 

The Contemplative Eucharist is a Rite of the Apostolic Johannite Church which emphasizes silent contemplation and is practiced together with meditation and the ancient practice of Lectio Divina. All are welcome to attend and take communion.

Following the Eucharist, there will be dinner at a locally selected restaurant, for informal conversation and discussion.