The Liberal Gnostic Church is an Esoteric, Gnostic community of Initiates with valid Apostolic Succession. We hold and transmit lines of authority from both major European lineages – English and French. Our model is not congregation-based, but instead focused on the private priesthood of the individual for their own empowerment and aid upon their initiatory path.
The LGC does not train people for the standard congregational model of the clergy — rather, harkening back to the early days of the ancient church, we have chosen to establish what was once called a “regular” clergy, as distinct from a secular, or diocesan clergy, which is to say, something more akin to independent monks than to ministers.
The specific rules and disciplines of a cloistered monasticism are not relevant to a 21st century Gnostic Initiatory tradition, to be sure, and a case could be made that many of them are no longer relevant to the modern world more generally. Still, there is certainly a need for men and women who are willing to embrace a “new monasticism” centered on a personal rule, or way of life: one in which the core principle of aligning the whole life with the inner dimensions of reality can express itself in forms relevant to the individual and the present age; in which a rich esoteric and spiritual life supported by meaningful ceremonial and personal practice can readily coexist with whatever form of outward life is necessary or appropriate to each priest or priestess.
This concept, which the LGC terms “the Inner Cloister,” is what the LGC offers to those who are interested in following the path of a priest or priestess. It is obviously not for everyone, but it is our belief and hope that many will find the path of the Liberal Gnostic Church relevant to their own lives.
The Liberal Gnostic Church has its roots in both the Liberal Catholic Church of England and the French Gnostic Revival. Much of their traditions have been maintained, and yet there are also many differences. The major differences may be summarized in three points:
- Authority The traditional hierarchical structure of clergy versus laity is dismantled. Although the sacrament of Holy Orders remains intact, the path is open to all who wish to tread it. The decision to follow this path lies with the seeker. Authority lies with the individual.
- Inclusiveness Inclusiveness in its widest sense.
- Diversity Unity means having an umbrella with defining characteristics. Any organization must have its rules and dogmas. Yet, these should be restricted to those which are strictly essential. Unity is therefore found in the diversity of individual expression rather than in uniformity.
The term Apostolic Succession refers to the linear series of bishops, regardless of See, each consecrated by other bishops, themselves consecrated similarly in a direct and linear succession going back to the apostles who derived their apostolic authority from Christ. The Apostolic Succession of The Liberal Gnostic Church is derived primarily from the Old Catholic Church of Holland, though all extant lines of Succession are held. That Apostolic Succession has been carefully and canonically preserved in unbroken lineal descent to the current Presiding Bishop.
The Liberal Gnostic Church wishes to be a channel for the beneficent influence of the Logos upon the lives of its members and those with whom they interact. We believe that the Sacred Flame of the Divine dwells in everything and in all the peoples of the earth. Irrespective of the seeming differences between human beings, each and every is endowed with the possibility to become a creator, to fulfill their own lives, to follow their own unique, yet valid path to spiritual unfoldment. The traditional sacraments are meant as an aid along the way: They are neither essential nor necessary requirements.
A sacrament may be seen as an outward sign of an internal grace. However, a sacrament is something that is experienced by the person undergoing it. It is this experience, which is personal and different for everyone. The ritual provides an environment in which personal experience may occur.
- Baptism Strengthens the connection between the personality and soul. Generally conferred by a priest at any time of day.
- Confirmation Strengthens the resolve to work towards spiritual unfoldment. Conferred by a bishop, generally during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
- Absolution Helps to accept things done imperfectly so that these no longer impede further progress. Conferred by a priest during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, a Healing Service or at any other occasion. Confession is not required and regular confession is even actively discouraged. However, if a person has weighty things on their mind that they do wish to confess, the possibility to do this is provided.
- Qurbana Is the theurgic reconnection with the highest divine principle within oneself and with the Divine Origin. The Qurbana, or Holy Eucharist (the Mass) is the service during which the offerings are consecrated into the Body and Blood of Christ.
- Nuptual Strengthens the bond between any two people who wish to share each others’ lives as partners. The two people confer this sacrament on each other by exchanging vows and rings.
- Anointing of the Sick In the final stages of earthly life, the anointing may be used to loosen the bonds with the earth so as to assist the process of passing away.
- Holy Orders Provides a spiritual pathway to activate the priesthood already embedded in each and every human being. Holy orders are conferred by a bishop in an ordination service.