The first to create the Cathar myth referred to in the Da Vinci Code was Napoléon Peyrat, a bourgeois and talented fabulist, concocted in the 1870s an account of the Cathars, which, though largely made up, still passes as truth in esoteric circles today. And of course there was Jules Doinel (Jules-Benoît Stanislas Doinel, who, inspired by the fiction of Napoléon Peyrat, re-invented himself as a Bishop and claimed Gnosticism, was the true religion behind Freemasonry).
Doinel's contribution to the Cathar-hype at that time was the legend of the first Gnostic Mass which was held at the parade-ground of the castle of Montsegur. Also one night in 1888 Doinel had an imagination in which the "Aeon Jesus" appeared. Doinel alleged that in this ‘vision’ he was consecrated as a Patriarch by Jesus Christ himself who was assisted by two Bogomil (Cathar) Bishops.
Before that already Napoleon Peyrat had freely admitted that when he wrote about the four Cathar perfecti escaping Montsegur with a treasure, none of this was based on historical facts but that what he wrote, had appeared to him in dreams.
Peyrat's treasure of Montségur became a cache of ancient knowledge in a theory advanced by an influential occultist, Joséphin Péladan. His friends - Charles Baudelaire, Joris-Karl Huysmans and others - called him Sar, as befitted his self-proclaimed status as descendant of the monarchs of ancient Assyria. Péladan-Sar pointed out that Montsalvat, the holy mountain of Wagner's Parsifal and Lohengrin, had to be Montségur. This led to the myth of the Pyrenean Holy Grail, the elusive secret hidden in the mountains between France and Spain.
After the calamity of the first world war, which led to a continent-wide interest in the paranormal, the call of the Cathars was heard beyond France. British spiritualists descended on Montségur, where occultists were busily embroidering Peyrat's narrative, among them Déodat Roché, a notary from a town near Carcassonne. Roché was a disciple of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy, which promised its followers direct immediate contact with the spirit world. Roché's Cathar-tainted anthroposophy was open to all influences - Hinduism, druidism, gnosis.
He made much of cave scratchings near Montségur, claiming they were pentagrams traced by Cathar fugitives to transmit a message to posterity. Any cave graffito not obviously modern was immediately Catharized by Roché (who died in 1978, at the age of 101). Around him was a group of young spiritual seekers, including, for a time, the philosopher Simone Weil. She used an anagrammatic pen-name, Emile Novis, for her articles about medieval Languedoc as a moral utopia. But one of the best distorters and exporters of the legacy of Peyrat was Maurice Magre, a writer of considerable talent now almost forgotten.
In the 20s and 30s, this prolific novelist and essayist (and prodigious consumer of opium) brought the energy of Montparnasse to Catharism. He wrote two Cathar novels, The Blood Of Toulouse and The Treasure Of The Albigensians. In the first he recast the fabulations of Peyrat and caricatured the enemies of the Cathars: the wife of the crusade leader, Simon de Montfort, is described as having rotting teeth, skin the colour of Sicilian lemons, and a big nose. His second, less successful novel presented the Perfect as Buddhists. In 1930 Magre a member of the Pollaires, met Otto Rahn in Paris.
Who were the Cathars, in Rahn's view? "We do not need the god of Rome, we have our own. We do not need the commandments of Moses, we carry in our hearts the legacy of our ancestors. It is Moses who is imperfect and impure... We, Westerners of nordic blood, we call ourselves Cathars just as Easterners of nordic blood are called Parsees, the Pure. Our heaven is open only to those who are not creatures of an inferior race, or bastards, or slaves. It is open to Aryas. Their name means that they are nobles and lords." Otto Rahn became a legend by itself , having joined the SS he had to resign followed by various the wild stories about his dead in the Pyrenees, none of which has been proven. Christian Bernadac in "Le Mystere Otto Rahn"(1994) even claims that Otto Rahn simple changed his name and became "Rudolf Rahn" the last Nazi ambassador in Rome.
One issue Christian Bernadac's book has in common however with the more reliable article by Joseph Mandement in 'La Depeche', both agree Otto Rahn was part of a propaganda fraud (he was seen planting German rune-grafitti on the walls of some of the mountain hideouts he visited), in preparation of the invasion of France by the Nazi's.
The 60s updated the lore surrounding Cathars to suit the counter-culture. The babas-cool , French back-to-the-land hippies, made the Pyrenees a prime target for returning to nature and making goat's cheese. When they began arriving in the late 60s, they were met by Dutch Rosicrucians, neo-gnostics from Belgium and other groups who had already moved to Cathar country summer camps. The babas-cool found the idea of the Cathars appealing: they were vegetarians; they were said to disapprove of marriage - therefore they were pro-free love; women could be Perfect - therefore the Cathars were feminists; and they partook of the troubadour love culture of Occitania. Rock groups serenaded crowds at the foot of Montségur, where the billows of smoke came now only from reefers.
But as for Robert Ambelain’s Church, his vision, Doinel started his attempts to contact Cathar and Gnostic Spirits in seances which were held in the salon of Lady Marie Caithness and her circle, a circle which would later become known in France as the "Societe Theosophique d'Orient et d'Occident". Doinel's Gnostic seances were attended by many notable occultists of the time, one of them being the Abbé Roca, a former Catholic Priest and close associate of both Stanislas de Guaita and Oswald Wirth. These communications with Spirits were received through a pendulum suspended by the Duchess over a board of letters. The following words were received during a séance by Doinel and Lady Caithness (excerpt of a communication between Doinel and a spirit " whom Valentinus had named Sophia-Achamôth"): The One has brought forth One, then One. And the Three are but One: the Father, the Word and the Thought. Establish my Gnostic Church. The Demiurge will be powerless against it. Receive the Paraclete.
Many writings of that period (1875-1925) which are nowadays considered as "Classics of Occultism" were written "under guidance" (or 'attunement' ) of some kind of "spirit", "hidden Master" etc. (Blavatsky's "Secret Doctrine", Crowley's "Book of the Law", A.M.O.R.C.'s 'key-document' the "Nodin-manuscript" etc.). "Visions", apparitions, "voices" etc. were commonly accepted within the occult movement as 'genuine' communications with the Supernational world. This common trust in these practcses and experiences explains the "success" of people such as Jules Doinel.
Lady Caithness was of Spanish origin. She was married to the English Lord Caithness. She'd inherited an incredible fortune after her first husband had died, the Duke of Pomar, and owned i.a. a palace in Nice, named "Tiranti". The palace in Nice became a meeting-place of Spiritists and Occultists. One of the visitors was Helena Petrova Blavatsky, years before she would establish the T.S. The circle of Lady Caithness attracted many of the well-known spiritists and occultists of the "French Occult revival" at the end of the 19th century. Lady Caithness was a disciple of Anna Kingsford of the TS. She considered herself to be the reincarnation of Mary Stuart. Doinel had been a long-time associate of Lady Caithness. It is of interest that a séance held in 1881 had foreshadowed to the Duchess "a revolution in religion which would result in the ' New Age of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit'."
In September 1889 Doinel allegedly contacted the "Very High Synod of Bishops of the Paraclete", a synod consisting of 40 Cathar Bishops who "manifested" and gave their names. The names were later checked against records from the National Library and were proven to be accurate. Apparently the Head of the Synod was a Guilhabert de Castres, a Cathar Bishop of Toulouse who had lived in the 12th century. De Castres instructed Doinel to reconstitute the Gnostic Doctrine by establishing a Gnostic Church, the "Assembly of the Paraclete". Doinel was spiritually wed with his "Helene-Ennoia" (Simon Magus' "Sophia"), his ' Helen' who would serve as an oracle. He was also ' ordered' to take the Fourth Gospel, "the Gospel of John", as the holy book of the forthcoming Gnostic Church. Male Bishops and female "Sophias" would administer Doinel's Gnostic "Cathar" Church, a neo-Albigensian Church. The year 1890 was proclaimed by Jules Doinel as the beginning of the "Era of the Gnosis Restored". Doinel assumed the office of "Patriarch of the Gnostic Church". Doinel took the mystic name of Valentin II, "in homage to Valentinus (80AD-165AD), the 2th century founder of the Valentinian school of Gnosticism". According to Tau Charles Harmonius II (Robert Cokinis) Doinel had received his ' Nomen Mysticum' during his miraculous vision: "At this particular sitting it appears that the disembodied spirits of ancient Albigensians, joined by a heavenly voice, laid spiritual hands on Doinel, creating him ' Valentinus, Bishop of the Holy Assembly of the Paraclete and of the Gnostic Church."
Doinel started to consecrate a number of Bishops and Sophias, among the first to be consecrated were Gérard Encausse (Papus, 1865-1916), as Tau Vincent (Sept. 14, 1892), Bishop of Toulouse ; Paul Sédir (Yvon Le Loup, 1871-1926), as Tau Paulas, coadjutor (second) of Toulouse ; Lucien Chamuel (Lucien Mauchel), as Tau Bardesanes, Bishop of La Rochelle and Saintes. These three men ( all of them being leaders and dignitaries of Arcane Orders in France, OKR+C, O*M*, HB of L ) would form the "Sacred Synod of the Gnostic Ecclesia". In the year 1892 Doinel consecrated other "celebrities" of the Parisienne society, such as Louis-Sophrone Fugairon (born 1848, Tau Sophronius), Bishop of Béziers ; Albert Jounet (1863-1929, Tau Théodotus ), Bishop of Avignon ; Marie Chauvel de Chauvignie (1842-1927, Esclarmonde), as Sophia of Varsovie, the first "Sophia" to be consecrated ; Léonce-Eugène Joseph Fabre des Essarts ( Tau Synésius ), Bishop of Bordeaux. It is said that a close associate of HP Blavatsky, the Countess d'Adhemer, was designated as Tau Valentin's "Helen" ("Il Retorno dello Gnosticismo", M. Introvigne, 1993). Francois-Charles Barlet and Jules Lejay, both members of the Martinist Supreme Council, were also consecrated. The mystic name was prefaced by the Greek Letter Tau, which represents the Greek Tau Cross or Egyptian Ankh. At the end of 1890 Doinel joined the Martinist Order of Papus and Doinel also became a member of its Supreme Council (Doinel does not appear on the listing of the members of the First Supreme Council of Papus' Martinist Order of 1891, so I suspect that his membership of the Supreme Council was of a later date, probably between 1893 and 1895, the year of Doinel's conversion). Doinel was also a member of a small occult circle, ‘L’Institut d’études Cabalistiques’. Other members of this Kabbalistic circle were Firmin Boissin, Louis Lechartier, and Leo Taxil.
Doinel considered the Gnostic Cathar Church to be the "depository of the esoteric knowledge of the Bible". In Doinel's publication "Premiere Homélie" from 1890 on the "Sacred Gnosis" he refers to an article of Lady Marie Caithness published in a Theosophical review, in which is written "the Gnosis is the essence of Christianity". But to Jules Doinel it is much more than that, in Doinel 's conception the Gnosis is the "complete and definitive synthesis of all beliefs and concepts of humanity with regard to it's origin, past, present and future, it's aim and goal, its nature and "survival". The "Premiere Homélie" is dated August 18th 1890,"the ninth year of our Lady of the Holy Spirit". Doinel apparently referred to a "Deuxième Homélie" which would be published to "complete the pending doctrinal aspects", but this document was never published because of Doinel's defection. Doinel's "Consolamentum" and the "Appareilamentum" are, besides the Cathar symbolism, having correspondences with the so-called "Rituel de Lyons" which was discovered in 1852 at the National Library Medieval Archives. The Gnostic Mass which was composed was known as the "Fraction du Pain" (Breaking of the Bread). Doinel emphasized the fallen state of matter in the rituals of the Church, its opposite state being the higher perfect order of the Pleroma. Doinel also proclaimed that the Gnostic Church was intended to present a system of mystical Masonry. In April 1890, Jules Stany Doinel published "La Gnose de Valentin" in which he praised and thanked Papus for the attention given to the Gnostic Church in the monthly review "l'Initiation".
It has been said that Doinel had founded his Universal Gnostic Church "in the hopes of reviving the teachings of Origen (185-254). Origen was one of the founders of the Catholic Church and a former Gnostic", thus Fr. Navitae (unfortunately no source available). It is known that the Abbé Julio based his doctrines, through Jean Sempe, on Origen. And Doinel's successor, Synésius, was a disciple of Abbé Julio.
Doinel's Church consisted of the "high clergy' (bishops and sophias), the 'low clergy' (deacons and deaconesses ), and ' lay members', who were referred to as "Parfaits/Parfaites" ('perfect one'), a term which derived from the Cathars. Most of the names of the offices in the Gnostic Church were derived from the Roman-Catholic Church. The first years of existence of Doinel's Gnostic Church were rather turbulent mainly due to the unstable personality of its founder, Jules Stany Doinel. Then suddenly in 1895 (or at the end of 1894), Doinel converted to Roman Catholicism.
Doinel left the Church he had created, resigned from his Masonic Lodge, and started to write articles in which he denounced the organizations that were once so dear to him. Doinel collaborated with Leo Taxil (G.A.Jogand-Pages), who had started the notorious offensive against Freemasonry and "other similar organizations" in the 1880's. According to Taxil, a former mason (he had been expelled from the order), these organizations were satanic in nature and were secretly controlled by the "Order of the Palladium", allegedly headed by Albert Pike. In 1997 Taxil admitted that the story was a hoax at the expense of the Church of Rome.
Jules Doinel published in 1895 his denunciation of Freemasonry in his book "Lucifer Démasqué" (Lucifer Unmasked ) using the pseudo-name Jean Kostka. Doinel supposedly wrote this book with a co-author, again, Leo Taxil. An excerpt taken from page 162 of "Lucifer Unmasked": "The Shiny Star, Lucifer itself. At the Center of the Star is attached the letter "G", the Science of Good and Evil, the symbol of the Gnosis, the letter "G", a monogram of Spiritual Pride that we spell: Satan-God (Jules Doinel / Jean Kostka, "Lucifer Unmasked", p.162. "Lucifer Démasqué", as published by "A. Barruel Publishing", edit. 2001, August.
In this book Doinel apparently also revealed a ritual which belonged to the 'Chevaliers Bienfaisants de la Cité Sainte', Willermoz' C.B.C.S. This ritual is known within this rite as the "rituel d'armement". Doinel's pseudo-name ' Jean Kostka' was derived from the name of a 16th century early deceased hero of the Polish Jesuits, Stanislas Kostka. The Polish Jesuit is mentioned in a private correspondence between the French novelist J.K. Huysmans and Jules Doinel. These correspondences are preserved at the "Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal ", filed under "Lettres de Jules Doinel " and "Lettres de J-K H". The Arsenal Library was incorporated in the National Library of Paris in 1934, and is listed as a special department of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. Both men converted to Roman Catholicism and in 1895 Huysmans describes Doinel in a private correspondence as "a very educated and intelligent man" who had finally devoted his life to 'God'. Huysmans describes Doinel in 1901 (in a private correspondence addressed to Adolphe Berthet aka Jules Esquirol, dated January 2, 1901) as a man who's pride could not support to live a life of a simple Christian. Doinel had requested his readmission as a Bishop in the Gnostic Church in 1900. (Lettres inédites de Jules Doinel à J-K. Huysmans ).
It is interesting to note that there exists an 'alternative' explanation for Doinel's return to the Gnostic church. The explanation is quite simple, Doinel actually never abandoned his Gnostic belief. It is stated that Doinel 'collaborated' with Taxil to expose all the lies and superstition that were circulating at the time with regard to the movement of initiatic organizations, including 'his' Gnostic Church.
It is stated that Doinel's decision to leave the Gnostic Church in 1895 caused a lot of problems but the Church 'somehow' managed to survive. The Synod of Bishops assumed the control of the Church and in 1895 or 1896 (depending on which source one uses, P.R. Koenig in his article "Stranded Bishops" claims 1894 as the year in which "Doinel surrendered his office to the Martinist L.E. (Eugene) J. Fabre des Essarts") a High Synod was held to elect the successor of Doinel as Patriarch. Tau Charles Harmonius II states : " Finally in the same year, Papus, Synésius, Sedir, Chamuel and other convoked a sacred synod to ratify the Eglise Gnostique and apparently to abjure the defection of the Patriarche Valentin as well as to designate his successor who would be Tau Synésius.
Tau Synésius was the mystical name of Léonce-Eugène Joseph Fabre des Essarts (1848-1917). The Sacred Synod was once again held in the oratorie of Lady Caithness, who was to die in November 1895. Therefore the year 1895 is probably the correct date of Tau Synésius' election as Patriarch of the Gnostic Church of France. Fabre des Essarts, a Symbolist Poet and Occultist and a close friend of the Abbe Julio - J.E.Houssay, started to collaborate with Louis-Sophrone Fugairon (Tau Sophronius) to develop the Gnostic Church and introducing new elements into its teachings. According to Robert Ambelain's "Abbé Julio, Sa Vie, Sa Oevre, Sa Doctrine" ( Edit.Vermet 1981, p.15) Fabre des Essarts was the Abbé's "direct disciple". The context in which the reference to Fabre des Essarts is made, is a conversation between the Abbé Julio and a Mgr.Richard which took place on March 1st, 1885.
It is also stated that another lineage was included in the Gnostic Synod of 1895, it was the lineage of the "Eglise Chretiens Primitifs de Saint Jean" which came from Mgr. Mauveil and Mgr. Chatel. Mauviel was one of the founders of the Johannite church "Eglise Johannites Chretien de Primitif" and Chatel founded the "Eglise Catholique Franchise" with a Doicese in Paris, Brussels, and Nantes.
Synésius would later introduce elements of Taoism ( through Matgioi, Comte de Pouvourville ) and Sufism (through Theophane Champrenaud ) into the teachings of the Gnostic Church. The Sacred Synod (Papus, Sédir, Chamuel ) also supported Fabre des Essart's actions to enter their Universal Gnostic Church ( Eglise Gnostique Universelle) into the communion of the Eglises Gallican (Catholique). The Gnostic Church of France of 1896 was known under various titles and apparently changed its name several times:
"Église Gnostique Universelle Catholique: " as the Gnostic Church was known in 1893. The "Protocol of the Union of the Martinist Orders" of 1958 refers to Doinel's Gnostic Church as the E.G.A.U. It is striking that the "Protocol of the M::O::" talks about 1893 as the year of birth of Doinel's church : "… the Gnostic Apostolic Universal Church (L’Eglise Gnostique Apostolique Universelle), which was established by Papus and [Jules] Doinel, in 1893, revised and brought up to date by V. I. And regretted Bro. Jean Bricaud [He was Grand Master of the Martinist Order of Lyon after Teder’s death in 1918.], in agreement with the V.I. and regretted Bro. Papus in 1911, (see, among other documents, also L’Initiation of August 1911, page 178)".
"Église du Paraclete: " the ' Church of the Paraclete, 'this was supposedly the name of the Church after Doinel's revelation (Hagia Pneuma or Holy Spirit, source: Tau C.Harmonius II ) "Église Albigeoise et Provencale" (source Tau C.Harmonius II ) "Église Gnostique de France" or "Église Gnostique" as the Church is generally referred to after 1900.
In 1899 Fugairon (Tau Sophronius) published a Gnostic Catechism called "Catéchisme Expliqué de L'Église Gnostique". In 1895 the first French translation of the "Pistis Sophia" had been published (by E. Amelineau), a book which the "Église Gnostique" ascribed to Valentinus. At the time, the protagonists of the Gnostic Church advocated a church-doctrine which contents seemed to be a hotch-potch of various ancient teachings. The advocated "doctrine" was also constantly changing and therefore it was decided to re-establish order into the apparent "chaos" of teachings by means of Sophronius' Catechism. The "Catéchisme Expliqué de L'Église Gnostique" (Sophronius, Eveque de Beziers, I-IV, Paris 1899) counts 400 pages. At the beginning of the book the "Pistis Sophia" is mentioned, but the complex system of the contents of the "Pistis Sophia" is not given the attention it deserves and is only superficially dealt with. More attention is given to Simon the Magus and the Valentinians. An exception is made on the magical attributions given in both "Livres de Jeû", two additional texts of the "Pistis Sophia", the "Codex Brucianus". In a two-piece work which was recommended by Reuss at the time of its publication called "Die Gnosis" (Leipzig, 1903), written by Eugen Heinrich Schmitt, Sophronius' "Catéchisme Expliqué de L'Église Gnostique" was strongly critized. According to Schmitt the Doctrine of the French Gnostics diverged towards a curious tendency of Roman-Catholicism. Schmitt criticizes i.a. the transsubstantiation of Bread and Wine, which he refers to as a "Fetish-Belief" of Roman-Catholicism, a belief which was embraced by the Neo-Gnostics and adapted to their customs. Schmitt considered the French Neo-Gnostic Church to be superficial ; a church which view lacked any "depth". Schmitt was probably an academic researcher not well acquainted with the world of esotericism and occult organizations (although he corresponded with Doinel). But his remark on the superficiality of the French Neo-Gnostics is characteristic of his ignorance. Schmitt stated that he considered such French occultists as Papus and Sédir (!) having a much more profound knowledge and view on "Gnosticism" then the so-called Gnostic Church itself ! Nevertheless, that does not mean his "criticism" was not fundamental.
In the year 1899 Doinel started to correspondent again with Synésius, and in 1900 he requested readmission as a bishop in the Gnostic Church. Doinel was reconsecrated by Synésius as Tau Jules, Bishop of Alet and Mirepoix. In 1903 Doinel died.
In spite of the "alternative explanation" of Doinel's defection, we have to remember that Doinel was a medium, led by "visions" which he often could not 'control ', Papus himself stated that Doinel lacked the scientific knowledge "to be able to explain the wonders that the invisible world had presented to him". Doinel was known for his 'instability'.
In 1901 Synésius consecrated Jean "Joanny" Bricaud (1881-1934) as Tau Johannes, Bishop of Lyon. The doctrine of the "Sacred Gnosis" as formulated by Jules Doinel in his "Premiere Homélie" of 1890, was further developed and "completed" by Fabre des Essarts and Joanny Bricaud. Both men worked on the completion of the "ritual(s) and ideologic patrimony of the renewed Christian gnosis". In the document "Gnostic Conciliation" ("Conciliation Gnostique"), Fabre des Essarts presented a connection to the Gnosis that preceded the period of the Cathars, namely to the period of the Alexandrian Gnostics of the 2nd - 4th century A.D.
Fabre des Essarts- like many other French occultists at the time, extended Gnosticism towards all religions and rites of the ancient world.
In 1909 Fabre des Essarts/ Synésius consecrated René Guénon (1886-1951), as Tau Palingénius, after his expulsion from the Martinisist Order. Guénon became the editor of "La Gnose", a periodical described as ' the official organ of the Universal Gnostic Church'. Fabre des Essarts- like many other French occultists at the time, extended Gnosticism towards all religions and rites of the ancient world.
In the beginning of the 20th century the Church also included a 'Inner circle", an ' Esoteric Section ' reserved exclusively for the Clergy. According to John Cole " This section was initiatic (Masonic), centered very heavily on Kabbalah, Alchemy and Theurical techniques.
Within the history of the Gnostic Church there's some talk of a certain group called the "Chevaliers de Saint Montsegur", it seems reasonable to think that the "Knights of Montsegur" are the Initiatic inner circle of the Ecclesia Gnostica.
Apparently the promulgation of December 7th, 1906 attracted "an array of dignitaries" to the new Sanctuary of the Gnosis including "the Grand Masters and Hierophants of the Ancient and Primitive Rites of Memphis and Misraim as well several orders of the Rose-Croix."
Among the "dignitaries" who entered into commitment was, according to Tau C.Harmonius II (R.Cokinis), Doctor Arnoldo Krumm-Heller (Tau Huirachoca), who was consecrated by Tau Basilides. It is known that Krumm-Heller was a disciple of Bishop Dr. Arturo Clement, who acted under the aegis of Jean Bricaud (Tau Jean II). Generally it is assumed that 'Basilides' is Paul Genty. However, a German Gnostic named Peithmann (Pastor Dr. E.C.H. Peithmann, 1865-1943) also carried the mystic name of 'Basilides'. In a German book called "Lexikon des Geheimwissens" from H.E. Miers it is stated that Peithmann was a member of "the Grail Order", one of the many Orders that were founded at the end of the 19th century. This "Grail Order" was founded in 1893. Peithmann introduced certain sex-magical practises into this Grail Order, which he incorporated and developed later in a Church he founded around 1920, the "Altgnostische Kirche von Eleusis" (Ancient Gnostic Church of Eleusis").
Koenig relates that Peithmann's Gnostic Church of Eleusis was dedicated to the "transformation of sexual energy" and the "liberation of the seed from servitude". In 1923 Gustav Meyrink became a member of Peithmann's Church, although his membership was short-lived.
Tau C. Harmonius II also mentions Dr. Rudolf Steiner and John Yarker as those who "entered into commitment". Although Steiner was heavily influenced by Rosicrucianism and Gnosticism, i've never seen any "evidence" that Steiner has been, a member of the Gnostic Church.
Steiner also received a charter from Theodor Reuss which made Steiner the "Amtierenden General Großmeister des Obersten General Großrates des ägyptischen Ritus (90°) von Mizraim in Deutschland", dated June 15, 1907. This charter made Steiner the leader of the Memphis-Misraim rite in Germany. Steiner used his authority within the M.M.rite to establish his own "Esoteric School" which consisted of three departments, one being the "Misraim-Dienst". (source: Steiner, Rudolf - " Zur Geschichte …..", H. Wiesberger, Dornach Schweiz, 1987 - page 92)
Papus made Yarker " Head of the Ordre Martiniste for England " and Yarker also received a honorary diploma, "Doctor of the Hermetic Sciences", which was conferred by Papus in 1899 (October 10, 1899). In return Papus had received in 1901 a charter which granted Papus to open a "Swedenborgian Lodge" called I.N.R.I.
Although its quite possible that Yarker also received a honorary title of the Gnostic Church (Yarker was after all the Grand Hierophant of the Memphis-Misraim rite, a rite which Papus and his successors tried to fuse with the Martinist Order and the Gnostic Church: a structure that is often referred to as the "three Luminaries" of the French movement which descended from Papus, De Guaita, Détre, Bricaud, Blanchard etc.), but I've never seen any proof of Yarker's involvement within the Gnostic Church.
Then in 1907, Jean Bricaud breaks (with the "assent" of Papus, Fugairon and other Martinists) with Synésius' Gnostic Church to establish his own branch of the Gnostic Church. The schism was probably a devastating blow to the "Église Gnostique" of Fabre des Essarts.
The death of Fabré-des Essarts in 1917 almost disbanded the Gnostic Church of France. Not much is known about the events which followed upon Synésius' death. The following information is derived from René le Forestier 's "L'Occultisme en France aux XIXème et XXème siècles, L'Église Gnostique", which was republished by Arche Milano in 1990. The original text in French can be found on pp 158-159:
In 1917, on the death of Fabre des Essarts, neither Guenon or Pouvourville, nor Champrenaud wanted to succeed him considering that they could have no external influence by mean of the Eglise Gnostique. Nevertheless, Champrenaud on the insistence of Genty, accepted the position of not Patriarch, but President of the High Synod, through fear, it appears, of ridicule "which, in France, kills." However it is necessary to note that Champrenaud died in 1925, whereas he didn't take up his mandate until 1921, probably due to a long and painful illness which Guenon refers to in his commemorative article in "The Veil of Isis " in 1926.
Footnote 3 on page 158 states : See the "first version" of the chart in the article cited by Alain Pedron. I. de la Thibauderie (1) says that Genty (whom he calls Paul Genty ) was charged in 1921 to re-awaken the Church. He had been reconsecrated "sub-conditione" by Charles Horwath after 1922. In addition, "he consecrated Navarre in 1930, Bastien in 1941, and George Lagrese (sic) , Tau Markos. It was the latter who consecrated Henri Meslin de Champigny on 17th October 1945. He consecrated Jean Chaboseau (Tau Hierax) on the 4th November 1945, Jules Boucher and Charles Art.
There followed an interregnum , during which practically nothing is known, until the elevation to the Patriarchate of of Basilide (P.Genty) in 1926, probably in a supernatural context, resembling that in which Doinel was invested by an Eon. However, an allusion by P. Geyraud causes one to believe that a discord if not a rivalry existed within this branch of the Gnostic tree: between Basilide and the faithful of Bardesane (Lucien Chamuel) President Elect of the High Synod. As for Basilide, he stated that Chamuel had founded a Church "without any right": however this did not prevent the latter from representing himself as head of the Gnostic Church at the Convent at Brussels on 14th August 1934 by Frater Paul Yesir (Victor Blanchard ), the ex Neo-Templar transfused, who would himself become one of the three Imperators of the FUDOSI.
After his consecration as a Gnostic Bishop in 1901 Jean Bricaud received his Martinist S::I:: degree in 1903. Before his involvement with the "Église Gnostique de France" Bricaud already was involved with the "Oeuvre de la Miséricorde" ("Work of Mercy"), the Occult 'church' which Eugène Vintras ( 1807-1875) had founded in (or around) 1839, and the "Church of Carmel" ("Sanctuary Interior of the Carmel of Elie"), also established by Vintras after he had returned to Lyon around 1851.
Bricaud also became involved with the "Eglise Johannites des Crétiens Primitif" ( "the Johanitte Church of Primitive Christians"), founded by Bernard-Raymond Fabré-Palaprat (1777 - 1838, a Templar revivalist and Grand Master of the "Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani" (OSMTH). As mentioned earlier on, Fabre des Essarts introduced new elements into the Gnostic Church. Fabre des Essarts' interest in Occultism apparently did not include "Martinism", because it is known that he never was, at any given time, a member of Papus' "Ordre Martiniste". Many of the dignitaries of Doinel's neo-Albigensian Church were members of Papus' Martinist Order, including its founder and its Sacred Synod. It seems that there was a "strong desire" among the (Martinist-) members to have a church which was more closely tied to the "Ordre Martiniste", including a doctrine and structure more closely related to the Roman Catholic Church. Doinel's original Church was a Cathar-Church, it was Doinel himself who'd said that he was consecrated as "Bishop of Montségur and Primate of the Albigensians".
According to Gérard Galtier in his book "Maçonnerie égyptienne, Rose-Croix et néochevalerie" (footnote No.9 , page 331) the EGC of Bricaud was more directed towards occultism and the Western Mystery Tradition in general, whereas Fabré des Essarts' Église Gnostique was more philosophical and of a 'Universalist' nature, which incorporated Eastern metaphysics into its system.
In 1907 Bricaud was apparently supported by Papus when he decided to found his own branch of the Gnostic Church. Louis-Sophrone Fugairon ( Tau Sophronius ), once a close associate of Fabre des Essarts, decided also to join Bricaud's schismatic branch. Bricaud, Papus and Fugairon established their branch of the Gnostic Church under the name of "Église Catholique Gnostique", the "Gnostic Catholic Curch". Bricaud also published a "Gnostic Catechism" in 1907.
"L'Église Catholique Gnostique" proclaimed to include the Église Johannites des Crétiens Primitif , the Johannite Church founded by Fabré-Palaprat.
In June of 1908 the "Congres Maconnique Spiritualiste" ('Masonic and Spiritualist Congess') was held in Paris at the co-masonic temple of "Le Droit Humain."
The congres was organized by Papus, Victor Blanchard, Téder and others, and many of the attendants belonged to the (French-speaking) "occult élite". It was organized as a Spiritualistic Congress combined with a convent on "Spiritual Masonry", which represented Masonic ('Higher Degrees') rites of a spiritual nature. Among the visitors and participators were Henri Durville (famous painter and dignitary of Péladan's R+C order), Georges Descorniers (' Phanég' ), Réné Guénon, Albert Jounet, and from abroad Frosini ( prominent Italian Occultist, member of the M.'.M.'. and future "Legat gnostique de l'Eglise Gnostique Universelle" ), John Yarker (not present, represented by Téder?) and Theodor Reuss. The 'complete report' on the 1908 Congress was published in 1910 (COMPTE RENDU, Complet des Travaux du Congrès et du Convent maçonnique Spiritualiste Spiritualisme - Christianisme ésotérique Magnétisme et Sciences annexes - Maçonnerie Spiritualiste PARIS LIBRAIRIE HERMÉTIQUE 4, rue de Furstenberg, 41910).
The main themes of the congress were Spiritism, Magnetism, Spiritual Masonry and Esoteric Christianity.
To show an example of the language used here some excerpts of the lecture "L'EGLISE GNOSTIQUE" by Synésius, Congres Maconnique Spiritualiste, June 1908:
Dear Sisters and Brothers, I am not unaware of the controversial program of this Congress. I 'll only have a few words to say. Above all, it is important to clearly establish in which quality I am among all of you. It was Jules Doinel, which mystical name was Valentine, appointed by the Most-High to restore the Holy Gnosis, who consecrated me in accordance with the rites of the ancient Albigensians , and among the most eminent members of this assembly I see those who assisted my regretted consecrator in this pious ceremony. I was later appointed by the Very High Synod to succeed Jules Doinel, with the title of Patriarch of the Gnostic Church of France and Bishop of Montségur, in which we remember the place where our Cathar brothers accepted the crown of martyrdom. It is thus by direct, regular and authentic transmission that I was invested with episcopal capacities and a right to confer Gnostic initiation and the sacraments of our majestic religion. Any reformation connected with this church without our approval is considered a schism and a heresy.
It is very clear how Tau Synésius felt about the schism of 1907. According to Synésius, there's only one true church, the "Église Gnostique de France", Bricaud and Papus' "Église Catholique Gnostique" of 1907 is considered as a heretical church. Synésius' lecture was delivered in front of an audience which included his former associates, Papus, Sédir, (probably) Fugairon and other former members of Doinel's neo-Albigensian "Église Gnostique".
Synésius continued his lecture informing the assembly on the existence of the Oratory of the "Église Gnostique de France" in Paris, where "Initiations are taking place in a regular way. But I have to add that our meetings are absolutely private". Synésius continues in explaining that the original intention of the Cathar church was "to have a temple open to all" but in time the Church was forced to reconsider its original intention. "Just like the abbé Vilatte we closed our Treshold to the profane". Fabre des Essarts furthermore refers to a series of articles of the church' doctrines in a review called "La Voie", while the remaining part of Synésius' lecture deals with the "Dogma of Feminine Salvation" ('le dogme de la salvation féminine').
"The work of the Father is achieved, that of the Son likewise, which remains is the work of the Spirit which can only determine the final salvation of Humanity and which prepares thus the Reconstitution of the Adam-Kadmon".
Synésius explains that the Spirit, "Paraclete" as called by the Cathars, corresponds to the feminine part of "Divinity". In ancient Hebrew 'Spirit' is "Ruach", a female noun. Salvation lies in the "Feminine Divine", thus Fabre des Essarts / Synésius. Fabre des Essarts finishes his lecture with some information on the (minor) developments of the ""Église Gnostique de France" abroad. He briefly mentions a branch of the ' Gnostic Church' which apparently existed around the time in Prague. This branch was led by a certain 'frère Jérôme', who was the Patriarch of the Bohemian branch. The Gnostics of Prague were not necessarily part of the Martinists and probably did not even belong to the French movement. Synesius refers to this 'Gnostic Church' as an old Bohemian branch which had its seat in Prague. Synésius also mentions a Belgian branch, a small but, according to Synésius, very active branch.
It is stated that before the actual congress, there were some attempts to confine Synésius' Gnostic Church within the organization. As mentioned before, the Congress represented various central themes: Spiritism, Magnetism, Spiritual Masonry and Esoteric Christianity. Special commitees were set up that were assigned to one of the themes. Synésius was a member of one of the commitees in which René Guénon (1886-1951) acted as one of Synésius' secretaries. It is stated that Guénon entered on this occasion in the "Gnostic Church of France", with the episcopal name "Palingénius." Guénon became the editor of the Gnostic periodical "La Gnose" (devoted to the study of Esoteric Sciences ), the "official organ of the Universal Gnostic Church". Another famous Gnostic who was involved with the publication of "La Gnose" was Albert Puyoo, Comte de Pouvourville. The "Comte" was one of the closest associates of Synésius. Albert Puyoo had been initiated into a Chinese Taoist secret society a few years before; his Taoist name was ' Matgioi'.
On June 9, 1908, at the masonic congress Papus was chartered by Theodor Reuss to establish a "Supreme Grand Council of the Unified Rites of Antient and Primitive Masonry for the Grand Orient of France and its Dependencies at Paris". The constituting letters of Patent were sent to Berlin by John Yarker on June 24, where Reuss signed them. It is generally assumed that Papus and Reuss (and others) exchanged titles, offices etc. at the congress. After receiving authority in the M.'.M.'. Rites, Papus apparently granted Reuss episcopal and primatial authority in the "Église Catholique Gnostique", which Reuss translated into German as "Die Gnostische Katholische Kirche" ( G.K.K. ). Reuss included the Gnostic Church within the framework of the "Ordo Templi Orientis", O.T.O. The French "Église Catholique Gnostique" of Jean Bricaud supposedly changed its name during the masonic congress of the 9th of June, 1908 to "Église Gnostique Universelle". Reuss represented the "Gnostic Catholic Church" of which he became the (self-proclaimed) Patriarch, as can be seen in a document dated 1917, which is the written introduction to Crowley's / Reuss' "The Gnostic Mass", appendix, p.42-46, in which Reuss presents himself as:
Carolus Albertus Theodorus Peregrinus, Sovereign Patriarch & Primate of the Gnostic Catholic Church, Vicarius Solomonis & Caput Ordinis O.T.O.
The "Église Gnostique Universelle" had its seat in Lyon, Bricaud's hometown. The High Synod, "Le Suprème Conseil du Haut Synode" consisted of Jean Bricaud and Louis Sophrone Fugairon as Primary Bishops (Évêques-Primats ), together with Jean Baptiste, Bishop of Russia, B. Clément, Bishop of the United States, Marcel Cotte, Deacon, and Houdja IIetzel, Deaconess. Bricaud's Church published a review called "Le Réveil Gnostique". On Koenig's research-site on the O.T.O. there's a document published, "Église Gnostique Universelle", written by Bricaud which confirms a statement made earlier on in this text with regard to a possible inner circle or Esoteric Section existing within the Gnostic Church at the beginning of the 20th century.
In 1911 Papus, Bricaud, and Fugairon proclaimed the Église Gnostique Universelle to be the 'official church' of the Ordre Martiniste (proclamation published in L’Initiation of August 1911, page 178). The Gnostic Church was officially connected to Papus' Martinist Order, one of the organizations under Papus' leadership. Apparently it was stated that the Gnostic Church represented the exoteric aspect and the Martinist Order the esoteric aspect of Papus' organization. As stated in the series on ' Martinism', Papus wanted to create a Union of Initiatic orders and brotherhoods and at the time of the proclamation of 1911 Papus' organization of (initiatic-) orders and societies consisted of: "Ordre Martiniste", "Ordre des Elus-Cohen", "Rite Ancien et Primitif de Memphis-Misraim", "Ordre des Kabbalistique de la Rose-Croix", and the "Église Gnostique Universelle".
"The desire of Papus and his associates was to return to the "veritable Martinism of the 18th. century", in other words, a Martinist Order consisting of 3 "exterior" Degrees, followed by Higher Degrees which incorporated the "Elus Cohen", and the curriculum of the OKR+C, and "Memphis-Misraim". Also incorporated was Joannie (Jean) Bricaud's " L'Eglise Gnostique Universelle" as the official church of the order".
The Gnostic church provided sacramental offices to initiatic adherents. The "official" churches at the time, Catholic and Protestant, officially condemned fraternities such as Freemasonry, Martinist- and Rosicrucian Orders, and members of these fraternities were usually excommunicated by the church. As mentioned before, Bricaud's branch claimed to be the fusion of the three Gnostic Churches of France, Doinel's church, the Carmelite church of Vintras, and the Johannite church of Fabré- Palaprat.
With regard to the general idea of a Church as an institution, it is generally accepted that Bricaud "created" the idea of Carmelite- and Johannite "churches". Even Téder had ridiculed Bricaud for "play acting the Priest" and inventing the Carmelite Church of Elias and the Johannite Church.
During the court proceedings when Mr Baldwin who defended Dan Brown suggested that according to HBHG, the Priory during the 19th century planned to create a United States of Europe with the aid of freemasons. Now that was political, was it not, and there was no mention of any such thing in DVC.
Some of Dan Brown’s pronouncements raised eyebrows, to say the least. The barrister pointed out that he had copied down his wife’s mis-spelling of Botticelli, to which Brown replied, “I don’t remember precisely how to spell Botticelli.” Then only a few minutes later he told the court, “My wife and I both studied art. Botticelli is a pretty famous painter.” In which case, one wonders, why did they both manage to spell his name wrong? (I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site that art critics and art historians, which Brown has said his wife is, never call another “pretty famous painter” by the town he came from, but always refer to him by his name, Leonardo.)
The next bit is when Rayner James was pointing out that when Picknett & Prince quoted words and ideas from HBHG in The Templar Revelation they always attributed them to Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln. Brown responded, “If you look in HBHG you’ll see points referring back to The Templar Revelation”. As HBHG was published fifteen years before The Templar Revelation this is impossible.
Yet somehow, talking about all the “lectures” on various subjects by Robert Langdon and Leigh Teabing throughout DVC, Brown said: “The novelist is not a historian, but I try very hard to get it right.” This prompted incredulous head-shaking by a number of people who had clearly taken the trouble the check the facts that Blythe and Dan Brown clearly hadn’t, in those lectures.
In fact around twenty post-Da Vinci Code books have pointed this out extensivly.
Baigent & Leigh’s barrister Jonathan Rayner James distinguished between the everyday sense of plagiarism and the legal meaning of copyright infringement. Obviously they’re related, but they’re not the same thing.