The Esoteric Interfaith Church, Inc. and its Theological Seminary is pleased to offer a special curriculum track for men and women seeking Holy Orders with valid Apostolic Succession. Our newly created Ekklesia Epignostika (2009), which means Church of (Divine) Realization, ordained its first seminary graduates as priests and deacons in January 2010.
The Seminary program of priestly formation is erudite, eclectic, informed and meaningful. Seminarians should possess a strong desire to practice the Sacramental Way, a spiritual practice involving daily prayer and regular celebration of the Eucharist (aka Mass, Liturgy). Since we are talking "apostolic," and apostolic by definition refers directly to the personal students of the Man from Galilee, it is required that you have a love for the great Teacher and Way-Shower, Jesus Christ. Candidates must have an interest in his life, and a strong desire to spread his zen-like teachings of Awakening to your fellow humans -- or if you are a non-teaching type, a hermit or a religious (a "religious" is a monastic type person who leads a quiet life of almost constant prayer), to at least share the eucharist with them or pray regularly on their behalf.
The Seven Holy Orders
At the end of your formation you will receive Holy Orders as a Priest in the apostolic line, a line that originated with Iesous Kristos himself. Apostolic authority has been passed from bishop to bishop and bishop to priest for two millennia now.
Entering the diaconate (becoming a deacon) usually takes a year or less with us.
Next, with ordination as a priest you receive your Holy Orders Certificate of Ordination signed by the bishop who performs your laying on of hands ceremony. You also have the option to receive an S.T.L. degree, the time-honored graduate level ecclesiastical degree of the priesthood.
If you are already working as an alternative, gnostic, eclectic or esoteric Christian minister, or are performing the functions of a priest without ordination, or if you are caring for souls in some form of ministry, have been, or are a deacon, you are probably eligible for acceleration in the program. Ask Bishop Katia in FL or Bishop James in SC.
Apostolic Succession can only be transferred by the ancient rite of laying on of hands, so when your spiritual formation is complete you will be required to make a trip to Gainesville, Florida, or South Carolina unless one of our Bishops is travelling thru your area.
Holy Orders priestly formation is a special training with higher seminarial fees ($150 a month), as the process is much more detailed than what is required for one to become an ordained minister.
After ordination you may continue your ecclesiastical career in the Church of Epignosis (Ekklesia Epignostika) - to Archpriest (Monsignor) and Abbot or Abbess if you choose.
HOW IT WORKS: If you join us, you become admitted to the Order of Doorkeeper/Porter immediately, becoming a member of our clergy. You enter the discussion forums including our Facebook-style "group" just for our Ekklesia Epignostika clergy (powered by Ning.com). Lessons are delivered by webpage and email, and we occasionally gather for regular chats. Individual clergy can chat with each other and the Bishops if you catch each other on our community site (on Ning.com).
Books highly suggested:
Must be Comfortable with Alternative Christian Teachings & Scriptures
One of the alternative teachings we espouse is the Holy Supper instead of the Sacrifice. We view the altar as the Communion Table, the Holy Table where Yeshua shared a ceremonial, esoteric, and literal meal with his students and family. The altar is not a place of human sacrifice. Blood atonement is not one of our doctrines. Yes, Yeshua chose to give his life instead of resisting arrest and being hunted by the Romans. He did not want his family and students to be mercilessly persecuted, arrested, tortured and executed. He chose to surrender his life for them and for the delivery of the Message, but he did not give it as a human sacrifice to a blood-desiring Heavenly Father bent on some kind of weird "divine justice" or "payment" for everyone's sins.
Must be Comfortable with our Bishop and her Beliefs
Spousal Approval & Age Requirements
Gnosticism is a positive path, a path of Light, illumination -- not self-loathing and world-hating as some critics claim. Walking the Way of Gnosis, or Epignosis in our tradition, is not for the faint-hearted.
As for Gnostic writings, we use only the earliest Gnostic Christian scriptures and writings, not the later Gnostic writings, many of which Bishop Katia's mentor and consecrating Bishop +Christian says are actually "psychotic". Some of the later so-called gnostic writings make gnosticism seem loopy or downright dangerous. This is why we call ourselves semi-Gnostic. We are all-the-way esoteric, sacramental and alternative.
We adhere only to the primitive early Gnostic Christian teachings - of light and the Light of the World, Jesus the Christ and his "mother" Sophia. Read more in our Program Description.
Hopefully, we have not scared you off with our "radical" Christian "heresies". If you're still with us, below is the application process.
1. Fill out the online application. When you get to the fees section you should NOT pay the $150 tuition fee yet. Wait til you are accepted into the program, which requires the submission of the items below.
2. Write your spiritual history. Tell the story of religion and spirituality in your life from your childhood to present. Cover every aspect, don't leave anything out. Most important to include is a description of your Calling to the Priesthood, when it came to you that you wanted to be a priest, how it came to you, etc. Tell all! (Must be a minimum of 2 pages. Submit in either email form or .doc attachment)
3. Type up two more pages now on WHY you want to become a priest in the apostolic line of Iesous Kristos. Tell why you want to receive Holy Orders and what ordination will mean to you and your current work. Describe your plans and / or hopes for your future work as a priest. (Submit in either email format or .doc attachment)
LENGTH OF PROGRAM
You might want to watch some movies! Watch the "Adjustment Bureau", based on Philip K. Dick's short story, and any other movies based on PKD's work such as "Minority Report", "Total Recall" and "Blade Runner". Be sure to watch or re-watch The Matrix series.
What you learn here at the Seminary has the potential to make you a spiritual teacher like the "awake" Orpheus and the Oracle in the Matrix movies. Studying with us, you may become more akin to the hero in the old Kung Fu 1970's TV series, or like the wise oriental man in the movie Karate Kid -- all with an ancient Christian flavor, of course!
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