Ekklesia Epignostika
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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
You will go thru the four minor orders, (Doorkeeper/Porter, Reader/Lector, Exorcist, Acolyte) then be ordained into the diaconate with Subdeacon and Deacon (or Deaconess, Diakonissa).

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.

Bishop Katia Ordaining Deacons by laying on of hands January 2010 in Holy Family Chapel Gainesville FloridaApostolic 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).

Required Reading: (These books are required in the beginning study hall, more books to read in future study halls!)

  • Works of Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to your Life's Purpose and the Power of Now, read in that order. The teachings in both of these books have been used to add a Zen Christian, Gospel of Thomas, Eckhart Tolle flavor to the Eucharist aka Mass aka Liturgy we use for Daily and Sunday Mass. Even our priestly blessings, prayers, litanies, are different from mainstream Catholic and Orthodox in order to reflect this ancient wisdom. Both books are also available on CD which you can put on an MP3 player, and take wherever you go. So no excuses, get these books and get this knowledge even if you don't join our program! You'll never regret it and your friends, spouse, parents, kids will LOVE you forever, not to mention think you are the wisest, cool-as-a-cucumber, serene dude they've ever met.
  • Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition, by Richard Smoley. (See our set of Lessons on that book)
  • Myth and Ritual in Christianity, by Alan Watts (Set of lessons available for this one, too)
  • The Other Bible: Ancient Alternative Scriptures, edited by Willis Barnstone
  • At least two translations of the Bible. A KJV is recommended because its beautiful English is suitable for reading aloud, use in liturgy and because it escapes the agendas of some modern translations such as the NIV, RSV and NKJV that have actually changed verses based on "modern sensibilities". The KJV was done back in the 1600s -- no modern revisionist agenda possible. Not to say the KJV is inerrant, but at least you can be assured of no speak-easy revisionist tactics snuck in there.
  • Your second Bible might be the NAB, because it has excellent footnotes and contains the Apocrypha. It is Bishop Katia's favorite. You need at least one Bible with the Apocrypha (since many KJV Bibles, with the notable exception of the one pictured right, do not have the Apocrypha).
  • Read this webpage about ordination in the faiths of the world who do ordain. Yours will be in the Old Catholic line, but also we have ties to Russian and Greek Orthodox, the Anglicans and well, just about every other Apostolic line as you can see in our extensive lines of Apostolic Succession.

Books highly suggested:



Must be Comfortable with Alternative Christian Teachings & Scriptures
We teach a sacramental semi-gnostic alternative-Christian approach. It is very important to understand that Candidates who become Seminarians with us will need to be able to work well with what the mainstream Church calls "heretical" and "heresy". We are actually only semi-gnostic here, but many critics and mainstream Christians consider all gnosticism to be radical and heretical. We actually go beyond gnosticism, delving into deep inner Christianity in the esoteric tradition. Gnosticism and gnostics can sometimes be overly intellectual (understatement!) and get hung up on the letter of the law at the expense of the Spirit. Theological debates and attitudes of "I know more than you," are not part of our training or ministry to the public.

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
To get an idea of our founding Bishop's beliefs -- as a priest you should be in alignment with your bishop -- go here and watch Bishop Katia's slideshow on one of her favorite topics, the Sacred Feminine in Judeo-Christianity, God Has a Wife!.
You should also check out +Katia's Esoteric Christianity blog. If you want more contact with Bishop Katia, you can find her and a few other Ekklesia Epignostika clergy and faculty on these forums they moderate. You will also meet Bishop James, our Dean of Studies. He is located in the Carolinas and runs the educational process of priestly formation. He's a task-master, yet gently, inspiringly, delivers high-quality online study halls full of cool videos and audio lectures in addition to all those books to read!

Spousal Approval & Age Requirements
We actually prefer our priestly candidates to be married, instead of single, but it is not a requirement. We always ask our married applicants to be sure your spouse is one hundred percent behind you in your pursuit of Holy Orders.  Our experience has told us that anyone whose spouse isn't behind them will eventually fail to obtain Holy Orders. We encourage spouses to get involved and become ordained as a Deacon (at heavily discounted tuition). Our age requirements are as follows. You must be at least 16 to become a Subdeacon, 18 years old to be a Deacon, and 25 years old to be a priest. Minor orders can be younger on a case by case basis if a father or other relative is one of our priests. The Ekklesia Epignostika is a family oriented church as you might can tell, and our eucharist celebrations (Sunday mass) are organic natural "rituals" very much like the primitive Christians in the first Century A.D. might have celebrated in their house-churches.

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.

Keep in mind we believe in an all-good and loving Heavenly Father, the True God, God Most High, and in Jesus his Son who came and brought the world salvation!  We also believe in Sophia, the Heavenly (and Earthly) Mother. There is much value in extra-canonical literature and Gnostic scriptures, especially the Gospel of Thomas and Gospel of Philip.

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.

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)

Tuition is $1800 for the Seminary Holy Orders program. Upon acceptance you will be asked to pay the $150 one-time entrance fee. And then $150 a month for eleven months thereafter for your priestly formation studies. No tuition contract, you can drop-out any time, but tuition paid in is non-refundable. You can make your monthly payment smaller -- as low as $75 -- and then if you still want ordination at the end of the year, you can submit a lump sum of whatever balance is due of the $1800 when you complete your formation study program just before ordination.

You should possess patience and not be shy of hard work. It usually takes about one year to reach the point where Holy Orders as a priest are bestowed on you. However, you will go thru the minor orders, receive ordination as a sub-deacon and deacon / deaconess in progressive stages along the way. Ordination as a deacon is considered major Holy Orders, as Deacon is not one of the minor orders. Entering the deaconate usually takes nine months or less in our Seminary.

While you're waiting to start your studies, order or re-read A New Earth: Awakening to your Life's Purpose and the Power of Now.

Also be sure to read Bishop Katia's Esoteric Christianity Blog, leave some comments so we know you're there! Read more of our website, and watch our God Has a Wife! slideshow.

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!

For additional alternative Christian stimulation, why not dig around in the Gnosis Archive and the early Christian Gospels, Lost words of Jesus site.

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