"Perhaps the time has come to say farewell to the idea of traditionally Catholic cultures. Maybe we are facing a new and different kind of epoch in the Church’s history, where Christianity will again be characterized more by the mustard seed, where it will exist in small, seemingly insignificant groups that nonetheless live an intensive struggle against evil and bring the good into the world...."
"The Church... will be less identified with the great societies, more a minority Church; she will live in small, vital circles of really convinced believers who live their faith. But precisely in this way she will, biblically speaking, become the salt of the earth again."
POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI
SOCIETAS JESU CHRISTI (Latin), The Society of Jesus Christ Orthodox Catholic Church (English), Societatea lui Iisus Hristos BISERICA ORTODOXA-CATOLICA (in Romanian), is a Mystic Fraternity, a Western Orthodox-Catholic Church, comprised of clergy and laypeople. It aims to address the spiritual concerns of the human condition in light of the teachings of the one, holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. It proposes a salvific Orthodox-Catholic Christian alternative to our brothers and sisters across autocephalous/independent Catholicism and Orthodoxy. SJC is active in the United States and Romania. The Society of Jesus Christ, is part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church founded by the Lord Jesus. In the US, the Society functions under the provisions of the State of Michigan law, being duly and legally registered as "ecclesiastical corporation" under the name "The Society of Jesus Christ-Old Catholic Church".
We are a Catholic-Orthodox Church engaged in both the outer as well as inner/ mystical aspects of Christianity (cf. Matthew 13:11). Our aim is to engage with Christian Catholic Orthodox Catholicism and Christian Mysticism, as understood by the Fathers of the Church and Orthodox Catholicism/Catholic Orthodoxy. From this point of view we can be considered an "Ortho-Gnostic" Church (from the Greek ὀρθο= right and γνῶσις = knowledge, which translates as the Right/Correct/Orthodox Knowledge in consensus with the Orthodox -Catholic understanding of Gnosis. We believe that Christian Mysticism - The Orthodoxy (the true nature of Man)/Knowledge of the Heart- is the valid spiritual pursuit, as it originates in the Divine Source-God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth, and speaks about the Ultimate Reality of God the Father. An example of what the Society's spiritual pursuits are all about, is Heysichasm in Eastern Orthodoxy. Well known saints of the Catholic-Orthodox Church such as St. Theresa of Avila, St. Gregory Palamas, St. John of the Cross and so many other saints (either pat of the Eastern of Western Church), were essentially mystics/gnostics-intimate knowers of God's Kingdom.
What do you mean by "Christian Mysticism"?
Because Christian Mysticism (also known by the Alexandrine Church as "Gnosis" ), means nowadays many things to many people/groups, is important to underline our position on what Gnosis (The Orthodoxy of the Heart) means. Our understanding of "Gnosis" is in conformity with the understanding of the whole Catholic Orthodox Church as expressed by St Clement of Alexandria (+ aprox. 206).
St. Clement underlines that Faith is the foundation of all gnosis, and both are given by Jesus Christ. As faith involves a comprehensive knowledge of the essentials, knowledge allows the believer to penetrate deeply into the understanding of what he believes; this is the making perfect, the completion, of faith. In order to attain this kind of faith, the "faith of knowledge," which is so much higher than the mere "faith of conjecture," or simple reception of a truth on authority, philosophy is necessary. Christianity truly is a philosophy, and the perfected Orthodox Christian is the true gnostic—but again, only "gnostic according to the canon of the Church," not as in the heretical sects of early Christianity.
The way of union with God "theosis" is in our understanding only the Church's Way exclusively through the birth, mission, crucifixion, death and Resurrection of JESUS CHRIST, and not as an individual "self" pursuit/endeavor/achievement. Both the deification of Man (theosis) and the spiritualization of the world and matter lie at the core of the loftiest goals of Orthodoxy. Both are grounded in Christ Jesus. Theosis is thus our goal, as it should be the purpose of every christian. Unlike Clement of Alexandria (accused of heresy because of his allegedly Docetism on the teaching of the Incarnation of Christ), we hold the Orthodox- Catholic understanding of the Church, as Christ fully God and fully human.
The Gnostic with a True Name
The label “Gnosis/gnostics” was claimed by at least some of the heretics in early Christianity, such as the Valentinians, the Charpocratians etc. . According to Borella (2001), the impropriation of this denominator/designation by the heresiarchs is problematic. Neither the heretics themselves nor the latter theologians who analyzed the theological thinking of the heretical sects have the “right” to use the name Gnostic. If anything, Gnosis is never to be used in a negative/derogatory manner.
The name Gnostic therefore has no identifiable heresiological value. The historical record points to exactly the opposite: the early Christian tradition /Apostolic Christianity made a good use of the term gnosis. The heresiologist were quick in denouncing the abuse of the word gnosis by heretics and were clear about the misuse of the term Gnosis by the enemies of the Christian Church. In spite of the fact that some heretical groups have (falsely) claimed for themselves the term “gnostic”, Gnosis is primarily Jewish and principally and unquestionably Christian. For example St. Epiphanius the bishop of Salamis strongly claimed that “the Valentinians… are not Gnostics”( Borella, 8).
For instance, St. Paul the Apostle was the first one to expose the fraud of “pseudognosis” inviting his disciple, Thimothy, to flee “the contradictions of what is falsely called gnosis” (Greek: “antitheses thes pseudonimou gnoseos” (1 Tim. 6:20). Unquestionably St. Paul felt the need to defend the very word “gnosis”. This demonstrates that St. Paul made a very clear distinction between true gnosis /divine knowledge and false gnosis.
Furthermore, the Apostle of the Gentiles speaks of a falsely named knowledge/Gnosis. He implies that True Knowledge/Gnosis is also The Knowledge by excellence, that unique knowledge (of higher order), reserved only for the term Gnosis. In fact, in an Orthodox context, separating Gnosis from theosis is impossible. Therefore Gnosis far from being a heresiological category is an orthodox denominator through and through, an “immense and sacrosanct reality” (in Borella’s words), a profound and mysterious reality of the Great Mystery/Ultimate Reality of God the Creator of haven and earth. Gnosis was spoken about amongst the first Christians themselves without need or further explanation (or fear of being misunderstood), both because each one concurs in seeing here a designation for the inward and intimate “knowledge” of God, for the effective and heartfelt awareness of the Holy Spirit, infusing itself into the soul of the believer through the grace of Jesus Christ. In brief, Gnosis by a true name is the realization of faith.
Because of such knowledge, is unutterable and it transcends every soul, distinction, and formal awareness that one can have for it. This is why St. Paul is very clear that “not all posess gnosis” (1 Cor 1:7), but also that a poorly (twisted/defective) understanding of gnosis makes one proud: (1 Cor. 8:2-3). St. Clement of Alexandria, “the preeminent doctor of Christian gnosis” concurs to St. Paul’s thoughts on this matter. For more on Borella's work look at the bottom of this page.
Gnosis in the Eastern Orthodox Mystical Thought
Gnosis in Orthodox Christian (especially Eastern Orthodox) thought is the spiritual knowledge of a saint (one who has been granted by God- theosis), a mystically enlightened human being. Within the cultures of the term's provenance (Byzantine and Hellenic) Gnosis was a knowledge or insight into the infinite, divine and uncreated in all and above all, rather than knowledge strictly into the finite, natural or material world (see St. Gregory of Palamas). Gnosis is a transcendental as well as mature understanding of things divine. It indicates direct spiritual experiential and intuitive knowledge, mystic rather than that from rational or reasoned thinking. Gnosis itself is obtained through understanding at which one can arrive via inner experience or contemplation such as an internal epiphany of intuition and external epiphany such as the Theophany.
In the Philokalia it is emphasized that such knowledge is not secret knowledge but rather a maturing, transcendent form of knowledge derived from contemplation (theoria resulting from practice of hesychasm), since knowledge cannot truly be derived from knowledge but rather knowledge can only be derived from theoria (to witness, see (vision) or experience). Knowledge thus plays an important role in relation to theosis (deification/personal relationship with God) and theoria (revelation of the divine, vision of God). Gnosis, as the proper use of the spiritual or noetic faculty plays an important role in Orthodox Christian theology. Its importance in the economy of salvation is discussed periodically in the Philokalia whereas direct, personal knowledge of God (noesis; see also Noema) it is distinguished from ordinary epistemological knowledge (episteme—i.e., speculative philosophy).
The Societas Jesu Christi is part of Autocephalous Catholicism/Orthodoxy (aka. "Catholicism outside of Rome"). The SJC is an Orthodox/Catholic Christian Ecclesia, proposing an orthodox centered understanding of the life and mission of the Lord Jesus Christ, being open however to a mystical interpretation of the Divine Mystery. The SJC is headquartered in Michigan and functions under the episcopal oversight of Bishop Marius Sidau SJC (Michigan).
The members of the Society seek to realize, in their individual and collective efforts, the Kingdom of God on earth, through the frequent celebration of The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and meditation upon the life and ministry of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This holy work is done so that the poor are fed, the sick healed, and the broken in spirit made whole as commanded by the Lord Jesus.
The Society is legally incorporated in the United States (the State of Michigan),as an ecclesiastical corporation/church. Our license/certificate of good standing, is available at the bottom of this page.
Our charisma is to seek spiritual fulfillment through Christian Mysticism and theosis (deification), in our lives. "Christ was made man that we might be made God", said St. Athanasius of Alexandria about the Incarnation of Christ. Thus becoming Christ like, is our main objective. This is done through partaking of the Holy Mysteries/Sacraments of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as by being soldiers in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6: 10-20), in the pursuit of salvation.
The Society derives its Apostolic Succession from our Lord Christ from the Old Catholic Church. The Apostolic Succession is available as a PDF attachment at the bottom of this page.
Positioning on the Theological Spectrum
The SJC is an Orthodox Catholic Ecclesia grounded in the Orthodox Catholic Tradition and the Fathers of the Church. We are traditional, mystical and monastic.
The Society acknowledges seven sacraments- Baptism, Eucharist, Penance, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders and Holy Unction. These sacraments are fundamental to the life in Christ of this Society.
Policy on Holy Orders
Prerequisites for ordination to Priesthood:
1. Candidate must be male
2. Trinitarian Baptism
4. Criminal Background Check supplied by the candidate
5. Psychological Evaluation
6. Profession of the Nicene Creed
7. Sign the Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Policy
8. Fair theological training -(this training is mostly done using the Socratic Method). The length of this process depends both on the bishop and the candidate. Yet, the final decision on the matter resides exclusively with the bishop.
9. Candidates must not be past or present members of secret/occult societies, such as the Freemasonry.
10. Discernment process
The requirements above are not subject to dispensation or negotiation.
As a Society, we acknowledge women into the ancient ministry of deaconesses, as was the practice of the early Christian communities, and it is still preserved (for instance), in the Armenian Apostolic Church. We do not ordain women as priests and bishops, since we believe that: a. it is contrary to the Apostolic practice, and b. it constitutes a sacramental impossibility.
Among the different groups of Autocephalous Catholicism and Orthodoxy, there is significant confusions. This is due (in part) to the mushrooming of bodies that have occupied a landscape where very few rules (if any) exist. A Spiritual Wild West of sorts.
In such prolix context, we believe that clear definitions and creeds have an absolutely necessary place. This in order to prevent misunderstandings and confusion between the Society and other groups across Catholicism outside of Rome, whose allegiance to basic Christianity (such as affirmed clearly on the Nicene Creed), is often questionable.
Another contributing factor to the existent bewilderedness, is the syncrethistic practices, often of anti-Christian mindset. We distance ourselves of such practices, and make clear that the SJC is a unique sprout within the Catholic Tradition, which emphasizes an Orthodox/Catholic Mystical and thus Christ-centered spirituality.
What Do We Mean by "Orthodox-Catholic"?
The Society derives its Holy Orders/Apostolic Succession from the Old Catholic Church. Therefore we believe that, although the creeds of what the Church has always thought must be openly and clearly professed, critical thinking (biblical criticism in the light of current realities and modern scientific discoveries), must always be considered. However, we certainly do not understand the notion of being "Orthodox- Catholic" in the context of the political spectrum, or as an umbrella term that facilitates questionable morality, encourages or shelters anti-Christian, anti-social, and anti-human ideas and behaviors. In short- we do not support liturgical abuse, or promiscuous/immoral lifestyles justified by the concept of "liberty" and "freedom". We believe that the Church of Christ is not a democracy and the Kingdom of God not an anarchy; thus, in the earthly Church, some basic and clear rules must exist.
We believe in a "Church of Mercy and Compassion" (St. John the Chrysostom), where rules must, at times, (and justifiably so), be softened for the benefit and salvation of souls. We do not advance a legalistic and hypocritical Catholicism governed via the use of soulless and rigid rules with an iron fist for petty interests and human ambitions, but rather a genuine and Mystical Catholicism, rooted in both -the Orthodox Catholic mystical tradition-as well as on intellectual investigation. We believe, with St. John the Chrysostom, that the "Church is a hospital and not a courtroom for souls" (St. John Chrysostom).
Although we do have a compassionate attitude towards the human condition, we separate ourselves from the excesses and abuses that afflict Catholicism outside or Rome, and society at large: "the dictatorship of relativism" (Benedict XVI), and "the culture of death" (John Paul II). These afflictions of the spirit have a profoundly negative effect across Independent Catholicism: the questioning or denial of the existence of an objective evil outside of the human mind (Satan), "The Picnic Mass", "the Gaea Syndrome", simony, poorly prepared clergy, anti-Christian affiliations and practices, radical feminism, leftist political radicalism, blurred boundaries of the Moral Law which open the door for criminal behavior of the worse kind, etc. These spiritual illnesses are often rooted in the lack of the most basic vocational discernment, as well as, theological and liturgical training, being justified in the name of "freedom of thought", "enlightenment", "avant-garde" "equality", "progress", "inclusiveness", and other such New Age diluted terminology (often giving plenty of room for personal twist and interpretation in accordance with one's sins!), and in some instances purposefully misleading of minds and souls.
A Jesus Christ Centered Society
We are a unique Society across Christendom, centered on Christian Orthodox Catholicism open, however, to theological exploration and personal freedom. We do not oppose intellectual exploration. Christian Orthodoxy remains however, the primarily and ultimate reference point for this Society.
We are opened to mystical interpretations of Christianity, as long as these interpretations are centered on Jesus Christ and His Kingdom and in conformity with the teachings of the Orthodox Catholic Church across time and space (see St. Vincent of Lerins's Principle: "what all men have at all times and everywhere believed, must be regarded as true"). We believe that a mystical understanding of Christianity is legitimate because our Lord Jesus Himself spoke about the Church of the Initiates (Mathew 13:11).
St Clement of Alexandria named mystical understanding"Gnosis"-mystical knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true secret of the Kingdom of God. We do not mean by "gnosis" the heretical teachings of the various Gnostic sects which coexisted with early Christianity. Most importantly we do not mean by "gnosis" Gnostic Hermeticism -pagan Gnosticism and neo- Gnosticism (rampant under the contemporary New Age phenomenon), both of which border (or sometimes explicitly profess), a luciferian twist of spiritual realities.
Our unique positioning across Catholicsm outside of Rome, begs two important questions:
1st Are we Catholic /Orthodox?
2nd (as a logical consequence of question number one) Who forms Christ's Church?
The answer for the 1st question is that we are indeed Catholic-Orthodox Christians.
As for the second question, when attempting to define who constitutes Christ's Church, our position is clear: anybody which professes an open allegiance to Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, is baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and acknowledging Jesus as his/her personal Lord and Savior, constitutes the Christian Church. As Christians and Orthodox Catholics, we believe and profess that our Lord Christ is the Ultimate Reality, the Incarnated Word of God, and the "Way, the Truth and the Life" ( John 14:6).
Allegiance to the Ultimate and Eternal Truth -Jesus Christ- brings about decisions and responsibility. Being fundamentally Christ centered, we distance ourselves from organizations that are of evil inspiration. Some of these groups openly profess and attempt to implement in society agendas contrary to both God and Man. Under this infamous umbrella fall some of the so called "ultra secret societies" such as Freemasonry, and various pseudo "liberal" catholic- sub microscopic groups-some of which (in spite of their professed "secrecy"), have become increasingly present, outspoken, and at times openly hostile towards Christianity and Jesus Christ. Perhaps what is even more spiritually dangerous, is the practice of some of these groups (often possessing questionable Holy Orders!), of "ordaining" individuals that are either not Christian/baptized, or when and if they are baptized, loyalty to basic Christianity does not exist, or, is considerably diluted.
We consider that the ideas promoted by some of these very questionable, occult and dubious organizations, allegedly in the pursuit of "gnosis", are clearly opposed to what St. Clement of Alexandria alluded as being "Christian Gnosis"/Christian Mysticism (within a Christian Orthodox/Catholic Church sanctioned context), and have no right to claim a place at the spiritual table of the True Knowledge of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. We underline that the sole source of authentic gnosis/knowledge of God is Jesus Christ and His Revelation. Any other sources are not from God, but from Satan and for the perdition of souls, whatever these groups may claim, in order to justify their twisted propaganda.
We also distance ourselves from groups which (although claim theoretical allegiance to the "Catholic Tradition"), have absolutely nothing in common (and in some cases are blatantly adversary!) to basic Christian Doctrine (e.g. the Dogma of the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation of the Son of God and the theology of the Atonement of Christ on the Cross, the Orthodox/Catholic understanding and practice concerning the Holy Orders, etc). Such is the case with many of the groups descending historically from the Liberal Catholic Church, which have lately flooded the ISM (so called "Independent Sacramental Movement" -term consecrated by Peter Anson), under the form of a veritable Syncretistic Spiritual Global Market. It is here where questionable and spiritually dangerous types of spiritual commodities are displayed for purchase often by people that have very little or nothing to do with the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, or are openly antagonistic to it!
We demand from our members a clear and unquestionable Christ centered orientation, and professed allegiance to basic Christian Doctrine, summarized in the Apostolic Creed and the Nicene Creed.
Therefore we are a "credal" church, because we believe that being Christian demands the clear profession of the basics of the Christian faith, and clear allegiance to Christ Jesus alone.
Thus, from our point of view, groups-as the ones clearly anti-Christian- do not qualify as "catholic", since Catholicism is always defined in relationship with Orthodoxy and an unquestionable allegiance to Jesus Christ and His Church, as well as the Christian Apostolic Tradition.
Our views are moderately progressive, open towards, and considerate of the Modern Man living in a civilized, well connected and sophisticated cultural context and increasingly globalized society. However, we profess the distinctiveness and importance of the divinely revealed Truth of Jesus Christ above all truths, and insist on both-the importance of the Natural Law, and the Law of God in the heart of Man. From the Society's point of view the Ten Commandments- synthesis of the Divine Law- is the norm of Christian morality, and the building blocks of a functional society.
We are not a cult; we certainly do not control/regulate personal aspects of our member's lives. We start with the premises that the ones who want to affiliate with us, in whatever capacity they choose to do so, are spiritually mature and responsible human beings, individuals which understand, profess and live in their daily lives, Christian Morality. We encourage them to commit to healthy and loving relationships based on respect between partners, mutual trust and help.
We strongly disapprove of the using of other human beings, no matter what forms this use may take! We believe that using others, is always an evil action in direct conflict with the Law and Commandment of Christ's Love, and is absolutely incompatible with both: the basic rules of common living and Christian vocation.
In addition, we encourage a monastic tradition among the Society among the members which feel this call. We do not understand monasticism (exclusively) in the classic/as related to the past/historical sense. Like in all things, we try, as best as we can, to be realistic and pragmatic. Thus, our monastic members often live in their in their own homes under semi-monastic/Oblature vows, vocation sanctioned by the Catholic Church. Their marital status also varies: some are celibate, some married functioning in accordance with their call and the spirituality of the specific monastic tradition that they follow. In brief-we see Monasticism under the paradigm of what has been called by various contemporary theologians "The New Monasticism".
The Society's Connection with the Roman- Catholic Church
Perhaps the last aspect that should be clarified relates to what exactly is our position with the Roman-Catholic Church? This clarification may be needed because for any reasonable and objective theologian, it is clear that our apostolic succession does date back to the Seat of St. Peter, due to our historical connections with the Old Catholic Church. This Society however, is an autochepalous Orthodox-Catholic Church which it is not in direct communion with/under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church (and thus the Pope of Rome), or any of the canonical Orthodox churches. Nevertheless, since His Holiness the Pope is the Bishop of Rome and the successor of St. Peter the Apostle, he is acknowledged by this Society as primus inter pares (1st among equals of the Christendom's bishops), as the Universal/Orthodox-Catholic Church has always professed.
Note: For a better understanding of the validity of Apostolic Succession we encourage our readers to consult the SSPX's article ON THE VALIDITY OF HOLY ORDERS here:
Note: Jean Borella (born 1930) is a is a Christian philosopher and theologian. Borella's works are deeply inspired by Ancient and Christian Neoplatonism, but also by the Traditionalist School of René Guénon and Frithjof Schuon.
Borella is the author of The Secret of the Christian Way a Contemplative Ascent Through the Writings of John Borella , State University of New York Press, Albany (2001).
A noted French professor of Christian theology, Borella combines careful historical scholarship with traditionalist (largely Guenonian) metaphysics to produce a series of poetically charged meditations on the Christian mysteries, which together constitute a kind of esoteric systematic theology. This is unlike any other work. There are, of course, many other systematic approaches to doctrine, other sensitive analyses of fundamental religious symbols, and other claims to uncovering the esoteric essence of the Christian tradition. But this book combines them all, in a way that is consistently fresh and yet always thoughtfully grounded. James S. Cutsinger, author of Advice to the Serious Seeker: Meditations on the Teaching of Frithjof Schuon.
By showing that authentic gnosticism is an example of the esoteric current found in all religion, this book balances many superficial judgments about gnosticism. It is an exceptionally penetrating view of a fascinating and widely misunderstood subject. (Jacob Needleman, author of Time and the Soul and coeditor of Modern Esoteric Spirituality").
The Secret of the Christian Way consists of a series of translations of the writings of French Roman Catholic theologian and traditionalist Jean Borella. In addition to basing his theological reflections on Scripture, the Church fathers, and the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, Jean Borella has also been heavily influenced by Cardinal Henri de Lubac's view of the "Surnaturel" as well as the writings of the traditionalist school founded by Rene Guenon and further developed by Ananda Coomaraswamy and Frithjof Schuon. One of Borella's major contributions in this book especially is to revive the idea of an authentic Christian gnosis (as opposed to the false gnosis of the early Gnostic heretics condemned for example by Saint Irenaeus of Lyon in “Against the Heresies”).
Gnosis itself is scriptural in origin, the word being used by Saint Paul to refer to true faith, but also used as a term of denunciation to refer to "pseudoscience" or "false knowledge" which proliferated among early Gnostic heretics and was also denounced by Saint Irenaeus. In this respect, the role of Mary, the Theotokos, in the church and Christ (God made flesh) as the Immaculate Conception, thereof, plays an important part in an understanding of true gnosis. Borella notes that Gnosticism is opposed by both sides from the "Right and the Left", meaning that both forces of tradition and of progress have been known to condemn Gnosticism. However, here Borella has attempted to revive the authentic form of gnosis which is simply faith as opposed to the "pseudoscience" of false Gnosticism. This book contains many reflections on different topics concerning the "Christian way" as well as the role of Christ as Savior and Redeemer of mankind. Borella's writings are influenced especially by the neoPlatonism and ultra-realism of Saint Bonaventure whose verses serve as introductions to each separate section and also by the mysticism of Meister Eckhart as well as the reflections of Origen on the "apocastasis" (the final redemption of all souls in God - Borella notes that what burns in hell indeed is the fire of Divine Love). The book is divided into seven "stages", each made to symbolize a form of ascent. These include "Contemplating God through His Vestiges in the Universe" (which consists chiefly of reflections on the Trinity), "Contemplating God in His Vestiges in the Sense World" (which consists of an interpretation of science and cosmology in the light of Nicholas of Cusa but also reflections on modern Newtonian and subsequent science, as well as an explanation of symbolism), "Contemplating God through His Image Stamped upon Our Natural Powers" (which consists of an explanation of man and his divinity in Christ in the New Testament), "Contemplating God in His Image Reformed by the Gifts of Grace" (which consists of reflections on love and gnosis in the Creator as well as reflections on the opening of the human heart in the Old Testament, the Kabbalah and Jewish tradition), "Contemplating the Divine Unity through its Primary Name which Is Being" (which consists of reflections on love of Self and God), "Contemplating the Most Blessed Trinity in its Name Which is Good" (which consists of reflections on the Holy Trinity and the divine hypostases), and finally "The Sabbath of Rest and Ecstasy" (which consists of reflections on the Body of Christ and the metaphysics of eternal exposition). Borella's reflections include detailed remarks about the errors in the postmodern philosophy of such thinkers as Jacques Derrida as well as mention of modern science and comparison of it to tradition. Borella also frequently mentions other religious traditions including the Vedanta of India and the Sufi mysticism of Islam and compares these forms of mysticism with authentic Christian mysticism. Borella makes some interesting remarks about early Christianity and some of the early accusations against the Christians (that of worshipping an ass-headed God crucified as well as cannibalism and the drinking of blood) and relates these to the Egyptian deity Set and shows how this in fact represents a satanic inversion of true Christianity (Set being a representation of Satan). Borella also mentions the mythical lost continent of Atlantis first described by Plato in his “Critias and Timaeus” and later revived by subsequent esotericists. In addition, Borella reflects on the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" within the context of Genesis in the Garden of Eden and relates this to the Cross in which Christ is crucified between two thieves (one good, the other evil). This shows some of the occult influence of thinkers such as Rene Guenon on the theology of Borella. However, despite his inclinations towards various obscure points of view as well as esoteric initiation, Jean Borella remains thoroughly orthodox and truly loyal to Christianity in the form of Roman Catholicism. His theology attempts to integrate a proper understanding of gnosis into Roman Catholic theology based on a revival of certain early Church fathers and Scripture. In this respect he has been praised by other noted Roman Catholic theologians such as Hans urs van Balthassar. Borella remains ambivalent towards certain documents of the Second Vatican Council which have posed such a problem to many of those loyal Catholics who wish to maintain a traditionalist outlook. In this sense, Borella represents a revival of tradition within the Church. This volume is translated from the French by G. John Champoux and offers a unique and beautiful extension of the writings of the traditionalist school (founded by Rene Guenon) and an integration of gnosis into Roman Catholic theological thought.
St. Peter The Apostle