Structure of the Ecclesia
Q: What does the name “Ecclesia Theurgica Apostolica Rosae+Crucis mean?
A: It can be translated as: “The Theurgical and Apostolic Church of the Rose Cross.”
Q: By the word “church”, should it be understood that this is a Christian community?
A: ETAR+C is a mystery tradition based upon the Christian myth. We teach a spiritual path of worship in the “inner” church wherein each member stands directly before the Mysteries
Q: Is ETAR+C dogmatic?
A: It is not. The main goal of ETAR+C is to lead men and women of good will to a realization of the living Mystery which is Mankind. We perpetuate a phenomenological approach to this task. This means that each individual’s experience is to be considered their highest authority.
Q: How many ordinations are practiced within ETAR+C?
A: ETAR+C ordains in both the Ordines Minor (Lesser Ordinations) and the Ordines Major (Great Ordinations).
There are five lesser and three greater ordinations.
Q: What are the names of the individual Ordines Minor?
A: From the lowest to the highest Ordination, the names are: Cleric, Doorkeeper, Reader, Exorcist, and Acolyte.
Q: What are the subjects of study related to each Ordination of the Ordines Minor?
A: The Cleric is instructed in the formula on which the whole work of ETAR+C is based. It is in this Ordination that one’s attention is drawn towards our Mother Sophia. The work of Doorkeeper is centered around the Mystical Union and the Christ. The Reader studies the mystical lecture De Harmonia Mundi. The Exorcist is instructed in the nature of the fallen spirits as it is described in De Mundo Inferi. The Acolyte seeks to understand the meaning of the Passions of Christ.
Q: How does this work relate to that other Magical Systems that follow a Kabbalsitic System of Initiation? (ie: Golden Dawn)
A: The Lesser Ordinations can correspond to the Lower Sephiroth. They show a mystical rather than magical approach to the same metaphysical questions that these Sephiroth address. Yet the Ecclesia is suited for any initiate of any system.
Q: What are the Ordines Major?
A: They are the Ordination of Deacon, Priest and Bishop.
THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH
Q: What are the traditions ETAR+C is based upon and perpetuates?
A: The most important building blocks of the Ecclesia are the Rosicrucian movement, the apostolic succession, and Theosophy.
Q: What is Theosophy?
A: Theosophy literally means “wisdom of God.” This form of Christian mysticism is Sophia-centered rather than Christ-centered. The early Theosophic tradition, from the dawn of the 17th century, drew their inspiration from the apocryphal Wisdoms Book and St. Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians wherein the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are described. The greatest of these seven gifts is the wisdom of God.
Q: Who are the most important figures within the Theosophical tradition that ETAR+C is based upon?
A: We follow after the tradition of Jacob Bohme and his contemporaries. Othet Adepts that comprise our study include: Johann Georg Gichtel, John Pordage, George von Welling and Louis Claude de Saint-Martin. We do not however consider the works of either the founders or the followers of the Theosophical Society.
Q: Which esoteric traditions constitute this early Theosophy?
A: Common to the authors mentioned above is a shared interest in spiritual alchemy, Christian mysticism, and Kabbalah.
Q: What is the apostolic succession?
A: According to legend, Jesus ordained his disciples so that they should be able to administer the powers and virtues of the Holy spirit in this world. Regardless of the historical actuality of these ordinations, the egregore of the apostolic tradition is the spinal core of both the orthodox and Catholic Church. It is by the apostolic authority that the sacraments can be administered. Only Bishops have been fully ordained and have the right to ordain others in this tradition. Among several lineages at our disposal, the orthodox succession dominated the egregore of ETAR+C.
Q: Does ETAR+C administer the usual Christian sacraments?
A: ETAR+C has seven sacraments according to apostolic tradition. The sacraments are of a Rosicrucian and Theosophical nature rather than being orthodox or catholic. All but the sacrament of requiem (that is the extreme unction) are reserved for the members of the Ordines Major.
Q: Is not the Ordines Minor a part of the sacrament of Ordination?
A: The Ordines Minor are apostolic blessings to work certain powers of the succession, but not sacraments. The Lesser Ordinations are meant to be part of a probationary training to the sacrament of Ordination.
Q: Which are the main symbols of ETAR+C?
A: The rose and the cross.
Q: To what does the rose allude?
A: To the Life of the Mysteries.
Q: And the Cross?
A: To the union of opposites, and to the death necessary for resurrection.
Q: Which role do the gospels play in the teachings of ETAR+C?
A: The gospels tell the story of the drama of the soul, and should for that reason not necessarily be read literally.
Q: Are the mysteries of ETAR+C secrets?
A: No, they are not. We make a distinction between secrets and mysteries. A secret is something that can be expressed verbally, pictorially or by the written word. Compare this with a mystery which is unutterable or can only be truly grasped by direct experience. Our symbols and teachings are secrets that constitute the pedagogical system and framework of ETAR+C. These mysteries can only be hinted at through our symbols. We seek not to teach esoteric systems to our brethren, but rather to guide the same to accept the mysteries as parts of their lives. For this same reason, each member is obliged to stand alone and naked before whatever truth he or she is prepared to face and accept.
Q: If this is so, why does ETAR+C stress secrecy to the outer world as well as hierarchically within the Ecclesia?
A: Because the Ordination rituals are of an initiatory nature and are so constructed that each candidate may gain a unique experience of the mysteries related to that particular Ordination during the actual performance. If secrecy is not kept, the impact of these experiences can be weakened.