Who We Are

Vestiges of Christianity is a news blog maintained under the direction of Bishop Bryan D. Ouellette, Ph.D., SOSM. Our goal is to reconcile ancient Christian theology with contemporary orthodox Christian practices and understandings. Our praxis carries with it a strong eastern liturgical focus while maintaining a freedom of spirituality that is true to ancient Christian ideology. We welcome anyone who desires to discover gnosis through the expression of early Christianity. We use the word "gnosis" with the intention to reflect its original meaning of soteriological knowledge, mystical wisdom and spiritual realization. While we encourage a working philosophical comprehension of Classical Gnosticism from antiquity, we are not a Gnostic or reconstructionist church. Our theology is orthodox, our approach, furthermore, is mystically liberating.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our Formal Position on Female Clergy

At this time, the Holy Nicholean Catholic Church yields to the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches on the question of female priests and bishops. Like homosexual marriage, such a serious deviation from the traditional teaching of the Church, we contend, must come from the actions of an ecumenical council or via reasonable historical precedent. While we do recognize that the extra-canonical sources (e.g. the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary) appear to reflect a favorable theology and St. Paul himself may have had high ranking female clergy under his pastoral care, we feel such a decision must be made by the Church as a whole. We have decided, however, to begin ordaining female deaconesses in keeping with the traditions of the early Church as demonstrated abundantly in such writings as the third century A.D. Didascalia Apostolorum. Additionally, the Eastern Orthodox Churches have a standing history of ordaining women to the Order of Deaconess, the rites of which can be found in the seventeenth century A.D. Dmitrievsky's Eucholgia. Also, the icon of St. Dorothy of Kashin (see right) pictures her holding a censor, the common attribute of a deacon. Such evidence proves to our satisfaction the sacramental nature and validity of the Office of Deaconess.

In the HNCC, both Deacons and Deaconesses are eligible to receive ministerial license (Reverend status) and have the sacramental authority to perform baptisms, weddings, funerals, last rites, exorcisms, communion services outside of Mass, read the Gospel at Mass, offer pastoral counseling, and offer sermons.

Monastery Status Update

Dear Friends,

For those of you who are interested and have been following the progress of our efforts to establish the physical monastery, I have both good and bad news to report.

First, the bad news...

After meticulously preparing the extensive paperwork required to apply for the church loan, we finally submitted our request for a relatively large amount of start-up capital. This initial funding would be used to A) establish the physical monastery in the United States and B) also establish an esoteric research center on the island of CuraƧao through which the Holy Imperial Russian Orthodox Church and Holy Monastic Order En Deus could operate from on an international level. Unfortunately, the request appeared to be too high for the current real estate market. The lender was just too uncomfortable and declined.

Now, the good news...

We have resubmitted the request asking for less funding. If this new amount is approved, it will at least provide us with the means to establish the physical monastery here in the United States. We can then work on other phases of the project at a later date. Please pray that we will soon see an end to our waiting. There is so much work to be done and a physical location is essential to the success of this work.

All my blessings,

Patriarch Nicholas III
Holy Imperial Russian Orthodox Church
Holy Nicholean Catholic Church

Holy Monastic Order En Deus