Thomasine sacraments in Gnostic Christianity

Thomasine Sacraments
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The Thomasine Gnostics firmly believe that inner change occurs when a “seeker” (one wishing to attain gnosis and salvation) decides to walk the path to Illuminism. Of course, this path is internal. The Thomasine sacraments are best described as the physical form of the spiritual events occurring within the individual. The Thomasine Church is also initiatic in nature; meaning that each member (be it laity or clergy) is initiated into the church via sacraments. The first sacrament received by the seeker is Apolytrosis. This is also referred to as The Liberation. To the Thomasine Gnostics, all seekers are already associates of the church. By receiving the first sacrament, the seeker has celebrated their inner initiation for their quest for knowledge. This inner initiation is now shown externally with the sacrament. The second Thomasine sacrament is the Sphragis, or the Seal. This is bestowed upon the seeker after Apolytrosis is complete. The Sphragis involves anointing the initiate with Chrism oil. The seeker is officially a Son or Daughter of Light. This act signifies something that is chosen and sacred. Leitouragia – or the Liturgy , meaning to work – is the third sacrament. Leitouragia means to work. This sacrament involves the recognition of the Illuminist to work to quicken the light and perfection within. The Bridal Chamber or Nymphon is the fourth Thomasine sacrament. This sacrament is regarded as the most important. Displaying some dualist qualities, the Thomasine Gnostics believe that the human mind is divided and fragmented (commonly referred to as the ego/self dichotomy, Anima/Animus dichotomy, Mind/Body, etc) and that such a division requires repair. The Kingdom of Light (Heaven ) is also recognized as the pleroma in other Gnostic tenets. Pleroma means fullness. For an individual to attain this Kingdom, there are certain qualifications that must be met. Essentially, the individual must be whole. Thomasine Gnostics believe that the sacramental effects of the Bridal Chamber as unending; it will continue throughout the remainder of the initiate’s incarnation and beyond. Finally, the last sacrament is that of Hierateia, or Holy Orders. The Thomasine priests are conferred in three ranks: Bishops, Priests and Deacons. The Thomasine clergy is comprised of members of the laity that have laboriously studied all Gnostic texts – Thomasine and others. The only means by which they are deemed as fit to serve the congregation is their walk along their inner path.

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