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The Odyssey of a New Religion

The Holy Order of MANS From New Age to Orthodoxy

Phillip Charles Lucas

Publication Year: 1995

"... solid scholarship.... [It] will not only serve as a model for those studying the New Religious Movements of the late twentieth century, but will offer help to mainline and other religious institutions who are struggling with problems of identity and change in our complex society today." -- Church History

"... a thoroughly enjoyable book that would fit well into a graduate readings seminar on new religious movements....The book deserves a wide reading." -- Nova Religio

"Lucas's study provides a model of how best to combine the methodologies and analyses of the history of religions and sociology. He has provided the groundwork for continued tracking of developments in this new religious movement for comparative purposes." -- Journal of the American Academy of Religion

"... a carefully researched and well-written history of one of the important new religious movements to appear in the United States during the 1960s... the volume can be heartily recommended to all students of American religion." -- American Historical Review

"Lucas has written one of the best informed studies of the evolution of a metaphysical cult into mainline eastern orthodoxy."  -- The Reader's Review

"This is an important book for libraries with holdings in American religion." -- Choice

"... a fascinating narrative... a rich feast for the investigator of the subculture of esoteric religion... " -- American Studies International

"... especially welcome. It offers an in-depth, meticulously documented history of a church, the Holy Order of MANS, that arose from the Christian esoteric mystery tradition and then metamorphosed into a traditionalist Orthodox Christian sect. This unlikely tale has more twists and turns than a whodunit... this volume is that rarest of finds: an academic book that is a delight to read." -- Gnosis Magazine

Traces the journey of a new religious movement from its start as a monastic-style New Age order to its transformation into the more conventional Christ the Savior Brotherhood, an Eastern Orthodox sect. A remarkable story of social and spiritual change in contemporary America.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Religion in North America


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p. v

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pp. vi-vii

Americans, the news media tell us, are fascinated by pageantry and ritual. A royal coronation beamed from Europe can attract millions of television viewers. A papal visit, with full Roman regalia on display, commands the attention of numbers similar. Meanwhile, the Society for Creative Anachronism, ...

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p. viii

This work could not have been completed without the assistance, patience, and encouragement of mentors, colleagues, friends, family, and the members and ex-members of the Order of MANS/Christ the Savior Brotherhood. My sincerest thanks to Catherine L. Albanese, Robert S. Ellwood, Phillip E. Hammond ...

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pp. 1-12

The new religious movements (NRMs) that emerged in America during the 1960s and 1970s have offered historians and sociologists of religion a significant opportunity to study the ways religious communities create and elaborate their innovative subcultures and worldviews and struggle to maintain a coherent identity ...

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1. Prologue to a Holy Order

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pp. 13-47

In 1963, a solitary, frail, middle-aged man began attending the Sunday worship services of the Christian Yoga Church at 3575 Sacramento Street in San Francisco. The typical Sunday service at this time included Christian devotional hymns, readings from the New Testament, the Bhavagad Gita, and the Upanishads, and a sermon that related themes from Christian and Hindu mysticism. Occasionally, after the formal worship ...

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2. The Building of a Planetary “Girdle of Light,” 1968–70

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pp. 48-86

The ongoing growth of Blighton's community led him to initiate a series of board meetings in the early summer of 1968 to formulate bylaws for what he was now calling "The Holy Order of MANS." After careful deliberation, a final draft was typed and approved. Blighton and his wife then drove to Sacramento ...

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3. Consolidation and Christianization: The Order as a Christian Initiatory Community, 1971–72

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pp. 87-116

The massive demonstrations on college campuses that followed the killings at Kent State in May 1970 proved to be the last hurrah for the 1960s antiwar movement. Most campuses adjourned early, and, as Todd Gitlin wrote, "Activism never recovered from the summer vacation of 1970." The sober prospect of being shot by ...

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4. A Crisis of Confidence: The Final Years of “Father Paul” and the Aftermath of His Death, 1973–78

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pp. 117-163

The holy order of MANS continued to grow at a steady pace during 1973 and early 1974, reporting 619 vowed members at its 1974 annual meeting. By march 1974 the movement operated sixty-four centers throughout the United States, thirty-five of which were owned by the order corporation. New stations ...

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5. A Traditionalist Ark of Safety: The Holy Order of MANS as Exemplary Community, 1978–84

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pp. 164-194

Order members viewed the accession of Andrew and Isjesian Rossi to the co-director generalship as a triumph over the forces of disunity that had threatened to tear the movement apart following Earl Blighton's untimely death. Buoyed by a restored sense of divine approval for their enterprise, many in the ...

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6. Safe Moorage in Orthodoxy: Christ the Savior Brotherhood as the Restored “Catacomb” Church

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pp. 195-231

As director Rossi explored the doctrines of the apostolic Christianity, he read extensively in the works of the early patristic fathers. It was his exposure to the writings of Symeon the New Theologian, however, that provided him the decisive cognitive bridge between the order's initiatory way and the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The tenth-century ...

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pp. 232-256

As the introduction to this study suggested, the history of the Holy Order of MANS/Christ the Savior Brotherhood can be profitably viewed as a sophisticated text, open to multiple levels of interpretation, analysis, and meaning. Before entering into my own exegesis of the "text," however, it is instructive ...

Appendix A Historical Timeline of the Holy Order of MANS/Christ the Savior Brotherhood

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pp. 257-258


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pp. 259-290


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pp. 291-305


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pp. 306-312

E-ISBN-13: 9780253114075
E-ISBN-10: 0253114071
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253336125

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 1995

Series Title: Religion in North America
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OCLC Number: 688653212
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Odyssey of a New Religion