The Oriental Apostolic Church of Damcar

The Oriental Apostolic Church of Damcar is a Sacramental Christian Church, rooted in the Charism of Gnosis as described in the works of Origen, Clement of Alexandria, The Cappadocian Fathers, Dionysius the Areopagite, and reflected in the Christian Mysticism of  The Desert Fathers.

Our primary focus is in the askesis (practice) of the Heyschast Tradition, treading the path that leads to Theosis.

We are an  Oriental Rite Apostolic Church. The two most obvious reasons are that the Eastern Rite forms of work and worship still retain a theurgic quality lacking in the Western Rite and the Eastern Rite still teaches the doctrine of Theosis. Theosis is what Gnosticism is all about. It is defined by the early Greek Fathers as the “Divinization of Man” and the “Acquisition of the Holy Spirit.” John Chirban, in his “Developmental Stages in Eastern Orthodox Christianity” in Transformations of Consciousness, (Shambhala, 1986), states:

Theosis, deification, or the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, constitutes the aim of the Orthodox Christian life. The life of Jesus Christ serves as the model for Theosis. St. Athanasius says, like St. Iranaeus before him, “God became man so that man might become God.” It is said that Christ inaugurates the Kingdom of God on earth which is yet to be fulfilled, fully realized. Theosis, however, is not an eschatological potentiality or mere promise but, rather, it is the intense ascent of one who struggles and who is graced to find the Kingdom in this present life. Theosis is a par excellence example of a theological and spiritual doctrine that is demonstrated in the alert, arduous spiritual askesis (exercise or development) of the Christian as he or she yearns to achieve union with God.

Our approach to Gnosticism does not dogmatically match the known “Gnostic” movements of the first centuries such as the Valentinian or Basilidean, but we do hold to the basic idea of Gnosis, as the Greek term gnostikoi, or “knower.” What we teach is that every one of us can experience an aspect of divinity, to the point where we ourselves can become divine. This experience is how one becomes a gnostikoi or “one who knows,”- experientially, their place in the universe and how much they are a part of the grand scheme of things and the Ground of Being that underlies the entire universe.

We recognize two approaches to this experience, each incomplete without the other. The first approach is the “public” form or expression as given by the seven Sacraments, as well as the active practice of the principles of Christian Chivalry, second is the study and application of an esoteric or inner form of Christianity, the Hesychast tradition, thus our Eastern Rite approach.