Holy Order of MANS Sect Changes Name, Joins Eastern Orthodox Church

Article ID: DH031 | By: CRI Statement

The Holy Order of MANS (HOM), a controversial group founded in San Francisco in 1968, has changed its name to “Christ the Savior Brotherhood,” and joined the Eastern Orthodox Church.

However, the leader of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Queens, New York (Vasi­loupolis jurisdiction), with which the HOM was granted affiliation, is not a member of the Standing Committee of Orthodox Bish­ops of America (SCOBA), which oversees most US groups in the Orthodox tradition.

But that doesn’t mean that HOM has not moved into Chris­tian orthodoxy, said Father Andrew Rossi, director general of the sect and successor to the late Earl Blighton, who claimed he founded the sect after receiv­ing a “divine revelation.”

The Holy Order of MANS (“MANS” standing for Mysterian, Agape, Nous, and Sophia in Greek, or mystery, love, mind, and wisdom in English) amassed numerous critics in the early 1970s due to its occultic theo­logical position and practices. In an early critique of the group by the Spiritual Counterfeits Pro­ject (SCP) of Berkeley, Califor­nia, researchers brought out the fact that HOM believed it was their mission to “unite all faiths.’ They believed Jesus was a great teacher (but mere man) who had attained contact with an imper­sonal kind or “Christ-conscious­ness.” They also embraced the classical occult “sciences” or alchemy, tarot, Cabala, and astrology, according to the SCP.

Rossi said his order has repu­diated all those beliefs and now affirms biblical orthodoxy, includ­ing the belief in the Trinity, salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone, and the Nicene Creed.

“We had a lot of New Age ele­ments in the brotherhood,” Rossi continued. “What they (SCP) were critical of, they had a right to be. We began to purge our­selves of New Age elements and by 1979 we started going the other direction….The mysticism got out of hand. We were search­ing for experiences and found that it would lead us astray with­out sound doctrine.”

The changes accelerated after HOM leaders began reading Christian authors such as C.S. Lewis and Dietrich Bonhoef­fer, said Rossi.

However, many of the group’s controversial practices have not ended, and under the terms of the merger, the group will contin­ue to have a great deal of autono­my. Rossi affirmed that members who have taken second vows to the group still take them for life — a sore point among critics. Additionally, the group is still highly liturgical, with members adorning themselves in robes and clerical collars. Rossi said the group has about 1,000 members spread throughout the US. Although it maintains its head­quarters in Forestville, California, many of its main functions take place in Portland, Oregon.