The Rule

Living the Johannite Principles

The Rule of the Order


The Oblate Rule is an active way to live out the Statement of Principles of the Johannite Church, and thus has its basis in these same principles. 

Each point of the Statement of Principles can be seen as distilling down to essential aspects of the spiritual path, and it is these aspects which are highlighted to nine points which form the basis of the Oblate Rule. 

  1. The Divine: Daily engagement of one’s spiritual path
  2. The Self: Committing to wholeness, compassion and self-understanding
  3. Pilgrimage: Walking the pilgrim’s path in everyday life
  4. Mystery: The Johannite Principle of Love
  5. Action: Assisting those in the world around you
  6. Community: Assisting those in the Johannite community
  7. Ritual: Participation in the Sacramental life of the AJC
  8. Scripture: Study and reflection
  9. Inclusion: Drawing the circle wider. 

We affirm that there is one Great, Unknowable, and Ineffable Godhead that made manifest the Universe through Emanation and that while the Universe is contained within this Divine Godhead, the Godhead transcends it.

1. The Divine: The Oblate is called to enter into a daily engagement with the Divine in themselves, their fellow humanity and the world around them. In enacting this point of the Rule- the Oblate commits to a daily spiritual practice. This is made richer still when these practices overlap with the other points.

We affirm that every Being contains the ‘Sacred Flame,’ a Spark of the Divine and that Awareness of the Sacred Flame within constitutes the highest level of Self-Knowledge and the Experience of God simultaneously. This act of Awareness, which is held to be liberating, transcendent and experiential, is called Gnosis.

2. The Self: the Second Statement highlights the connection between the Divine and the Self, and as such, in the second point- the Self- the Oblate commits to self-examination and study such as they are able through a healthy lifestyle, continual learning, and an annual practice of retreat. Part of this healthy approach is a mentor and partner system, whereby Oblates are paired with a mentor to guide them in their progress in religious life, and a partner, a peer from among the Oblates, each of these to assist in discussing practice, concerns, and difficulties. 

We affirm that there are many ways in which Gnosis may be experienced. Thus, we promote freedom of thought in pursuit of one’s inward Path towards the Divine, whether that pursuit is modern or ancient in origin, or individual or communal in experience.

3. Pilgrimage:  The Third Principle recognizes the freedom of ones own path and the diversity of the spiritual journey. As a part of their own commitment to the path, the Oblate makes a commitment to twice a year to visit or explore a culture, path or practice different from their own as a way to reflect and understand more about their own practice, as well as encourage mutual understanding, and respect for other cultures, traditions and religions. 

We affirm that the Godhead is composed of three Persons, which are one in substance – God, the Father Almighty; the Son, the Logos or Christos Soter and the Holy Spirit or Pneuma Hagion.

4. Mystery: The Fourth Principle highlights the Mystery of the Trinity, and it is from and through this relationship between the Divine persons in which we see the principle of Love. The Oblate vows to uphold the principle of Love in their undertakings and work. As part of this vow, the Oblate undertakes a regular practice of intercessionary prayer  and meditation on behalf of others. 

We affirm that God guides us towards Unity by the loving example of the Incarnate Christos, manifested in the life of Jesus, and the ongoing experience of the Holy Spirit as the source of continued Inspiration and Revelation via Gnosis.

5. Action: The Fifth Principle speaks of the example of the Incarnate Christos. In the Fifth Point of the Rule, the Oblate makes a commitment to take their spiritual impulse into the world, through charitable donations or volunteer work, 

We affirm the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that is built upon the message and authority of the Incarnate Christos and that the same lives from age to age by the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the stewardship of the Successors of the Apostles.

6. Community: The Sixth Principle highlights the universality of the Church and implicitly, the Communion of Saints. In this Sixth Point of the Rule, the Oblate commits to, such as they are able, serving and assisting the local Johannite community, through assisting with services or helping parishioners with their time. As a part of ensuring a vow to assisting the Community, Oblates are expected to engage in regular dialogue with their mentor (once a month) and attend quarterly meetings with other and more distant Oblates

We affirm the Seven Sacraments of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which act with the Holy Spirit and the Sacred Flame within us to promote unity with the Divine and in the community of Believers.

7. Ritual: The Oblate makes a commitment to regular participation in the Sacramental life of the Apostolic Johannite Church at every opportunity where they are able. 

We affirm the use of sacred writings that reveal the Divine message of love and compassion throughout history. We especially revere the Christian New Testament, the writings of the Old Testament and others, the Nag Hammadi Library texts and the Corpus Hermeticum as potent sources for this teaching.

8. Scripture: The Oblate commits themselves to regular study of these texts through contemplative practices such as Lectio Divina, study of individual texts or complete reading of works in a yearly cycle. 

We recognize the Sacred Flame to be present in all Beings and therefore our Offices are open to all humanity without discrimination on the basis of gender, race, social status or sexual orientation.

9. Inclusion: The Oblate commits to promote inclusion and understanding as a part of their service in the community of the Church and in their personal spiritual practice. As a part of this vow, the Oblate when locally resident near a community, assists the local parish in welcoming activities and work for new members of the Apostolic Johannite Church

The Path of Gnosticism as explored in the Johannite Church, finds its foundation in the direct experience of the Divine and this path is equally one of engagement and direct experience with oneself.

This is enshrined in the Second Principle of the Apostolic Johannite Church:

We affirm that every Being contains the ‘Sacred Flame,’ a Spark of the Divine and that Awareness of the Sacred Flame within constitutes the highest level of Self-Knowledge and the Experience of God simultaneously. This act of Awareness, which is held to be liberating, transcendent and experiential, is called Gnosis.

This principle is present not because it is an expectation or an ideal but because it reflects the collective experience of the community.

Many people who feel called to the Johannite path are here because they have already begun to live out this principle through contemplation, reflection, active spiritual practice and self-examination.

The Oblates of St. John were born out of a recognition of radical self-responsibility, providing a means where those who are called beyond the lay state to a vowed pursuit of self-knowledge, may express and live out this vocation in a supporting environment with the recognition of the Apostolic Johannite Church

The word Oblate comes from Oblation, ‘a thing presented or offered to God’. The Oblate gives of her or himself to the path of the Divine, and here, we recognize that path and the Divine as being seen in the face of our fellow humanity. Thus, the Oblate offers their service to their path and the Divine in the person of the community- working to better each other and themselves thereby.

Like the oldest traditions of Christianity, the Oblates of St. John are vowed to follow a Rule, a codified way or guide of spiritual life. The Apostolic Johannite Church has no better rule than its Statement of Principles itself.