The essence of Gnosticism
In contrast to the official Christianity, where salvation was associated with belonging to the right Church, the Gnostics believed that salvation comes as a result lead to the gnosis, a secret knowledge available only to the initiated. At its core, the Gnostics used the usual sacred texts, giving them a deep spiritual meaning. The basic idea of Gnosticism is that the world is not the creation of a good God but an evil demiurge, who with the help of his servants of the archons holds the soul in material bondage. With prayers and ascetic practices, and also studying the Holy books and training from mentor, becoming the sacred Gnostic knowledge, gnosis, and freed from the bondage of matter.
The path of liberation different sects of the Gnostics understood in his own way. Some were strict ascetics, led a vicious and virtuous way of life, others on the contrary indulged in wine-drinking and ritual sex.Since the rise of the Gnostics were persecuted by the Emperor and then the ecclesiastical authority, as the doctrine of the enslavement of the matter and offer them the path of liberation is meant the struggle against the government as the spokesmen of the will of the archons. About the doctrine of the Gnostics is known mainly from polemical works of the Holy fathers, who struggled with this phenomenon.
Flow and the prophets of Gnosticism
Gnostics believed their founder Simon Magus, mentioned in the Acts of the apostles, where it is characterized as a negative character and a wizard - opponent of the Apostle Peter. The most famous early teachers of Gnosticism is considered to be Valentine and Vasilica. They developed the doctrine of nature, the demiurge and the archons. Christ the Gnostics believed the true son of God, came to indicate people the way to salvation from material bondage. During the reign of the Church the Gnostics had their own religion - Manichaeism, which spread through East and West in the form of various sects.
From the sacred books of the Gnostics themselves almost nothing left, as the Church authorities destroyed and burned them, but some of the texts preserved in the form of Apocrypha is non-canonical sacred books.They all reflect the idea of bondage of the spirit and deny Church authority, as servants and spokesmen of the will of the archons. The government brutally fought Gnostics and destroyed them as Manichev, paulician, bogomilov and the Cathars. Gnostics were burned and betray fierce executions. But the doctrine in a modified form became the basis of the ideology of the Rosicrucians, serving as the development of Freemasonry.
Advice 2: Who are the Magi
Many are familiar with the biblical story of the Magi who appeared before the newborn Jesus and presented him with gifts. Wanderers led to baby bright star of Bethlehem, which they considered an omen of the coming of the Savior. Who are the Magi who were among the first to see God, who took human form?
The Magi and star of Bethlehem
In the Bible the term "Magi" refers to the wise men and astrologers who could predict future events by the movement of the heavenly bodies. Watching the sky, the Magi saw over Bethlehem, the city of unusual star. Following her, itinerant magicians came to the place where the newborn Christ, accepted him as the King of Glory and gave him their gifts.
The wise men hurried to Bethlehem, because he believed a bright star in the sky a sign, to testify of the birth of the Great King, so long expected. For the Magi it was not just a star, a shining angel of divine power.
In the East, where profits stargazers long ago was a common old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, which was prepared for the role of Savior of lost mankind.
The authors of the Gospels did not give the names of the Magi and their number. Mention of three Magi appeared in early Christian literature much later, and subsequently the legend was supplemented by medieval authors. Traditionally it is believed that came to Jesus by three Magi. They even mention their names and nationality. African Balthasar was a young man, Melchior was middle aged and came from Europe, and Caspar (Gaspar), as a gray-haired old man, represented Asia.
Legend has it that after visiting Jesus, the Magi departed to other lands. It is believed that much later they had been baptized and was martyred in one of the Eastern countries. The relics of the Magi were later found and preserved in Constantinople, after which they moved to Europe, where the relics are stored to this day.
The gifts of the Magi
What represents the gifts of the Magi? The Bible says that the wise men presented the infant Jesus with three gifts: frankincense, gold and myrrh – aromatic resin. Each gift had its own special symbolic meaning. Frankincense – an offering to God. Gold is usually given to the kings.
Myrrh symbolized the future sacrifice of Christ, who gave his life for the salvation of mankind.
According to legend, the mother of Jesus later gave the gifts of the Magi, the Christians of Jerusalem, and then these Christian symbols were in Constantinople. Already in the XV century, the Holy gifts carried in the Athos monastery, where their and deposited. Particles Christian relics are carefully stored in a special ten ARKS. True Christians really worship these relics, which remind of far times and are directly connected with the earthly life of the Savior.