A mystical Christian group emphasizing direct experience of God, balancing feminine and masculine aspects of divinity, active from 1999 to 2017.
The Order of Christ Sophia (OCS) was a spiritual organization that operated from 1999 until its disbandment in 2017. It described itself as a holy order and spiritual school offering training in the doctrines of Christian mysticism.
Founding and Development
The OCS was founded simultaneously in Milwaukee and Boston in 1999, expanding rapidly to establish Centers of Light in various cities across the United States, including Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New Haven, Oakland, and Seattle. The Order underwent a significant reorganization in 2012.
Beliefs and Teachings
The OCS blended various spiritual and religious elements, including a belief in reincarnation, New Testament teachings, writings of mystical saints, and “Wisdom Teachings of all times.” It recognized the seven sacraments and the Trinity and placed considerable emphasis on the Sophia, the feminine aspect of God, seeking to balance it with the masculine.
Significantly, the OCS held Mother Mary as equal in importance to Jesus in the redemption process. This blend of beliefs aimed to offer a comprehensive spiritual path that incorporated both traditional and esoteric Christian elements.
Practices and Rituals
Regular practices of the OCS included daily Communion, evening group prayers, meditation, fasting, classes, Sunday services, monthly seminars, and bi-annual retreats. They also emphasized spiritual exercises, aiming for personal transformation and sacramental blessings.
The OCS used the New Testament as its primary mystical text, along with other works like “The Tree of Life” and “Poem of the Man God” by Maria Valtorta. These texts provided the basis for the group’s cosmology, metaphysics, and teachings on the nature of the human relationship with God and the cosmos.
A defining characteristic of the OCS was the student-teacher relationship, modeled after the relationship between Jesus and his apostles. Students, based on their level of commitment, engaged in various spiritual practices, including attending classes and services, tithing, striving for personal integrity, and completing daily spiritual exercises.
Controversy and Criticism
Despite its spiritual aspirations, the OCS faced its share of controversy. Accusations ranged from it being a “destructive mind control cult” to concerns over its teachings and practices. Critics questioned the group’s methods and intentions, particularly regarding its emphasis on direct experience of God through Christian mysticism.
The OCS disbanded in 2017 after nearly two decades of activity. During its operation, it attracted followers and participants interested in its unique blend of Christian mysticism and esoteric practices but also drew criticism and skepticism from various quarters.