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The Holy Order of MANS (usually abbreviated as HOOM or HOM) was a religious cult founded by ex-engineer Earl Blighton that started in the 1960s. It was based on another religious idea of Blighton and others called the Science of Man. MANS is an acronym for the Greek words:
In 1988, after denouncing the heresy involved with the religious movement, many of its members and hierarchy joined a non-canonical group of the Orthodox Church under the name Christ the Saviour Brotherhood (or Christ the Savior Brotherhood; abbreviated as CSB). During the 1990s to about 2000, many members of CSB joined canonical jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church.
A thorough Orthodox explanation of the journey of the Holy Order of MANS and Christ the Saviour Brotherhood can be read in Again, Vol. 23, No. 1, January-March 2001, pp. 23-26
Some have questioned the validity of true conversion to the Orthodox faith by members of Christ the Saviour Brotherhood. Melanie Jula Sakoda writes that many of the properties once belonging to HOOM actually stayed legally in possession of HOOM long after the Order was said to be dissolved, as late as the year 2000. It has also been stated that CSB continued to operate as a non-profit organization under the HOOM name with very little change in their articles of incorporation. Several religious cults still exist today because of the influence of HOOM.
People associated or formerly associated with CSB have pointed out that CSB has previously stated that the Holy Order of Mans name was kept registered to prevent splinter/new groups from using it, trying to allow the Order to die a peaceful death. Certain other instances of the order name on legal documents have persisted due to the logistical difficulty of changing the name. For example, one bookstore initiated by CSB members continued to use a business license that had been obtained during the HOOM days, as the particular licensing requirements had changed, and it was much easier to use the "grandfathered" license than to meet the requirements of a new license.
At least according to the tax exempt/non-profit registration records in Indiana, Christ the Savior Brotherhood (EIN #941673665) is listed as an "independent organization or an independent auxiliary, i.e. not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographical grouping of organizations." They applied for non-profit status in January of 1970. They've retained the same name as they had in 1970. They have $0 in assets and $0 income.
Paul Blighton usually directed ministry teams to obtain properties in bad neighborhoods where charitable work was most needed. Ironically, these neighborhoods tended to gentrify over time, raising the value of HOOM properties, far above the initial prices paid for them. One former HOOM member quipped, "You couldn't have come up with a better real estate investment strategy if you tried." One of the primary purposes of CSB at present is to find good uses for these valuable properties. Some have become monasteries or sketes, others have been given to Orthodox parishes, and still others have become administrative or diocesan centers.
Raphael House, a property previously belonging to HOOM was originally an integrated charitable activity of CSB, but was incorporated as its own California nonprofit organization in 1991. It is under the OCA jurisdiction.
Some claim that clerics who were former members of HOOM/CSB still practice some non-traditional forms of liturgical practices in their services. Many CSB parishes were isolated from the larger Orthodox world (as a result of the period of time spent under "Metropolitan" Pangratios), during the period of time that they were learning to serve, chant and conduct services. As a result, trying to learn the divine services from a book without ever having seen the service in a traditional setting, led to some odd practices, most of which were a result of mis-interpreting Orthodox liturgics, rather than any former HOOM practices. Since CSB parishes were received into canonical jurisdictions in 2000, most of the odd practices have been replaced in most places.
Pangratios Vrionis, associated with the initial non-canonical acceptance of HOOM had a criminal record and was later accused of child molestation.
Some of the existing congregations that include former members/clergy of HOOM/CSB include:
- St. John (Maximovitch) the Wonderworker Orthodox Church (OCA) in Atlanta, GA. In particular, Father Jacob Myers.
- Saint George Orthodox Church (Jerusalem) in Rohnert Park, CA. In particular, Father Phillip Tolbert
- Joy of All Who Sorrow Orthodox Church (Bulgaria) in Indianapolis, IN. In particular, Father Stevan Bauman.
- St. John the Baptist Serbian Orthodox Mission and Forerunner Bookstore, Reno, Nevada. No homepage is currently available. Rev. James Barfield and his wife Nina, were members of HOOM/CSB, originally involved with Raphael House in San Francisco, a HOOM property/operation.
- 1968 - Earl Blighton (aka Father Paul) founds the Holy Order of MANS. He takes the title of Director General.
- 1974 - Earl Blighton dies.
- 1978 - Andrew and Isjesian Rossi become co-directors general of HOOM.
- 1983 - Fr. Herman (Gleb) Podmoshensky and Andrew Rossi of HOOM meet
- 1984-1988 - Rossi introduces some Orthodox liturgical and spiritual practices to members of HOOM.
- 1987 - Rossi attends meetings of the Evangelical Orthodox bishops with Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese
- 1988 - HOOM members, under the leadership of Andrew Rossi and Fr. Herman, joined a non-canonical jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Pangratios (Vrionis) of the Archdiocese of Vasiloupolis (Queens, NY). The name of the group was then changed to Christ the Saviour Brotherhood.
- 2000 - Members of Christ the Saviour Brotherhood join three different jurisdictions in America. The men's and women's monasteries that came out of the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood and some parishes and missions were received by Bishop Jovan of the Diocese of Western America, and Bishop Longin of the New Gracanica Diocese, both of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Many parishes and missions have gone into the Orthodox Church in America under Archbishop Dimitri of Dallas, Bishop Job of Chicago, and Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco. Several other parishes and missions were received by Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Patriarchate [source: Again article].
These links can be used to expand this article or for sources of information.
Holy Order of MANS
- Uniting All Faiths: A text of the HOOM.
- Holy Order of MANS from the Religious Movements Homepage
- Behind the Doors of Repentance: The Untold Details of the Journey of the Holy Order of MANS/Christ the Saviour Brotherhood and the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood into the Canonical Orthodox Church by Melanie Jula Sakoda, JD
- HOOM Summary by Melanie Jula Sakoda, JD
- HOOM - Controversial Groups: a link repository for articles about the Order.
- Holy Order of MANS by Metareligion
- I ask for your prayers. A post made on the orthodoxchristianity.net forums about life in a CSB parish.
- Road to Emmaus: A Journal of Orthodox Faith and Culture. A journal sponsored by Christ the Saviour Brotherhood
- Holy Order of MANS. Information provided by the Rick A. Ross Institute
- Holy Order of MANS in Google Directory.
- Christ the Savior Brotherhood Handbook (1995)
- Bread Upon the Waters: A Pilgrimage Toward Self-Discovery and Spiritual Truth by Peter Reinhart (ISBN 0738204323)
- Peter Reinhart is a lay member of Christ the Saviour Brotherhood.
- The Odyssey of a New Religion: The Holy Order of Mans from New Age to Orthodoxy by Phillip Charles Lucas (ISBN 0253336120)
- Lucas has also published a scholarly article including some information about CSB entitled Enfants Terribles: The Challenge of Sectarian Converts to Ethnic Orthodox Churches in the United States