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Re: Theos-World Hunt Williamson

Sep 09, 2004 06:29 PM
by gregory

Dear John:

I'm glad my Hunt Williamson material was of interest. Why am I interested 
in him? Several reasons.

My work on the history of the Liberal Catholic Church (deriving from my 
work on Leadbeater - I hope to find time to finish an almost completed 
substantial history of the LCC 1915-1920 for publication eventually) led 
me to an interest in Theosophists (outside the LCC) who became involved 
in small independent (and usually allegedly Catholic and/or Orthodox) 
churches and were ordained priests or bishops. There are numerous such 
people, particularly in the USA, from the 1940's onwards. Some of them 
sought to establish what they claimed to be "Gnostic" churches (e.g. 
Richard de Palatine, real name: Ronald Powell). There was something of a 
"flood" of small Theosophical churches in the US at one time. Obviously, 
one question is: why would Theosophists want to be bishops?

This led to an interest in what are known as "episcopi vagantes" (= 
literally, "wandering bishops"), men who claimed to be bishops, but 
outside any mainstream church.

One of the most significant of these was George de Willmott Newman (known 
as "Mar Georgius") in England, from whom whole streams of "wandering 
bishops" derive, directly or indirectly (as in Williamson). I was asked 
by Newman's Literary Executors to undertake work for a biography of him, 
and accumulated a vast amount of material on him (even more than I 
collected on Leadbeater), but have only been working on the biography 
slowly and sproadically because of demands of other work. Williamson is 
one of the bishops in the "Mar Georgius line" and was, for a time, a part 
of Mar Gorgius' international church (under the d'Obrenovic name).

Thanks for your comments.

Gregory Tillett

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