The Order of St Christopher
Abbot of St. Christopher Abbey
St. Christopher is known universally as the patron saint of travelers since legend has it that he carried the Christ child across a river. The story is probably myth, but Christopher, which means Christ Carrier, existed and is still in the canon of Roman Catholic saints – he just lost his feast day – except that it can still be celebrated for local churches that revere him – such as ours.
The motto of the abbey is “Opera Non Verba” or “Deeds Not Words.”
The founder and abbot of the Order of St. Christopher is Father Jack, age 68 at the time. His formal religious training was six years in a Catholic Seminary, four years at a Jesuit university matriculating with a bachelors degree in economics and two years at a Buddhist monastery. In addition to his academic doctoral degree in jurisprudence, he holds a doctor of theology degree from Ekklesia Epignostic seminary. He is the author of “Saying Hello, Saying Goodbye,” “Zen in Christianity,” and “Nothing Matters.”
His ecclesiastical lineage makes him one of the few “independent” bishops in the world in the sense that he is not beholden to any particular church authority. The validity of the priesthood and bishop consecration is transmitted from one bishop to another from the time of the apostles. Father Jack carries 21 lines of clear apostolic succession including Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Celtic Catholic, most Eastern Orthodox sects – all of which are “in communion” with the Vatican. He carries other lines that the Vatican recognizes as “valid” but “irregular” – usually meaning the churches do not recognize the pope as infallible in matters of faith and dogma, yet the Vatican recognizes their bishops as having valid succession to practice the sacraments of the Roman Church. One example is the Anglican Church. He also carries a 22nd line that is a very rare Templar lineage.
Father Jack founded the Order of St. Christopher to demonstrate that a religious society, an abbey, can work and thrive in a capitalistic world, and provide sustenance for its members, as well as for the outside community, by its own efforts and not subsist on donations (even though most monasteries begin with a land or capital grant). The earliest abbeys were not started by the Church – they were started by simple Christians who had a common set of simple beliefs that allowed them to survive and even prosper by working together during the dark ages when many languished and perished.
The Order believes that the answer to poverty is a well-functioning economy that provides jobs and thus income. That provides education aimed at future jobs. The Order is not large enough to solve the economic problems of a nation or the world, but it can help solve them for the members of the Order and for the community that surrounds it.
The Order believes that agricultural activities are an amazing spiritual healing process, especially for the economically disadvantaged, disturbed youths or returning veterans. And thus it plans that all its abbeys will have a fundamental agricultural component. But it also believes that assembling products for a manufacturer using the latest production methods is not just work that can feed for a day but is transportable for someone graduating from its training programs and leaving the monastery for the “real” world.
The Order, through non-religious non-profit corporations it owns, will work with colleges and high schools, colleges and universities to provide opportunities for apprenticeships and certificates of completion for specialized education in “real world” skills learned in a setting of ethical life values.
The Order has simple rules that allow anyone who believes in God or a “divine presence in all that is” to participate either as a visitor, member for a time, or a solemn member for five year increments or for life. The religious liturgy of the abbey resembles the liturgy and daily practice of most mainstream monasteries and celebrates the Roman Catholic Mass, the Apostolic Celtic Mass and the Malabar Mass regularly. The Order’s function is to administer and carry on the work of the St. Christopher Abbey
Malabar Church. St. Christopher Abbey Malabar Church carries “52 Pointings” to help members live their creed. It’s basic foundation is built on two verses from the New Testament: Mathew 7:16 “By their deeds ye shall know them.” And from James 2:14 – 26: “Faith without works is dead.”
The Order believes that our work can be made sacred by each of us via simple intentionality; and that there need be no separation between work and prayer. Since all of us must work for our crust, it is impossible that the work that sustains us physically cannot become work that sustains us spiritually. The order teaches pathways of awareness and mindfulness that in some ways are Zen-like or even similar to early American Shakers religious practices “Hands to work; Hearts to God.”
The Order accepts men and women of suitable age and maturity into various levels of participation. See “Rules of the Order of St. Christopher.”
All members of the Order of St. Christopher are members of St. Christopher Abbey Malabar Church, though not all members of the Church are members of the Order. Where it is not incompatible, members of the Order may feel comfortable in also being members of other roads to spiritual awakening