Doinel, Jules-Benoit (1842–1894)
Jules-Benoit Doinel du Val-Michel, the patriarch of the
Nouvelle Église Gnostique Universelle (New Universal Gnostic
Church), was born in France on December 8, 1842. As a teenager
he was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church by the
bishop of Moulins. He was 26 when he married StephanieFrancoise
le Clerc.
In 1867, the year before his marriage, he claimed that he
had had an apparition of the Virgin Mary and that Jesus had
appeared to him and consecrated him as a bishop. Through
the next years, he read in metaphysical and theosophical literature
and then around 1890, during a Spiritualist séance, he accepted
a second consecration out of which he founded the Nouvelle
Église Gnostique Universelle. The new church had as its
goal the reviving of the mystical doctrines attributed to the second-century
theologian Origen, especially the preexistence of
the soul and metempsychosis (reincarnation).
Doinel assumed the religious name of Tau Valentin II, and
as a bishop with direct contact with Christ, initiated a new line
of apostolic succession. He consecrated several bishops into his
new Gnostic church, including Gerard Encausse, better known
as Papus, and the man who eventually succeeded him as patriarch,
Leonce Eugene Joseph Fabre Des Essarts. Doinel died in
1894.
The Nouvelle Église Gnostique Universelle has continued to
the present, though it fractured over the twentieth century and
now exists as a number of small Gnostic churches. Among its
more important derivatives is the Gnostic Catholic Church associated
with the Ordo Templis Orientis (OTO). Some claim
that both Theodor Reuss and Aleister Crowley were consecrated
by Papus, but the documentary evidence is lacking. Herman
Joseph Metzger (1919–1990), who eventually became
head of the largest German-speaking branch of the OTO, accepted
consecration as a Gnostic bishop through a separate lineage
from Doinel.
Sources
Anson, Peter. Bishops at Large. London Faber and Faber,
1964.
Ward, Gary L., Bertil Persson, and Alan Bain, eds. Independent
Bishops An International Directory. Detroit Apogee Press,
1990.