Holy Order of MANS

The Holy Order of MANS (HOOM) was a gnostic New Age cult that was begun by Fr. Paul Blighton (Earl Wilber Blighton) in 1968. “MANS” was an esoteric acronym. According to informed sources, “Masters Alumined (K)Nights of the Spirit” was one explanation for the initials. “Alumined” is probably a reference to the Order’s “rite of illumination,” where, Phillip Charles Lucas reported, some initiates saw “a luminous column” inside themselves. (The Odyssey of a New Religion, p. 260)

After Blighton’s death in 1974, Vincent Rossi, also known as Master Andrew Rossi and later Fr. Andrew Rossi, took over the leadership of the group. Following the Jonestown massacre in 1978, the Order found itself on various cult watch lists. This spurred the new HOOM leader to develop a more traditional Christian appearance for the group. In fact, Rossi even developed a new **exoteric** explanation for the MANS acronym. He said that the initials stood for the Greek words “Mysterion, Agape, Nous, and Sophia.”

In his search for a new direction for HOOM, Rossi came across the writings of Fr. Seraphim Rose of the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, which had originated in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). Rossi ultimately decided that Orthodoxy met the Order’s needs.

Fr. Seraphim died in 1982. The surviving co-founder of the Brotherhood, Abbot Herman Podmoshensky, was suspended from the priesthood in 1984 in the wake of serious moral charges. After the abbot refused to abide by his suspension, he was removed from the priesthood by ROCOR in 1988. The vast majority of the Brotherhood elected to remain in ROCOR.

Abbot Herman was accepted under the omophorion of Bishop Benedict Greene. The bishop was the founder of New Sarov Monastery in Blanco, Texas, more commonly known as Christ of the Hills (COTH). Bishop Benedict’s diocese was part of the Archdiocese of Vasiloupolis, which was led by Metropolitan Pangratios Vrionis. The metropolitan had been a priest in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, but he was defrocked by that group.

With the support of Bishop Benedict, Father Herman met with the Metropolitan to discuss HOOM’s acceptance into Vasiloupolis. Ultimately, an agreement was reached. The Metropolitan would become the Order’s bishop, but Rossi would remain the leader of HOOM and retain control of the Order’s assets. Abbot Herman and Bishop Benedict then began to train candidates for ordination.

Although Rossi was warned that Vasiloupolis was not recognized by the vast majority of Orthodox in this country, he still elected to bring HOOM into Metropolitan Pangratios’ diocese. Seven hundred and fifty members of the Order were baptized during Pascha of 1988. Metropolitan Pangratios ordained members of the Order as priests.

Following this mass conversion, the Order declared itself Orthodox and began using the name “Christ the Saviour Brotherhood.”