The “Four-faced God”

We read in the Holy Gospel of Mar Mani about the “the four-faced God.” For example: “Amen, Amen, Amen. Amen again, the four-faced God; glory and honour to the Amen, the Father of Greatness!” (34:6)

Manichaeans are strictly monotheistic, meaning that we worship only one God. There are many celestial beings in the heavens that are referred to as gods, but they are always lower in status than the Father of Greatness. When some of the older texts refer to the worship of these other gods, we understand this to mean that they are honoured, and not worshipped in the same manner which we worship Almighty God.
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Daily Gospel – 4 December 2020

Sections 13 – 15

Section 13. God, Supreme Father of the Light

1. He (Zurvan) is the Father of the Greatness, the Glorious One who is adored, for whose greatness there is no measure, who is the Only Self-existent, the Eternal One, who was before everything which has been and which shall be, the Root of all the Lights, the King in the wisdom of the incomparable Sweet Dew. His delicate and wonderful Radiance shines in and out and is aware of all things; He gathers and collects the embodiment of good deeds, and can make us equal to the many Saints.

2. His twelve Hours, His twelve Maidens who surround Him, the garland-laden Victories who give adoration to their King, their harps in their hands, the lutes in their palms, while they sing to the Hidden Father – the Messengers who have finished their course running in joy glorify You as they go to the Light for their garlands. There is no other First God at all, for all other true Gods are derived from His bosom and are but expressions of His qualities.

3. The fruits of the Good Tree begin with Jesus the great Dawn of Glory, the father of all the Messengers; its Reflection is the holy Church; its Intellect the Column of Glory, the Perfect Man; its Insight is the First Man, who dwells in the Ship of the Living Water; its Thought the Third Messenger, who dwells in the Ship of the Living Fire that shines in the Sun; while the Mind is the Father who dwells in the Greatness that is perfected in the Aeons of the Light.

4. See, the Four Days are these: God, the Light, the Power, and the Wisdom – God who is in the Aeons, and the Light that is over them, the Power which upholds the All, the holy Wisdom that is in the Church.

Section 14. The Holy Trinity

1. Glory and victory to the Father, the God of Truth, and His beloved Son, Christ, and the Holy Spirit the Advocate! Jesus the Tree of Life is the Father, the blessed Light-Mind is the Son, the Maiden of the Light, this sweet one is the Holy Spirit.

2. Pious love for the sign of the Father, knowledge of the Wisdom for the sign of the Son, the keeping of the Commandments for the sign of the Holy Spirit!

3. May we gain for ourselves love towards the Father, the faith that is in us towards the Son, the fear of our heart towards the Holy Spirit. The seal of the mouth for the Father’s sign, the calm of the hands for the sign of the Son, the purity of virginity for the Holy Spirit’s sign. So let us pray, my brothers and sisters, that we may find the Father, and fast daily that we may find the Son, and discipline our life that we may find the Holy Spirit.

4. Glory to our Lord Mani through the Father, honour to his Elect through the Son, blessing to his Hearers through the Holy Spirit.

Section 15. The Mother of Life

1. The Fount of every blessing and all the prayers is the Mother of Life, the First Holy Spirit, the First Mother who has come forth from the Father and first appeared, the Glorious One who is the beginning of all Emanations that have come to this world.

2. Know that the grains of the dust of the earth can be measured, with the whole universe, one can count the dust of the earth year after year and number the grains of sand of the whole world; but the length of time the Great Spirit passed in the Father, the First Standing [the very first Being], that one cannot count. He first formed her thus, He kept her in His inner Chamber in quiet and in silence; but when she was needed, then she was called and came forth from the Father of Greatness; she looked after all her Aeons of the Light.

Devotional: An Appeal to God for Help

“Being kindly and pitiful, the Good Father sent from His bosom His beloved Son into the heart of the earth and into its lowest parts for the saving of the Soul. Now while coming the Son changed himself into the form of a Man and appeared to men as a man, being no man, and men fancied him to have been born.” (GPM 1 sec. 10:2)

The extremity to which the Spark has now been reduced leads then to an appeal to God for help, and immediately that help descends – in a human form, but in reality a total Divinity without dilution with human nature.
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Daily Gospel – 3 December 2020

Today’s Gospel reading consists of Sections 10 through 12.

The text is from the 2020 revised edition of the Holy Book.

Section 10. The Coming of Jesus

1. Now whereas Adam was created beast-like, Eve was lifeless and motionless; but the male Virgin whom they call Daughter of the Light and named Ioel, gave Eve a share of Life and Light. Next Eve freed Adam from bestiality, then she was stripped naked of the Light.
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Daily Gospel – 2 December 2020

Today’s Gospel reading consists of Sections 6 through 9.

Section 6. The Role of the Virtues

1. Now when the Living Father saw the Soul afflicted in the Body, then the Mother of Life and the First Man and the Living Spirit stood up in prayer and implored the Father of Greatness, saying, “Send a Helper to the son, for he has done according to Your Will and so has come to distress.” So the Father of Greatness heard them and called forth the Third Evocation, the Messenger. Having come, then, he prepared for himself the work for the saving of the Souls; he put together a machine with twelve Buckets, the twelve Virgins, also known as Virtues, with their robes and crowns and characteristics. Continue reading “Daily Gospel – 2 December 2020”

Manichaean Observances for December 2020

Dec 5 – Shabta, Commemoration of St. Herakleides
Dec 6 – Sunday Fast
Dec 7 – Monday Fast
Dec 12 – Shabta, Commemoration of St. Priscillian of Spain
Dec 13 – Sunday Fast
Dec 14 – Monday Fast
Dec 19 – Shabta, Commemoration of St. Symmachus
Dec 20 – Sunday Fast, Shab-e Yalda
Dec 21-22 – Shab-e Yalda
Dec 21 – Monday Fast
Dec 26 – Shabta, Commemoration of St. Faustus
Dec 27 – Sunday Fast
Dec 28 – Monday Fast

Light your lamps, for lo, the Saviour has come

A Manichaean Psalm with Responses

Reader:
Light your lamps, for lo, the Saviour has come.

Many are the ships that have gone down after they were near to
mooring to the bank; a number of houses have fallen after the
parapet had been reached. So it is also, my brethren, that there
is a soul that shall fight at first and the storm arises upon it and
the waves seize it.
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Zurvan Sends His Messengers

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From time to time Wisdom and Good Deeds have always been brought to mankind by Messengers of God; in age after age have Messengers been sent by Zurvan: Shitil, Zarathustra, the Buddha and the Christ. (Gospel of the Prophet Mani 3:1)

The Bema Festival

The Bema Festival (observed annually) is by far the holiest of all festivals among Manichaeans. Besides the Bema Festival, however, various observances (holy days) are not universal. In Christian or Judeo-Christian lands some Manichaeans might celebrate Christmas, Epiphany, Easter or Jewish holy days along with those of their own (Bema, various days of the Manichaean saints, etc).
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The Arzhang

The Arzhang or Ardahang, also known as the “Manichaean Picture Book” (sometimes referred to as “Mani’s Picture”), is a collection of artwork which depicts the various tenets of Manichaeism, adapted for various cultures. It is believed to have been lost centuries ago.

It has always been a Manichaean tradition to produce pictorial works for the purpose of teaching. In ancient times, as the books were passed on to missionaries in other lands, they were adapted for the needs of the local culture.
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