Research Report on the Universal Christian Church of the New Jerusalem

Research Report on the Universal Christian Church of the New Jerusalem

La Chiesa Cristiana Universale della Nuova Gerusalemme–The Universal Christian Church of the New Jerusalem–was founded on October 4, 2015. Three days later, the Assembly of the Faithful elected Samuele Morcia (b. 1972) Supreme Pontiff Samuele. The headquarters of the Church is located in the small town of Gallinaro in the Frosinone province, about 110 kilometres east of Rome.

Of the nearly 2,500 church members most live in the neighbouring regions, but also other parts of Italy, particularly in Sicily, and to some extent abroad. The Universal Christian Church of the New Jerusalem considers itself to be the continuation of the One Holy Catholic Church. They claim that Pope Francis is no true pontiff, but a usurper who has created a new syncretic world religion that has nothing to do with Christianity.

Like many similar cases, the New Jerusalem Church has a background in private revelations. Giuseppina Norcia (1940–2008), Samuele Morcia’s mother-in-law, claimed to receive visions and heavenly messages, both as a child and as an adult. After a series of revelations in 1974, she constructed a small chapel in Gallinaro, La Piccola Culla del Bambino Gesù–the Little Cradle of Baby Jesus–which soon became a popular pilgrimage site, where many people claimed to be healed.

Here you find my research report on the Church:

 

New Text on the Apostles of Infinite Love

New Text on the Apostles of Infinite Love

Les Apôtres de L’Amour Infini (the Apostles of Infinite Love) have their centre at the Monastery of Magnificat of the Mother of God in St-Jovite/Mont-Tremblant in the Canadian province of Quebec. Their goal is to preserve the traditional Catholic Deposit of the Faith, supplementing the Roman Catholic Church in an era of almost total apostasy.

For five years, between 1962 and 1967, the Canadian group was part of the Renewed Church led from France by Michel Collin (1905-1974): Pope Clement XV. After that, they became independent, claiming to be the Renewed Church of Jesus Christ, led by Fr. John Gregory (Gregory XVII) until he died in 2011 and then by Fr. Mathurin (Gregory XVIII).

The World Religion and Spirituality Project has published my rather extensive overview of the Apostles’ history. You find the text here

The website of the World Religion and Spirituality Project (WRSP), coordinated by Professor David G. Bromley includes updated entries on a growing number of religious group, not least so-called New Religious Movements.

New Edition of My Book on the Palmarian Church

New Edition of My Book on the Palmarian Church

I published the first edition of A Pope of their Own: El Palmar de Troya and the Palmarian Church in May 2017. By then, Palmarian Pope Gregory XVIII–Ginés Hernández–had left the papacy and the church and married a former nun. These events made El Palmar de Troya known again. It had been four decades since the Spanish press devoted this much interest to the Palmarian Church.

Since then, the Palmarians have attracted even more attention. They became front-page news in Spain as the ex-pope and his wife were tried for the armed robbery of the Basilica in Palmar de Troya. The interest in the Palmarian Church was also sparked by best-seller writer Dan Brown’s Origin (2017) that included it in the plot. That made the existence of the church known to many outside of Spain, too. As my book was the only recent monograph on the Palmarians, it has been downloaded tens of thousands of times. To reach such a vast readership was undoubtedly an unusual experience for me.

Taken into account the rapid development during the last three years, I decided to write an enlarged version of A Pope of their Own, which follows the Palmarian Church until today. The updated parts are mainly found in chapter 9 (pp. 189–200), covering the current papacy of Peter III. However, I have also included some new sections about earlier history and about rituals (see pp. 20–22, 99–102, 112–113, 118–119, and 226–229).

Reservoarpennor: Design, teknik och historia

Reservoarpennor: Design, teknik och historia

I Sverige är det ovanligt att samla på äldre pennor och det finns i princip inga omfattande texter om reservoarpennor på svenska, vare sig i tryckt eller digital form.

Jag har under nästan tre års tid publicerat texter om reservoarpennor på min hemsida och här har jag sammanställt innehållet i form av boken Reservoarpennor: Design, teknik och historia (240 sid) som är fritt tillgänglig i pdf-format nedan.

Boken inleds (del I) med en allmän introduktion till reservoarpennan och övergår därför till att presentera pennmärken och modeller från Nordamerika (del II) respektive Europa (del III). Del IV behandlar svenska pennor. Del V tar upp ett mycket speciellt ämne: pennaspergiler. Det handlar om vigvattenspridare i pennform som tillverkades. Den avslutande delen (VI) innehåller tips på speciallitteratur och pennrelaterade länkar.

Featured

Introduction

I’m Magnus Lundberg, Professor of Church and Mission History at the Department of Theology, Uppsala University, Sweden. Through the years, much of my research has focused on colonial Latin American church history. Still, from 2015 onwards, I have devoted much time to the study of Catholic traditionalism, Fringe Catholicism and New Religious Movements with Catholic roots, especially modern alternative popes (“antipopes”).

One this website, I  publish research papers and drafts on topics that are of interest to me. Most of the articles are in English, but some are in Spanish or in my mother tongue, Swedish. Some have been published elsewhere (as books or articles), but here they are available open-access. Some texts are written exclusively for this site.

Contact: magnus.lundberg@teol.uu.se

For more information on my research and publications, see the “about-section”

For my series of articles on the Palmarian church, see the Palmarian page

For my series of articles on modern alternative popes, see the Pope page

For articles and monographs on Latin American church history, see the Church and Mission Studies page

For a great non-academic interest of mine, see the fountain pen pages. This part of the website is in Swedish. Om du är intresserad av äldre pennor är du välkommen att besöka den del av sidan som behandlar reservoarpennor.

New Text on Giuseppe Maria Abbate the Celestial Messenger

New Text on Giuseppe Maria Abbate the Celestial Messenger

The website of the World Religion and Spirituality Project (WRSP), coordinated by Professor David G. Bromley includes updated entries on a growing number of religious group, not least so-called New Religious Movements.

Recently, I finished a WRSP group profile about the New Jerusalem Church of the Celestial Messenger based on the my and James W. Craig’s book Giuseppe Maria Abbate: The Italian-American Celestial Messenger (2018).

New Study on Pope Christophe XVIII and La Très Sainte Église de Jésus-Christ, Mission de Banamè in Benin

New Study on Pope Christophe XVIII and La Très Sainte Église de Jésus-Christ, Mission de Banamè in Benin

In 2009 Mathias Vigan was a Roman Catholic parish priest in the village of Banamè in south-eastern Benin. In January that year, he met a young woman named Vicentia Tadagbé Tchranvoukinni, whom he exorcised. As she went through the deliverance process, she assumed a new name, Parfaite, claiming increasing charismatic powers and wisdom. Soon, she asserted that she God the Holy Spirit–Dieu Saint-Esprit–also referring to herself as Daagbo.

Daagbo’s End Time mission to extirpate “witchcraft” and crush the Devil’s power; to purify and renew the Catholic Church; and to create peace and prosperity, saving humanity from eternal damnation. By her side was another young woman, Nicole Soglo, whom Daagbo asserted to be the representative of the Virgin Mary on earth: Nanyé Nicole. Mathias Vigan believed in Daagbo’s claims and took an active part in the mission.

In 2011, Daagbo founded a separate church, currently know as La Très Sainte Église de Jésus-Christ, Mission de Banamè–The Most Holy Church of Jesus Christ, Banamè Mission. But in her view, it was nothing new, but the One True Catholic Church, founded by her son Jesus Christ. Eventually, in late 2012 she made Mathias Vigan pope with the name Christophe XVII, and with time the pope, too, received an increasingly divine status as another Jesus.

My research report on La Très Sainte Église de Jésus-Christ, Mission de Banamè is found here.

New Interview with the Palmarian ex-Pope

New Interview with the Palmarian ex-Pope

On February 19, 2020, the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial published a long interview with Ginés Jesús Hernández. Between 2011 and 2016 he was Gregory XVIII, the pope of the Palmarian Catholic Church. In April 2016, he left the papacy and the church and moved to his girlfriend Nieves Triviño, whom he later married. Shortly after leaving El Palmar, he publicly claimed that the church was a hoax (see my summary of the events).

In June 2018, once again the couple made front-page news when the Spanish press reported that they had climbed over the high wall of the church compound in an attempt to rob the very centre of the Palmarian Church: the Basilica in El Palmar de Troya. In a subsequent fight, both two Palmarian bishops and the couple were wounded. Ginés Hernández was very severely injured, being stabbed in the chest. Still, he recovered and both he and his wife were prosecuted for armed robbery. In May 2019, they were sentenced to prison for six and five years respectively, but directly released on probation (see my summary of the events).

Continue reading “New Interview with the Palmarian ex-Pope”

New Documentary on El Palmar de Troya

New Documentary on El Palmar de Troya

There are several TV-documentaries about El Palmar de Troya and the Palmarian Church, but by far the most ambitious and well-researched is the new series, “El Palmar de Troya” that is broadcasted in February 2020 on the Spanish Moviestar+ Cero Channel. The series is produced by Movistar+ in collaboration with 100 Balas (The Mediapro Studio) and 93 Metros  directed by Israel del Santo and with Daniel Boluda in charge of the research.

“El Palmar de Troya” includes four 55-minute episodes following the Palmarian phenomenon from the beginning in 1968 until today. It includes testimonies by former church members including ex-Pope Gregory XVIII (Ginés Hernández) and his wife Nieves Triviño, who used to be a Palmarian nun. But there are also testimonies by other ex-bishops and ex-nuns as well as former lay members. Apart from them, some outsiders, including me, talk about El Palmar and the Palmarian Church.

Continue reading “New Documentary on El Palmar de Troya”

Palmarian Internet Presence

Palmarian Internet Presence

Until very recently the Palmarian Catholic Church had no official internet presence at all. Even for those actively searching, it has been difficult if not impossible to find a phone number or an email address. This was highly unusual even in the world of Catholic traditionalism. Still, in the 1990s, the church maintained a very rudimentary internet site, but it was not updated and eventually disappeared.

In December 2018, however, the Palmarians suddenly launched a professionally looking multilingual website: www.palmarianchurch.org. The site includes basic information about the Palmarian Church, the Order of the Carmelites of the Holy Face and pope Peter III. On the site, one finds a lot of images and films, mainly documenting important religious feast and the basilica in El Palmar de Troya.  There is also a growing number of texts: general overviews of the church’s history and teachings, apparition messages, extracts from official documents (including the catechism and the Palmarian Bible) and hagiographies as well as diatribes against the media and people considered enemies of the church.

Continue reading “Palmarian Internet Presence”