Louis Marie François Giraud
(1876 - 1951)
6th Ill. G.P. R+C of the O.K.R.C.
After being in charge of the Patriarchate of the Universal Gnostic Church, Bricaud became the friend of the Bishop Louis-Marie-François Giraud, a former Trappist monk who received his episcopal lineage from Joseph René Vilatte (Mar Timotheos, 1854-1929). Vilatte was a Parisian who had emigrated to America in his youth. He was a religious enthusiast but unable to find satisfaction within the structures of the Catholic Church. In America, he began his quest to find an environment that could fit his personality and ambitions. He joined several groups, working for a time as a congregational minister, later being ordained priest in the schismatic sect of “Old Catholics.” He obtained the episcopal consecration in 1892 from the hands of Bishop Francisco Xavier Alvarez (Mar Julius I), bishop of the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox and Metropolitan Church of the Independent Catholic Church of Ceylon, Goa and India. This bishop had received his consecration from the hands of Ignatius Peter III, “Peter the Humble,” the Jacobite Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. In 1900, Vilatte consecrated Paolo Miraglia-Gulotti, who in turn consecrated Jules Houssaye (1844-1912). In 1911, Houssaye consecrated Louis-Marie-François Giraud, who then consecrated Jean Bricaud on July 21, 1913.
This consecration is important for the Church of Bricaud because it provides a valid and documented apostolic and episcopal succession, which was recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as valid and legal according to its laws. The apostolic succession was widely perceived as reflecting a transmission of true spiritual authority in the Christian tradition, going back to St. Peter and even further to Melchizedech, the mythical priest-king of Salem who served as priest to the Hebrew Patriarch Abraham. This gave Bricaud and his successors the apostolic authority to administer the Christian sacraments. It was important because many members of the Martinist Order were of the Catholic faith, but as members of a secret society, they were subject to excommunication if their Martinist affiliation were known. Thus, this apostolic lineage offered a continuous assurance of salvation to Catholic Christians who were Martinists or would-be Martinists.
Louis-Marie François Giraud, who had been ordained a priest on June 21, 1907 by Joseph-Rene Vilatte, was in contact with Maman Mathieu, a healer living in Gazinet in southwestern France. Giraud visited Ernest Houssay (Father Julio), who consecrated him as bishop on June 21, 1911; then Giraud was ready to serve the community as its bishop.
In 1944, the Vichy Regime banned the Gallican Church in Gazinet. However, this church was reborn after the war and in November 1945, François Giraud published a declaration of faith. At his death, this church began to split, and the Gallican publications were temporarily stopped.