(1881 - 1934)
5th Ill. G.P. R+C of the O.K.R.C.
Jean (or Joanny) Bricaud (February 11, 1881, Neuville-sur-Ain, Ain – February 24, 1934), also known as Tau Jean II, was from a peasant family. He attended the minor seminary of Meximieux. During his adolescence, he discovered books of occultism, which led him to refuse to continue his studies at the major seminary. He then settled in Lyon and entered the bank called the “Crédit Lyonnais” (in 1897), a company where he worked all his life. He was enrolled during World War I.
In 1901, Léonce Fabre des Essarts (1848-1917) consecrated Bricaud Bishop of Lyon, under the name of “Tau Johannes,” in the Gnostic Church of France (or Gnostic Church Valentinian) founded by Jules Doinel in 1890.
In 1907, Bricaud broke with Fabre des Essarts to create his own branch of the Gnostic Church. Bricaud, Fugairon and Encausse, at first named their branch the Gnostic Catholic Church. After 1907, in order to clearly distinguish the two branches of the Gnostic Church, that of Fabre des Essarts was known as the "Gnostic Church of France." In February 1908, the episcopal synod of the Gnostic Catholic Church met and elected Bricaud as Patriarch under the name of “John II.” In 1908, the Gnostic Catholic Church had its name changed to the “Universal Gnostic Church.” In 1911, Papus made this church the official church of Martinism. In 1960, Robert Ambelain changed the name again, to “Apostolic Gnostic Church.”
Jean Bricaud also became a Freemason of the Rite of Memphis-Misraim. At one time, he was the disciple of the Master Philippe de Lyon. He was ordained priest on 25 July 1912 by Bishop Louis-Marie Giraud, bishop of the Gallican Church, and on 21 July 1913 obtained the “episcopal consecration” from the same bishop, at the Saint-Amand mine, near Ambert (Puy de Dome). Therefore, the Gnostic revival pretended not to have an “apostolic succession." Of course, the Gallican Church not being that of Rome (and at least partially connected to the theosophical movement), the validity of this “apostolic succession” is considered unlawful with regard to Roman Catholicism (canon law codes 1331, § 1, 2, see CIC 1917, C. 2261, § 1).
Bricaud was intimately linked to the occultists who worked with Vintras. He possessed a copy of the “bloody hosts” transmitted to the excommunicated Satanist (and former abbot) Joseph-Antoine Boullan and wrote a pamphlet of witchcraft entitled “Methode pratique pour incubat et succubat.” These people clearly influenced the “traditionalist” movement of the early 20th century (Barres, Leon Bloy etc.), which was in turn influenced by the so-called “secret de la Salette.”
In 1914, Jean Bricaud became the head of the Martinist movement following Teder (Charles Détré), on the basis of the agreements of 1911. Jean Bricaud was named legate of the Martinist Order for the province of Lyon. He also became Grand Master of Memphis, Patriarch of the Universal Gnostic Church, and President of the International Occultist Society. In September 1932, he named Constant Chevillon as his Martinist successor.
Jean Bricaud died on February 21, 1934, and was buried on February 24 in Francheville, near Lyon. It was at the home of Jean Bricaud's widow, in 1944, that Constant Chevillon was arrested and then murdered by the militia, in ways that remain enigmatic.
His direct successor in the episcopate was Victor Blanchard, called “Targelius,” consecrated on May 5, 1918, according to the “old-Catholic pontificate.”