The Nazarenes of Mount Carmel
In the middle of the second Millennium B.C., the geographical lists at the Amin-Ra Temple at Karnak, the governing seat of Egyptian pharaohs, called this Carmel mount of the Essenes: "The sacred promontory".
Iamblichus, a Syrian Philosopher of the 4th century B.C., wrote that Carmel was "the most holy of all mountains and forbidden of access to many."
The Roman historian Tacitus, around A.D.100, reported that Vespasian, while leading the war against the Jews some forty years previous, had offered sacrifices on Elijah's open-air Altar at Carmel and there upon received an oracle indicating that he would become the next Roman emperor, which was fulfilled.
Tradition locates the Altar of Elijah on the rocky plateau of el-Muhraqa on the southeast flank of the range. Excavations on Mount Carmel in 1958 uncovered what is accepted as Elijah's altar, the cave where he lived, the fountain of Elijah, and the remains of an ancient monastery."
Tradition also holds that the prophet Elijah had a vision of the future mother of Yeshua, and for this reason early Christian's greatly honored him and Mount Carmel, taking pilgrimages there to honor both Elijah and the Virgin. There is even a Catholic Monastic Order, the Carmelites, who claim unbroken succession back to these ancient times.
Crusaders on a pilgrimage to Mount Carmel in 1150 A.D. found a small monastery there housing Byzantine priests, who said that when their predecessors first arrived they had found the site occupied by a community of Jewish Christians who were conducting a house of studies. They had claimed to be the spiritual heirs of a Jewish monastic Order which had lived and studied there since before the birth of Yeshua. These early Christians had told the Byzantines that the settlement could trace its history back to the days of Elijah and his School of the Prophets.
Some of these crusaders stayed on at Carmel, and eventually sent a constitution to Rome for approval in 1226 A.D. It is said that the pope was going to reject it until the Virgin Mary appeared to him and instructed him to approve it. Eventually the Vatican allowed a statue of Elijah to be placed in its wall, with a plaque identifying him as the founder of the Carmelite Order.
Prefixed to this 1281 Carmelite Constitution was this statement: "From the times when the prophet Elias (Elijah) and Eliseus dwelt devoutly on Mount Carmel, holy fathers both of the old and new Testament....lived praiseworthy lives in holy penitence by the fountain of Elias in a holy succession uninterruptedly maintained."
There is some evidence to suggest that this constitution may have been written as far back as the fourth century A.D. In it members are required to live alone in separate cells or caves, to meet daily for mass, to recite psalms together at special Daily Office prayer hours, to work with their hands, observe poverty, perpetual abstinence and long silences, and be obedient to the Prior.
The Catholic Carmelite Order continued to grow in medieval Europe, eventually relaxing its rules against long silences, allowed departure from a vegetarian diet three times a week, allowed city living which lessened daily prayer and meditation schedules, and the wearing of foot wear other than sandals.
Two Carmelite mystics, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, reformed a portion of the Catholic Carmelite Order, restoring many of the former disciplines such as strict vegetarianism. This reformation became an independent Religious Order in 1593, being known as the Discalced Carmelites. They reoccupied the ancient site on Mount Carmel, and in 1853 finished their present Monastery there, which now houses an international school of philosophy for the Discalced Carmelite Order.
The mystical writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross represent a complete theology. Their spiritual program is a practical and workable method for reconnecting to the spiritual sources associated with Mount Carmel and the Essene tradition. They are of great value to modern Essenes attempting to understand the mystical dimensions of their spiritual path.
Edgar Cayce Cayce Readings On Mt. Carmel St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle 1 St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle 2 St. John of the Cross's Counsels To A Monastic On How To Reach Perfection St. John of the Cross's An Ecstasy Experienced in High Contemplation St. John of the Cross's Ascent of Mount Carmel - Part 1 St. John of the Cross's Ascent of Mount Carmel - Part 2 St. John of the Cross's Ascent of Mount Carmel - Part 3 St. John of the Cross's Dark Night of the Soul St. John of the Cross's Precautions St. John of the Cross's Sayings
The Nazarenes of Mount Carmel
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