History of the Lectorium Rosicrucianum

Jan van Rijckenborgh and Catharose de Petri
Jan van Rijckenborgh and Catharose de Petri

The beginnings of the Lectorium Rosicrucianum (LRC) date back to 1924 in the Netherlands with the work of the spiritual leaders, Jan van Rijckenborgh and Catharose de Petri. Today, the LRC is active in thirty-six countries.

The foundation stone for the Lectorium Rosicrucianum was laid in 1924. In this year, the brothers Zwier Willem Leene (1892-1938) and Jan Leene (1896-1968) joined „Het Genootschap Rozekruisers“, the Dutch organization of the Rosicrucian Fellowship (Oceanside, California, USA), which was founded by Max Heindel in 1909. Soon, the brothers took a prominent place within Het Genootschap Rozekruisers and were entrusted with its direction in 1929.

In 1930, Mrs. Henriette Stok-Huizer (1902-1990) joined the Leene brothers. Together they began an intense spiritual search that in 1935 led to their decision to proceed on the spiritual path with their own group, independent of the Rosicrucian Fellowship.

Republishing the classical Rosicrucian manifestos

In 1935, the Leene brothers together with Cor Damme travelled to London, visited the British Library and discovered the forgotten manifestos of the classical Rosicrucians of the 17th Century. They carefully translated these manuscripts, republished them in 1936 in Dutch under the title “The Book M” and so made these spiritual treasures available again for a broader public in the 20th Century. New editions of the classical manifestos including their complete spiritual commentaries were published several years later and are now available in many languages.

After the death of Z.W. Leene in 1938, Jan Leene and H. J. Leene Stok-Huizer continued with the work. Using their pen names Jan van Rijckenborgh and Catharose de Petri, they published many books and over the decades built an international spiritual school.

During World War II, persecuted by the occupying forces, the group was banned in the Netherlands. They had to withdraw from public life and work temporarily undercover. After the war, the community adopted the name „Lectorium Rosicrucianum“.

The heritage of the Cathars

In 1946, Jan van Rijckenborgh and Catharose de Petri traveled to the city of Albi, one of the major Cathar locations in Southern France. They made contact with the spiritual heritage of the ancient Cathar brotherhood that had lived and taught in Southern France approximately 700 years previously. Their spiritual experiences during this journey and their encounter with “the last Cathar” M. Antonin Gadal in 1954 led to a new affirmation of the old Trifold Unity of Light: the triangle of Cathar, Grail and Rosycross.

The Lectorium Rosicrucianum as a gnostic spiritual school

During that time, the spiritual leaders set forth a new, major spiritual impulse surpassing the previous vision.

The gnostic teaching of transfiguration took precedence. It is based on an understanding of man as a multidimensional entity with an immortal spirit-spark, the germ of a new microcosm (world in miniature). The destiny of man, as a microcosm, is the path of return to the original, divine nature order thereby overcoming the mortal world and the limitations of his present state of consciousness limited by space and time. Man as a mortal being acquires, during this process, spiritual insight into the cause of mortality in this nature. He also gains more self-awareness by experiencing the tension between the transitory nature and the original creative force.

The Lectorium Rosicrucianum therefore is a “Gnostic Spiritual School”, gnosis being the Greek word for „knowledge“. Thus, the divine knowledge is revealed by man’s immortal spirit-spark – the „Rose“ – as soon as he embarks on the path of soul resurrection.

From 1946 until today, the gnostic impulse has spread over the world as part of the spiritual power of the new Aquarius era. In many countries conference centers and city centers have been established for pupils of the Rosycross and the interested public.

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