The history of Rosa Veritas
In 1969 Rosa Veritas came into being, due to the vision, courage and daring of our founders, Rev Mario Schoenmaker and Rev Colin Read. They were responding to the spiritual need they saw around them, the soul-hunger for a modern, intelligent approach to spirituality as a way of life.
In this initial phase of life, Rosa Veritas was pioneering. We began a spiritual healing ministry which was famous in its birthplace of Perth, Western Australia. We commenced the Institute of Metaphysics and taught metaphysical principles and esoteric knowledge. We welcomed guest speakers from many different spiritual traditions. Members and friends were educated about matters of the spirit. Residential communities were established for students. Rituals and ceremonies were created as well as a path of modern initiation for those who would serve as priests in the ministry of Rosa Veritas. The Covenant of Love was created and celebrated for those who were not able to legally marry.
In those days Rosa Veritas was known as The Centre, the Home of the Victoria Park Congregational Church and it was tolerated by the orthodoxy as ‘experimental’, but this ‘experiment’ needed a life of its own and this happened in 1975 when the Commonwealth of Australia recognised us as an autonomous religious denomination. We named ourselves The Centre, The Church of the Mystic Christ, because at our heart we seek the inner knowing and mystical experience of the Christ power within.
Our founder, Rev Mario, was a gifted clairvoyant and spiritual teacher. He was in demand for his spiritual past life readings and his seminars on the soul’s spiritual journey. He and his team travelled widely to meet this interest and demand. This extensive travelling ministry led to our headquarters being relocated in 1980 to Melbourne, Victoria, where it is still based. In that same year, a community of The Centre was established in Adelaide which is still active today.
By 1983 there were many people, who lived in distant places, interested in The Centre’s approach to life. In order to meet their needs, a form of membership was created, known then as Postal Membership, through which these people could participate in some of the teachings and services. This form of membership evolved over the years and has now become a virtual community, known as the Centre At Large.
In 1985 Rev Max Clayton, internationally known psychodramatist, worked together with Rev Mario for the first time, utilising the method of psychodrama to teach and illustrate spiritual principles. This was the beginning of a very fruitful and beautiful collaboration which is exercised both within Rosa Veritas and in many places around the world.
In 1988, The Centre changed its name to The Independent Church of Australia. This plainer name made it easier to deal with anxious neighbours and obtain permits to meet from local councils. In this way, the deeper esoteric traditions and practices of The Centre became more hidden, while The Centre itself became more ‘acceptable’ to the mainstream.
In 1992, the spiritual seed of what would become the Esoteric Christelijk Centrum was planted in the Netherlands during a spiritual retreat. The ECC has been the northern hemisphere branch of The Centre ever since. Later in 1992, Richard Moss from Wellington, NZ, was appointed as a Centre Leader and he has led and coordinated the Centre’s ministry throughout New Zealand ever since.
In 1995, our founders, in planning for the future, elevated a successor to the office of Meritus, Rev Antoinette Schoenmaker. In 1996, they ordained 19 people as ‘free priests’ and in doing so set in motion a much wider expression for the ministry of The Centre.
In 1997, after a short illness, Rev Mario Schoenmaker died, and two years later in 1999 his co-founder, Rev Colin also died.
The Centre evolved and adapted to different settings, with Rev Antoinette as the sole Meritus. The priesthood was very active, both within the different Centre communities and beyond the community through their own professions and specialised areas of work. New publications, based on the plentiful resources bequeathed by Rev Mario, were made available. New courses of study flourished.
Nine years after Rev Mario died, in 2006, a co-leader of The Centre was elevated, Rev Robert John. This event signalled the beginning of a new time of accepting our gifts and role in human evolution. Together with Rev Antoinette and the priesthood, Robert continues in a leadership position today.
In 2017, after a number of years of community discussion, The Centre’s members voted to change the name of our spiritual community once more. We became Rosa Veritas. The choosing of this name indicates our intention to come out into the open as the custodians of a beautiful spiritual wisdom and truth: Christ is in you!
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