Discovery of the Essene Gospel of Peace


Editor's 1989 Introduction

The Essene Gospel of Peace is one of the most extraordinary books in history  Since it's first edition more than sixty tears ago, it has been translated into twenty-six languages and has had countless editions and reprints.  In the United States alone and just during the last twenty years it has been distributed in more than a million copies.  Yet none of its publishers – and there have been many, in various countries – have ever made financial profit from its tremendous popularity.  They have, without exception, made the book available at cost, motivated by some unseen altruism to place the contents of the Essene Gospel within reach of everyone.  And in all the many years since its first appearance, it has never been advertised commercially.  Like the teachings of the first Christians, its message has always been carried from one seeker of truth to another.


Introduction by the author

 Many words are devoted to St. Francis in this book, and with reason.  In addition to all his other attributes, he was also the last personification of the Essene spirit.  Since the gentle troubadour of God brought his message of love, purity and simplicity, no one has appeared who has represented so totally the Essene spirit.

With the coming of the industrial age things of the spirit have assumed less and less reality in our lives. Until now we have almost completely forgotten that we are born of the Earthly Mother and the Heavenly Father.  The god of the twentieth century is technology – whose vast machines are wholly dependent on limited fuel sources – a computerized god we have programmed to produce material things, most of which we do not need and much of which is even harmful. 

 A good example of how our priorities have shifted in the last few hundred years is the reaction of the world to the discovery in 1945 of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  True, there was great excitement.  But it was the excitement of a major archeological find not the celebration of a spiritual rebirth.  The mass of books and articles that followed the discovery almost all dealt exclusively with dry technical details and confusing theological arguments, interspersed with commentaries on the commentaries, all punctuated with footnote after footnote.

 What has happened to us?  There was a time in our past when the very air crackled with wonder, when birds sang songs of mystery, and it was possible to meet a saint in bare feet on the dusty road and soar with his spirit into unknown realms of holiness.  Now euphoria is attained through drugs and self-destructive techniques, and religion, more often than not, is a matter of duty and righteousness, on the schedule every Sunday or Saturday morning at eleven o'clock.

 That state of wonder and awe before the miracle of life, which burned so brilliantly in the Essene Brotherhood at the Dead Sea, and which faded out with the passing of the last Essene, St. Francis, was mine to kindle once more with the discovery of the Essene Gospel.  It is a book of wonders, not only for the wisdom and guidance contained in its pages, but because it shines and glows with the lost spirit of ages past, when the distance between man and God was not so great and when all of nature sang with the voice of angels.

The Essene Gospel is not the only manuscript of its kind in the Secret Archives of the Vatican.  There were Gospels supposedly by Matthew, Barnabas, James, Peter and Thomas, used by the Manichaenans, together with the “Book of the Obstetrician,” “The Essene Book of Genesis,” “The Canto of Christ,” “The Physiologist,” written by Essene heretics” and attributed to Ambrose, the pamphlets of Tertullian and the manuscripts of Simon the Magician.  All these manuscripts were condemned as apocryphal and “damned for eternity” along with their authors and followers.

 There was a time when the publication of any of these unknown writings would have stirred tremendous excitement among seekers of truth, and raging controversy among dedicated theologians.  Now we are surprised at nothing.  Nothing shocks us anymore.  Ever since the first nuclear explosion, the realization of living on the brink of annihilation has altered irrevocably our perspective on life and death.  Accustomed as we are to daily violence and terrorism in some part of the world, dispute over the authenticity of an apocryphal text seems unimportant and frivolous.

 But fatalism and indifference will never solve the monumental problem of how to avert world catastrophe. We must involve ourselves again with the miracle of life.  We have opened the Pandora's box of nuclear energy; we can also open with the key of truth the hidden treasure-house of ancient wisdom, waiting to be discovered in a forgotten manuscript, an ancient scroll, or in the unknown seat of knowledge within ourselves.  We must rediscover our place in the world-picture, our original role as the partner of the Creator helping to sow and harvest and make the earth once more a Garden. We must make our own discovery of the Essene Gospel.  We must let St. Francis sing in our hearts.

Editor's Note: Edmond Bordeaux Szekely was born in Hungary in 1905. His father was a Hungarian Unitarian, whose own father was a bishop in the Unitarian Church. His mother was from France and a devout Roman Catholic. Despite these two very different parental philosophies, they came to an agreement regarding their son's education. The agreement was that he would receive his early education in a Catholic monastery of the Piarist order which emphasized the classical languages and Ecclesiastic literature and, after graduating, would attend the University of Paris with the goal of a doctorate in philosophy.


In his own words….

“When I was eighteen years old, I was speaking classic Greek and Latin fluently and graduated magna cum laude, becoming the valedictorian of my class.  At the same time I prepared my obligatory thesis for graduation, with the title, “Let St. Francis Sing in Your Heart.”  It was a labor of love, and I wrote it effortlessly, never imagining the chain of events it would send into motion.

 Right after graduation I was called into the office of our Headmaster, Msgr. Mondik, the Prior of the monastery.  When I entered, he looked up from my thesis which he had been glancing through and smiled.

 “Well, my son,” he said, “you are now ready to fly out to the great and harsh world.  Some time soon, Satan will show you all the temptations of a life full of pleasure and luxury.  So I have decided to beat Satan and steer you instead toward a great spiritual experience.  I have here a letter of introduction for you to my old schoolmate, the Prefect of the Archives of the Vatican.  With this letter, the doors of the Archives will be open to you, so you may find out everything about our beloved St. Francis as you expressed your wish to do so in your thesis.”  Seeing the sudden enthusiasm on my face, he raised his hand and continued in a more serious tone:  “But, my son, there is a price to pay for this privilege.  During your studies under the Prefect of the Vatican, you must subject yourself to the vow of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience of the Franciscan monks, and live accordingly.  You must dress and live in the simplest possible way, and eat only black bread, cheese, fruit and vegetables.  And nothing else.  I know your family has great wealth, but during this time you shall not accept one penny from them.”  He held up an envelope.  “Here you will find a very modest sum in Italian currency, corresponding to the salary of the poorest unskilled worker in Italy.  And you must live like one.  But on the other hand, you will enjoy a spiritual banquet to be able to study under my friend, Msgr. Mercati, and have at your disposal the inexhaustible treasures of the ages in the Archives and Library of the Vatican.  Well, my son, are you willing to make the great sacrifice?”

 I was stupefied, unable to speak.  Awed by the prospect of this tremendous opportunity I could not find words to express my gratitude.  Fortunately, our beloved headmaster was as sensitive and understanding as he was wise and learned.  He smiled and nodded as if to say he knew what was going on in my mind, and handed me the envelope and the letter of introduction, saying, “I will mail to my friend separately your thesis on St. Francis.  It is a very promising one and I am sure he will enjoy it.  Go with God, my son.”

He went to Rome and After relating the interesting story of how he found a “room” to live in, a shack in the roof of a pension he goes on to tell the story of :“The Secret Archives of the Vatican.”