The Order of the Friars of Helena of Troika was a secret society formed in the 18th century. It was inspired by Hellfire Clubs and was a precursor both to Discordianism and the Church of the SubGenius.
The first Hell-Fire Club was founded in London in 1718, by Philip, Duke of Wharton, and a handful of other high society friends. The most notorious club associated with the name was established in England by Sir Francis Dashwood, and met irregularly from around 1749 to around 1760, and possibly up until 1766. This was actually called the Order of the Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe.
The high society clubs were known for their great secrecy and for libertine and orgiastic behavior that quietly challenged the religious establishment. In a time when society was largely controlled by the Christian Church, they dealt with pagan deities. Wharton's club was highly unusual for the time in that it accepted both men and women and treated them as equals.
The Order of the Friars of Helena of Troika was founded on July 1, 1770, with three leaders. These were the group's original "troika", meaning "triumvirate" or "threesome". Two were a man known as Saint-Fond and a woman known as Juliette (both were featured in fictionalized form in Histoire de Juliette ou les Prospérités du vice by the Marquis de Sade). The identity of the third member of the troika is unknown, but evidence points to the third member being a human incarnation of Nyarlathotep. Both J.R. "Bob" Dobbs and at least one of the founders of Discordianism (most likely Malaclypse the Younger) are also believed to be incarnations of Nyarlathotep, at least by followers of H.P. Lovecraft who believe in the Cthulhu Mythos.
Liv la nan triyo nan (The Book of the Threesome) not only claims that the third member was Nyarlathotep, but that Juliette was Eris Discordia and Saint-Fond was JHVH-1. The known actions of the founders do correspond with their divine counterparts, but the founders may have been followers of the deities and not the deities themselves.
The order, while secret, was also intended to represent the universal. Its name mixes the Middle English-French term "friar" with the Greek-Latin "Helena" and the Russian-Armenian "Troika." The name is also self-contradictory as the "friars" included women and made a point of violating the friar vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The founding date corresponded with the closest approach of Lexell's Comet, the closest a comet has come to Earth in recorded history. Studies of the comet foreshadowed the modern scientific concept of chaos, a foundational principle of both the SubGenius church and Discordianism.
Some believe that the public figure Salem Troika Anastasia Helena Blavatsky, a resident of Texas, was named after Helena of Troika.
The group's main symbol is a cross with four points and an upside down triangle made of four smaller triangles in the center. It may have inspired the Early SubGenius cross.