Saturday, April 29, 2006

North American Old Roman Catholic Church?

Does anyone possess or have access to a copy of a rare and helpful book for which I have searched for some years? I should very much like to obtain a copy, be it original or photocopied.

Father Jonathan E. Trela of the Polish National Catholic Church wrote A History of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey in 1975.

Thank you to all who may have knowledge of this obscure but important work. God bless you!

The Anglican Rite of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

Of the many variations of the Anglican Rite as used in several Apostolic Churches, this one stands out as one of the more refined and well-designed. It is the English Liturgy 'according to the Western Rite, derived from the Sarum, 1549, 1718 etc., adapted using the rules authorised by the Holy Synod of Russia,' the official Anglican Rite of the Synod Church, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. In 1870 the Russian Holy Synod authorised the use of the Western Rite; it later examined and approved a corrected version of the Anglican Rite, known as the Divine Liturgy of Saint Tikhon of Moscow.

Past and present, the Polish National Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Antiochian Orthodox Church, the Russian Church Outside Russia, and the Moscow Patriarchate have all at one time or another authorised an Anglican liturgical use. The Ethiopian Orthodox and Romanian Orthodox Churches have sponsored a Western Rite. The Orthodox Church of France (L'EOF) exists today as a canonical or at least 'regular succession' Orthodox jurisdiction of the Western Rite, the only such sui juris Orthodox Church in the world.

Here is the ROCOR Anglican Canon of the Mass -

All glory be to Thee Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, Who of Thy tender mercy didst give Thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; Who made there, by His own oblation of Himself once offered, a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in His Holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that His precious death and Sacrifice, until His coming again.

Who in the same night that He was betrayed, took Bread and, when He had given thanks, He brake it, and gave it to His Disciples, saying, Take, eat; This is My Body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

Likewise after supper, He took the Cup; and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for this is My Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins; do this as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of Me.

Wherefore, O Lord and Heavenly Father, we Thy humble servants, in accordance with the institution of Thy dearly beloved Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, and having in remembrance the Precious Death and Passion of Thy dear Son, His mighty Resurrection and glorious Ascension do offer unto Thee in the memorial He commanded us to make, Thine own gifts which Thou hast given, a pure offering + an Holy + offering,

that Thou hast commanded for our salvation, that Thou mayest be pleased to send down Thy Holy Spirit upon this Sacrifice that It may be duly and properly changed in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, in the transformation of the Body + and Blood + of our Lord, Jesus Christ and that It may be for us who partake thereof, Life eternal and the everlasting Kingdom.

And we entirely desire Thy Fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our Sacrifice; our praise and thanksgiving, upon which vouchsafe to look and to accept as Thou didst accept the gifts of Thy servant Abel, the sacrifices of our father Abraham and Thy high priest Melchisedeck, most humbly beseeching Thee to grant that, by the merits and death of Thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in His Blood, we and all Thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of His Passion.

And here we offer and present unto Thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto Thee; Humbly beseeching Thee, that all we, who are partakers of this Holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body + and Blood + of Thy Son Jesus Christ, be fulfilled with Thy grace and Heavenly benediction and made one body with Him, that He may dwell in us and we in Him.

Be mindful, O Lord, we pray Thee, of Thy servants departed this life in Thy faith and fear, now resting in peace. To them and to all Thy faithful sleeping in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, Thy rest, + Thy light and Thy peace. And to us sinners who are Thy servants, grant confidence in the multitude of all Thy mercies and some lot and part with Thy Holy Apostles and Martyrs John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecelia, Anastasia and all Thy Saints, into whose company, we pray Thee of Thy mercy, to admit us.

And although we be unworthy to offer unto Thee any sacrifice, yet we beseech Thee to accept this our bounden duty and service; Not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, Through Jesus + Christ our Lord; By Whom + and with Whom + in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory be unto Thee, O Father Almighty + world without end. Amen.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Notes for the Sermon on the occasion of the Priestly Ordination of the Reverend Father James Gordon Frasier Anderson, 22 April 2006

Thou art a Priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek!

Today is the wonderful fulfilment of many years of prayer, labour, and sacrifice. It has taken a long time to get to this day, but it was well worth the perseverance and commitment it has demanded. I shall never forget that particular Friday evening in the summer of 1997 when Gordon and I enjoyed a drink or two at the bar at Michael’s restaurant in Timonium. That evening as we discussed the Church and the ministry and journeys to Anglicanism, I pointedly asked Gordon, ‘have you ever thought of becoming a Priest in Christ’s Holy Catholic Church? Yes I actually put it like that. And the reply was, ‘yes.’ By God’s grace and many years of prayer and study, we arrive today at the conclusion of that conversation.

Today indeed God calls Gordon to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ in His Body the Church through the summons of God’s local representative, the Bishop. And a Priest, a Sacerdos, Gordon today becomes, by the imposition of hands and the invocation of the Holy Ghost.

What is this Priesthood to which Gordon is today ordained?

Pope John Paul II, in his excellent book commemorating his 50th jubilee of Priestly Ordination, Gift and Mystery, recalls his own Ordination, during which, as Gordon shall, he prostrated himself on the floor of the Church, sprawled out in the form of a cross. The late Pontiff reminds us that the Priest, stretched out in such a way, is a bridge, a bridge across time and space, a bridge uniting the Church throughout all ages, a bridge between God and man. The priest is Christ’s bridge, joining heaven and earth, and men to God. He is the link that unites the Church in every generation. He is the sign of the Church’s catholicity and the Sacrament of Christ in history.

There is a crisis in the Church today precisely because we have forgotten what the Priest is. What is the identity of the Catholic Priest?

The genius of Anglicanism is the Catholic Priesthood as expressed in the Ordinal – which combines the ancient Catholic Order of Priests with the truths of the primacy of Holy Scripture and justification by faith.

It is the possession of the Catholic Priesthood in its fullness that makes Anglicanism a true branch of the Apostolic Church and not a sect.

The Priest is a Sacramental Man, a supernatural being – he is the living Sacrament of Christ. He is a mediator and advocate in the one mediator and advocate. He is the representative of God to man, and man to God.

The Priest possesses a unique gift – it is not his own Priesthood that he exercises, but he shares in Christ’s one Priesthood by the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

The Priest is another Christ, alter Christus; he is in persona Christi capitis, in the Person of Christ the Head of the Church; he is the living icon of Christ; he is the image of the Bridegroom of the Bride, the image of Christ for and to His Church.

The Priest is the living instrument of Christ – he enters into the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice of obedience to the heavenly Father. His job is not a ‘job’; he does not function in a role: he is to BE the image of Christ. The ministry of the Priest is ontological – a change occurs in his very being. He is given an indelible character, an invisible mark on his soul that makes him different from anyone or anything else in all creation.


Christ reproduces His life of self-sacrificing love, His self-donating oblation in the life of His sacramental representative. Christ suffers and sacrifices: His Priest, His icon, must also suffer and sacrifice. The Mass is the heart of his sacrifice of love.

Priesthood is the highest dignity known to man – all of the presidents, poobahs, and potentates, all of the philosophers, politicians, and tycoons of the world put together cannot do what the Priest does… for at Mass the Priest unites heaven and earth and holds in his sinful hands the Creator of the universe, the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

On such an occasion as this, we are reminded of the parable of Saint Francis of Assisi. ‘If one happens upon an angel and a Priest, one should greet the Priest first, for the Angel has a higher nature, but the Priest possesses a greater dignity.’

The Priest is the Icon of the Incarnation. Priesthood safeguards the doctrine of the Creeds while extending the very Priestly Work of Jesus Christ in time and space.

What is the consequence of these truths?

In short, one should never forget the advice offered to me on the occasion of my own priesting: a Priest is ordained to be inconvenienced… how true that phrase really is.

Gordon, my dearest of friends, I charge you always to keep in your mind and heart the famous admonition of Father H. A. Wilson, an English Anglo-Catholic priest who exhausted himself in service to the poor of London’s slums:

‘The ministry of the Catholic priest is to pull back the veil between heaven and earth – and to hide himself in the folds.’

Be Jesus Christ to your people, be a holy, godly, loving, self-sacrificing, consecrated Priest of Jesus Christ. Go to God with the people on your heart.

Thou art a Priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek!

Monday, April 17, 2006

The 'Cumminsite' Episcopate

Praised and magnified be the Glorious Third-Day Resurrection of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ!

In response to several questions I have received on the subject of the episcopate in the Reformed Episcopal Church, I offer the following thoughts:

The episcopate of the Reformed Episcopal Church depends for its sacramental validity upon those same five components which are necessary for any valid consecration and ordination: proper minister, matter, form, subject, and intention. The necessary intention for a valid ordination is, simply, 'generally to do what the Church does.' This is not to intend what the Church intends, but to do what the Church does, i.e., ordain. This general intention suffices, even if the minister and the subject hold to an heretical doctrine of the sacrament being conferred. So long as one intends seriously to perform and receive the rite of ordination, that is, seriously to perform the Christian rite however understood, the intention is valid for the administration of the sacrament. So long as one merely intends to do what Our Lord Jesus Christ or the true Church do in Ordination (even in opposition to the Catholic Church's doctrine), such an ordination is valid, even if heretical views are maintained on ordination itself. Heretical views on the sacrament of order do not invalidate ordination, just as heretical views on baptism do not invalidate baptism (see the decision of the Roman Holy Office on Oceanic Methodist Baptisms 1872). This position is precisely the position Saint Augustine of Hippo took against the Donatist schism, and it has been the general and authoritative teaching of the Western Church since the fourth century. Saint Thomas Aquinas echoes this teaching in the Summa Theologica, Supplement, Question 38, Second Article. Cardinal Robert Bellarmine defends this very point in his On the Sacraments In Gen. I.21. Those who dissent from the Catholic Church can validly baptise and ordain, even if they hold doctrines on the very sacraments themselves at odds with the Church, as long as the Church's basic rule on baptism and order is preserved.

For the purposes of this discussion, I shall leave aside the debate on the orthodoxy or heterodoxy of the Declaration of Principles of the REC. It may suffice to say that its teachings regarding the Real Objective Presence, the Eucharistic Sacrifice and the Christian sacerdotium are not in accord with the received Tradition of the ancient and undivided Catholic Church. Its orthodoxy or otherwise, however, does not affect the substance of the argument I here present - for this reason. It is the rite that matters, not the internal belief or error of the celebrant. Sacramental intention, for Anglicans at least, is usually understood as external or exterior intention, which is manifested ritually, in the liturgical rite used for the administration of the sacrament. Internal intention or personal intention are not usually brought into the discussion because it is impossible to determine in any given case what the personal or interior intention of the minister of a sacrament is. If the sacraments depend on the personal orthodoxy or right belief or interior disposition of the minister, no sacrament could ever be held to have a moral certainty of validity, as one could never determine such a needful state in the mind or heart of the bishop or priest in question. Sacraments are by nature ecclesial, ecclesiastical, and this is particularly the case with ordination. Sacraments belong to the Holy Catholic Church, and as such to a particular local Church specifically. What matters is the Church's intention. The necessary intention of the Church, and of the minister who functions publicly as the agent, officer and representative of the Church, is put forward in the Church's official rite, the matter and form, used for the conferral of the sacrament. On the basis of these principles, the episcopate of the Reformed Episcopal Church is valid from 1873 forward. As long as the proper matter and form of ordination remain, prayer with the laying-on-of-hands for the conferral of the particular order, with the intention to ordain a baptised man as a bishop, priest, or deacon, changes to the rite of ordination do not and cannot void the sacrament on the basis of defective intention. Otherwise, Pope Leo XIII and Apostolicae Curae (1896) are right and all Anglican Orders were invalidated by the changes Archbishop Cranmer made to the Pontificale Romanum in the construction of the 1550 Anglican Ordinal.

Let us look at the original reformed Ordinal used for the consecration of Reformed Episcopal bishops from the 1870's -

It is, in fact, a very slightly altered version of the 1662 English Ordinal. It is virtually identical to the 1789 American version. It clearly identifies the Order of Bishop as that being conferred. It includes the traditional collect for the Eucharist of episcopal consecration. The traditional lessons clearly refer to the episcopate, Acts 20.17ff and S. John 21.15ff or S. Matthew 28.18ff. The Litany invokes the grace of God upon the consecrand for the Office of Bishop, 'our Brother.' The collect at the end of the Litany prays for the one 'called to the Work and Ministry of a Bishop.' The vows unambiguously charge the candidate with episcopal authority and oversight. The Veni Creator Spiritus is sung over the consecrand, invoking the Holy Ghost upon him. The Prayer of Ordination before the imposition of hands is the 1662 English version, replete with its prayer for grace for the candidate. The imposition of hands is accompanied by the formula: 'Take thou Authority to execute the Office and Work of a Bishop in the Church of God now committed unto thee...' This change is the only major alteration in the Consecration Service and is modelled on the alternative formula for the ordination of priests in the American Ordinal. The final prayers are exactly the same as those found in the Anglican Ordinal.

What does this all mean?

1. Proper matter: imposition of hands is the matter of the Reformed Episcopal Ordinal.
2. Proper form: prayer for the grace of the episcopate is found throughout the Ordinal and suffices for validity; the formula at the imposition of hands fixes the intention of the rite as the transmission of the authority and office of the episcopate.
3. Proper minister: undoubted bishops in the Anglican line of succession, beginning with Bishop George David Cummins of Kentucky, have always presided at consecrations in this rite. One bishop in apostolic succession is required for validity, three for regularity.
4. Proper subject: the original REC bishops were episcopally-ordained priests; however, per saltum ('by a leap') consecrations are valid. Even if the candidate were not himself a priest, he would still receive the character of the episcopate with this rite. Per saltum consecrations are valid but irregular, and were actually administered by the Church of England to titular Scottish bishops in 1610. The Lambeth Conference of 1908 recommended per saltum consecration as the way by which to introduce episcopacy into non-episcopal bodies.
5. Proper intention: the intention of the Ordinal in question is to consecrate a Bishop in the Church of God. That is all that is necessary.

The original presence of Bishop G. Cummins alone as sole consecrator does not affect validity; the hierarchies of both the Polish National Catholic Church and the entire Old Catholic Union of Utrecht originated from solus consecrations and are regarded as valid by Rome. The presence of and imposition of hands by non-episcopally ordained ministers or episcopally-ordained priests in the consecration of REC bishops also do not affect validity, as long as the consecrator himself is in valid episcopal orders. Bishop Cummins' public statements at and before the consecration of Bishop Cheney, by which he personally asserted a 'low' view of the episcopate, a bene esse view, do not render his sacramental acts invalid. By following the Ordinal described above, he clearly intended to confer the episcopate of the Church of God, and that is all that is necessary.

As Dr John Wordsworth writes: 'The 'Sacrament of Order' requires laying-on-of-hands, with prayer suitable to the office conferred, and with a general intention of making a man what the Church intends as a Bishop, Priest or Deacon. We hold that such an Ordination conferred by a Bishop, as sole or chief minister, who has been himself so ordained, even if he is a heretic, is valid and cannot be reiterated without sacrilege.' This has been the formal position of the Church of England for the duration of her history.

In fine, it is my prudent judgement that neither the American Report of the House of Bishops 1888, the Lambeth Conference of 1888, nor Bishop Grafton of Fon du Lac were fully and sufficiently informed on this subject. And that is exactly the prudent judgement of Bishop Wilson of Eau Claire in his 1941 report affirming the validity of the Reformed Episcopal episcopate. I firmly believe Bishop Wilson, himself a faithful Anglican Catholic, was correct.

Let us pray for the unity of Christ's One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

God bless you!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

On REC Orders - A Response to the APA's Mystery Australian Correspondent

Dear Brothers+

I have not yet seen the letter you mention - evidently our anonymous Australian correspondent decided not to send a copy of his diatribe to the Cathedral for obvious and probably wise reasons. I am utterly fascinated and puzzled by the correspondence you describe. It certainly sounds as though it arises from an Anglo-Catholic, perhaps even a TAC, source. My guess is that that is exactly from whence it comes, the TAC and/or FIF-Australia. I should be fascinated to read it myself: the only cogent arguments I have ever encountered opposing the sacramental validity of REC Orders have been developed from the autobiographical writings of Bishop Charles C. Grafton of Fon du Lac, who maintained REC Orders were absolutely invalid based on defective ministerial intention. PECUSA as a whole opposed the said Orders on canonical grounds at Lambeth Conference 1888 but did not seem to have very compelling arguments from a sacramentological point of view. The arguments then put forth have more to do with Bishop Cheney's PECUSA deposition from Holy Orders and his solus consecration at the hands of Bishop Cummins than from any defective liturgical and theological position. Bishop Grafton held that the REC's 1873 changes made to the Anglican Ordinal, in which all references to the word 'Priest' and all statements affirming the conveyance of the Holy Ghost through the imposition of hands were expunged, rendered the REC Ordination rite incapable of validly conferring the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Hence the liturgical changes purportedly demonstrated and manifested a defective intention regarding the Sacrament. Grafton's line of argument is virtually identical to that of Pope Leo XIII in Apostolicae Curae (1896) and thus seems extremely dangerous indeed for any Anglican to use. By so invalidating REC Orders with such an approach we hazard the danger of declaring our own Orders invalid, or so warned the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in their Response to the Pope in 1897 concerning Rome's position vis-a-vis Anglicanism. I should regard our Australian friend's effort to be a tremendous throwing of stones in glass houses.

Please be assured of my prayers for you all and your families during this Holy Week and Easter. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless and keep you!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The First Continuing Anglican Church

If the proposition of a 'Continuing Church' is so ominous to the Church of England establishment, we may do well to ask the question: 'what was the first Continuing Church?'

The answer may surprise some people.

The first Continuing Anglican Church formed since the Non-Jurors' Church, the Catholic Remnant of Britain of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was the Continuing Anglican Diocese of Nandyal, which refused to join the pan-protestant Church of South India in 1947. Nandyal was the first local particular Church to describe itself as a Continuing Anglican Church.

This independent Diocese was placed under the direct authority of the jurisdiction of the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon, headed by the Metropolitan of Calcutta.

The 1948 Lambeth Conference said this about the Church of Nandyal in its Report on the Unity of the Church:

'We have learned with great regret that in the Nandyal area in South India there has been a grievous breakdown of Christian fellowship. We earnestly hope that within a short period fellowship may be restored.

1. We reaffirm the decision expressed by the Lambeth Conference in 1930 that no Church of the Anglican Communion will set up dioceses or congregations in the area of the Church of South India.

2. We agree that no form of coercion should be used to bring any Christian into the Church of South India against his conscientious convictions.

3. We note that, at the request of the Church of South India, and with the approval of all the diocesan bishops of that Church, the Metropolitan of India has appointed a Commissary to take spiritual oversight of the Anglicans in that area who have not joined the Church of South India. We recommend that this arrangement be continued as a measure of accommodation, for as long as may be necessary.

4. We recommend that, when episcopal ministrations are necessary, the Metropolitan of India, at the request of the Commissary and with the consent of the Moderator of the Church of South India and of the Bishop of Anantapur and Kurnool, may arrange for a bishop of the Church of India, Burma, and Ceylon, to visit the Nandyal area to carry out such ministrations.

5. In the event of an ordination being required, the candidates should take the oath of canonical obedience to the Bishop of Calcutta for the time being (and his successors) as the Bishop temporarily in charge of the Christians concerned.'

In 1950, the Nandyal Church decided to recognise the validity and regularity of ordinations and consecrations carried out in the CSI.

In 1962, the Church of Nandyal was made an official Diocese of the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon, replete with its own Bishop Ordinary, Cathedral and administration.

The Anglican Diocese of Nandyal finally merged with the CSI in 1975.

Unlike our post-1976 jurisdictions, Nandyal was never forced to break communion with Canterbury and has maintained such communion with the Church of England in an unbroken continuity until today. The CSI today enjoys full communio in sacris with the Anglican Communion. Those who in good conscience could not unite with the protestantising CSI or the Church of North India in the 1970's formed in the region of Nandyal and throughout India ongoing orthodox Continuing jurisdictions which survive today. Each American Continuing Church seems to have an Indian counterpart.

The Anglican Province of America is in communion with the Anglican Church of India (Dioceses of Andhra Pradesh and Lucknow).

The Anglican Catholic Church is in communion with the Church of India (Anglican) (Dioceses of Amritsar, Bombay, Delhi, Lucknow, and Nagpur).

The Anglican Church in America is in communion with the Anglican Church of India (Traditional Anglican Communion).

Let us continually pray that the great body of the Indian Continuing Church will be reunited in full sacramental communion - and that the whole Continuing Church, possessing such an admirable origin, may recover her proper Catholic unity in Our Blessed Lord.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The 'continuing Anglican Church' has come of age

The raging controversy in the Church of England over legislation which would permit the purported consecration of women to the Sacred Episcopate has recently introduced an element into C of E debate heretofore rarely mentioned...

The Continuing Church.

Note this passage from the Guildford Report, the official report of the Bishops' Working Party of the Church of England designated to pave the way for the 'consecration' of women to the Episcopate. In paragraph 39 the Report criticises the text of Consecrated Women? published by Forward in Faith, claiming that the legislative proposal of that FIF-UK work might ultimately engender a Continuing Church in England:

'There would be the risk of it [the Third Province] becoming another 'continuing Anglican Church.''

Forward in Faith's Legal Working Party Response to the Guildford Report thus states in reply:

'We do not accept that there would be a risk of a new province becoming another 'continuing Anglican church.' Continuing churches are those which have left the parent church. Since the new province would be created by the Church of England, and would remain part of her, it would not be a continuing church. Conversely, if adequate provision is not made within the Church of England for those who cannot accept the consecration of women, then there is a real risk of 'continuing churches' forming spontaneously.'

An interesting commentary, and prophecy of possible future action, from our dear sisters and brothers in Forward in Faith. With all this unusual talk of the Continuing Church, it seems that Continuing Anglicanism has finally come of age.

Dom Gregory Dix of Nashdom Abbey, and of blessed memory, would no doubt be appalled at the modern state and condition of his beloved Church of England. He would certainly not be opposed to the creation of a Continuing Anglican Church. In fact, he recommended it, and confronted Archbishop William Temple of Canterbury with such a possibility directly. It appears that he is the first Anglican divine to use the term 'Continuing Church.' In the early-to-mid 1940's, in conjunction with the other superiors of Religious Orders in the Church of England, Dom Gregory suggested that a 'Continuing Church' would be formed by Anglo-Catholics in England as a result of the impending creation of the pan-protestant United Church of South India. Dix went so far as to sign the Superiors' open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, along with such famous churchmen as Father Raymond Raynes, CR, a letter which unambiguously asserted the possibility of the creation of an Anglo-Catholic Continuing Church which would sever its ties with Canterbury but would retain its communion with other orthodox (i.e., Catholic) Provinces of the Anglican Communion. Sounds familiar doesn't it? - there is nothing new under the sun!

In 1955, the Church of England determined that the creedal doctrine of the Church of South India was orthodox and that the Orders of the CSI were sacramentally valid; by then the furore over the Indian scheme had died down and nothing of substance ever came of the Continuing Church movement in England... perhaps until now. For the hearty Anglo-Catholics of the 1940's and 1950's, and the 2000's, Apostolic Faith and Order hold precedence even over jurisdictional loyalty or history.

Perhaps being a 'Continuing Anglican' isn't so bad after all.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Orthodox Consecration - the Mystery Unfolds

From Dr William Tighe, with many thanks from your blogger:

I have been making inquiries about this. Nobody seems to know who this “Metropolitan John” may have been. Possibly it may have been John Theodorovich (d. 1971), who in the early 1920s was one of the Ukrainian priests trying to set up an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and was elected one of its bishops. But as no living bishop could be found to consecrate them, they exhumed the body of one of their recently-deceased bishops and, holding his hand on the heads of those bishops-elect, pronounced “on his behalf” (as it were) the formula of episcopal consecration. In 1924 this Metropolitan John came to America, where he lived for the rest of his life. He was reconsecrated in 1949 by other, canonical, Orthodox bishops. He may be your man. However, the Ukrainian Orthodox community in America produced numerous splinter groups from the, some of them having bishops in the “dead hand” succession, others in more regular successions; and a few of these small bodies quickly degenerated into “ordination factories” run by episcopi vagantes.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Metropolitan John?

A question regarding the participation of Eastern Orthodox Bishops in the consecration of Anglican Bishops:

The Episcopal Church Annual 1959 states that on 29 September 1953 Bishop William S. Thomas was consecrated Bishop Suffragan of Pittsburgh, the 523rd Bishop of the American Succession. Amongst his consecrators was one identified as Metropolitan John of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It would appear that an Orthodox Eastern Bishop has indeed consecrated an Anglican prelate in the past, thus introducing the Eastern succession into the Anglican.

Was Metropolitan John a Bishop of a canonical Orthodox jurisdiction? Does anyone know of his identity and origin?

To follow an excellent thread on Anglo-Catholicism: go to

May 2024 Comprovincial Newsletter

The Comprovincial Newsletter for May 2024 -