Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Old Roman Catholic Church and the 1911 Statement of Union with the Patriarchate of Antioch

The Old Roman Catholic Church has suffered tumultuous times from less than ungodly men, stretching all the way back to our Roman Catholic roots in Utrecht in the 1790s, the 1910 Declaration of Autonomy from the Old Catholics issued by our late beloved Archbishop Arnold H. Mathews, the unfortunate shipwreck of Archbishop Bernard Mary Williams of Great Britain, the successor to Archbishop Mathews, who of his own accord caused schism within the Old Roman Catholic Church by trying to create some sort of papal Old Roman Catholic Church. The Williams schism was sadly unfortunate that even in our own time some Old Roman Catholic bishops today have continued to perpetuate. 

In 1911, our late beloved Father in the Faith, Archbishop Mathews, almost prophetically foresaw the unfortunate misdirection some of our bishops would take and he aligned our historic Apostolic Church with Orthodoxy in 1911. August 5, 1911 is etched in stone for the historic Old Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Patriarchate of Antioch, when by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, our Church entered into union with Orthodoxy, solidifying our allegiance to the ancient Orthodox Faith, as it existed in both the East and West. Through the efforts of the Orthodox Metropolitan Archbishop of Beirut, interceding on our behalf, we agreed to union with the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and his Holy Synod and at that time fully welcomed as a Western Church professing the Orthodox Faith.

Although tumultuous times in both the Old Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Church have occurred, what the Old Roman Catholic Church has agreed to, is maintained by those Old Roman Catholic jurisdictions remaining true to her historical identity. This may have changed from the perspective of some Eastern Orthodox Churches but it has not been changed on our part and never abrogated by our Church.

The Old Roman Catholic Church has maintained the Faith as passed down throughout the ages from her bishops of the ancient apostolic succession historically received by the Roman Catholic Church in Utrecht from time immemorial and since our Union with Orthodoxy in 1911. We maintain what we have agreed to and continue to safeguard the Orthodox Faith. The Old Roman Catholic Church continues to pass on what we have received through apostolic succession received from the Roman Catholic Church and accepted at the time of our Union with the Greek Patriarchate of Antioch. Although our signed and sealed Statement of Union may be forgotten in the consciousness of present day Antioch, we have not forgotten our agreement and continue to remain faithful to it.

For over 70 years the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) was not recognized by the Patriarchate of Moscow. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was viewed by a majority of the "canonical Orthodox" as a pseudo-Orthodox Church. But did the ROCOR view herself in this light? No.

ROCOR continued to maintain what she received without the affirmation of the Patriarchate of Moscow. ROCOR never considered her administration of the Holy Mysteries anything but legitimate since historically there existed no doubt to the historic apostolic succession received. In 2007 ROCOR was re-united to the Patriarchate of Moscow. At that time the Patriarchate of Moscow once again accepted ROCOR as legitimate after the many years of only being recognized as a pseudo-Orthodox Church. The point is ROCOR continued to be faithful with or without the formal recognition of Moscow.

The Old Roman Catholic Church agreed to union with the Orthodox Church in 1911, perhaps one day we will have another public acknowledgement of what we have maintained on our part. Until such time we, like ROCOR, will continue to retain and preserve what we have have agreed to as western Orthodox Christians.

In the meantime the Church continues on under the umbrella of what she has received from both the East and West; we continue to administer the Holy Sacraments and celebrate the Holy Liturgy just as we always have throughout the centuries, without deviating.

If you are searching for authentic Orthodox Christian Faith, expressed in a fully western Catholic culture and heritage, then come and help us build-up and pass on what we have received from time immemorial...

Old Roman Catholic Church


  1. BLes you, Fr. Joseph and your Jurisdiction. I had never heard about the Union with the Greek Patriachate of Beirut.

    1. This occurred in 1911 through a joint union facilitated at that time by the Orthodox Bishop of Beirut with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch. There has never been another such Statement but we remain faithful to what our predecessors did on our behalf. Although it may not be publicly acknowledged today because of some unfortunate figures in our own history, our jurisdiction remains faithful to what was done then and what we received. We pray for those who perpetrate the post-Mathews schism caused by Archbishop Bernard Mary Williams. Any historic Old Roman Catholic jurisdiction follows what Mathews set in place for us. We have nothing to do with such said others. Let us pray for each other...

      Father Joseph+