Primatial Decree of the Metropolitan Synod of the Apostolic Episcopal Church in the matter of The Ancient Catholic Church
The Metropolitan Synod of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, having convened a Committee of Inquiry into this matter and having received that Committee’s Report, upon the resolution of the Primate and Presiding Bishop motu proprio decrees as follows:
- Whereas the Ancient Catholic Church, having been formed in 1949, was formally constituted under the Indian incorporation of the Catholicate of the West on 27 May 1950 as an autocephalous tropus of the Catholicate of the West, and its Primate, Mar Joannes I (Dr Harold Percival Nicholson, 1905-68) was consecrated, inducted, installed, and enthroned as titular Archbishop of Karim and first Primate of the Ancient Catholic Church, receiving the Sacred Pallium, in the same ceremony by Mar Georgius, Catholicos of the West.
- And whereas the Ancient Catholic Church retained “complete freedom as to its own doctrine, discipline, and worship, being subject only to its own Primate and Primatial Synod” [Hieratica, 1 no. 10, July 1950, p.54]
- And whereas on the abandonment of the Catholicate of the West by Mar Georgius on 29 November 1953 the Ancient Catholic Church continued as a self-governing and autocephalous entity, but remained nominally affiliated to the continuing Catholicate of the West in as far as it was constituted as an autocephalous tropus of that body.
- And whereas the Primate of the Ancient Catholic Church was constituted a corporation sole and that according to Salmond Jurisprudence, fourth ed., London, Stevens and Haynes, 1913, p. 371, “a legal person does not of necessity lose its life with the destruction or disappearance of its corpus or bodily substance. There is no reason why a corporation should not continue to live, although the last of its members is dead; and a corporation sole is merely dormant, not extinct, during the interval between two successive occupants of the office.”
- And whereas on the death of Mar Joannes I on 6 February 1968 he was succeeded as Primate by Mar Joannes II (Clive R. Schroder, 1928-85).
- (i) And whereas on the death of Mar Joannes II on 1 October 1985, clause 8 of his Will of 3 September 1975 made it clear that it was his intention that the Ancient Catholic Church should continue either under his widow Mrs Pamela May Schroder or otherwise. (ii) And whereas on the death of Mrs Pamela May Schroder on 2 January 2008, clause 8 of her Will of 3 September 1975 made it clear that it was her intention that the Ancient Catholic Church should continue.
- And whereas by election of lay and clerical members of the Ancient Catholic Church on 24 January 2008 Archbishop John Kersey, who had previously been requested by members of the church to act as Administrator, was established as the uncontested candidate to succeed to the vacant Primatial See.
- And whereas on 23 November 2008 during the installation and enthronement of Archbishop Kersey for the Apostolic Episcopal Church he received specific commissioning as Primate and successor to the Ancient Catholic Church under the title Mar Joannes III.
- And whereas the Religious Orders of the Ancient Catholic Church were renewed and granted fresh charters by Mar Joannes III.
- And whereas by Charter of the Apostolic Episcopal Church of 23 November 2008 the Primacy of the Ancient Catholic Church was established as a personal prelacy of Archbishop Kersey.
- And whereas on 18 January 2009 the Primacy of the Ancient Catholic Church was separated from that of the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church following Archbishop Kersey’s retirement from office in the latter church, the agreement of its senior clergy having also previously been obtained, and has continued under him to this day, being united with the Primacy of the Apostolic Episcopal Church and the Catholicate of the West from 6 February 2015 onwards.
- Now therefore by additional Charter of the Catholicate of the West dated 6 February 2015 (no. 2015/1) the succession established at item 7 above has been further confirmed by the original parent body of the Ancient Catholic Church.
(L+S) ++JOANNES EDMUNDUS
1 August 2015 a.d., no. 23 of 2015
Secretary to the Metropolitan Synod of the Apostolic Episcopal Church