Primatial Decree of the Metropolitan Synod of the Apostolic Episcopal Church in the matter of The Old Catholic Church of America (The Ancient Christian Fellowship)
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 Old Catholic Church of America was rightly, duly and canonically erected as an autocephalous Rite or Branch of The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church on the 5th day of June 1892 by the consecration on that day of His Grace Mar Timotheus I (The Most Revd. Joseph René Vilatte, 1854-1929) as its first Archbishop at the hands of His Grace Mar Julius I, Archbishop of Ceylon, Goa, and India, by virtue of a Bull dated the 29th day of December 1891 of His Holiness Mohoran Mar Ignatius Peter III, Patriarch of Antioch.
- And whereas the said Old Catholic Church of America so erected as aforesaid ceased to function as such in or about the year 1915 when it departed from its original basis and became a nationalistic church of oriental type.
- And whereas in or about the month of November 1930 the future Mar David (Dr Wallace de Ortega Maxey, 1902-92), a bishop consecrated in the line of Apostolic Succession derived from Mar Timotheus I, re-erected the said Old Catholic Church of America upon its original basis.
- And whereas the name of the Old Catholic Church of America was changed to The Ancient Christian Fellowship in 1936.
- And whereas on 17 March 1945 the Ancient Christian Fellowship entered into intercommunion with the Catholicate of the West.
- And whereas on 7 June 1946 Mar Georgius as Catholicos of the West issued a Patriarchal Bull confirming “(1) that the said Old Catholic Church of America (comm0nly called the Ancient Christian Fellowship) is the only lawfully constituted body in continuance of and in continuity with The Old Catholic Church of America erected by the consecration of the Most Reverend Joseph René Vilatte in 1892; (2) that the said Most Reverend Wallace David de Ortega Maxey by the title and style of His Beatitude Mar David I, Patriarch of Malaga, Apostolic Primate of All the Iberians, and Supreme Hierarch of the Catholicate of the West in the Americas is the only lawful successor of the said Mar Timotheos I (Joseph René Vilatte) in respect of The Old Catholic Church of America founded by him.” [Ancient Christian Fellowship Review, 1 sect. 4, Oct.-Dec. 1946, p.12]
- (i) And whereas on 13 July 1946 Mar David was conditionally consecrated by Mar John Emmanuel and appointed as Provincial of the West in the Apostolic Episcopal Church. (ii) And whereas on 1 February 1947 a Concordat was agreed whereby whichever of Mar David and Mar John Emmanuel should survive the other should succeed to the united Primacies of the Apostolic Episcopal Church and the Ancient Christian Fellowship, and that this Concordat was duly registered with the civil authorities in the State of New York on 15 October 1947. [vide Ancient Christian Fellowship Review, 2 no. 1, Easter Day 1949, pp.2,5]
- And whereas on the death of Mar John Emmanuel on 7 July 1948, Mar David succeeded him as Primate and Presiding Bishop of the Apostolic Episcopal Church and Rector of California in the Order of Corporate Reunion, remaining Patriarch of the Ancient Christian Fellowship, which was re-constituted on Easter Day 1949 as an ecclesiastical chivalric and religious order under the patronage of St John-the-Divine, with membership consisting of ten degrees reflecting the religious and secular aspects of its work. [Ancient Christian Fellowship Review, vol. 2 no. 1, Easter Day 1949, pp.1,6]
- And whereas Mar David retained the corporation rights and Patriarchate of the Ancient Christian Fellowship and bestowed these upon Mar David II (the Most Revd. Robert Ronald Ramm) on 8 August 1976 and confirmed this transfer on 5 February 1978 when Mar David II was formally installed in his offices.
- And whereas on the death of Mar David II on 26 December 2000 the Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, Mar Timotheos III (Francis C. Spataro, 1936-), succeeded him in all offices relating to the Ancient Christian Fellowship as his canonical head-at-line, and that the office of Patriarch of the Ancient Christian Fellowship has continued in union with the headship of the Apostolic Episcopal Church to this day.
- Now therefore the lineage of the Old Catholic Church of America (Ancient Christian Fellowship) is therefore as follows:
- Mar Timotheos I (5 June 1892-1 July 1929)
- Interregnum (1 July 1929-November 1930)
- Mar David I (November 1930-8 August 1976)
- Mar David II (8 August 1976-26 December 2000)
- Mar Timotheos III (26 December 2000-5 February 2015)
- Mar Joannes Edmundus (5 February 2015-)
(L+S) ++JOANNES EDMUNDUS
1 August 2015 a.d., no. 20 of 2015
Secretary to the Metropolitan Synod of the Apostolic Episcopal Church