Primatial Decree of the Metropolitan Synod of the Apostolic Episcopal Church in the matter of The Old Catholic Orthodox 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:
- (i) Whereas the Old Catholic Orthodox Church had come into existence as a result of the promulgation of a new Constitution repudiating the 1889 Declaration of Utrecht by Archbishop Bernard Mary Williams of the Old Roman Catholic Church of Great Britain on 12 April 1925, whereby those members of that Church who could not in conscience accept the new Constitution declared that the true Old Catholic Movement, established by the Most Revd. Arnold Harris Mathew when he was consecrated as Regionary Old Catholic Bishop of Great Britain and Ireland in 1908, was vested in them, and that they should be known as the Old Catholic Orthodox Church. (ii) And whereas the members of the Old Catholic Orthodox Church had placed themselves under the Most Revd. James McFall, Regionary Old Catholic Bishop for Ireland, but that Bishop McFall had not been able or willing to provide for their continuing oversight.
- And whereas on 8 October 1941, the Primate and Presiding Bishop of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, Dr Arthur Wolfort Brooks (Mar John Emmanuel, 1889-1948) issued a Certificate of Acceptance in which he accepted the additional Office of Presiding Bishop of the Old Catholic Orthodox Church.
- And whereas the acceptance of the primacy by Mar John Emmanuel restored the Old Catholic Orthodox Church to canonical standing, it having previously functioned for some years without episcopal oversight.
- And whereas the primacies of the Old Catholic Orthodox Church and the Apostolic Episcopal Church were held in personal union and the two bodies were thereby in de facto intercommunion from 8 October 1941 onwards.
- (i) And whereas on 8 October 1943 a Pro-Synod of Clergy and Laity of the Old Catholic Orthodox Church under Dr Brooks as Presiding Bishop elected Fr. de Willmott Newman to the Sacred Order of the Episcopate under the title of Archbishop and Metropolitan of Glastonbury. (ii) And whereas Mar John Emmanuel on 20 November 1943 issued a Mandate for Mar Basilius Abdullah III, Patriarch of Antioch in the Ancient Orthodox Catholic Church, to perform the consecration.
- And whereas on 23 March 1944 by a Deed of Declaration, the agreement of Mar John Emmanuel having previously been obtained, the churches known as the Ancient British Church (Ancient Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in the British Isles) and the British Orthodox Catholic Church and the Independent Catholic Church united with the Old Catholic Orthodox Church to form the Western Orthodox Catholic Church, which was erected by Mar Basilius Abdullah III into the Catholicate of the West.
- And whereas at a meeting of the Governing Synod of the Western Orthodox Catholic Church on 28 March 1943, Abbot de Willmott Newman was elected Catholicos of the West.
- (i) And whereas on 10 April 1944, Mar Basilius Abdullah III consecrated Abbot de Willmott Newman to the episcopate and installed him in the above-named offices as Mar Georgius, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Glastonbury, and Catholicos of the West. (ii) And whereas on this occasion Mar John Emmanuel retired from office as Presiding Bishop of the Old Catholic Orthodox Church in favour of Mar Georgius.
- And whereas from 10 April 1944 onwards the Old Catholic Orthodox Church has been united with the Catholicate of the West.
- And whereas on the abandonment of the Catholicate of the West by Mar Georgius on 29 November 1953 the Old Catholic Orthodox Church continued to be a part of the continuing Catholicate of the West as established previously (see Primatial Decree no. 15/2015), and remains so today.
- Now therefore the lineage of the Old Catholic Orthodox Church is therefore as follows:
- Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew (28 April 1908-20 December 1919)
- Archbishop Bernard Mary Williams (20 December 1919-16 February 1920)
- Archbishop Francis Herbert Bacon (16 February 1920-1 October 1920)
- Archbishop Bernard Mary Williams (1 October 1920-12 April 1925)
- Presbyteral and lay administration that was for a time under the oversight of Bishop James McFall (12 April 1925-8 October 1941)
- Mar John Emmanuel (8 October 1941-10 April 1944)
- Mar Georgius (10 April 1944-29 November 1953)
- Mar Paulos (29 November 1953-29 April 1965)
- Mar David I (29 April 1965-8 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. 19 of 2015
Secretary to the Metropolitan Synod of the Apostolic Episcopal Church