Christ established a hierarchy for the service of the faithful. That hierarchy, therefore, ought to serve, and not to rule. Its offices are a ministry, and not an authority. There is no imperium in the Church of Christ; “neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you” [1 Peter 5:3]; and the obedience of the disciples must be reasonable, and not servile.
The mission of the Church also is essentially religious and spiritual. Christ did not give it any worldly and temporal authority; He chose apostles and disciples only to lay the most strict duties on them, and thus to make examples of them for the flock. The early bishops or superintendents were only the overseers, and not master: “for one is your Master” [Matthew 23.8].
Orthodox Old Roman Catholics are engaged in restoring the true conceptions of pastor, bishop, synod, council, ecclesiastical authority, and even infallibility according to ancient traditions. The constitution of the Church is monarchical only because Christ is its only monarch. But, inasmuch as it is a society composed of men, the Church has been called from its very beginning a simple ‘church’ and it has been regarded in its universality, since the time when the question of universality arose, as a Christian ‘republic’. The early bishops did not consider their actions an aristocratic government; the words of St. Peter himself are opposed to that [1 Peter 5:3].
The Orthodox Old Roman Catholic Communion considers itself ultimately under the Apostolic patronage of the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East: St. Peter’s Chair, His Beatitude John X of Syria presiding; as affirmed by the joint Holy Synod of Old Roman Catholic jurisdictions in Brighton, 2014 and in Chicago 2017. We are in spiritual union with His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople the New Rome, with His Holiness Pope Theodore II of Alexandria, with His Beatitude Patriarch Kirill of the Moscow Patriarchate and with all the Canonical Sees, local and autocephalous Churches of the one Holy Orthodox Catholic Church.
On August 5th, 1911, a conference took place in Bredon’s Norton, Worcestershire, attended by Metropolitan Gerassimos Messarra, Archbishop of Beirut, Legate of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East together with Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew and others in Great Britain, formerly a mission of the Old Roman Catholic Church of Utrecht. After a long and full discussion, the faith of the Old Roman Catholic Church under Archbishop Mathew was considered in full accord with that of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Archbishop Mathew was then solemnly received by Mgr Messarra on behalf of Patriarch Gregory IV (Haddad) and the Old Roman Catholic Western Orthodox Church into union with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East as an autocephalous i.e. self-ruling jurisdiction of the Holy Synod. On February 26th, 1912, His Holiness, Photius, Pope and Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria also accepted and recognised this union.
Despite the loss of the original Western Orthodox mission in Great Britain after Archbishop Mathew’s demise (memory eternal), the Old Roman Catholic Western Orthodox Church was preserved and continued in the United States by Archbishop Rudolph Landes Berghes and subsequent growth by Archbishop Carmel Henry Carfora. It is the legacy of these prelates that the Orthodox Old Roman Catholic Communion holds extant communion with the Patriarchate and derives its canonical status, currently being revisited with the Patriarchate.
Elected by the Holy Synod meeting in Chicago 2017, the current Primus of the Orthodox Old Roman Catholic Communion is His Grace, Metropolitan Jerome OSJV of Selsey.
The holy Synod consisting of both the Episcopal College and the Convocation of Clergy, elect from among the Provincial Metropolitans the “Primus” (inter pares) i.e. the “first among equals” for a term of six years. It is the privilege of the Primus to chair the Episcopal College, the holy Synod and the Primatial Council; the Primus enjoys no other privilege than being accorded first in honour among his colleagues.
Metropolitan of Europe, Africa & Asia
The Most Revd Jerome Lloyd OSJV DD FRSA
Archbishop of Selsey, Metropolitan of Europe, Asia & Africa
Primus of the Orthodox Old Roman Catholic Communion
Servant Superior of the Congregation of the Divine Charity
Provost of the Oratory of St John Vianney (OSJV)
Each Provincial Synod elects from among the eligible bishops within the Province, a Metropolitan Archbishop who for ten years chairs the Provincial Synod, and represents the Province to the Primatial Council.
The Most Revd David Persyn DD
Diocesan Bishop of Louisiana
Metropolitan of the Americas
Provincial Chancellor: Dr Thomas Oliver
Each Diocese elects a bishop as ordinary and every religious order/congregation elects a superior for a specified term. Metropolitans and diocesan bishops may also appoint delegated officers to share vicariously in their ordinary jurisdiction with particular responsibilities or governance e.g. Vicar Generals and Episcopal Vicars.
Local Churches i.e. ecclesial communities who have intercommunion but are not full members of it, have their own structures and systems of government.
The Most Revd Charles Walders DD
Archiepiscopus Metropolitanus Visconsinia
Diocesan Bishop, Emeritus Archbishop
The Very Revd Monsignor Nioclás Ó Ceallaigh OSF
Missionary Territory of Cuba
The Very Revd Monsignor Félix Ben Castilla