“Never Never Never let anyone tell you that to be Orthodox you must also be Eastern. The West was Orthodox for a thousand years and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies…”

St. John Maximovitch

The churches founded by the Apostles themselves include the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Rome and Constantinople. The Church of Jerusalem by Ss. Peter and James, the Church of Antioch by St Paul, the Church of Alexandria founded by St. Mark, the Church of Rome by Ss. Peter and Paul, and the Church of Constantinople by St Andrew. Those founded in later years through the missionary activity of the first churches were the Churches of Sinai, Russia, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, and many others. Each church has always had independent administration with the exception of the Church of Rome (which finally separated from the others in the year 1054) and are united in faith, doctrine, Apostolic tradition, sacraments, liturgies, and services. Together they constitute what is called the “Orthodox Church”, literally meaning “right teaching” or “right worship”, derived from two Greek words: orthos, “right,” and doxa, “teaching” or “worship.”

Orthodox Old Roman Catholicism is the continuation of the Catholic Church in the West as it was prior to the developments in Roman Catholic dogma of the 19C and of changes in doctrine and liturgy in the 20C. The Orthodox Old Roman Catholic Communion consists of those historical, orthodox and canonical jurisdictions continuing the Western expression of the Catholic Faith perpetuated and originally preserved by the See of Utrecht and the polity and efforts of Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew; whose efforts were formally and historically recognised by an agreed declaration of faith with the ancient and Eastern Orthodox Patriarchates of Antioch [1911] and Alexandria [1912] and realised in the Old Roman Catholic Western Orthodox Church. The embrace of Orthodoxy by the Old Roman Catholic Church and Archbishop Mathew did not remain exclusively to the Church in Great Britain, but spread to the United States as the Church was planted there by Archbishop Rudolph de Landas Berghes.  Historical jurisdictions continuing in the faith and upon the legacy of these two great prelates subsequently built upon by Archbishop Carmel Henry Carfora, constitute the foundation of the Communion in the 21C.

The Communion is the fulfilment of the aspiration of the earlier “Walsingham Declaration” signed in 2012 which, whilst establishing a communio in sacris between Old Roman Catholic jurisdictions, failed to realise it’s vision, despite its positive affirmation at the joint holy Synod in Brighton, 2014. However, the jurisdictions which met in Chicago in 2017 were inspired by and have built upon those earlier efforts and have effectively formed a single church, sharing an agreed hierarchical structure, a common Code of Canon Law and commitment to cooperating in mission and apostolic life. The foundation and first joint holy Synod took place in Chicago, 2017 with the Old Roman Catholic Diocese of Chicago (incorporated 1917), the Old (Roman) Catholic Church of America (incorporated in 1925 and including the former Archdiocese of America incorporated in 1941) and the Old Roman Catholic Church in Europe. The following first officers of the Communion were elected unanimously to agreed fixed terms, Archbishop David Persyn as Metropolitan of the Americas (OCCA) and Archbishop Jerome Lloyd as “Primus”* (ORCCE) of the Communion (also continuing as Metropolitan of Europe) and the then Father Nioclás Ó Ceallaigh OSF was elected Vicar Capitular of the vacant ORC Diocese of Chicago.

It is the expressed hope of all involved in the Communion to facilitate greater harmony among orthodox Old Roman Catholics willing to effect a tangible unity among the descendants of Archbishop Mathew’s polity in doctrine and ecclesiological legacy.  Jurisdictions prepared to act in good faith with the principles of the Communion, willing to abide by a canonical, equitable and truly democratic and synodal system of cooperating government and realise the ecclesiological legacy of Archbishop Mathew vis a vis the wider Church Catholic, are welcome to seek intercommunion with, or membership of the Communion. While unity is certainly a declared purpose and stated mission of the Communion, this does not necessarily mean nor require absorption. Jurisdictions may opt for intercommunion as self-governing communities whilst enjoying the fellowship of the Communion with a view to perhaps later full membership of the holy Synod. All senior hierarchical positions are elected for fixed terms and roles prescribed by canon; the Code of Canon Law is agreed and can only be altered or amended by session of the joint holy Synod. Jurisdictions entering into intercommunion with the Communion will be expected to observe the canonical principles established in the Communion’s Code of Canon Law in their interactions with the Communion e.g. ex/incardination procedures etc.

Almighty and everlasting God,
Whose only begotten Son,
Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd, has said,
“Other sheep I have that are not of this fold;
them also I must bring,

and they shall hear My voice,
and there shall be one fold and one shepherd”;

let Thy rich and abundant blessing
rest upon the Old Roman Catholic Church,

to the end that it may serve Thy purpose
by gathering in the lost and straying sheep.

Enlighten, sanctify, and quicken it
by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost,
that suspicions and prejudices may be disarmed,
and the other sheep being brought to hear and to know
the voice of their true Shepherd thereby,
all may be brought into full and perfect unity
in the one fold of Thy Holy Catholic Church,
under the wise and loving keeping of Thy Vicar,
through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son,
who with Thee and the Holy Ghost,
liveth and reigneth God,
world without end. Amen.

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