Incardination refers to a member of the clergy being placed under the jurisdiction of a particular bishop or other ecclesiastical superior. Its antonym, excardination, denotes that a member of the clergy has been freed from one jurisdiction and is transferred to another.

Clergy wishing to join the Orthodox Old Roman Catholic Communion from a jurisdiction that isn’t a member of the Communion, are required to complete the Discernment & Application Process given below.


Stage 1: Getting to know each other

The following is common to all forms of vocational discernment within the Communion, whether exploring consecrated life, a voluntary apostolate, licensed or ordained ministry, the first and most obvious step is getting to know the Applicant and the Applicant, us.

Initial Contact: to begin the process of discerning a vocation within the Communion, an Applicant should make initial contact through correspondence; this may be using the Contact Form below, via email, via Facebook Messenger or by mail.

First Contact: in all of the above scenarios Applicants will be asked for an account or description of their journey in faith, i.e. what has led to making contact with us, a description of their spiritual &/ devotional life e.g. prayer life, when and how did they begin to discern God’s calling and what their expectations are.

Application: the Applicant will be asked to provide a CV (Curriculum Vitae) to present their life experience, skills set, knowledge base and academic history. This will usually be followed by correspondence with the relevant Ordinary or Vocations Director (i.e. the Assessor) with whom the Applicant may ask questions about us, the Church and provide further information about themselves and their sense of calling. Communications may include real-time conversations by telephone or via Skype, Face-Time, Facebook Messenger as well as correspondence via email, text or other media, whatever is most mutually convenient for the Applicant and the Assessor.

This stage may take as long as is necessary for both parties, i.e. the Applicant and the Assessor to mutually agree the appropriate way forward. Interviews, informal meetings and extended conversations are to be expected and may include invitations to Retreats or Conferences. Only when both parties are agreed will progression to the next stage be initiated.

Stage 2: Formal Application

When both the Applicant and the Assessor agree to proceed further, the Applicant will be invited to complete an Application Form asking them to repeat some previously given information but in another format, some more detailed personal information, a request for Referees to provide references about the Applicant in support of their application and some statutory declarations concerning the Faith and their background. Applicants will also be asked to provide certificates for the receipt of Sacraments (e.g. Baptism Certificate), and documentary evidence of their identity (e.g. Passport), academic or professionally accredited qualifications (e.g. degree certificates) and professional association memberships/fellowships.

Due to the nature of licensed ordained ministry i.e. often working with vulnerable people and involving positions of trust and responsibility, background checks e.g. Police/Criminal Record checks and Safeguarding procedures/protocols for working with vulnerable people will be taken (e.g. Disclosure and Barring Service “DBS” check). Similarly, for vocations exploring communal religious/consecrated life e.g. living in a community of monks/nuns, background and health checks may be required. Some background investigative procedures may involve costs and these will normally be expected to be covered by the applicant themself.

For this formal stage, extended communications via mutually convenient media, correspondence and telephone should be expected, including face-to-face or in person interviews and attendance at day or residential Retreats or Conferences. Consideration will also now be given by the Church as to how best to spiritually discern a vocation and a Vocational Director may be suggested or assigned to an applicant. Again there is no set time frame for this stage of the process, it will take as long as is necessary for all the information to be collated and presented, verified and confirmed and for the Assessor to assess with the Applicant their readiness to take the next step.

Stage 3: Formal Acceptance

After all background checks have been completed, written or recorded references received and verified, and upon the recommendation of the Assessor assigned to the applicant and the testimony of any others who may have been involved through the Initial and Formal stages; the assessment of the Vocational Director assigned to the applicant will be presented to the pertinent Ordinary and Examining Chaplains for formal acceptance or further recommendations for discernment.

When the Formal Application has been presented, the Examining Chaplains and/or the Ordinary will consider all the supporting evidence and recommendations. They may make recommendations to strengthen the application e.g. suggestions to gain relevant experience, gain or improve skills, knowledge or even reflect further about the vocation itself. A formal interview with the Ordinary may take place at this time or with one of the Examining Chaplains.

To reach this stage in the discernment process, mutual recognition and determination of the nature and propensity for realising God’s calling for both the Applicant and the Church will have been established. Though not the end of the process, and in many ways only the beginning of a lifetime of discernment and vocational exploration, the Applicant at this stage should feel encouraged and emboldened to continue the process with determination and with every assistance made available to them the Church can give. The next stages will depend on the nature of the vocation discerned and the procedures and protocols set by the pertinent Ordinary or described in Canon Law or other policy documents.

The Communion conducts itself canonically. Where relevant and if all parties are agreed and the Ordinary is willing to incardinate the Applicant, the Applicant will be asked to formally request excardination i.e. release from their existing jurisdiction. On receipt of a written communication from their Ordinary acknowledging their excardination request, the Applicant will progress to incardination.

At a mutually convenient time, the incardinating Ordinary or his formally delegated representative, will receive the Applicant through the Rite of Incardination and receive the Canonical Oath of the cleric. The Ordinary will issue a Letter of Incardination to the cleric. From the moment of making their Canonical Oath, the cleric is deemed to be actually and legally incardinated and subject to the Code of Canon Law operative within the Communion and her member Churches.