Ancient, Western and Orthodox

The Old Catholic  Church today miraculously carries the same faith and life as the New Testament church. It is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. It is the New Testament Church. The gates of hell have not prevailed against it.

Who Are We

The  Old Catholic Church is not a “break away” church or a product of the Reformation, but it was granted the authority to be independent by the Roman “Pontiff.” Therefore, the Old Catholic Church is a legitimate  

expression of Catholicism.

We Are Liturgical, Sacramental, and Apostolic

We profess and provide seven Sacraments and allow all baptized Christians to receive Holy Communion.

We Are Ecumenical

We seek unity with all orthodox catholic (universal) churches and as such seek dialog with all communions who profess the beliefs and theology of the Early Church

What Old Catholics Believe?

This Is the Faith of the Old Catholic Church as Defined by Holy Scripture, Holy Tradition, Ecumenical Councils, and the Documents of the Old Catholic Church:

  1. We believe in The Holy Trinity – that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

  2. We believe that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity, who came in the flesh.

  3. We believe that Jesus Christ is the clear image of who God is.

  4. We believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for sin, and rose from the dead in accordance with the Scriptures.

  5. We believe that Jesus is coming again to establish the eternal Kingdom of God on the earth

  6. We believe that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity, who came in the flesh.

  7. We believe that Jesus Christ is the clear image of who God is.

  8. We believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for sin, and rose from the dead in accordance with the Scriptures.

  9. We believe that Jesus is coming again to establish the eternal Kingdom of God on the earth

  10. We believe that everything that exists was created by God.

  11. We believe that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity, who came in the flesh.

  12. We believe that Jesus is coming again to establish the eternal Kingdom of God on the earth

  13. We believe that “Catholic Church” has always meant the church that teaches and affirms what all Christians everywhere have always believed. We reject the new doctrine that “Catholic” means being in union with the Bishop of Rome aka Roman Catholic.  We believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

  14.  We believe baptism washes away original sin.

  15. We believe in the resurrection of the dead.

  16. We believe in the three historic creeds: Nicene, Apostles, and Athanasian.

  17. We believe that the Catholic faith was established by Ecumenical Councils guided by the Holy Spirit.

  18. We believe that there were seven Ecumenical Councils of the whole church: The Council of Nicea (325),
      The Council of Constantinople (381), The Council of Ephesus (431), The Council of Chalcedon (451), 
    The Second Council of Constantinople (453), The Third Council of Constantinople (680-681), The Second Council of Nicea (787).

  19. We believe that all other “Councils” after 1054 were not Ecumenical Councils, since the whole church did not meet together, but that they were Synods of a part of the whole church; therefore, their decisions are not binding on the whole church.

  20. We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

  21. We believe that the apocryphal or deutero-canonical books of the Old Testament are not of the same canonicity as the books contained in the Hebrew Canon – they are good for personal edification and spiritual growth, but not for doctrine.

  22. We believe that the Bible in the original languages is superior to any one translation.

  23. We believe that the Bible should be read in the common language that is understood by the people (English in England, French in France, German in Germany, etc.).

  24. We believe in and maintain Apostolic Succession.

  25. We believe that the guidance of the Early Church Fathers and Mothers as part of Holy Tradition.

  26. We believe that the liturgy of the church should be conducted in the common language that is understood by the people.

  27. We believe that faith and works are required of us by God (because we do what we believe).

  28. We believe that no amount of good deeds can earn salvation. Salvation comes by God’s grace through Jesus Christ.

  29. We respect and honor but do not worship the Saints of the church, we do not believe that they have earned some sort of extra salvation that can be transferred to others.

  30. We believe in seven Sacraments of the church:  Baptism Confirmation Holy Eucharist Anointing of the Sick Absolution--Confession and Reconciliation Marriage Holy Orders

  31. We believe that the Sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist are the primary Sacraments of the church.

  32. We believe that the Eucharistic celebration is not a continual sacrifice, or a re-sacrifice of Christ, but its sacrificial character consists in that it is a permanent memorial of Christ’s sacrifice that was offered once forever on the cross.

  33. We believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist – that the bread and wine are the Body and Blood of Christ.

  34. We believe that the Sacrament of the Eucharist is open to all who are baptized, regardless of their personal views regarding the character of the Eucharist.

  35. We believe that celibacy for those in Holy Orders is a personal decision and voluntary, not required.

  36. We believe that the practice of confession of sins before the congregation or a Priest is a Sacrament that has been passed down to us by the Catholic Church, but it is not required for forgiveness of sins.

  37. We believe that the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a new teaching that has crept into the church and is not the product of the Catholic Church, neither does it reflect the teaching of the Catholic Church; therefore, it is a new idea that crept into the church and is neither binding on the Catholic Church to observe, nor is it binding on any person to accept. 

  38. We believe that the pope, as Bishop of Rome, is an heir to the apostolic authority and ministry of the Apostles; therefore, the Bishop of Rome is respected.

  39. We believe that all Bishops hold an equal apostolic calling and authority and no one See is above in authority over any other.

  40. We believe that the idea that the Bishop of Rome is the ruler of the church is not in keeping with the Catholic Church, but it is a new idea that crept into the church and is neither binding on the Catholic Church to observe, nor is it binding on any person to accept.

  41. We believe that marriage is a Sacrament, but divorce and remarriage are realities.

  42. We do not believe that divorce is the “unforgivable sin,” neither do we believe that divorce should bar anyone from the ministry and Sacraments of the church.  

  43. We believe contraception is a personal decision.

  44. We believe in teaching what the whole church has always taught everywhere. We do not teach theological speculation, new and controversial doctrines, neither do we believe in debating or arguing them with anyone.

  45. We believe that the church cannot compel anyone to believe anything and that it is not the role of the church to impose “faith” on anyone, in and out of the church.

  46. We believe the role of the clergy is to guide morality and faith by being examples, not by being authoritarians. The clergy serves the church; they do not impose their will on it.

  47. We believe that the Catholic Church combats unbelief and religious indifference by faithfully professing the doctrine of Jesus Christ, by refusing to admit human error into the teaching of the Catholic Church, by weeding out any abuses of the church, and by the clergy living simple lives of faith that serve as examples to others.

  48. We believe in the responsible stewardship of our planet.

  49. We believe that there is nothing in the teaching of the Catholic Church as expressed in her Holy Tradition and the Seven Ecumenical Councils that impedes anyone from participating in Holy Orders; therefore, ALL Holy Orders are open to men and women regardless marital state or sexual orientation, or gender identity.

  50. We believe in, and advocate for, the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the church and in society.

  51. We believe in and support marriage equality, trusting that God celebrates the love between two consenting adults, despite gender or any other variables including physical or sexual ability.

  52. We believe in being truly Pro-Life, in that we consider all life to be sacred and we believe that Pro-Life has to do with quality of life for all people; therefore, we are pro-education, anti-poverty, anti-violence, anti-war, pro-health care, and oppose torture and the death penalty. We also believe that Pro-Choice is not incompatible with any of this. Pro-Life cannot be limited to “Pro-Birth” and Pro-Choice does not mean “Pro-Abortion.”

  53. We believe life begins at "first breath." (Genesis 2)

  54. All persons who have received a Trinitarian baptism are by virtue of that baptism Christians and Disciples of Christ. 

  55. All persons who have received a Trinitarian baptism and adhere to the ancient Catholic faith as expressed by the Nicene Creed are Catholics.

  56. All persons who adhere to the full Catholic faith as received by the church until the Schism of A.D. 1054 are Old
    Catholics, in the fullness of the Catholic faith. 

  57. All Christians holding the fullness of the Catholic and Apostolic faith, regardless of their church affiliation, are regarded as being in communion with us, and may be received in fellowship and admitted to the sacraments, and receive pastoral care.

 

We are part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

We are Catholics first because we maintain apostolic succession. Second, we maintain the Catholic doctrine of the first councils given before the eleventh-century schism. But we are not subject to Rome's bishop (the pope), nor are we subject to canon law because that is a jurisdictional law within the Roman Church and does not apply to anyone else.

We are Christians rooted in the Catholic tradition, 

yet People in the midst of Life

 

 

The name “Old Catholic” can be confusing. Most people hear "Catholic" and think of Rome, the Pope, the Vatican – “Roman Catholic,” in other words. "Old Catholic" sounds to some like “conservative” or “old-fashioned.” However, Old Catholic views are quite different. Presented is a brief overview of what the Old Catholics really are all about.

 

It began early on
The beginnings of the conflicts over the proper relationship between belief and ecclesial structure, between spirituality and power, go back to the earliest days of the Church. In the first millennium of the undivided church, the various local churches and bishops were autonomous yet in communion. However, unfortunately, the controversy over church leadership in law and belief repeatedly flared up – the Orthodox schism in 1054 and the Protestant Reformation starting in 1517 are just two of the major examples, alongside numerous smaller “intra-catholic” disagreements.

The Catholic Church in Utrecht (Netherlands) and its bishops were essentially autonomous of Rome until 1702: the Utrecht bishops were freely elected by the local chapter, made up of local clergy. Because of the Reformation's confusion and chaos in the Low Countries, the church province of Utrecht was to be placed directly under the control of Rome and its existing autonomy dissolved. Despite the inhibition of Utrecht's Archbishop Peter Codde in 1702 and the papal threat to "demote" the Utrecht province to a missionary territory – thus nullifying the Utrecht chapter's rights – the Utrecht chapter decided to assert its ancient rights in the Church Catholic, and in 1723 elected Cornelius Steenhoven as Archbishop. Steenhoven was then ordained as bishop by the French missionary bishop Dominique Varlet.

 

Autonomous Catholic church
The Ekklesia Epignostika Old Catholic Church (EEC), along with the other dioceses of EEC, remains firmly in the autonomous Catholic churches' tradition. Its presiding bishop, The Most Reverend Sophia-Katarina in Mundo +Katia Romanoff, Ph.D., founded the EEC in 2009.  in 2016, our humble parish was founded by her grace +Romanoff and The Very Reverend Archpriest  Nikolaos in Mundo Justin Hurtado-Palomo+, STL, Ph.D.

The foundational element of the Old Catholic Church is today just as it was in the beginning: holding fast to the early undivided Church's beliefs and practices, in whose midst and whose head is Jesus Christ.

The name “Old” Catholic thus came from the belief that Old Catholics were remaining with the "old" original teachings of the undivided catholic and apostolic church – as a way of denying the “new dogmas” being considered by the Church of Rome, which were believed to be a break with the continuity of tradition and could not be regarded as truly catholic in any sense.

When in 1870 Rome assembled the First Vatican Council and promulgated as dogma the doctrine of papal supremacy (universal jurisdiction) and the doctrine of papal infallibility in questions of morality and tradition, many Catholics rejected these teachings as being neither supported by Scripture nor founded in Tradition. They continued to hold on to the "old" catholic and apostolic faith. Catholics – both lay and clergy – who could not in good conscience accept these new dogmas were excommunicated (that is, barred from the Church's sacraments) and were thus compelled to form autonomous Catholic churches in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.  In 1889, the bishops of these national churches and the Archbishop of Utrecht issued the Declaration of Utrecht, thereby forming the Union of Utrecht.

The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States, patterns itself after the ecclesiology of the Old Catholics of the Union of Utrecht.  No American Old Catholic church is a member of the Union of Utrecht.



Episcopal-Synodal church
The Old Catholic tradition has developed further since then. The bishop of the local church (that is a diocese) was elected as in the early days by representatives of all the parishes; today, parishes and the whole diocese are structured synodally. At the parish level, the parish assembly is the highest decision-making body – it elects the parish priest and diocesan council representatives. At the diocesan level, the Synod – with both lay and clergy representatives from the parishes – elects the bishop.  The bishops of EEC affirm the election and consecrates the bishop-elect by the laying on of hands.  The Synod is the highest legislative authority in the Diocese whose decisions are carried out by the Bishop and the Diocesan Council, which meets between synods.  The Synod also elects representatives to the National Assembly of EEC.  The Diocesan Council has representatives from the parishes, both laity, and clergy.  The bishop is the chairperson of the Council and the Synod.

While it is common to refer to this process as “democratic,” it is only correct up to a point. All church members are indeed involved in the decision-making process, e.g., bishops and pastors are elected and not appointed, and positions of authority in the church may be carried out by laypeople. The "baptized of the church" is also present in all church branches, and no one is excluded. The Old Catholic Church may ordain women and LGBTIA+ persons, LGBTIA+ persons may marry sacramentally, divorce persons may access the sacraments. It is, in the end, not fully appropriate because the term “democratic” implies a political vocabulary of a multiparty system, where each party attempts to win a majority of seats to press its own interests. As Old Catholics, we stand firmly rooted in the Catholic tradition of the one holy, catholic, and apostolic church, whose faith and beliefs are non-negotiable. The universal councils of the early Church are, as ever, the foundation of our faith and understanding of the church. Therefore the Synod is not the place where articles of faith or morals are debated. This authority belongs solely to a universal council.

“Synodal” describes more closely the challenge and the struggle for the common way as part of the Church Catholic; thus, it also touches on the question of how we put this catholic-apostolic faith into action and how we live it in our lives.

“Episcopal” signifies that we believe that the Church cannot be outside the apostolic succession of the historic episcopate.

Therefore, the term “episcopal-synodal” fits our model better than “democratic,” for it better describes the faithful's shared path as a church.

 

Eucharistic church
We are open to communion with all Christians, extending Eucharistic hospitality to all at our Lord’s Table.

Our position on this Eucharistic hospitality is as follows: All the baptized, who wish to partake in Communion and believe with us in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the gifts of bread and wine, are welcome to receive Communion in both kinds. This is because it is not the clergy or the church which invites us to the Table, but rather Christ Himself, who gathers us together and gives Himself to us. He calls us to the Eucharist, to communion with one another and with Him.


[Most of this description is a translation from the Diocese of Old Catholic Germans' website. ]

Please feel free to message us with questions or inquiries as we continue to build this faith community! May you all be blessed bountifully!

Screen Shot 2020-05-17 at 8.19.28 PM.png