Ancient, Western and Orthodox

The The Celtic Orthodox 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

What has become known, over the centuries, as ‘Old Catholic’ has existed since AD. 730 and has been an autonomous Church by Papal Decree since 1145, later ratified by the Lateran Council of 1215; it is, therefore, part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is fully Catholic but not Roman, fully Orthodox but not Eastern. 

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

The Old Catholic Church is 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.

The Origin of Western Rite Orthodoxy in America

Before the year 1054, there would have been no difficulty in declaring that the Western Rite of the Undivided Church was simply using Latin speaking Churches. The Rite used by Christians in Scotland, Ireland and England, was as Orthodox as Constantinople. In the first thousand years of Christendom, all the far-flung churches in communion with the Five Patriarchates (Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome) were Orthodox. After 1054, and more precisely, after the Norman Conquest (1066) of England, the Churches of the West were drawn into the Great Schism of the Roman Patriarchate away from the Unity of the Orthodox Church. The Western Liturgy came to reflect the Papal errors and even incorporated the Filioque in the Nicene Creed with other aberrations.

The restoration of a correct, and truly Orthodox, Western Rite to Holy Orthodoxy in the United States was not originated by laity or by ordinary clergy. The vision of the Western Rite as an essential part of the Orthodox Mission in America belonged to Archbishop Tikhon of the American Archdiocese under the Moscow Patriarchate. About ninety years ago, he examined the existing Anglican Book of Common Prayer and sent it to Moscow's Holy Synod. That Liturgy, derived from the ancient use of the Orthodox West, and first expressed in English in the edition of 1549 by King Edward the Sixth of England, was corrected and approved by the Holy Synod for Orthodox Church use.

In the years following, blessed Tikhon was himself elevated to Patriarch of Moscow, martyred by the communists in 1925, since declared a Saint of the Church and thus known to Orthodox faithful throughout the world as St. Tikhon, Enlightener of America. This is the same Saint Tikhon who, about the time he obtained approval for the restoration of the Western Rite in America, also consecrated (in 1904) Raphael Hawaweeny to the episcopate of the Orthodox Church of North America, from which the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese descends.

As the Orthodox Mission in America grew in numbers and maturity, the Western Rite's further authorization was given by the Patriarchs and Holy Synods to create Western Rite Missions and Parishes in the Archdiocese. Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) has promoted an increasing number of Western Rite Parishes throughout North America. New additions of Clergy and Laity to this world have more than doubled its size in a few years. Western Rite Orthodoxy is now a rapidly growing dimension of the Church’s Mission in America.

The Western Rite Parishes represent a restoration of the legitimate Western Liturgy of the Undivided Church of the first 1,000 years, by Patriarchal authority, for the benefit of all Orthodox people.

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