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The Celtic Orthodox Church (COC) is a small autocephalous church which derives from the church formerly known as the Catholic Apostolic Church (Catholicate of the West)and, before that, as the Ancient British Church and the Orthodox Church of the British Isles (OCBI), which was constituted by the Syriac Orthodox Church to develop an Orthodox church in the Western (Celtic) tradition without recourse to its Oriental roots.
The Ancient British Church was a British religious movement founded by Jules Ferrette and Richard Williams Morgan.
The Syriac Orthodox Church, or Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, is an Oriental Orthodox church with autocephalous patriarchate established by Severus of Antioch in Antioch in 518 A.D., influenced by Jacob Baradaeus, while tracing its history to Antioch by Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the 1st century, according to its tradition. The Church uses the Divine Liturgy of Saint James, associated with St. James, the "brother" of Jesus and patriarch among the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem. Syriac is the official and liturgical language of the Church based on Syriac Christianity. The primate of the church is the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch currently Ignatius Aphrem II since 2014, seated in Cathedral of Saint George, Bab Tuma, Damascus, Syria.
The Ancient British Church was canonically established with the consecration of Mar Julius (Jules Ferrette) in 1866 by Mar Boutros (Boutros ibn Salmo Mesko) who later became Patriarch Mar Ignatius Peter IV of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.
Jules Ferrette was a Bishop of Iona and founder of the Catholic Apostolic Church of the West.
Moran MorIgnatius Peter IV 1798 – 8 October 1894) was the Patriarch of Antioch, and head of the Syriac Orthodox Church from 1872 until his death in 1894. He is regarded by many as the architect of the modern church.
However, as an autocephalous church, the Celtic Orthodox Church is not subject to the Syriac Orthodox Church or tied to its doctrinal position.
The Celtic Orthodox Church is not an Oriental Orthodox church and is not monophysite, but upholds the doctrine that the one Person of Christ has two Natures. Its position with regard to the Ecumenical Councils might best be described as Pro-Chalcedonian, that is to say it accepts the teaching of all seven councils, but acknowledges that only the first three were truly ecumenical.
Since 25 December 2007, the Celtic Orthodox Church has been united with the French Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church of the Gauls, forming the Communion of Western Orthodox Churches (CWOC).
The French Orthodox Church is a self-governing Western Orthodox church formed in 1975. The church's current first hierarch is Bishop Martin (Laplaud), the abbot of the Orthodox Monastery of St Michel du Var. The EOF has communities in France, Brazil, and the French-speaking Caribbean.
The Orthodox Church of the Gauls is a self-governing Orthodox church comprising two dioceses. It was formed in 2006 with a mission to return the Orthodox Christian faith to people of western lands, particularly through the use of restored forms of ancient Gallican worship. The OCG is part of the Communion of Western Orthodox Churches, and its primate is Bishop Gregory (Mendez), the Bishop of Arles and the abbot of the Monastery of St Michael and St Martin near Luzé in the Touraine region of France.
The Communion of Western Orthodox Churches, also known as the Western Orthodox Church, is a communion of Christian churches of Orthodox tradition, standing alongside the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox communions. The Western Orthodox communion is distinguished by its adherence to the liturgical and spiritual customs of western Christianity.
In 1866, with the sanction of Patriarch Ignatius Ya'qub (Jacob) II of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, Mar Julius (Jules Ferrette) was consecrated by Mar Boutros ibn Salmo Mesko) who later became Patriarch Mor Ignatius Peter IV of Antioch, and dispatched to form an indigenous Orthodox church in Western Europe, which was not in any way subject to the Syriac Orthodox Church or the Patriarch of Antioch. The consecration was witnessed by the British Consul at Damascus. Mar Julius was given the title of Bishop of Iona and its Dependencies.
An early leader was Richard Williams Morgan ("Mar Pelagius I") (1815–1899). The church adopted the name Ancient British Church and aimed at the restoration or re-creation of the form of Christianity that they believed existed in the British Isles) during the earliest centuries of the Christian era. Morgan was consecrated a bishop by Jules Ferrette (Mar Julius) on 6 March 1874. Morgan was designated as first patriarch of the newly formed church.
Richard Williams Morgan (c.1815-1889) was a Welsh Oriental Orthodox priest and author.
The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe that consist of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Hebrides and over six thousand smaller isles. They have a total area of about 315,159 km2 and a combined population of almost 72 million, and include two sovereign states, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The islands of Alderney, Jersey, Guernsey, and Sark, and their neighbouring smaller islands, are sometimes also taken to be part of the British Isles, even though, as islands off the coast of France, they do not form part of the archipelago.
On 2 November 1897, three jurisdictions merged to form the Free Protestant Episcopal Church (full name: Free Protestant Episcopal Church of England). The three were the Ancient British Church (then led by its second patriarch, Charles Isaac Stevens), the Free Protestant Church (founded and led by Bishop Leon Chechemian) and the Nazarene Episcopal Church (founded and led by Bishop James Martin). Leon Chechemian was appointed first primus of the new church and he served in this capacity for three years until 30 December 1900, at which point he was succeeded by Patriarch Stevens.
The Free Protestant Episcopal Church - FPEC, now called The Anglican Free Communion, was formed in England, on 2 November 1897, from the merger of three smaller churches. Others were to join later.
Charles Isaac Stevens (1835–1917) was the second patriarch of the Ancient British Church from 1889 to 1917 and also was primus of the Free Protestant Episcopal Church of England from 1900 to 1917.
Leon Chechemian (1848–1920) was an Armenian Christian cleric. In 1897, he was a founder of the Free Protestant Episcopal Church, and that church's first primus. He is also considered an episcopus vagans.
The patriarch of the Ancient British Church and the primus of the Free Protestant Episcopal Church then coincided in Stevens and his successors until 18 May 1939 when Bishop Monzani-Heard appointed William Hall as primus of the Free Protestant Episcopal Church, but retained the role of patriarch.
On 23 March 1944, a deed of declaration under Monzani-Heard united the Ancient British Church, the Old Catholic Orthodox Church, the British Orthodox Catholic Church and the Independent Catholic Church into a single organization, to be called the "Catholicate of the West". On 28 March 1944, Hugh George de Willmott Newman was chosen as "Catholicos". He was consecrated and enthroned on 10 April 1944 as "Mar Georgius". Newman's family background had been within the Catholic Apostolic Church (the "Irvingites") and he was influenced by that movement.
At Christmas 1944, the newly formed Catholicate resolved to bring its ministry, organization, usages and worship into general agreement with the pattern and model of the Catholic Apostolic Church, and the catholicate adopted the new name "Catholic Apostolic Church (Catholicate of the West)" with a sub-title "Western Orthodox Catholic Church". The liturgy of the Catholic Apostolic Church was adopted, with a supplement. However, the Catholicate was fairly short-lived and was dissolved in 1953.
On 29 January 1945, Monzani-Heard resigned the office of British patriarch to Newman. An attempt was made in 1959 to revive the Catholicate of the West but this did not survive beyond January 1969.
The following are the patriarchs in succession:
In 1994, Abba (Mar) Seraphim, following negotiations with Pope Shenouda III, took the UK branch of the Catholic Apostolic Church into union with the Coptic (Oriental) Orthodox Church, taking the name British Orthodox Church.
The Breton members of the Catholic Apostolic Church, who, under Bishop-Abbot Mael, had been made party to the negotiations with the Coptic Church, decided against joining in the 1994 alliance with the Copts, considering that their mission to promote and develop Western Orthodoxy was better served in its independence.
Interestingly, BOC's alliance with the Coptic Church continued for 21 years until October 2015, at which time the BOC withdrew from the alliance, considering that in the light of changed circumstances its objective would now be better served by its independence.
Accordingly, the remaining bishops of the Holy Synod elected Mgr Mael (Paul-Eduard de Fournier de Brescia), consecrated in 1980 by Mar Seraphim, to be primate of the former French eparchy, assuming the name L'Église Orthodoxe Celtique (the Celtic Orthodox Church – officially the Celtic Apostolic Church) to indicate that its jurisdiction covered the area of the former Celtic missions.
In 2014, following the death of HB Metropolitan Mael, Mgr Marc (Jean-Claude Scheerens), consecrated in 1998 by Mgr Mael, was enthroned as primate of the Celtic Orthodox Church, having been elected by the Holy Synod.
When, in 1998, some of the UK clergy who had followed Abba Seraphim into the Coptic Patriarchate subsequently asked to join the Celtic Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Mael received them and the Celtic Orthodox Church in Britain was given the status of an eparchy or province.
In 1999, a new bishop/eparch, Stephen Robson, was elected and consecrated for Britain; he had been one of the British priests who had chosen to leave the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.
In early 2007, the administration of the British eparchy came under the direct care of the primate when Bishop Stephen resigned.
The Celtic Orthodox Church has parishes in France, Switzerland and the United States, including a monastery (Our Lady of the Holy Presence) at Toms Brook, Virginia. Since the end of 2017 the Celtic Orthodox Church is now represented once more in Australia. In the United Kingdom, following deaths, retirements and secessions, the Celtic Orthodox Church now has one parish (St Gwenn's, Wessex).
The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, also known as the Indian Orthodox Church, is an autocephalous church centered in the Indian state of Kerala. It is one of the churches of India's Saint Thomas Christian community, which has its origin in the evangelical activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. The church is headed by the autocephalous Catholicos of the East and the Malankara Metropolitan, presently Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II.
The highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, and the Church of the East are termed patriarchs.
The Syriac Catholic Church, also known as Syriac Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch, is an Eastern Catholic Christian Church in the Levant that uses the West Syriac Rite liturgy and has many practices and rites in common with the Syriac Orthodox Church. Being one of the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, the Syriac Catholic Church has full autonomy and is a self-governed sui iuris Church while it is in full communion with the Holy See of Rome. The Syriac Catholic Church traces its history to the earliest days of Christianity. After the Calcedonian Schism the Church of Antioch became part of Oriental Orthodoxy, and was known as the Syriac Orthodox Church, while a new Antiochian Patriarchate was established to fill its place by the churches which accepted the Council of Calcedon. The Syriac Orthodox Church came into full communion with the Holy See and the modern Syriac Orthodox Church is a result of those that did not want to join the Catholic Church. Therefore the Syriac Catholic Church is the continuation of the original Church of Antioch.
The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church also known as the Malankara Syrian Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic sui iuris particular church in full communion with the Pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. The Church is headed by Major Archbishop Cardinal Cleemis Maphrian of the Major Archdiocese of Trivandrum based in Kerala, India. The Church follows the West Syriac Rite liturgy of Saint James, which is also used in the Maronite Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. The Church traces its origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. It is one of the two Eastern Catholic Churches from India, the other one being the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church which uses the East Syriac Rite liturgy.
The British Orthodox Church, formerly known as the Orthodox Church of the British Isles, is a small independent Oriental Orthodox church defining its mission to the people of the British Isles. It has not been in communion with any of the Oriental Orthodox churches since a 2015 decision to return to an independent condition.
Alphabetical list of Eastern Christianity-related articles on English Wikipedia
Abba Seraphim El-Suriani is an English bishop. He is the Metropolitan of Glastonbury and head of the British Orthodox Church with the title His Beatitude Patriarch Seraphim, the VIIth Patriarch of the British Orthodox Church.
The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the highest Orthodox authority in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. It formulates the rules and regulations regarding matters of the church's organisation and faith.
Hugh de Willmott Newman was a bishop in the independent (non-Roman) Catholic movement and later an Archbishop for 'Western' British Orthodox churches. He was known religiously as Mar Georgius I and by the titles Patriarch of Glastonbury, Catholicos of the West, and Sixth British Patriarch.
Catholicos of India is an ecclesiastical office in the Syriac Orthodox Church, the head of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church in Kerala, India. He is the Catholicos/ Maphrian of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church an autonomous body within the Syriac Orthodox Church, and functions at an ecclesiastical rank second to the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. The jurisdiction of the Syriac Orthodox Catholicos is limited to India and Indian diaspora, although he is often invited to preside over Syriac Orthodox functions abroad. The current Catholicos of India is Catholicos Baselios Thomas I, who was consecrated in 2002.
Catholicos is the title used by head bishops of regions within the Patriarchate of Antioch having self ecclesiastical and autonomous status from the ancient period. The word "Catholicos" means "Universal" - the same word from which the name of the Catholic Church also derives.
Catholicos of the East is an ecclesiastical title used by Eastern Churches. The term "Catholicos" is derived from the Greek word Katholikos (Καθολικός), meaning "Universal Bishop".
Oriental Orthodoxy is the fourth largest communion of Christian churches, with about 76 million members worldwide. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, it has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Armenia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and parts of the Middle East and India. An Eastern Christian communion of autocephalous churches, its bishops are equal by virtue of episcopal ordination, and its doctrines can be summarised in that the communion recognizes the validity of only the first three ecumenical councils.
Archbishop Doyé Teido Agama is a Christian leader within the Pentecostal Holiness movement. He is presiding prelate and executive director of Apostolic Pastoral Congress, a collegiate collective of Pentecostal bishops and pastors. He leads the "Christian Way of Life" group of churches. He is a prominent figure in the Churches Together in England movement and is involved extensively in the African diaspora and black and multicultural affairs.