1911 Statement of Union
Over the course of the past several years we have witnessed countless challenges with the name that our Church had in Utrecht. Although historically known as the Old (Roman) Catholic Church, the path that several of her jurisdictions have taken either reflects poorly on who we are as Orthodox Christians or not at all.
In 1911 Archbishop Mathews, aligned our historic Apostolic Church with Orthodoxy. August 5, 1911 is etched in stone for the historic Old Roman Catholic Church, when, by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, our Church publicly professed Orthodoxy, solidifying our allegiance to the ancient Orthodox Faith, as it existed in both the East and West. Through the efforts of the Orthodox Metropolitan Archbishop of Beirut, Archbishop Gerassimos Messarra, we agreed to a Statement of Union publicly acknowledging the Orthodox Christian Faith as it existed in Orthodox Rome prior to the Great Schism. We remain an autonomous Western Church professing the Orthodox Christian Faith.
We emerged from the Apostolic See of Rome as it had been planted in the Netherlands before the Great Schism. Another evolution ensued when the Roman Catholic Church, at her First Vatican Council, declared the Dogma of Papal Infallibility, resulting in the German Old Catholic Church developing in Munich, Germany inspired by Theologian Father Johann Joseph Ignaz von Dollinger (February 28, 1799 - January 14, 1890).
In 1910 Archbishop Arnold H. Mathew of Great Britain declared autonomy from the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht due to their increasing disconnect from historical Christianity. Archbishop Mathew’s, in order to distinguish us from the Old Catholics, nuanced the name of our Church and hence the evolution of the Old 'Roman' Catholic Church. In 1911 Archbishop Mathew reached out to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and arranged through Archbishop Gerassimos Messarra, the Greek Orthodox Bishop of Beirut, the historical Statement of Union and Organic Articles. This exchange was acknowledged by the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate through her representative, Archbishop Messarra. The Old Roman Catholic Church, through the efforts of Archbishop Mathew’s, became the first Western Church to embrace Orthodoxy since the Great Schism of 1054 AD. The same Church was planted in the United States by the efforts of Archbishop Rudolph de Landas Berghes and Archbishop Carmel Henry Carfora, etc.
The name “Old Roman Catholic Church” did not correctly represent who we are as Western Orthodox Christians. The name of our Church should have been changed over 100 years ago when we publicly professed continued allegiance to the holy Orthodox Faith as an autonomous Western Orthodox Church. For many years our historical name clumped us with the likes of the Old Catholics and various Old Roman Catholics who do not maintain a proper historical sense of our identity.
In yet another historical moment in the life of our Church, the Synod of Bishops elected to have our name properly reflect who we are as a Church of Western Orthodoxy. Theologically it does not remain sensible for our Church to be known by a name that does not reflect our beliefs and profession of Orthodoxy.
The Western Orthodox Christian Church preserves the Faith as passed down throughout the ages from her bishops of the ancient apostolic succession historically received by the Orthodox Apostolic See of Rome and passed down to us from the See of Utrecht. We maintain what we have agreed to and we continue to safeguard the Orthodox Christian Faith.
For over 70 years the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) was not recognized by the Patriarchate of Moscow. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was viewed by a majority of the "canonical Orthodox" as a pseudo-Orthodox Church. But this did not deter ROCOR from preserving the holy Orthodox Faith.
The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia continued to maintain what she received without the affirmation of the Patriarchate of Moscow. ROCOR never considered her administration of the Holy Mysteries anything but legitimate since historically there existed no doubt to the historic apostolic succession received. In 2007 ROCOR was re-united to the Patriarchate of Moscow. At that time the Patriarchate of Moscow once again accepted ROCOR as legitimate after the many years of only being recognized as a pseudo-Orthodox Church. The point is ROCOR continued to be faithful with or without the formal recognition of Moscow.
If you are searching for authentic Orthodox Christian Faith, then come and help us build-up and pass on what we have received from time immemorial...