ACNA’s Anglo-Catholic Exodus

Long standing tensions within the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) between the Protestant majority and the Anglo-Catholic minority, eerily similar to that in the Anglican Communion, have finally come to a head. The Bishops of the Anglo-Catholic ‘Missionary Diocese of All Saints‘ have issued an address stating they are considering leaving the ACNA and seeking union with “Non-Papal Catholics” specifically mentioning the Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC)- although mislabeled as the Polish National Council Church in the PDF statement provided to this blog (published below).

Reasons given for the potential split are the increasingly Protestant character of the ACNA, with one bishop citing the goal of the ACNA is to “complete the Reformation”, and also woman’s ordination in the ACNA, stating if the Anglo-Catholic faction opposed it they could “shuffle off to Rome”. The statement also acknowledges the Diocese of All Saints is currently unsustainable as a body.

The statement came out of their annual synod and retreat, held this weekend just gone, and mentions the loss of clergy and one parish already. Multiple clergy sources from within the Diocese of All Saints have stated they have individually contacted the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, or the Western Rite Orthodox Vicarate for the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia (ROCOR), and know of other clergy that have done the same. If All Saints does enter union with the PNCC, it is unknown how many of the listed 35 parishes would actually follow.

The statement from the Missionary Diocese of All Souls is as follows:

It was good to gather, once again, in beautiful Ocean City for our Annual Synod and Retreat of our Diocese. Thanks to everyone who gave so much of their time, talent, and treasure to attend this important gathering of our Diocesan family. I appreciate each of you.

While we were disappointed Bishop Morales was unable to be with us, Bp. Ray Sutton, Presiding Bishop of the REC and Bishop Ordinary of REC Mid-America, and Bp. David Hicks, Bishop Ordinary of REC Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, joined us to speak on the issue of women’s ordination within the ACNA.

Some nine years ago, in preparation for my Consecration, I entered into a silent retreat. Listening for the “still, small, voice of God,” the Lord revealed to me two major things. First, never treat others the way you were treated in the Episcopal Church. Second, do your utmost to be totally transparent. As to the first item, you all know my story. So, let me address more deeply, this second item, for it is my desire that you all know my heart, as your Bishop.

As you are aware, the Bishops who uphold the Declaration of Common Faith of Forward in Faith North America; who uphold the Faith and Order of the Undivided Church in affirming that the “Christian ministerial priesthood is male,” called for a voluntary moratorium on the ordination of women until such time as a consensus is reached in the College of Bishops and in the Provincial Assembly of the ACNA. Each time we did so, our call was rebuffed by those who support the notion of “dual-integrity.” One supporter of Women’s Ordination told those of us who maintain the historic position, if we didn’t support the status quo of “duel-integrity” we should “Shuffle off to Rome.” Message received.

Let me press the issue of a moratorium a bit further. Several years ago, it was made known that the Province of Uganda and perhaps Kenya were considering the consecration of women to the Order of Bishops. In 2014, the GAFCON Primates responded by calling for a voluntary moratorium on the consecration of women as bishops and that a study on the issue should be made. Acting in direct defiance to the moratorium, the now-retired Primate of South Sudan consecrated a woman as Bishop, without regard to the Constitution and Canons of his own Province and without the support of his own College of Bishops. To make matters worse, while this illegal consecration occurred in December of 2016, it was kept secret for over a year and excuses were made.

All indications are that “dual-integrity” is here to stay. This issue of women’s ordination is part of a larger epidemic of anti-Catholic sentiment within the ACNA. Allow me to give you some examples. One Bishop of the ACNA openly posted that he is a Calvinist. I know that he is not the only one in the College of Bishops. At least one ACNA congregation is practicing credo-baptism, reducing this Dominical Sacrament into something we do rather than God’s work in us. Another Diocese has affirmed by resolution that the 39 Articles of Religion are to be understood in their “plain and literal sense.” While the 39 Articles are an important historical document within Anglicanism, they were written to address specific issues at a certain time. Their meaning is contextual. As Anglicans, we affirm our faith when we recite the Nicene Creed. We are not Confessional Christians. Finally, yet another Bishop stated that the goal of the ACNA is to “complete the Reformation.” Think about his words and consider what they reveal about the future of the ACNA and our place in it.

The effects of these developments have presented challenges to your Bishops. We have lost a few clergy, one parish, and I have received multiple emails and phone calls from clergy; some asking me to stay the course in the ACNA and some urging me to seek out an alternative to the ACNA. Then, of course, there is the issue of “sustainability.” Our diocese simply cannot meet all their sustainability requirements. If Bp. Rich and I were no longer able to serve as your bishops, our congregations desiring to continue in the ACNA would simply be assimilated by other dioceses.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how many hours, days, and years we spend waiting… waiting upon the Lord to know which direction to take. This is where we find ourselves today: uncertain about where the Lord would have us go, but trusting He will show us the way. We do not clearly see the way, but our trust in the providence of God is at least as strong as it was when we began this journey nearly nine years ago. We pray for direction. We patiently wait. But, we also turn our prayer into action. That is why Bp. Rich and I went to Ireland just several days ago, to participate in the 2018 Convocation for the Restoration and Renewal of the Undivided Church. We met with Non-Papal Catholics from the Polish National Council Church, as well as other groups represented throughout Europe, discussing how we might move forward in the spirit of a renewed Catholicity and Ecumenical Catholicism. I encourage you to check out the work that’s being done at Bp. Rich and I also continue our conversations with those inside and outside of the ACNA, that we may know how to best pray and move forward. Your Bishops, our Canon to the Ordinary, and our Standing Committee covet your prayers. Please pray with me that whatever path we take will be taken with the greatest possible degree of unity. You have all heard me say, we are all in this together. As your Chief Pastors, as Bishops in the Church Catholic, Bp. Rich and I are called to be defenders of the Faith and that is exactly what we are trying so hard to do. We cannot accomplish anything apart from God’s grace. His grace is always free, but our response to that grace can be anything but easy. I close my remarks with the words of Saint Paul: “But one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what lie ahead, we press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Please address any questions to Bp. Rich or me.

Bishop Rich –

Bishop Bill –

Original Synod Address pdf


The follow up article is here.

57 thoughts on “ACNA’s Anglo-Catholic Exodus

  1. Pingback: Completing the Reformation | New Goliards

  2. Very interesting, Simon. Thanks for posting. I am sorry to hear this news, as already people are suffering and will continue to do so until they find a home. I am reminded of the late Father Richard John Neuhaus and one of his “laws”: Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.


  3. The Western Rite Communities welcome all who are seeking the stability and orthodoxy of the Orthodox Church. Many of your colleagues are already here, come join them.


  4. Here we go once more… these issues are heart breaking for all which make me wonder “What ta Hell” is going on? (Pun intended) Are we simple congregants left to find a place where there is no dissent? Can we not study the words of the church fathers holding to their wisdom, remembering they were nearer to Our Lord Christ in time than us?

    We are repeating the actions, history, of The Episcopal Church USA. Have we learned nothing? My Priest refers to parties involved in getting a divorce, if either one fails to acknowledge their failures in the marriage they will carry those behaviors into the next relationship.

    May The Holy Spirit carry us through this once again,.. if we let”Him”!


    • There have been no decisions as of yet .
      I think the over all issue can be described as the struggle for catholicity .
      Women’s Ordination , fundamentalist interpretations , bringing in evangelicals in mass numbers without formation time/ resources etc are all symptoms rather than cause.
      Perhaps there wasn’t enough time spent outside TEC before forming ACNA as well, we all know its far to easy to bring negative baggage / habits from one broken relationship into another.
      As a credal , Anglo Catholic I believe in Catholic process , catholicity being so much more than just theology or identity but, certain ways of doing things, of problem, conflict resolution .
      When these methods are not available or used, life becomes more complicated and difficult.
      I think it’s one of the reasons we often find ourselves overly focused on symptom rather than primary cause.

      We shall see what happens.

      Palm Sunday and Holy Week beckon and I’m thankful we have these steadfast cycles that do not change .



      • Why not look into confessional Book of Concord Lutheranism. The sacramental view of baptismal regeneration, Sacrament of the altar with real presence and holy absolution for the forgiveness of sins are very similar to Anglo-Catholicism.


      • “Why not look into confessional Book of Concord Lutheranism. The sacramental view of baptismal regeneration, Sacrament of the altar with real presence and holy absolution for the forgiveness of sins are very similar to Anglo-Catholicism.”

        An absolute non-starter, except for the odd individual. “The sacramental view of baptismal regeneration, Sacrament of the altar with real presence and holy absolution for the forgiveness of sins” would have no attraction for low-church, Protestant, Evangelical Anglicans, whose heritage is far more Reformed (whether Calvinist or Arminian) than Lutheran (Article 29 of the 39 Articles seems to me to be directed against Lutheran eucharistic teaching), while the absence of “real bishops” – i.e., bishops standing in the apostolic succession – in Lutheranism would put off most high-church and Anglo-Catholic Anglicans, who believe that without such bishops there is neither valid orders nor a “catholic” church (while Lutherans either reject the apostolic succession of bishops outright or believe that an episcopal church polity is but one option among many). In addition, most of these latter sort of Anglicans would tend to reject both Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide.


  5. I never knew you’re part of MDAS. It’s a sad story for contemplating to leave as well a good news what this exist will do; maintaining and affirming the Catholic faith once delivered. I know ACNA will be heading to this trajectory if it does not define its purpose and mission. The late 21st Anglicans only refer to themselves as Anglicans in the words of the creed – their actions and inactions says otherwise.

    I have been battling with all this in an evangelical province of Nigeria where there’s no better option except Rome and or Constantinople.

    I do hope that God’s will be done in our lives.



    • The option to erect another ordinariate for the territory of the Catholic episcopal conference of your country does exist. There is no deadline for establishment of ordinariates under the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus.

      Canonically, an “ordinariate” is fully equivalent to a Catholic diocese — but with the provision that the “ordinary” can be a married presbyter even though he is canonically equivalent to a diocesan bishop. The magisterium of the Catholic Church has decided to maintain a celibate episcopacy to avoid throwing additional wrenches into ecumenical relations with the Orthodox Communion, which also maintains a celibate episcopacy.



      • the Catholic Church has decided to maintain a celibate episcopacy as that has been the ancient practice in both East and West- there is no changing it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The scriptures give clear evidence that a celibate episcopacy was not the normative practice in the first century.

        The gospels explicitly mention Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law — which is proof that Peter was married. (Mark 1:30)

        >> Paul’s first letter to Timothy spells out requirements for the office of bishop, one of which is that a bishop must be “faithful to his wife” (NIV) or “the husband of one wife” (KJV and RSV) or “married only once” (NABRE and NRSV). (I Timothy 3:2)

        There are also several instances in which Wikipedia indicates that married men became bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, including Pope Adrian II. The most recent was Salomão Barbosa Ferraz, who received episcopal ordination as head of the Free Catholic Church from the schismatic Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa, who founded the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church after the Vatican excommunicated him in 1945. Pope John XXIII subsequently received Bishop Ferraz into the full communion of the Catholic Church and appointed him as titular Bishop of Eleutherna and Auxiliary Bishop of Rio de Janeiro in 1963. Bishop Ferraz participated in the subsequent sessions of the Second Vatican Council as a fully recognized Catholic bishop following his reception into full communion. Upon his death in 1969, his survivors included his wife and seven children.

        So the bottom line is that there is no theological obstacle to ordination of married men to the episcopacy in the Catholic Church. Note that the Catholic Church recognizes the validity of the entire lineage of episcopal ordinations that flowed from Bishop Costa (sometimes called “the Costa lineage”) as well as the validity of episcopal ordinations in the churches of the Union of Utrecht prior to that body’s decision to ordain women c. 2005 and the validity of episcopal ordinations in the churches of the Union of Scranton. Most of the bishops of these bodies are in fact married.

        What is true, though, is that theological dialog with the churches of the Orthodox Communion and with the ancient oriental churches has produced major breakthroughs toward possible restoration of full ecclesiastical communion. The Vatican absolutely does not want to gum up the works on that front by changing discipline in a manner that could create new obstacles to unity, and thus has decided to maintain the present policy of not ordaining married men to the episcopacy for the foreseeable future. However, there is clearly nothing that precludes a change in this discipline if a pope deems it appropriate.



      • No one disputes Peter was married, although good luck finding a creditable source that they continued as ‘man and wife’ with conjugal relations. Also the second passage of scripture you quote is the Theological reason why only celibate men become bishops, the Church can be their only wife.


      • No, that’s bad theology. The Church — the Bride of Christ — is not polygamous.



  6. Again, I am reminded how much the divisions in Christianity come down to governance. How should the church make a decision? Should majority rule? It is not so much what the theological disputes are as how they will be resolved. If it is not women’s ordination, then it is something else, like divorce or marriage or the Resurrection or…. The issues may pass away but the problem of governance remains. Look beyond the specific issues and ask yourself: How should God’s Church make decisions?

    See this part above, ” …called for a voluntary moratorium on the ordination of women until such time as a consensus is reached in the College of Bishops and in the Provincial Assembly of the ACNA. Each time we did so, our call was rebuffed…”


    • Dear Bruce : Governance surely plays the pivotal role, but it to must have formation .
      Ancient Conciliar form and practice is needed .
      What the future holds , we simply do not know.
      In reality all folks like myself can do is serve the Liturgy / sacraments and tend to God’s people.
      Have to admit: This old man is tired of the conflicts.

      To all: Thank you for your kind responses , a breath of fresh air you are.

      Grace and Peace to all,



  7. Pingback: On the Qualities of Catholicity | Meditating on "Irvana"

  8. Perhaps the formation of ACNA was done hastily. TEC took generations to slide down the slippery slop of progressiveness, the frog in the water water analogy. Perhaps ACNA, for fear of loosing the recent gains in numbers, is willing to “kinda sorta” bend the theological rules it voted to leave TEC for. Was leaving TEC only because we were forced to accept their evil ways? and if ACNA adopts some of those progressive ideals, is it okay since they surely would never force those upon us, it’ll be up to each diocese. That sounds like TEC years ago actually. Is ACNA wanting to increase their numbers, to justify leaving TEC, that they are willing to open their arms to any protestant who will join, despite the various theological differences? We left TEC to get away from their heretical views…we should not find ways to adopt those same views just to please the masses and increase attendance. IMHO.


  9. My prayers and I am sure the prayers of all who love the Catholic Orthodox Faith are with you as you pray to discern God’s will during these tumultuous times. I can assure your heart’s yearning with great conviction. There is a home in the ROCOR Western-rite for any and all who desire the inviolate Catholic Faith. Fr. Deacon Kevin Kirwan


  10. This confronts us with some of the more critical problems facing American Anglicanism. TEC is dying fast, but where is the unified alternative? I assume we all sincerely receive the Nicene Creed (except for those who have been influenced by N.T. Wright’s view that philosophical language was imposed on the Biblical faith). However, after that, two critical problems are the Articles and the women.

    Protestant Anglicans receive the 39 Articles as faithful to the Scriptures and the trustworthy teaching of the church. They do not believe the Reformation was a mistake, but a recovery of the Apostolic doctrine. Some Evangelicals do not sit well with the Articles because they are too clearly and explicitly Calvinistic, because of the statement on justification (from which N.T. Wright has supposedly saved us all), etc. But then the Anglo-catholics will not have them at all. They see the Articles as an historical anomaly, an oddity produced by the unique historical circumstances of the Reformation period. Our English Reformers followed the Lutherans and Calvinists into a departure from the doctrine of the English church. What ACs want is what they believe to be the English church without the Pope. The Articles are a stumbling block for reasons such as their teaching of the supremacy of Scripture, justification by faith alone, and the nature and efficacy of the Sacraments.

    Then there are the women. Loose evangelicals are more than ready to accept female priests. Anglo-catholics and Protestant Anglicans reject female priests though for essentially different reasons. For the ACs a female cannot stand in place of the male Christ at the altar. Protestants will not have female priests because they take St. Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy as normative. A woman may not by virtue of receiving holy orders exercise ecclesial authority over men nor may she teach men (and because in Protestant Anglicanism Word and Sacrament are inseparable, she is excluded from baptizing or celebration Holy Communion).

    Is there a way forward? I do not know, and this is especially is relevant to those of us Protestant Evangelicals who remain in the REC. We want an uncompromisingly Protestant Anglicanism led by male priests. Others want Anglo-catholic doctrine and Sacraments and male priests. Perhaps some kind of conservative Anglican realignment is unavoidable, though probably not in my lifetime.

    One way I have found to get at the issue of hierarchy of doctrine and practice might be put this way. What if you absolutely have to choose between a church with the doctrine of justification by faith alone and a church with male priests only? You cannot have both. I settled this for myself by concluding that I would have Protestant doctrine and Sacraments from a female priest rather than Catholic (intentionally capitalized) doctrine and Sacraments from a male. I would hear justification by faith alone from a woman in preference to the Catholic doctrine of justification from a male. If I had to choose, that is my choice, but I would be miserable.

    It is good that Jesus loves and rules his church, because it is a mess.


  11. There us no ither home than Rome! I was wandering why theybdidnt make Rome thier first choice of connection? What holds them to reunite with Peter? Just asking. The Ordinariate ia already created to selcome ACNA.


    • And what kind of home is Rome today? If it is the Orthodox Catholic Faith one truly aspires to hold and bring to a lost world Rome hardly qualifies as a reliable guide or witness to the Apostolic Faith. Does anyone desiring to hold steadfastly the Orthodox Catholic Faith truly believe that Pope Francis is by any stretch of the imagination upholding the Faith inviolate? If you wish to unite with the “Orthodox Catholic” Patriarchate of Rome you’ll need a time machine to take you back almost a millenium. Or you can look to the East, where the Gospel was first preached and which has always shown herself steadfast in the Apostolic Tradition. Fr. Deacon Kevin

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Fr Kevin, I found your comment about the 2016 Pan-Orthodox Synod “The real strength of Holy Orthodoxy is the insistence on conciliar agreement. If Bartholomew fancies himself a Latin Pope and thinks consensus can be realized without the Russian Church, by far the largest body of Orthodox Christians in the world he is in for a rude and possibly embarrassing awakening. This is now definitely no Council. A nice gathering perhaps but nothing issuing forth from there will have any binding authority whatsovever.” I thought the Russian Patriarch was number 5, were Constantinople was number 1 “First Amoung Equals”? It does show the undeclared schism between the Greek and Slavic blocks. Also when you mean “Or you can look to the East, where the Gospel was first preached” would that mean more Antioch, which also has Western Rite parishes, as was not Keiv/Moscow See only 100 years old at the time of the Great Schism? Also as the Orthodox claim England was Orthodox until 1066, would that not have made Canterbury a See ranking above Moscow?


  12. Pingback: ACNA’s Anglo-Catholic Crisis- A Case Study in Anglo-Catholic issues | Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog

  13. ROCOR is certainly trying to pounce on it:

    With all respect to our Orthodox brethren, my personal hope and prayer is that any drifting ACNA members may be “delivered and liberated . . . through the help of God” and that they might embrace “the evangelical and apostolic uprightness of the orthodox faith, which has been established upon the firm rock of this Church of blessed Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, which by his grace and guardianship remains free from all error,” and “that they might not make themselves aliens from our communion, that is from the communion of blessed Peter the Apostle . . . but that they should together with us pray Christ the Lord, the spotless sacrifice,” as Pope St. Agatho wrote to the Emperor and Fathers of the Sixth Ecumenical Council in 680.


  14. Pingback: The renunciation required to become Catholic | Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog

  15. Simon Dennerly says, “It does show the undeclared schism between the Greek and Slavic blocks. Also when you mean “Or you can look to the East, where the Gospel was first preached” would that mean more Antioch, which also has Western Rite parishes, as was not Keiv/Moscow See only 100 years old at the time of the Great Schism? Also as the Orthodox claim England was Orthodox until 1066, would that not have made Canterbury a See ranking above Moscow?”

    I think I need to comment briefly on what may be implied by Simon’s comments on something I said regarding a non-related topic. If he is somehow stating or implying that there exists a “schism” either formal or undeclared between the Greek and Slavic blocks as he refers to them nothing could be further from reality. The Russian and Greek Catholic Orthodox bishops are in full communion confessing the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith of the undivided Church of Jesus Christ.

    Disagreements or discussions on certain house keeping matters hardly constitute a schism. It would be analogous to a married couple having a discussion about some problem and wrongly calling it a divorce.

    A schism occurs when one commits adultery and betrays or wanders from the Faith once for all delivered to the saints embracing something outside of the Church’s Holy Tradition which Christ’s Church has always taught and upheld.

    An ancient example would be Rome’s altering the Symbol of Faith (Nicene Creed) and adding language such as the “Filioque” which in turn confuses the relationship and dynamics within the Godhead. It also defies the clear definitions of the 1st and 2nd Ecumenical Councils while ignoring the admonition of the 3rd condemning any who would dare tamper with the language of it’s predecessors.

    A modern example would be holding to and promoting Calvinistic or Lutheran understandings regarding God, salvation, the Church, or her holy life saving mysteries (sacraments) including but not limited to ordination to the priesthood which are contrary to her Tradition.


    • Qouting Bartholomew about the 2016 ‘Great and Holy Synod’ pull outs:”“its postponement or breakdown at the twelfth hour, after decades of preparations, will compromise our Orthodox Church at the inter-church and international level and inflict an irreparable damage on her authority.” The Orthodox lost a lot of creditably over it- a consensus driven communion that cannot even met up after decades of planning. So you can say about such a split “nothing could be further from reality”, but the 2016 Synod is the evidence.


    • The evidence of a de facto schism between the Patriarch of Moscow and the rest of the Orthodox Communion seems pretty clear.

      >> 1. Some years ago, the Ecumenical Patriarch inaugurated an effort to regularize the Orthodox hierarchy in the United States by establishing a common hierarchy, in conformance with Orthodox custom, for all members of the Orthodox Communion to replace the present ethnic hierarchies under the jurisdiction of the respective national patriarchs of their origin. The Patriarch of Moscow rebelled, and ROCOR proceeded with episcopal ordinations that were contrary to this effort. The Ecumenical Patriarch declared those ordinations to be illicit and refused to add the newly ordained ROCOR bishops to the list of Orthodox bishops.

      >> 2. After Estonia regained independence from Russia, the Ecumenical Patriarch recognized the restoration of the Estonian patriarchate, which had been suppressed after Estonia became part of the Soviet Union, back in the 1990’s. Both of these actions were in keeping with the Orthodox custom of each country having a patriarch. The Patriarch of Moscow rebelled, refusing to recognize this restoration and demanding that ethnic Russians in Estonia should remain subject to the Patriarch of Moscow, and has subsequently refused to participate in any meetings, including ecumenical dialog with the Catholic Church, that included representatives of the restored Estonian patriarchate. It’s likely that this issue caused the collapse of the 2016 Pan-Orthodox Conference.

      This situation most assuredly does NOT give witness to ecclesial unity and communion!

      My impression is that a schism between the Patriarch of Moscow and the rest of the Orthodox Communion is real, whether the parties acknowledge it or not.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Just a brief and to the point reply. Try as you may or wish as you will there is no schism between the Patriarch of Moscow or the other canonical Sees of Holy Orthodoxy. Your impressions that such a schism exists even if the parties do not acknowledge it is troubling and dishonest calumny. Fr. Deacon Kevin


      • Actually did not Antioch break communion with Jerusalem after appointing a Metropolitan Bishop in Qatar? Also the Schism does not have to be formal, indeed it can be a reality because of the “Byzantine politics” going on- defination ” Throughout its existence, the Byzantine Empire had a reputation both for decadence and for intricate intrigues and powerplays. Even today, the term “byzantine politics” is used to mean overly complicated and involved power structures, where a large number of shifting alliances must be respected, and the penalty for failure can be severe.”. I agree with Bartholomew about the 2016 Synod ““its postponement or breakdown at the twelfth hour, after decades of preparations, will compromise our Orthodox Church at the inter-church and international level and inflict an irreparable damage on her authority.” No Deacon, it is not “dishonest calumny”, it is what everyone sees.


      • So you call this answering my assertion that no schism exists between the Patriarch of Moscow and any other canonical Orthodox See? Or are you just engaging in further calumny? I guess when your own house is such an absolute deplorable mess it makes you feel better to cast aspersions upon those who despite their periodic displays of human weakness have maintained the Catholic Faith inviolate.

        Just for the record I will gladly endure a temporary and insignificant territorial dispute which has nothing to do with the integrity or substance of the Apostolic Catholic Faith rather than trying to defend an apostate papacy currently headed by a socialist Jesuit. Fr. Deacon Kevin


      • Oh you meant between Moscow and another, I thought you meant between any Orthodox See. Also having experienced the infighting in the Orthodox diaspora, it does touch on the issue of Oneness. Also we are the ones who have kept the Catholic Faith inviolate and you “feel better to cast aspersions upon those who despite their periodic displays of human weakness” , your Communion cannot even hold a Synod after decades of planning and can hardly cooperate in the diaspora- it seems your house is an “absolute deplorable mess” in that regard.


      • Simon and Norm, I’m sorry, but Fr Dcn Kevin has a point on this one. A schism is a schism when at the very least there is a formal break in communion. One could arguably call the spat between Alexandria and Antioch a “schism,” but even that would be highly debatable.

        The Orthodox churches have a lot of inter-jurisdictional baggage, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to use specific canonical terms for situations for which those terms don’t apply. Let’s not forget, in the Roman communion, the archbishops of (say) Philadelphia and Chicago are light-years apart on how to handle Amoris and the Bergoglian “new paradigm.” But that doesn’t mean that there’s a state of schism between the Church of Philadelphia and the Church of Chicago. Or between Frs James Martin and John Zuhlsdorf. Etc… you get the idea.

        Quite aside from that, the broader problem is that answering Fr Dcn Kevin’s ecclesiological claims with “but aren’t Moscow and Constantinople in schism” is just as silly as trying to disprove the truth claims of the Roman Catholic Church by calling the pope an “Argentinian socialist” and boasting about not having to care about or listen to what he says on any given day (which is something Unitarian Universalists, Muslims, Zen Buddhists, Richard Dawkins, and many others can also claim… Congratulations, I guess?)

        The schism between our communions, and the further problem of the asymmetrical perception of said schism on the two sides, are far too complex to be resolved in some combox. There’s no silver-bullet “gotcha” argument worthy of the name.

        Fr Dcn Kevin, I don’t have a problem with your proselytism to inquirers. You’re absolutely right: I would never turn away a Russian Orthodox being interested in Roman Catholicism. But I also don’t go around poaching on ROCOR blogs (or even Anglican ones, for that matter), fishing for potential inquirers. Big difference. It’s plainly against the policy of your mother patriarchate… at least its written, stated policy, and Kirill’s and Hilarion’s insistent official protestations against proselytism and “sheep-stealing”. Or are these just a one-way street, Father Deacon?


      • “After Estonia regained independence from Russia, the Ecumenical Patriarch recognized the restoration of the Estonian patriarchate, which had been suppressed after Estonia became part of the Soviet Union, back in the 1990’s.”

        There never has been, and there is not at present, an “Estonian patriarchate.” Since Peter the Great’s conquest of what is today Estonia and Latvia from Sweden between 1700 and 1710 (under Swedish rule Estonia became totally Lutheran and Latvia predominantly – because what is today SE Latvia remained under Polish rule from 1629 to the second partition of Poland in 1793 and so remained, and today is, predominantly Catholic) such Orthodox as there were in Latvia (either Russian incomers, or those Estonians who became Orthodox in the 19th Century as a result of Russian economic incentives to convert) were under the Moscow Patriarchate. When Estonia became an independent state in 1920 the Estonian Orthodox Church, in part reacting to government “encouragement,” placed themselves under the Constantinople Patriarchate (which accepted it in 1923 as an “autonomous” church). After the Soviet takeover of Estonia in 1941/45 it was reintegrated into the Moscow Patriarchate, an action recognized by C’ple in 1978. When Estonia became independent again in 1991 – by which point the great majority of Orthodox in Estonia were ethnic Russians – there was some contention over the matter; and around 1996 the Estonian Orthodox Church split, with a majority of parishes voting to come under C’ple but a majority of the faithful remaining under Moscow. C’ple thereupon revoked its 1978 decree and asserted its jurisdiction once again. A three-month long formal schism between Moscow and C’ple Ensued, which ended with an agreement that there would be two parallel Orthodox dioceses in Estonia, one under each patriarchate. The Orthodox community in Estonia, which accounts for about 13% of the total population, remains divided, with the majority of faithful (mostly ethnic Russians) remaining under Moscow. As of a government report in 2004, about 20,000 believers (mostly ethnic Estonians) in 54 parishes are part of the autonomous church under C’ple, while 150,000 faithful in 30 parishes, along with the monastic community of Pühtitsa, are with the Moscow Patriarchate.


  16. Tom B. wrote, “With all respect to our Orthodox brethren, my personal hope and prayer is that any drifting ACNA members may be “delivered and liberated . . . through the help of God” and that they might embrace “the evangelical and apostolic uprightness of the orthodox faith, which has been established upon the firm rock of this Church of blessed Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, which by his grace and guardianship remains free from all error,”

    As a deacon in the Orthodox Church I could not agree more. Pope Agatho wrote this in 680 A.D. a time when Rome was still on the firm foundation of St. Peter’s confession which is Jesus Christ himself. St Augustine of Hippo almost 300 years prior to Pope Agatho concurs, clearly stating that Matt.16 must be understood in the following manner. Christ’s Church is built not upon the person of Peter but upon Jesus Christ for He is the Rock upon whom the Church is built. ( Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, vol. VI, St. Augustine sermons on the New Testament Lessons, Sermon 26. 1-2 ) The Orthodox East which has always remained firmly established upon the firm Rock of that Church of Blessed Peter.

    Our Anglican brothers do indeed have some big decisions to make. Is the Apostolic Catholic Faith of St. Peter preserved and whole in the Catholic Orthodox East or modern day Rome under the guidance of Pope Francis who conservative Roman Catholic traditionalists remain in a constant state of apoplexy over?

    I urge our Anglican brethren who are truly Catholic minded to compare and contrast prayerfully and carefully. Fr. Deacon Kevin


  17. Far be it from me to ask our Orthodox friends and readers on here to embrace any so-called “pan-heresy of ecumenism.” I personally don’t even care if they chose to refer to us as “the Parasynagogue of Frankish Heretics” and — unlike their Pillar of Orthodoxy, Mark of Ephesus —
    refuse to call us a Church.

    But I’d politely remind them of their own Moscow Patriarchate’s and its DECR’s clear and repeated pleas against “sheep-stealing in someone else’s canonical territory.” It’s also just plain unseemly. As far as I’m aware, none of us “papists” on here are in the habit of going on ROCOR blogs to proselytize.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tom B. I respect sincere Christians even if they hold religious beliefs contrary to Orthodox Catholicism. But let’s be honest here. You would no more turn away an inquiring Russian Orthodox Christian than I would a Roman Catholic inquirer. If preaching the Orthodox Catholic Faith of 330 million living Orthodox Christians and the untold millions in the Church Triumphant held since Pentecost is proselytizing then let me be the first to confess my guilt.

      I also want to be kind when possible discussing ecclessiastical matters, because it is my firm belief that in the not to distant future former Anglicans who have chosen to cross the Tiber in search of Genuine Catholicism will finally discover little left of that which they so earnestly seek.

      We Orthodox Catholics do not lose a moment of sleep worrying about the next pronouncement or act of a Jesuit socialist who millions of Roman Catholics consider the vicar of Christ upon this earth. And yes you should because popes have through the centuries bit by bit changed the Apostolic Faith. How far away do you think women clergy will be under Francis or his immediate successors?

      I could go on but I am beginning to sense my welcome here may be running out even with the moderator. If I have at least caused a moments pause with some here. Thanks be to God. Fr. Deacon Kevin


  18. Kevin Kirwan,

    I find it interesting that you mention the Catholic Church’s betrayal of Nicaea I (325), Constantinople I (381), and the admonitions of Ephesus I (431), for the Synod of C’ple (381) was a Council convened by the sole authority of the Emperor at the time, and which had not a single Western prelate in attendance; nay, none were even invited. And yet, the Oriental clergy assembled there in the city of Constantinople felt it fine to introduce an addition to the Creed of Nicaea, namely, “who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped, adored, and glorified”. And yet, I don’t see the Western Rite ROCOR making podcasts where these Oriental clergy are being rung out for some audacity. Moreover, the admonitions of the 3rd Ecumenical Council in Ephesus – you must be referring to the 7th canon which prohibits the changing of the Creed. Did you notice that it referred to the Creed put together in Nicaea back in 325, and not the one put together in 381? If you were to jam pack into this 7th canon the absolutizing that your previous comments illustrated, then both modern day Catholics and Orthodox have gravely violated the oikumenical canons.

    So what is the real evil here. Well, the Filioque was eventually sung in the Coronation Mass for King Henry in 1014 where the Pope declares him Emperor. It was then in 1274 that both Greeks and Latins gathered together in a Council where the filioque was not only accepted, but the Greeks chanted the Creed w/ the filioque. This again occurred, w/o the chant, at the Council of Ferrera-Florence in the 15th century. Now, we may agree these latter two were Imperial set ups, doomed for failure because of the eventual condemnations given to them post de facto by the Greek clergy, but it still shows there were re-union efforts, and, on the face of it, a reached agreement on what the Latins understood as a clearly revealed doctrine in Scripture and the Fathers.

    I’d be curious, on the other hand, to hear from the Western Rite ROCOR on just how does its koinonia admittedly go on without recognizing the divinely appointed authority of the See of Peter, which was recognized by countless Byzantine saints on your calendar? How does this portion of the Sacred Tradition get flushed, while others such as the veneration of the theotokos gets retained?


      • Tom B. I guess if I am careful not to actually comment or answer your posts I am momentarily unleashed from the confines of your Moderator’s Purgatory. Two posts from the 22nd still anguish in that not quite forever prison working off the temporal punishments for Catholic clarity. I did not think these Orthodox insights would be considered transgressions?

        I also feel badly about not being able to respond to E.T. Ybarra’s interesting but… and I don’t mean to be disrespectful nonsensical explanation regarding the “Filioque” and the Church’s Ecumenical Councils.


      • Fr. Dcn Kevin Kirwan,

        I’d be happy to address what you might think is “non-sensical” about what I said in regard to the Filioque and the Ecumenical Councils. What I have written is common knowledge amongst both Orthodox and Catholic scholars.



      • E.T. I will be happy to answer your post. I however have two posts still in purgatory which I have a pretty good feeling would be joined by whatever I write to you. I am more than willing to have a lively dialogue. I think it would be interesting and informative for the readership. Of course I am hesitant to make the effort to do so until I believe my labors would at least be aired.


      • We have had issues with comments, especially with being overwhelmed not only with comments but spam. The issues have been fixed, comment away.


  19. Pingback: “Problems with the ACNA”: MDAS Synod Minutes | Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog

  20. Dear all: I personally appreciate everyone’s concerns for our well being, our pain, the fact we live in great uncertainty.
    That said: It’s not very inviting for many to see just another set of arguments here, much like we deal with daily .
    The arguments over who is better, “Rome or Orthodoxy” are not helpful and, honestly , as far as I’m aware , the only ones that truly have a direct impact upon the healing of the Great Schism are the Bishops and theologians that are tasked with doing that very work.
    I seldom , if ever, see them hashing things out online at all, much less elevating one Communion by devaluing the other.
    Let us not seek to strengthen ourselves by pointing out the weaknesses of others/ that’s not true strength.
    True strength finds the best in others and seeks to help them build from it, true strength builds up.

    I think most Anglo Catholics are weary of battle, weary of e dress arguments that have no resolution within rational reach- I know this Clergyman fits that bill.
    Most , I think, simply want Peace .

    Fwiw: I believe most in Rome and Orthodoxy don’t truly understand how difficult this aid.
    For instance : If one has said the Divine Liturgy or the Ordo for many, many years, if it part of your very core thinking- it’s very hard to change whole structures.
    You “ think “ from this in everything – conversation, reading, watching the blooming television, teaching, study, counseling – everything.
    You have been with people from birth , baptism to last rites and burial .
    You have buried family and friends.
    The Liturgies , the Sacraments , The Prayers – this is your way of life, your comfort .

    I would also like to remind people that it’s very hard to think: What a wasted life!
    No need to tell me or any of us our lives of ministry we’re not wasted, that what was done well was done well, the good done was good done etc.
    Our rational / critical thinking is capable of processing that.
    Yet, if you faced what we do , what we have – you to would wrestle with “ why? What’s it all been for ? What a waste!
    Many, many will find themselves with : Better to try and fix what is broken than do the modern thing which is ready disposal and replace .
    Others have done so too much , too often – no longer see a way forward.

    My point in all this?
    It is good , it is helpful hearing that others care and are will to open doors, give hospitality and help ya build new homes – I honestly think we all appreciate that.
    But please do not “ contest “ with each other over who provides the better home.
    I think you will find that isn’t fruitful , because it isn’t helpful.

    I love you both, I appreciate you all.

    I pray Grace and Peace for all Gods people.



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