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How Do You View the "Orthodox" Episcopi Vagante Churches?

How do you view those Episcopi Vagante churches which claim to have valid Apostolic succession from


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AntoniousNikolas

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There has been a lot of discussion about the various and exotic, colorful and sometimes silly Episcopi vagantes churches which claim to have valid Apostolic succession, usually from a Syriac Orthodox source, but I would like to know where individual posters stand on these churches and why.  I am aware, of course, that there are various lines of succession - some Eastern and some Western, and more often than not a convoluted mix of various lines - that these groups lay claim to, but as an Oriental Orthodox Christian, I am particularly interested in your point of view on those vagante churches claiming to derive from an Oriental Orthodox line, such as the Rene Vilatte and Jules Ferrette lines.  If, however, you feel that the lines are now so convoluted as to make any distinction between these lines and Western lines virtually impossible, I am open to that point of view as well.  Please vote and discuss!  :)
 

Serge

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As you can see from my account info on the left, I am a Catholic. The first poll answer is essentially what we believe, to which I'll add the fourth. It's usually a whole lot of nothing; people playing priest with few or no congregations. They've long claimed to be Old Catholic (group in Holland who left the church around 1871 over papal infallibility) because the Old Catholics tried to start parishes in America but those priests often broke with them, much like what happened to the Eastern churches including the Orthodox who trusted these men and ordained or received them as clergy. Fun fact: because of all this, the Old Catholics have given up on trying to have parishes in America; their official representative here is now the Episcopal Church. "If you're in America and like us, become an Episcopalian."

Some of them may have valid orders but except in an emergency when a Catholic may ask any priest for the sacraments (since "the church supplies jurisdiction" to any priest in an emergency), the question's moot. Most of the time, there are no such churches and even if there were one in town, I wouldn't go there for Sunday Mass.

Those who have apostolic succession don't feel like they have to prove it by pulling out charts showing their "lines of succession." The Orthodox don't talk like that, being more holistic ("if it's not in the church, we're not interested," which rules us out but also cuts through this nonsense). Good rule of thumb: if the priest you just met starts in on that, run.

It's an unintended effect of Catholic theology about valid orders outside the church, thanks to which we recognize all Eastern bishops as bishops. It's both true and worth the fuss, and anyway, these groups are tiny and don't really bother anyone.
 
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I chose the"it varies " position although I think the Eastern Orthodox position is almost always the truth. There are  also circumstances I know I am ignorant of, so I chose "it varies ".
 

Sharbel

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Other: I don't know.

On one hand, there's the Roman Catholic position, which recognizes them as ordained clergy.  On the other hand, there's the Orthodox position, IIUC, which does not, because they are outside the Church.  Methinks that Catholics would describe their ordination as valid, but illicit and, were Orthodox to use the same terms, their ordination are illicit and thus invalid.  Both Churches, with which I'm most familiar with, though not an expert in their canon laws, agree that their ordination is illicit, but they differ in the context where they happened: inside the Church or outside.

In other words, I don't know. 


PS: I know a vagante Orthodox priest who is a friend and whom I respect as a priest, even by kissing his hands.
 

Agabus

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The young fogey said:
It's usually a whole lot of nothing; people playing priest with few or no congregations.
I recently found one of these groups that openly advertised on the front page of their Website that they had 60-plus clergy and six ministries, which came to something like four chapels and two people functioning as institutional chaplains.
 

Alpha60

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Mor Ephrem said:
I chose "They are just silly, self-important people who like to play dress up and declare themselves to be Patriarchs from their living rooms."
Have you ever spoken with any, out of curiosity?  I have (on the phone), and my opinion is that while they are usually deluded cranks, some with mental illness, I haven't met any her that do it for that reason.  Actually, I wish AN had provided an "All of the above" option to his poll, because, while I believe some do it for the reason you cite, he ones I've met live that lifestyle for a variety of reasons.

Now, where I found what you describe to be the case in the form of a pair of self-declared Melkite monks who lived not in a monastery but in an apartment they declared their "hermitage," one of whom spammed another Christian forum with pro-gay threads.  I am more concerned about fake monks within canonical churches or who claim to be within canonical churches, than episcopi vagantes, who are usually easily identifiable.

One of the more rational ones I spoke to was a seminary drop-out for instance.  Then, there is a doctor in Hawaii who specializes in treating AIDS patients, who are largely homosexual, and happens to love our liturgy, but felt the need to create his own "Independent Orthodox Church" because we are "homophobic" for refusing to perform gay marriage.  Then, the strangest of all of them is the Bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica, who is deeply into the occult, and who sincerely believes in Gnosticism, gives lectures on it, and presides over a community of like-minded people on the West Coast; he is also fascinated with Carl Jung, who was himself fascinated by Gnosticism and financed the recovery and initial publication of the Nag Hammadi books.

Then, lastly, we have the Metropolitan of the British Orthodox Church, whose reasons for being a vagante I cannot discuss, but I will say the majority of the people who used to comprise the BOC who remained with the Copts definitely made the right call.  I think he's the nephew of the chap who founded the Ecclesia Gnostica, whose brother spent a great deal or energy attempting to get ordained as a bishop from as many lines of succession as possible.
 

Dominika

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"They are just silly, self-important people who like to play dress up and declare themselves to be Patriarchs from their living rooms."

To clarify: such bodies like Macedonian Church, Kiev Patriarchate or some Old Calendarists are definitely not vagante, but "only" schismatics, so I'm not sure about their Sacraments (especially in the case of Macedonia; because I've heard from some priests that some people don't feel any grace in the Kiev Patriarchate, and they go there only for political reasons :( ).

But the question for me is: what's the situation of person in e.g Latin America, that has never met any canonical Orthodox priest, but discovers one of the vagante groups and joins them? I think there is, maybe small, but still, possiblity that the Holy Spirit can work in/for such person... Such person doesn't receive true Sacraments (but... actually, who knows?..) but they're not the only way for God...
 

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Dominika said:
But the question for me is: what's the situation of person in e.g Latin America, that has never met any canonical Orthodox priest, but discovers one of the vagante groups and joins them?
The Orthodox parish in Puerto Rico which recently converted to Catholicism certainly has a whiff of this.
 

Justin Kolodziej

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Dominika said:
But the question for me is: what's the situation of person in e.g Latin America, that has never met any canonical Orthodox priest, but discovers one of the vagante groups and joins them? I think there is, maybe small, but still, possiblity that the Holy Spirit can work in/for such person... Such person doesn't receive true Sacraments (but... actually, who knows?..) but they're not the only way for God...
Probably the same as everybody in the white counties on this map of America, where Orthodoxy doesn't exist:
http://assemblyofbishops.org/assets/maps/USBishopsAndParishesDecember2016.pdf
I figure something like "even the dogs eat the crumbs from the Master's table" and "the Spirit blows where it wills" probably applies. With nobody Orthodox within hundreds of miles to correct them, they have to do the best they can until we build St. Tikhon's in their town.

As far as the original question, I would just call them heterodox communions..."estranged Orthodox brethren" would apply to the Old Calendarist and splinter groups of the Russian catacomb church, except they don't really want to talk to us unless we anathemize all other Christians and change the calendar back first.
 

Agabus

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Alpha60 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
I chose "They are just silly, self-important people who like to play dress up and declare themselves to be Patriarchs from their living rooms."
Have you ever spoken with any, out of curiosity?
Years ago, I had an email exchange with one I considered closer to legitimate than the others. His main objection was closed versus open communion. That was it. But the whole thing ended when I asked him specifically how within his line of succession he became a bishop. He got very defensive, fast, and I let it die.
 

AntoniousNikolas

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Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful responses.  My own view is a combination of option 2 (AKA the EO POV) and option 4 (the silly, self-important people POV).  I will admit, however - in the spirit of option 3 (It varies based upon...) - that I do see a difference between a church like this and what appears to be little more than one man playing out a fantasy like this fellow.  In the case of the former organization, there seems to be something approaching a legitimate line of succession, an adherence to traditional dogma, and perhaps even an actual community to serve.  In the case of the latter gentleman, he has apparently declared himself the Patriarch of a country he doesn't live in and apparently has no followers in.  I'm not sure what his objective is there, but it seems to be about conferring grandiose titles upon himself.  I could not see this fellow being received in his "orders" by any Orthodox Church.  The other group, perhaps there is some room for discussion there, especially considering this.  What do you guys thinj?  Would taking groups like these on a case by case basis be the wrong approach?
 

Mor Ephrem

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Alpha60 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
I chose "They are just silly, self-important people who like to play dress up and declare themselves to be Patriarchs from their living rooms."
Have you ever spoken with any, out of curiosity? 
Yes.

Then, lastly, we have the Metropolitan of the British Orthodox Church, whose reasons for being a vagante I cannot discuss...
I don't know if I would classify him as vagante.  That situation, unless I'm missing something, seems more or less like garden variety schism.
 

hecma925

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Would taking groups like these on a case by case basis be the wrong approach?
Ask ROCOR.

I believe it's better to take in individuals with proper catechesis, but I'm not a bishop.  Or am I?
 

Alpha60

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Mor Ephrem said:
Alpha60 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
I chose "They are just silly, self-important people who like to play dress up and declare themselves to be Patriarchs from their living rooms."
Have you ever spoken with any, out of curiosity? 
Yes.

Then, lastly, we have the Metropolitan of the British Orthodox Church, whose reasons for being a vagante I cannot discuss...
I don't know if I would classify him as vagante.  That situation, unless I'm missing something, seems more or less like garden variety schism.
I am not at liberty to discuss what happened, but I would say based on the information I have that he has managed to be the vagante of vagantes, following your own evaluation of them.
 

Alpha60

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful responses.  My own view is a combination of option 2 (AKA the EO POV) and option 4 (the silly, self-important people POV).  I will admit, however - in the spirit of option 3 (It varies based upon...) - that I do see a difference between a church like this and what appears to be little more than one man playing out a fantasy like this fellow.  In the case of the former organization, there seems to be something approaching a legitimate line of succession, an adherence to traditional dogma, and perhaps even an actual community to serve.  In the case of the latter gentleman, he has apparently declared himself the Patriarch of a country he doesn't live in and apparently has no followers in.  I'm not sure what his objective is there, but it seems to be about conferring grandiose titles upon himself.  I could not see this fellow being received in his "orders" by any Orthodox Church.  The other group, perhaps there is some room for discussion there, especially considering this.  What do you guys thinj?  Would taking groups like these on a case by case basis be the wrong approach?
There are a few vagante churches that do actually have congregations, small ones, but occasionally we read of one that has as many as a hundred people, nominally.  Usually 10-30.  My view is that when we take in groups like this, we should reordain and test their clergy, and offer those who do not pass the minimal requirements for pastoral service a comfortable retirement to a monastery or hermitage in the manner of Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, who was himself for a time arguably a vagante, who the OCA managed to rescue together with his followers.

One of the most spectacular rescues of a vagante group was when the Antiochians managed to hoover up most of the Evangelical Orthodox Church, reordaining their self proclaimed "bishops" as deacons, and setting them on a path where several became wonderful priests of the church, for example, the late Fr. John Gilquist, memory eternal.  That was a spectacular, large scale recovery.

Also, the Antiochian Western Rite Vicarate was a breakaway Anglo Catholic movement in the 1940s that, had it not been received canonically, would probably be one of these groups.

At the same time, we have nothing to gain by receiving the Patriarch of Trinidad, because he has no congregation and is basically a poser.  And we would have nothing to gain from receiving the Ecclesia Gnostica, because they exist on the premise that the evil Orthodox suppressed and persecuted the true, virtuous Gnostic faith basically to extinction.  In fact if we were to call up Bishop Hoeller about reunion I expect he would laugh at us.

By the way, I have not indulged in crank calling episcopi vagantes; my conversations with them have been sincere and not a tongue in cheek sort or reenactment of The Dinner Game.  However, that does not mean I take all of them seriously.  One ridiculous fellow for example had a particular obsession with being referred to as "your Grace" to such an extent that conversation with him would have descended to mockery had I persisted.
 

Alpha60

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful responses.  My own view is a combination of option 2 (AKA the EO POV) and option 4 (the silly, self-important people POV).  I will admit, however - in the spirit of option 3 (It varies based upon...) - that I do see a difference between a church like this and what appears to be little more than one man playing out a fantasy like this fellow.  In the case of the former organization, there seems to be something approaching a legitimate line of succession, an adherence to traditional dogma, and perhaps even an actual community to serve.  In the case of the latter gentleman, he has apparently declared himself the Patriarch of a country he doesn't live in and apparently has no followers in.  I'm not sure what his objective is there, but it seems to be about conferring grandiose titles upon himself.  I could not see this fellow being received in his "orders" by any Orthodox Church.  The other group, perhaps there is some room for discussion there, especially considering this.  What do you guys thinj?  Would taking groups like these on a case by case basis be the wrong approach?
Oh also, Antonious, one option you left out of your list, a variation on no. 2: the Rent-A-Patriarch.  The original Pope of the Palmerian Catholic Church, Gregory XVII, was accused of this, credibly, and there have also been vagante figures who claim to Orthodoxy, some of which we have discussed, who are posing homosexuals, in addition to the fake Melkite monks I mentioned.
 

AntoniousNikolas

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hecma925 said:
Ask ROCOR.
Please explain.  I don't know what you're referencing here.  Have they absorbed a vagante group or two?

hecma925 said:
I believe it's better to take in individuals with proper catechesis, but I'm not a bishop.
On the whole, I agree.

Alpha60 said:
Rent-A-Patriarch.
What does this mean?

Alpha60 said:
At the same time, we have nothing to gain by receiving the Patriarch of Trinidad, because he has no congregation and is basically a poser.
:laugh: Sometimes, you really have a way with words, Alpha60!  So, what do you think of the WOCC?
 

Alpha60

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Antonious Nikolas said:
hecma925 said:
Ask ROCOR.
Please explain.  I don't know what you're referencing here.  Have they absorbed a vagante group or two?

hecma925 said:
I believe it's better to take in individuals with proper catechesis, but I'm not a bishop.
On the whole, I agree.

Alpha60 said:
Rent-A-Patriarch.
What does this mean?
Pope Gregory XVII of the Palmerian Catholic Church was accused among other things of prostitution, not because he needed the money, but for recreational purposes.  Now I don't know if its true or not; I will say the Palmerians are not your typical Vagante jurisdiction, but an extremely dangerous cult which financially exploits its members (mostly traditionalist Catholics) and was the subject of a chilling documentary by the Irish national television channel.

However, in the case of several of these chaps, there is a whiff of homosexuality, and some might engage in prostitution, whereas others might simply engage in perverse acts because that is their lifestyle.

Now, the fake Melkite monks that I encountered, I don't know or want to know what goes on in their hermitage, but it is a fact that one of them trolls another Internet forum with pro-homosexuality threads, on several occasions we have had to lock these threads as they violate our rules, which like those of OCNet prohibit actively promoting homosexuality (and prohibit even discussing it in some forums where we have had problems with it).

He also likes to smear Elder Ephrem of St. Anthonys with a story I have been unable to substantiate, that being that the regional Melkite bishop made an unannounced visit and was turned away "at the gate."  Something about the story doesn't smell right; particularly since the Copts from St. Anthonys one visited their Greek counterparts and, while I get the impression that they were not received with extreme warmth, they were not ejected, either.

Alpha60 said:
At the same time, we have nothing to gain by receiving the Patriarch of Trinidad, because he has no congregation and is basically a poser.
:laugh: Sometimes, you really have a way with words, Alpha60!  So, what do you think of the WOCC?
They appear to have some congregations and some legitimacy, but I would need to talk to them.  I have never spoken with them.  Often, there is some doctrinal excuse that will come up as to why a group like the WOCC isn't seeking reception into, say, the Antiochian Western Rite Vicarate, which it looks to me like it would be a good home for them.  Some of the vagante groups woth congregations like being independent for various reasons, but I will look into the WOCC and perhaps call them at a convenient time.

 

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Mainstream EOs, OOs and EO schismatics (Ukrainians, Greeks, Russians etc. not the silly Western people) are IMO the only who might have any serious claim on validity.
 

Alpha60

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The young fogey said:
As you can see from my account info on the left, I am a Catholic. The first poll answer is essentially what we believe, to which I'll add the fourth. It's usually a whole lot of nothing; people playing priest with few or no congregations. They've long claimed to be Old Catholic (group in Holland who left the church around 1871 over papal infallibility) because the Old Catholics tried to start parishes in America but those priests often broke with them, much like what happened to the Eastern churches including the Orthodox who trusted these men and ordained or received them as clergy. Fun fact: because of all this, the Old Catholics have given up on trying to have parishes in America; their official representative here is now the Episcopal Church. "If you're in America and like us, become an Episcopalian."
This has only been the case since around 2003, when the Polish National Catholic Church was expelled from the Union of Utrecht for refusing to ordain homosexuals or women or perform gay marriages.  One PNCC parish in Toronto briefly broke away and reconnected with the Union of Uttecht, before the conservatives took over again and sent the rainbow flag set packing.

The PNCC has around 50,000 members; one bishop broke away feom them, or a priest really, with one main congregation and a few chapels; it was his group that it was announced it was joining ROCOR, until ROCOR discovered they basically didn't have anything and ended talks.

The PNCC together with the Norwegian Catholic Church form the Union of Scranton, which is conservative, traditional and in opposition to the Union of Utrecht.

Groups like these are in the grey area between the tiny "vagante" churches that do have congregations, and the mainstream, in that these groups will have usually 500 or more members, sometimes tens or thousands.  Thoyizoor, the Independent Malankara Syrian Church, comes to mind.  They have only one bishop, and rely on the Anglicanized, Protestantized Mar Thoma Syrian Church to ordain their bishop, but they themselves observe, as far as I am aware, the full West Syriac liturgical rite.

These churches are legitimate, because they have congregations, and I think ROCOR thought it was taking over such a church with the PNCC breakaway group, whereas it wound up with a tiny congregation.

The BOC was in this category before the incidents that lead to Metropolitan Seraphim leaving Holy Orthodoxy.  Now, while the BOC owns one or two buildings, I doubt they have more than two dozen or so parishioners; most of the people left for St. George's Mission under Fr. Peter and a few other ex BOC clergy.
 

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Alpo said:
Mainstream EOs, OOs and EO schismatics (Ukrainians, Greeks, Russians etc. not the silly Western people) are IMO the only who might have any serious claim on validity.
I partially agree.  I would say that non-canonical EO should be defined as Old Calendarists, Russian Old Believers (priested), and schismatic national churches like the UOC-KP and the Macedonian Orthodox Church.

Thoyizoor, the independent Syrian church, poses a quandary because in their worship and liturgy, everything is correct, but bishops from the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, which is not Orthodox, but was set up by the British East India Company embezzling gold deposited with it by the Syriac Orthodox (who seem to get ripped off a lot), participate in their ordination.  So we have a group with correct worship and doctrine, but the participation of heterodox bishops in its episcopal ordinations.  Frustrating.  Their continued independence I have heard is driven in part by a desire to stay out of the bitter feud between the IOC and the Jacobites, although I dont know if that is the case.

I am on the fence as to whether or not there is legitimacy in the Assyrian Church and the Roman Catholic Church.  Those two churches, if any church without the word Orthodox in its name is legitimate, are likely to be legitimate.  There were times when relations between the Assyrian and Syriac Orthodox church were very good, for example, during the reign of the beloved Maphrian Mar Gregorios Bar Hebraeus.

There are also some small Anglo Catholic groups like the Anglican Province of Christ the King, which enumerate seven sacraments and a theology largely based on that of the non-juring Scottish Episcopalians, which themselves wanted to become a part of the Orthodox Church and inserted our epiclesis into their liturgy (which is why today you find a watered down epiclesis in the Episcopalian BCP; they ordained Bishop Seabury, from whom the ECUSA received "apostolic succession" under the condition that the American church use their communion service, which it did, with modifications).
 

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You're right, Alpha60; until 2003 the PNCC was the only real Old Catholic church in America; the rest were fakes and/or in the lineage of former Old Catholic clergy.

Strictly speaking in Orthodoxy, anything outside however you define the church can't be "valid" in itself (which is why the Orthodox can and sometimes do receive converts by baptism) but understandably many Orthodox see the groups broken away but historically obviously part of the family, such as Greek Old Calendarists, Russian Old Believers, the Kyiv Patriarchate, and the Macedonian Orthodox Church, as somehow still Orthodox, even though they're out of communion with all the Orthodox churches, their clergy if any being real clergy, not like the Western vagante fakers. They'd be received back economically, their orders recognized. (ROCOR's status before reconciling with Moscow was similar.)

I think the allusion earlier to ROCOR is because ROCOR has been burned many times by flaky vagante clergy it trustingly took in and legitimized as Orthodox priests, not the only Eastern church jurisdiction to be hurt that way. Originally the Eastern churches were very trusting that way, hoping these men would start a mission for them in the West. Instead they often took Eastern orders to be a license to go freelance, which is neither Catholic nor Orthodox.
 

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The young fogey said:
... Instead they often took Eastern orders to be a license to go freelance, which is neither Catholic nor Orthodox.
Why would any one do this is beyond me, abstracting that the enemy might be behind it.
 

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Sharbel said:
The young fogey said:
... Instead they often took Eastern orders to be a license to go freelance, which is neither Catholic nor Orthodox.
Why would any one do this is beyond me, abstracting that the enemy might be behind it.
Because they were vain, wanting to be ministers for the wrong reasons (attention and authority/respect)? False religion is always about self. These characters used people including the nice Eastern bishops who ordained or received them.
 

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Alpha60 said:
They appear to have some congregations and some legitimacy, but I would need to talk to them.  I have never spoken with them.  Often, there is some doctrinal excuse that will come up as to why a group like the WOCC isn't seeking reception into, say, the Antiochian Western Rite Vicarate, which it looks to me like it would be a good home for them.  Some of the vagante groups woth congregations like being independent for various reasons, but I will look into the WOCC and perhaps call them at a convenient time.
Awesome!  Please let me know what you find out!  :)

Alpo said:
Mainstream EOs, OOs and EO schismatics (Ukrainians, Greeks, Russians etc. not the silly Western people) are IMO the only who might have any serious claim on validity.
Not even "Old Catholics"?
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Alpha60 said:
They appear to have some congregations and some legitimacy, but I would need to talk to them.  I have never spoken with them.  Often, there is some doctrinal excuse that will come up as to why a group like the WOCC isn't seeking reception into, say, the Antiochian Western Rite Vicarate, which it looks to me like it would be a good home for them.  Some of the vagante groups woth congregations like being independent for various reasons, but I will look into the WOCC and perhaps call them at a convenient time.
Awesome!  Please let me know what you find out!  :)

Alpo said:
Mainstream EOs, OOs and EO schismatics (Ukrainians, Greeks, Russians etc. not the silly Western people) are IMO the only who might have any serious claim on validity.
Not even "Old Catholics"?
Real Old Catholics under Utrecht or fake ones? Makes no difference strictly speaking in Orthodoxy; if it's outside the church it has no grace in itself; the same thing they think of Catholics and Protestants (though less strict Orthodox opinion mirrors Catholic recognition of orders).
 

Dominika

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The young fogey said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
Alpha60 said:
They appear to have some congregations and some legitimacy, but I would need to talk to them.  I have never spoken with them.  Often, there is some doctrinal excuse that will come up as to why a group like the WOCC isn't seeking reception into, say, the Antiochian Western Rite Vicarate, which it looks to me like it would be a good home for them.  Some of the vagante groups woth congregations like being independent for various reasons, but I will look into the WOCC and perhaps call them at a convenient time.
Awesome!  Please let me know what you find out!  :)

Alpo said:
Mainstream EOs, OOs and EO schismatics (Ukrainians, Greeks, Russians etc. not the silly Western people) are IMO the only who might have any serious claim on validity.
Not even "Old Catholics"?
Real Old Catholics under Utrecht or fake ones? Makes no difference strictly speaking in Orthodoxy; if it's outside the church it has no grace in itself; the same thing they think of Catholics and Protestants (though less strict Orthodox opinion mirrors Catholic recognition of orders).
In Poland the Orthodox Church has very good relations with the Polish National Catholic Church; at least in one place in which an Orthodox church used to exist, but was destroyed, that's the Polish National Catholic Church that gives the temple for the Orthodox parish, if I'm not mistaken, it was case also for one parish in Warsaw, but now this parish has its own, quite big chapel. I know also that in one town there is no Orthodox church and there is 1 Orthodox faitful, so she attends the Polish National Catholic parish - priest from this parish has even portraits of metropolita Sava and abp George next to the cross in his office.

I know, that all this stuff is more an administration, but both Churches claim that in fact there are no theological differences between them; I've heard the problem that the PNCC can't join the Polish Orthodox Church is beacause that its hierarchy and most clergy have in fact escaped from Roman Catholic Church to get married, and they're still RCs in heart, despite officcialy accepting the theologi of PNCC, so, in fact, the Orthodox one. There was one trial to unify the Churches, before the second world war - the parishes that embraced Orthodoxy, maintaned the Latin rite, but were under omophorion of the Polish Orthodox Church. But now it's difficult to find any detailed date about it :(
 

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Some PNCC priests in America are ex-Catholic priests from Poland who married. They also have generations-long priestly families like the Orthodox.
 

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Real Old Catholics are under the Archbishop of Utrecht, which used to be a Catholic archbishopric but left centuries ago, allegedly (according to some Catholics) siding with the ultra-strict Jansenist movement. This hooked up with German liberal Catholics who left in the 1870s because they didn't believe in papal infallibility. The fake ones are nothing to do with this church now; their clergy founders may have been Old Catholics at some point. The WOCC are fake ones.
 

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The young fogey said:
Real Old Catholics are under the Archbishop of Utrecht, which used to be a Catholic archbishopric but left centuries ago, allegedly (according to some Catholics) siding with the ultra-strict Jansenist movement. This hooked up with German liberal Catholics who left in the 1870s because they didn't believe in papal infallibility. The fake ones are nothing to do with this church now; their clergy founders may have been Old Catholics at some point. The WOCC are fake ones.
Where dis the fake ones originate?  And how can we know that the WOCC are descended from them?
 

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The fake ones originated with men the Old Catholics ordained priests or consecrated bishops but left them. The WOCC traces its lineage to exactly that, a bishop who left the Old Catholics.
 

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The young fogey said:
The fake ones originated with men the Old Catholics ordained priests or consecrated bishops but left them. The WOCC traces its lineage to exactly that, a bishop who left the Old Catholics.
What caused these dissidents to leave the Old Catholics?  And what makes them illegitimate compared to the people they left?  Do they differ in practice or belief, or is it simply a matter of schism begetting schism?
 

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They often wanted to be in charge, running their own churches. No big differences in belief or practice at first. In the beginning they were all just Catholics without the Pope, even not recognizing Anglican orders. Now the real Old Catholics are just continental European Episcopalians (except for the relatively conservative Eastern European priests who just switched to get married) while the fakes are all over the map theologically and often are just people playing priest with no real ministry. Some offer their services for hire to Catholics who can't get married in the Catholic Church (divorced but no annulment).
 

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The young fogey said:
They often wanted to be in charge, running their own churches. No big differences in belief or practice at first. In the beginning they were all just Catholics without the Pope, even not recognizing Anglican orders. Now the real Old Catholics are just continental European Episcopalians (except for the relatively conservative Eastern European priests who just switched to get married) while the fakes are all over the map theologically and often are just people playing priest with no real ministry. Some offer their services for hire to Catholics who can't get married in the Catholic Church (divorced but no annulment).
Thanks for the information!  :)
 

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You're welcome. By the way, I slightly know an independent bishop, from a Southern evangelical background and who has passed through the Episcopal and Catholic churches as a layman (he tried a Catholic religious order). He's the presiding bishop of a small gay denomination, in charge of a scattering of small parishes in the United States. His master's degree in theology is from an Ivy League school. He knows Hebrew. He's not pretentious or delusional; he says he's not trying to compete with the big churches but runs a niche ministry for Christians the other churches don't serve for some reason. In practice locally this is some gay ex-Catholics. It's an interesting mix not unheard of among this kind of church: credally orthodox and liturgically diverse, embracing old-fashioned high liturgics like mine, like the Episcopalians often do and which Catholic liberals hate. But they have same-sex weddings.
 

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I voted for #3 because I do not have the time to deal with the requirements for #7.
 
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