Christ Catholic Church

Statement of Faith

"Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me." (RSV) John 14.1


CHRIST CATHOLIC CHURCH

By Father Paul Dunn

Christ Catholic Church is a dynamic, growing communion of Christians who believe and practice the Apostolic, Orthodox Catholic Faith of the ancient, undivided Church.  It has the same heritage ("roots") as the great Orthodox Churches of the East, and the Western Catholic Church of Rome, but it is Ecumenical in that it believes in working closely with all Christians to put Christ back into the ailing society of our modern world.  

Christ Catholic Church is not organically a part of any other Communion, Orthodox or Catholic.  It will, however, administer the Sacraments to any Baptized, Confirmed (Chrismated) Christian who accepts the traditional Faith of the ancient Creeds, and who believes in the real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion.  

One Lord, One Church

This Church believes in the essential unity of all Christians, and the Sacramental unity of those in communion with validly consecrated Bishops of the Apostolic Succession, who teach and practice the Faith of the undivided Church.  

One Lord

Jesus Christ prayed: "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." (St.  John 17:21) Because the Church believes that Christ is God Incarnate, His words must be regarded as the revealed will of God.  It must follow, then, that anything contrary is heretical and of the nature of sin.  For this reason, Christ Catholic Church regards as heretical and sinful the denial of the Sacraments to believing and practicing Christians of the Apostolic Faith who are victims of separatism imposed at hierarchical levels.  

Jesus said: "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.  (St.   Mark 2:27) Christ Catholic Church says: The Church was made for man, and not man for the Church.  

History of the Church

The Church, referred to in Holy Scripture as "The Kingdom of God" and "The Body of Christ," was founded by Christ who is its only head and high priest.  He empowered the Holy Apostles to carry it into all the world, led by the Holy Spirit (the "Holy Comforter"), which he sent to "guide you into Truth." (St.  John 16:13.) In the early years, the Church grew up around five historic Church centers, or Patriarchates, whose Bishops were honored and given "precedence" as "first among equals." So the Church did not develop as a "monarchial" institution, but as "collegial," in which the Bishops could not exercise jurisdiction or authority outside their own dioceses.  The government of the Church was "Conciliar," as evidenced by the Seven Ecumenical Councils which defined the Faith of the Church between the years 325 and 787 A.D.  

The unity of the Church was first broken by several groups which did not accept the decisions of the Great Councils, and again in the eleventh century when the Patriarch of Rome attempted to exercise jurisdiction over all the Church.  This led to the Great Schism, which divided the Eastern Orthodox Bishops from the Roman Catholic Church of the West.   The Eastern Churches were primarily national Churches, and when their people joined the great flood of immigrants who came to America in the 19th and 20th centuries, they brought their Churches with them.  This led to the multiplicity of Church names in America: Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, etc.  They vary in cultural and ethnic traditions, but all hold to the faith of the Seven Great Councils.

History of Christ Catholic Church

In 1959, a group of Polish Orthodox Catholics in the Eastern United States changed their name to Christ Catholic Church to lift barriers and to make all nationalities feel welcome.  The Church grew rapidly, and in 1967, the Rev.  Father Karl Pruter was elected and consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Boston.  

The Constitution and Canons establishing Christ Catholic Church (Diocese of Boston) as an independent and autocephalous (self-governing) jurisdiction were approved in 1968.  The consecrators of Archbishop Prüter were Archbishops Peter Andreas Zhurawetsky and Uladyslau Ryzi-Riski.  These Bishops held valid apostolic orders stemming from Russian and Greek Orthodox jurisdictions.  Archbishop Prüter was succeeded by Archbishop Robert Louis O’Block in 2007.  Dr. William Martin Sloane has been the Archbishop of Christ Catholic Church since 2008.

Although still a small communion, Christ Catholic Church has experienced steady growth.  It has been very attractive to many Christians unhappy with modern aberrations in faith and practice, and who long for the traditional, Apostolic Faith.  Because its heritage is from the undivided Church, Christ Catholic Church considers itself to be Orthodox-Catholic.   The hyphen is used to differentiate this communion from other Churches which may use one or both terms in their names.  

Christ Catholic Church recognizes, and approves for use in its parishes, all authentic ancient Liturgies.  This includes the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Mass, the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, and a version of the Anglican Liturgy conformed to Orthodox-Catholic standards.  The latter would be familiar to Episcopalians.  It is recommended that the Liturgies be in the language of the people, but Greek and Latin Liturgies are permitted.  

Devotional Life

While the Divine Liturgy is the primary service of worship, the Church also encourages use of the traditional Offices of Matins and Vespers, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and such Western Catholic devotions as The Rosary, Novenas and Stations of the Cross.  Christ Catholic Church follows the Gregorian Kalendar commonly used by the Western Church, but variations are permitted.

A Sacramental Church

Christ Catholic Church recognizes and administers seven Sacraments as channels of Divine Grace.  The New Testament records the institution by our Lord, or the practice by the Apostles, of ever Sacrament except Matrimony.   The latter is authenticated by the presence of our Lord at the marriage at Cana.  Baptism (gateway to the Sacraments) makes one a Christian, a child of God, and a member of the Body of Christ, His Kingdom on earth.  It begins our new life in God.  (St.  Matt.  28:19; St.  John 3:5) Confirmation (Chrismation) gives new life by the gift of the Holy Spirit.  We are anointed with Holy Chrism (oil consecrated by a Bishop) and become one with the priesthood of all believers.   (Acts 8:14-17)

Absolution

(Confession, Penance) reclaims those who have fallen from grace after Baptism.   Just as we have the Sacrament of Baptism to effect our union with God and His Kingdom in the first place, so we have this Sacrament to restore that union when it has been broken by sin.  Through this Sacrament our sins are forgiven and we can make a new beginning.   (St.  Matt.  19:19, 18:18)

Holy Eucharist

(Divine Liturgy, Holy Mass) unites our individualities with God as the human and divine natures were first united in the Incarnation.  In this Sacrament, we partake actually and truly of the Body and Blood of Christ for the nourishment of our souls and bodies, for eternal life.  (St.   Matt.  26:26-29)

Holy Orders

(Ordaintion), is the means whereby the Church conducts its work.  In this Sacrament, the grace of God descends upon the laying-on of hands by an Apostolic Bishop.  This Rite, which is recorded several times in Scripture, has provided an uninterrupted succession from the Apostles.  (St.   John 15:16, II Timothy 1:6)

Holy Unction was a practice of the Apostles during our Lord's ministry.  In this Sacrament, we receive anointing with blessed oil for the healing of infirmities, both of the soul and the body.  (St.  Mark 6:13; St.   James 5:14)

Marriage is the Sacrament which joins a man and woman in a Holy Union before God.  As Christ, by his presence, blessed the marriage at Cana, he also blesses the marriage of those who are members of his Church.   (St.  John 4) Living the Faith Today, as in all times, "the world, the flesh, and the devil" are very much with us.  It is not possible for an individual, or for a family, to live a truly Christian life apart form the Church and its Sacraments.  

The Faith and the Church are inseparable.  But Christ Catholic Church does not believe a Church should be judged by the beauty of its edifices and the weight of its bricks and mortar.  The Church is, first of all, a family, a support group in which each member must help other Christians work toward that perfection which our Lord set as a goal for our lives in his Sermon on the Mount.  Therefore, the Church approves and blesses small groups of Christians working together, and often worshiping together at an altar in a private home.  

The Meaning of Orthodox The word Orthodox as used by the Church is very ancient and has two meanings which are closely related.  

  • The first definition is true belief.  Christ Catholic Church maintains and teaches the Faith of the first Seven Ecumenical Councils as accepted by the undivided Church.  It rejects the additions to that Faith which have occurred in both the East and the West, and the distortions of separatists who seek to interpret Holy Scripture without reference to the Faith and traditions of the undivided Church.
  • The second definition is true worship.  Holy Scripture tells us that the three thousand who were added to the Church on that first Day of Pentecost "continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." (Acts 2:42)

Worship is the life of the Church, and its central act of worship is the Divine Liturgy, established at the Last Supper by our Lord himself.  Christ Catholic Church believes that the ancient Liturgies which developed in the richness of Faith expressed by the Seven Great Councils represent true forms of worship, and that modern variations too often water down or obscure the spirituality which is our true heritage from the Apostolic Church.  

The Meaning of Catholic

The word Catholic may be found in the writings of the Fathers of the Church in the second century, and is embodied in the Nicene Creed, which acknowledges: "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." Catholic means that the Church is universal, that she includes persons of all races and cultures, and that she has preserved the fullness of the Christian Faith.  

The Holy Scriptures

The Bible is highly regarded by Christ Catholic Church.  Selections are read at every worship service, and our Liturgies and other devotions are full of Scriptural language.  The Church, which gave us the Bible, also is its guardian and interpreter.  The Old Testament, which is our very important heritage from the Jewish Faith, is comprised of 50 books of varying styles and content, but which tell us about God's revelation to the ancient Jewish people.  It foreshadows the coming of the Kingdom of God in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and must be read in that light.  

The New Testament was written by the Apostles and the early Church leaders, and tells us about the life and work of Jesus and the founding and spreading of his Church.  Holy Tradition The Bible is a valuable written record of Gods revelation, and it is a treasured part of what the Church calls Holy Tradition - - that which is handed down.  But it is not all of it.  The Bible does not give us many details about how the early Church functioned.  For this and other important parts of our Holy Tradition we must go to the writings of the early Church Fathers, to the findings and decisions of the Church Councils, to the lives of the Saints, and to the experience and recorded words and accomplishments of Christians in every generation.  

What about today?

The work of Christ Catholic Church today is the same as that of the Apostolic Church, to lovingly offer the fullness of Orthodox-Catholic Faith, Worship and Witness to all who would seek Christ and His Kingdom.  

If you do not presently have a Church home, and you like what you have read in this pamphlet, please contact any local Christ Catholic Priest, or write to one of the addresses given below.  Your inquiry will be most welcome.  

The Rt. Rev. Wm. M. Sloane
Christ Catholic Church
417 West South Street
Carlisle PA 17013-2829

sloane@doctor.com
The Most Rev. David Ewing Hutcheson
St. Andrew's Christ Catholic Mission
1, Beovich Road Ingle Farm
Adelaide, South Australia 5098

bishophutcheson@hotmail.com

 

 







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