CHRIST CATHOLIC CHURCH
By Father Paul
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.
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.
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
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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)
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.
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.
of Orthodox The word Orthodox as used by the Church is very ancient
and has two meanings which are closely related.
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 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
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.
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
The Most Rev. David Ewing Hutcheson
St. Andrew's Christ Catholic Mission
1, Beovich Road Ingle Farm
Adelaide, South Australia 5098