Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Archive for the tag “episcopi vagantes”

Kakangelism on steroids: the Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate

I first heard of the Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate only about half an hour ago, after reading about a fellow blogger, an Anglican priest in England, who had received a denunciatory spam message from them Nouslife: With ‘friends’ like this, who needs other faiths?.

I’d never heard of it before, so did a Google search for them, and discovered that they were a brand-new denomination or sect (they broke away from the Roman Catholic Church) founded last April, and that their main activity seems to be denouncing everyone they don’t like, which seems to be, well, everyone (except themselves, of course).

I came across someone else who had received their spam, who seemed to assume, erroneously, that this particular sect somehow represented Orthodoxy: Not Healing the East-West Schism | Sinaiticus:

Like many pastors and churches in the Presbyterian Church (USA), I recently received (7/15/2011) an e-mail from the Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate, condemning our denomination’s loosening sexual ethics for church leaders. It is apparent that they culled the Internet for e-mail addresses related to Presbyterian congregations and sent out a massive spam.

The author of that blog is concerned about their role in healing the East-West schism. I feel I can safely say that they are as relevant to healing the East-West schism as the Westboro Baptist Church, which they seem to most closely resemble.

I’m not sure what the “Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate” stands for, but it reminds me of the Pogo comics of 50 years ago, when Pogo was accosted by the founders of the newly formed Jack Acid Society, who were going around recruiting members, and also, more important, denouncing enemies.

Pogo asked, “What does the Jack Acid Society stand for?”

“We won’t stand for much, believe me.”

The Ancient Catholic Church (of Clapton)

I’ve long been interested in African Independent Churches, and have been collecting information about them in a database, but European Independent Churches can be just as interesting.

For those interested in the byways of ecclesiastical history, someone posted on a Usenet newsgroup a reference to the chancery case of Kings v Bultitude, which contains the fascinating story of the Ancient Catholic Church (of Clapton), which died with its priestess.

Kings v Bultitude & Anor [2010] EWHC 1795 (Ch) (15 July 2010):

The Church was founded by one Harold Nicholson. By the 1940s there were several movements, schismatic from Rome, some of which were comprised in the Catholic Apostolic Church, known as the Catholicate of the West.

Mr Nicholson had begun a house church movement in Clapton in the 1930s, moved to Thornton Heath and in 1943 was ordained a priest into the Catholic Apostolic Church.

After the Second World War Mr Nicholson’s movement acquired a bomb-damaged former Baptist Chapel in Lower Sloane Street Chelsea, restored it in a high Catholic tradition and opened it as the Church of the Good Shepherd in 1947. In 1949, Mr Nicholson resigned from the ministry of the Catholicate of the West, although he maintained close links with the Patriarch. On 27th May 1950, at a service in Chelsea, the Patriarch issued a charter to the Church, creating it as an independent and autocephalus tropus of the Catholicate of the West and consecrating Nicholson as its first Primate.

The Church left the Catholicate of the West in about 1955, shortly before the Catholicate itself was dissolved. In December 1956 the Church moved to Clapton, where Mr Nicholson had started out, to premises in Rookwood Road which had been used as a church for the Agapemonites but had been disused for over fifty years. The move was as a result of the death (the funeral was conducted by Mr Nicholson) of Ruth Preece, the so-called “spiritual bride” of J H Smyth-Pigott, the “Clapton Messiah”, leader of the Agapemonite sect.

Perhaps we also need a database of European Independent Churches.

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