Prüter, Karl 1920- (Hugo R. Pruter)

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PRÜTER, Karl 1920- (Hugo R. Pruter)

PERSONAL: Original name, Hugo Rehling Prüter; born July 3, 1920, in Poughkeepsie, NY; son of William Karl (a janitor) and Katherine (Rehling) Prüter; married Nancy Lee Taylor, September 4, 1943 (deceased); children: Hugo Rehling Jr., Robert, Nancy Goodman, Karl, Stephen, Maurice, Katherine. Education: Northeastern University, B.A., 1944; Lutheran Theological Seminary, M.Div., 1946; Roosevelt University, M.A. (education), 1963; Boston University, M.A. (history), 1965.

ADDRESSES: Offıce—Cathedral of the Prince of Peace, P.O. Box 63, Highlandville, MO 54669. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Congregationalist minister, 1946-63; guest lecturer in Landerziehungsheim, Stein, Germany, 1964-65; ordained a priest of Christ Catholic Church, 1965; Church of the Transfiguration, Boston, MA pastor, 1965-70; Christ Catholic Church, presiding archbishop, 1967-91; suffragen bishop, 1991—. Serves the Cathedral of the Prince of Peace, Christ Catholic Church, Highlandville, MO. Also involved, with St.

Willibrord's Press and later Cathedral Books, in the publishing and retailing of mail-order books for the religious market, in New Hampshire, New Mexico, Chicago, and Highlandville, MO.


(As Hugo R. Pruter) A Divine Liturgy for the FreeChurch, Brownist Press (Berwyn, IL), 1948.

(As Hugo R. Pruter) Neo-Congregationalism, Brownist Press (Berwyn, IL), 1957, new edition, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1985.

(As Hugo R. Pruter) The Theology of Congregationalism, Brownist Press (Berwyn, IL), 1957, reprinted, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1985.

The Teachings of the Great Mystics, St. Willibrord's Press (Goffstown, NH), 1969, reprinted, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1985.

A History of the Old Catholic Church, St. Willibrord's Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 1973, expanded edition published as The Old Catholic Church: A History and Chronology, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1996.

The People of God, St. Willibrord's Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 1974.

The Priest's Handbook, St. Willibrord's Press, 1974, second edition, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1996.

St. Willibrord, 658-739, St. Willibrord's Press, 1982.

(With J. Gordon Melton) The Old Catholic Sourcebook, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1983.

A Directory of Autocephalous Anglican, Catholic andOrthodox Bishops, St. Willibrord's Press (Highlandville, MO), 1985, eighth edition published as A Directory of Autocephalous Bishops of the Churches of the Apostolic Succession, St. Willibrord's Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1996.

Bishops Extraordinary, St. Willibrord's Press (Highlandville, MO), 1985.

The Strange Partnership of George Alexander McGuire and Marcus Garvey, St. Willibrord's Press (Highlandville, MO), 1986.

Jewish Christians in the United States: A Bibliography, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1987.

The House Church Movement, St. Willibrord's Press (Highlandville, MO), 1989.

One Day with God: A Guide to Retreats and theContemplative Life, St. Willibrord's Press (Highlandville, MO), 1990, revised edition, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1991.

The Catholic Priest: A Guide to Holy Orders, edited by Paul David Seldis, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1993.

The Story of Christ Catholic Church, St. Willibrord's Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1993, third edition, 1996.

Rufus, St. Willibrord's Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1994.

The Mystic Path, St. Willibrord's Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1997.

as editor

Rev. Fr. Alexey Young, The Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia: A History and Chronology, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1993.

Lawrence Barringer, The American Carpatho-RussianOrthodox Greek Catholic Diocese: A History and Chronology, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1995.

Archpriest Antony Gabriel, The Ancient Church onNew Shores: Antioch in North America, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1996.

Editor of the journal Pastoral Counseling; editor and sometimes author of two continuing series of books, St. Willibrord's Studies in Philosophy and Religion and The Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, both published by Borgo Press; editor and publisher of the periodical, St. Willibrord Journal.

SIDELIGHTS: Bishop Karl Prüter is the founder of Christ Catholic Church, one of several Old Catholic denominations in the United States. The Old Catholics retain the ancient practices and sacraments of the original, undivided Catholic Church, including allowing priests to marry, and deny the authority and infallibility of the pope. Since 1983 Prüter has run the Cathedral of the Prince of Peace, in Highlandville, Missouri, which at fifteen-by-seventeen feet is listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the world's smallest cathedral.

Prüter attended a Lutheran seminary and began his career as a Congregationalist minister, but from the early part of his ministry, in the 1940s, Prüter was involved in the Free Catholic movement. The Free Catholics, not connected to the Roman Catholic Church, maintain much of the Catholic liturgy and ritual but allow followers greater freedom to follow their own consciences and to interpret Scripture more freely than the Roman Catholic Church does. When the Congregational Church merged with the Evangelical and Reformed Church in the late 1950s, Prüter found that the ritually oriented, liturgical style of worship favored by the Free Catholic movement was out of place in the newly created church. Prüter left his Congregational ministry in 1963, and late in 1965 he was ordained by an independent Orthodox bishop of the Orthodox Catholic Patriarchate of America. Two years later Prüter was consecrated as an independent Catholic bishop, and shortly thereafter he began to create his own denomination under the name Christ Catholic Church.

As he moved about the country, building his church, Prüter wrote several books about theology and church history. Many of these books were published by Prüter's own press, St. Willibrord's. He also regularly publishes a directory of the names and addresses of independent bishops, which is a useful sourcebook for a decentralized church with few other ways of finding fellow believers. Prüter retired as archbishop of Christ Catholic Church in 1991, but he has remained active in publishing and has continued to teach and spread the gospel through his publications and book distribution network. He has also written a personal project, Rufus, which gives an autobiographical account of his many journeys to various independent congregations throughout the United States with his beloved dog and companion of that name.



Religious Leaders of America, second edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1999.

Ward, Gary, Bertil Persson, and Alan Bain, editors, Independent Bishops: An International Directory, Apogee Books, 1990.


American Reference Books Annual, 1988, p. 573.

Choice, January, 1984, p. 718; September, 1987, p. 92.


Salina Journal (Salina, KS), (March 7, 2003), Doug Johnson, "Curious Cathedral: Small Missouri Church Seats Only Fifteen but Has a Magnetic Appeal."*