Eastern Liturgical Family: Intrafaith Organizations

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Eastern Liturgical Family: Intrafaith Organizations


Federated Independent Catholic and Orthodox Churches


The Federated Independent Catholic and Orthodox Churches was a short-lived ecumenical organization founded by Bp. Antoine Joseph Aneed (1881–1970) of the Byzantine Universal (Catholic) and Orthodox Church of the Americas. The federation was apparently formed around 1944 following Aneed's consecration by Lowell Paul Wadle of the American Catholic Church and E. R. Verostek of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church-Utrecht Succession. The federation, never very active, did not survive Aneed's death.


Federation of Independent Catholic and Orthodox Bishops

32378 Lynx Hollow Rd.
Creswell, OR 97426

The Federation of Independent Catholic and Orthodox Bishops (FICOB) emerged in the 1990s as an ecumenical body serving as a meeting ground for Old Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and Liberal Catholic bishops. While united by their separation from the older and larger historical liturgical churches, the independent jurisdictions have disagreed with each other on a variety of issues from the ordination of female priests and acceptance/rejection of homosexuals, to various doctrinal and liturgical matters. It has been the suggestion of Archbishop Meri Louise Spruit, matriarch of the Church of Antioch and director of the federation, that FICOB unites people only in Christ's Law of Love. The federation came about in part as a result of independent bishops across North America coming into contact through the Internet.

The federation promotes the idea that all of the churches share in a portion of God's truth and that much is to be gained by a promotion of tolerance, understanding, and an acceptance of diversity. There is also an auxiliary organization, the Friends of FICOB.

Membership: At the start of 1996, FICOB had 93 episcopal members.

Periodicals: FICOB & Friends.


Federation of Orthodox Catholic Churches (FOCC)

Christ Catholic Church International
6160 Barker St.
Niagara, ON, Canada L2G 1Y4

The Federation of Orthodox Catholic Churches was founded in the mid-1990s. Taking the lead in the formation of FOCC was Abp. Seraphim MacLennan of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church. Other founding members included Abp. Donald William Mullen of Christ Catholic Church International, Archbishop Melchizedek of the Free Orthodox Church International (Eparchy of Lincoln), and Archbishop Ingram of the American Orthodox Catholic Church.

FOCC grew out of an expressed need among some of the smaller Orthodox Catholic jurisdictions to have a meeting place where each group can find recognition and succor without the fear of any loss of identity over its particular expression of the Orthodoxia (correct way). The Orthodox in FOCUS title does not refer to Eastern Orthodoxy, but to the true teachings of Orthodoxia (right theology) and Orthopraxis (correct practice). Members believe themselves to be Orthodox Catholics in belief and practice.

FOCC also provides a synodical covering for those Orthodox Catholic jurisdictions that for one reason or another do not have one. Thus FOCC exists as a synod of synods within which those jurisdictions having an active synod can meet without abandoning that synod, and where those jurisdictions not having a synod can participate without losing their identity. Member churches acknowledge and strengthen core similarities of member jurisdictions without damaging the diversity among members. They share the cup of Communion.

Membership: Members include the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church, Christ Catholic Church International, the Free Orthodox Church International (Eparchy of Lincoln), and the American Orthodox Catholic Church.


Holy Synod of the Orthodox Catholic Churches of the Americas and Europe


The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Catholic Churches of the Americas and Europe was a short-lived ecumenical endeavor organized in 1967 by Abp. Peter A. Zurawetzky, then head of the Christ Catholic Church of the Americas and Europe. The synod grew out of a dispute between Zurawetzky and Abp. Cyril John Clement Sherwood, who had succeeded Joseph Klimovich as head of the Orthodox Catholic Patriarchate of America. Zurawetzky, who had cofounded the patriarchate with Klimovich, claimed that Sherwood stole the patriarchate. The new synod included Zurawetzky and the heads of the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of the Americas and Europe (Abp. Joachim Souris), the Greek Orthodox Diocese of America (Archbishop Theoklitos), and the Universal Shrine of Divine Guidance (Abp. Mark Karras).

The synod dissolved in 1975, by which time Sherwood had died and the original charter was inactive. Zurawetzky seized the opportunity to assume corporate control of the patriarchate and revive it around the core of the Orthodox Catholic Churches of the Americas and Europe.


International Federation of Orthodox Catholics United Sacramentally

c/o Mt. Rev. Seraphim MacLennan
R.R. 1, Box 185
Brushton, NY 12916

The International Federation of Orthodox Catholics United Sacramentally (FOCUS) is a federation of sacramental churches which views itself as based on the evangelizing Holy Scriptures and empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is the desire of FOCUS to establish a body that is loving (as commanded by Jesus), forgiving, and united to the glory of God. FOCUS serves as synod of synods, and individual members do not relinquish their own internal structure and governance. Dioceses without a synod may affiliate and FOCUS will provide covering and function as their synod.

FOCUS grew out of a felt need among Orthodox Catholic jurisdictions of the world for a central body for recognition and succor. Members recognize the need to come together in Christ's Holy Name to seek and follow the will of God. It is the stated goal of FOCUS to provide a meeting place where each expression of the ancient Orthodoxia can "come together" and still not fear the loss of individual identity. (The "Orthodox" in the title does not refer to "Eastern" Orthodoxy but rather to the true teachings or Orthodoxia, and the "Catholic" refers to the fullness there of (Jesus Christ) the original meaning as found in the creeds.) Member jurisdictions are in sacramental communion with each other and can thus provide the sacraments for those individual members of other FOCUS communions who do not reside close to a church or priest of their own jurisdiction.

FOCUS jurisdictions have a wide variety of approved liturgies available for their use, including the Sarum Rite, the Roman Rite (so-called Tridentine Mass) and its revised version of the Novus Ordo, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos, the Liturgy of St. Basil, the Liturgy of St. James, the Western Rite (Sarum) adapted by St. Tikhon, the Gregorian Rite, the Celtic Rite, the Qurbana (conforming to the Councils), and the Gallican Rite.

FOCUS jurisdictions understand that the Holy Church was founded by Jesus Christ who empowered the apostles to bring the church into all the world. In the early centuries, the church grew around five historic centers, the Patriarchates, whose bishops were honored and given special positions as "first among equals". Thus, the church in the world developed as a collegial institution in which the bishops could not exercise jurisdiction or authority beyond their own boundaries or dioceses. The government of the church was conciliar as was demonstrated in the Seven Ecumenical Councils that defined the Christian Faith between the years 325 and 787 C.E.

At present, the Eastern Churches are primarily national churches as manifested in their particular ethnic customs, liturgies, add culture. The great flood of immigrants to America brought this heritage with them, a heritage which in North America has led to a multiplicity of church names, the fragmentation of Orthodoxy, and its isolation into ethnic enclaves. FOCUS affirms the sacramental unity of all Orthodox Catholic jurisdictions who hold to the Faith of Holy Orthodox Catholic Christian Tradition, i.e. Holy Scriptures and the teaching of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the Holy Fathers. Member jurisdictions regard as sinful the denial and refusing of the Holy Sacraments to believing and practicing Orthodox Catholic Christians who are victims of separation imposed at hierarchical levels.

Member communions may use either the Julian Calendar or the Gregorian Calendar. FOCUS recognizes a hierarchy of spiritual leadership: the bishops, the presbyters, deacons. The highest spiritual office in the church is that of the bishop, and all the FOCUS bishops are equal in authority. Above each bishop is the authority of all the bishops in Council (Synod) under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. While one bishop may preside, such as a metropolitan or archbishop, there is no universal "bishop of bishops".

The group webiste is http://www.jesusfocus.org

Membership: The International Federation of Orthodox Catholics United Sacramentally includes the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church, the Apostolic Orthodox Catholic Church, and Christ Catholic Church International. The ministry of FOCUS members are carried out by 17 bishops and more than 150 clergy and religious among their many ministries.


Orthodox Catholic Church in North America

PO Box 321
Monkton, MD 21111-0321

The Orthodox Catholic Church in North America, formerly known as the Holy Eastern Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America, an ecumenical fellowship of various Eastern Orthodox churches, was founded in 1927 and renamed in the 1970s as the Ecumenical Orthodox Catholic Church by Abp. Francis Joseph Ryan (d. 1987). Reportedly, Ryan was consecrated in 1969 by Abp. Walter A. Propheta of the American Orthodox Catholic Church. Originally incorporated as the Ecumenical Orthodox Catholic Church-Autocephalous, the synod continued under that name until 1985 when Ryan was succeeded as Primate-Metropolitan by Abp. Dennis Garrison. It assumed its present name in 1997. Garrison led the synod through a period of expansion. In 1986, he consecrated Renee Bergeron to develop the church in Canada under the name Eglise Equmenique Orthodoxe Occidentale au Canada. In 1988, Garrison was succeeded by Paul Vincent Dolan. Garrison is presently serving his fourth term a Primate.

The Holy Synod of THEOCACNA consists of the bishops of the affiliated churches. Member churches include the American Orthodox Church, the Celtic Orthodox Catholic Church, the Tridentine Orthodox Catholic Church, the Eglise Ecumenique Orthodoxe Occidentle au Canada, the Orthodox Catholic Church– Nigeria, and the Eglise Orthodoxe du Benin.

Membership: Not reported.


Orthodox Catholic Patriarchate of America

66 N. Brookfield St.
Vineland, NJ 08360

The Orthodox Catholic Patriarchate of America began in 1950 as the Provisional Orthodox Synod of America by the associating together of a number of independent Orthodox jurisdictions. The Provisional Synod in turn authorized the formation of the patriarchate and elected Bp. Joseph Klimovich as its first patriarch. The patriarchate is a coalition of churches joined in faith to the older patriarchal churches headquartered in Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople (Istanbul), and Jerusalem, but completely separate administratively and not recognized by the older patriarchates. The group was later joined by Abp. Joseph K. C. Pillai of the Indian Orthodox Church.

The driving force in the creation of the patriarchate was Abp. Joseph Klimovich of the American Holy Orthodox Catholic Eastern Church and representatives of the African Orthodox Church, the Autonomous Greek Orthodox Church, the Polish Old Catholic Church in America, and several other small orthodox bodies, including one Canadian Ukrainian jurisdiction. Klimovich died in 1961 and was succeeded by Abp. John Cyril Sherwood, who as patriarch took the name and was thereafter known as Clement I. Following Clement I's death in 1969, Abp. George A. Hyde of the Orthodox Catholic Church of America became the patriarch. He served only until a synod could be called, at which time Archimandrite Pangratios Vrionis was named the new patriarch. Early in 1970 Vrionis was consecrated as Archbishop of the Greek Archdiocese of Vasiloupolis and began his reign as head of the patriarchate. While his church had grown, the patriarchate remained largely an inactive body.

Among the founders of the patriarchate was Peter A. Zurawetzky, a priest consecrated by Klimovich in 1950. In the 1960s he had a dispute with Clement I, whom he accused of stealing the patriarchate. He organized a rival Holy Synod of the Orthodox Catholic Churches of the Americas and Europe. Then in 1975, he discovered that the original charter of the patriarchate had become inactive (as had the patriarchate under Hyde), and he seized the opportunity to take over the corporation, at which time he dissolved his rival body.

Zurawetzky continued to head the minuscule patriarchate, whose member groups were largely paper organizations until his recent death. Among his last acts, in 1993 he turned over his patriarchal authority to the synod of bishops.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: Our Missionary.


Hyde, George Augustine, ed. Protocol, The Holy Synod of Bishops, the Orthodox Catholic Patriarchate of America. Belleair, FL: George Hyde,1984.


Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas

8-10 E. 79th St.
New York, NY 10021

The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas was founded in 1960 to express the unity of Orthodoxy in America and to look toward cooperative possibilities among the various ethnic Orthodox communions represented in the United States and Canada. It includes those churches in direct communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The conference has achieved some measure of success in coordinating activities and reducing duplication of services between member churches in areas such as campus work, Christian education, military and hospital chaplaincies, ecumenical relationships, foreign mission work, and humanitarian aid.

Membership: Membership in the conference includes the following: Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America; American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese; Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church; Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; Orthodox Church in America; Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America; Serbian Orthodox Church in the U.S.A. and Canada; Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.; and Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada.

Educational Facilities: St. Vladimir's Seminary, Crestwood, NY.

Holy Cross Theological School, Brookline, MA.
Hellenic College, Brookline, MA.


Synod of Autonomous Canonical Orthodox Churches in North America


The Synod of Autonomous Canonical Orthodox Churches in North America was founded in the 1990s as a fellowship of independent Orthodox jurisdictions committed to the faith and gifts given by Christ and the Holy Spirit to the Undivided Church (the Christian community prior to the Great Schism of 1054 C.E. between the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy). The synod believed it was built on the true Faith and the right administration of the Sacraments, and it stood against the apostasy and Paganism it perceived to be the hallmark of the present age.

Membership: Not reported.



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Eastern Liturgical Family: Intrafaith Organizations

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Eastern Liturgical Family: Intrafaith Organizations