Recent promotion in the Order of the Crown of Thorns

Archbishop Francis C. Spataro has recently been promoted to the senior rank of Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Thorns and awarded the distinction of Doctor Christianissimus.

Archbishop Spataro has been Primate of the Apostolic Episcopal Church since 1998 in succession to the current Emeritus Primate, Archbishop Professor Bertil Persson. Archbishop Spataro, a lifelong resident of New York, received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Long Island University in 1959, a Master of Arts degree from New York University in 1971, and a Master of Science degree from St. John’s University, New York, in 1984.  He holds a Licentiate in Religion from the Peoples’ University of the Americas (1976), and a Doctorate of Divinity from St. Ephrem’s Institute, Solna, Sweden (1982). His previous service in the AEC had been in a junior administrative capacity from 1976; he was elevated to the office of Bishop-Elect in 1980, and eventually, to Presiding Bishop (1992) of the Province of the East, USA.

In the spirit of his predecessor, Bishop Spataro stands as the embodiment of the AEC’s efforts to attain peace and unity through ecumenical cooperation.  His efforts have never been limited exclusively to the Christian faith as he has endeavored to reach out to individuals within differing spiritual traditions in order to faithfully demonstrate the principle of unconditional Christian love and compassion.

Upon receiving an honorable discharge from the United States Army in 1962, +Spataro  embarked upon what would become a lifetime of service as an educator (serving as a teacher for 29 years) and minister.  Early in his career, he served as pastor of Pucker Street Community Church in Conesville, New York.  He was ordained Presbyter in the Orthodox Catholic Church on December 26, 1976 by Archbishop Uladyslau Ryzy-Ryski (1925-1978). From 1978 to 1983, Reverend Spataro was active in providing campus ministry services on Long Island to international students from India and Guyana.

On June 25, 1976, +Spataro, with Father Eugenio N. Loreto of the Philippine Independent Catholic Church, founded the Vilatte Guild, an historical and research organization with which he as been integrally involved over the course of 30 years.  It was also during this period that Dr. Spataro served as an Instructor in English as a Second Language at American College and Seminary, Bronx, New York.

In 1987, +Spataro published Charles Mason Remey and the Baha’i Faith (paperback, 2003), the first comprehensive biography of the founder of the Orthodox Baha’i movement. In addition to this work, +Spataro has demonstrated himself as an accomplished and award-winning poet (for God the All-Glorious and Blank Spaces), Editor-in-Chief of several academic newsletters (most notably, The Tover of St Cassian), and contributor to numerous religious magazines and journals.  Among his other published works of note are “The Rascal Sage, A Brief Glimpse of Gurdjieff”  for Understanding Cults and Spiritual Movements (1988), With God in Spirit and Truth (1992), Images of Godly Living (1994), and The Divine Liturgy of Marqos (1999).

On October 31, 1992, Dr. Spataro was consecrated in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Gordon Square, London, by Archbishop Bertil Persson, then Primate of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, to serve as Bishop of the AEC, Province of the East, with headquarters  centered at Camp St. Cassian, Potter Hollow, New York.  Camp St. Cassian was a retreat-skete nestled in the tranquil Catskill Mountains established with the mission to rehabilitate clergy suffering from burnout. +Spataro would remain affiliated with the Camp until it was sold to its present owners, the Orthodox Church, in August of 2005.

Bishop Spataro continues to ably serve the AEC as Presiding Bishop from its World Mission Headquarters in Queens, New York.  He remains active in the establishment of ecumenical relationships in fulfillment of the AEC’s commitment to serve as a “church for all people.”

About johnkersey

Historian, musician and educationalist.
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