Archbishop Frederick Ebenezer John Lloyd: Organizer of the Order of Antioch

Frederick Ebenezer John Lloyd (1859-1933) was the organizer of the Order of Antioch and Archbishop-Primate of the American Catholic Church. His record of public service included serving as a member of the House of Representatives for the State of Illinois.

Lloyd was born at Milford Haven, Wales, on 5 June 1859. He prepared for the ministry of the Church of England at Dorchester Theological College and was ordained deacon in 1882 by Bishop John Mackarness. In the same year, he travelled to Canada, and was appointed to the mission of the Strait of Belle Isle, Newfoundland, where he remained until 1884. His experiences would be recorded in the memoir “Two Years in the Region of Icebergs and What I Saw There” (SPCK, 1886). In 1883, he married Miss Joanna Genge, of Newfoundland, who died in 1890, and by her had two daughters. Lloyd was ordained priest in the Protestant Episcopal Church of America in 1885 by James William Williams, Bishop of Québec. Between 1885 and 1887 he served as rector of Levis and South Québec. From 1887 he was at at St Peter’s Cathedral and Cherry Valley, Georgetown, Prince Edward Island, and St Eleanor’s, Charlottetown. On Prince Edward Island he began publishing the “Anglican Church Magazine” in 1889. In 1892, Lloyd married Miss Ada Anna Green, of Quebec, Canada, who died at Chicago, in 1912. They had eight children.

Lloyd moved to the United States in 1893, where he was appointed Rector of Trinity Church, Hamilton, Ohio. In 1895 he received the degree of Doctor of Music from the College of Church Musicians (music was to be a lifelong interest of his); he had already graduated Master of Arts and Doctor of Letters from the same institution. In 1898, he spent a year as rector of St Peter’s, Gallipolis, Ohio. He went on to serve St Mark’s, Cleveland, Ohio, for five years. In 1901 he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Rutherford College, North Carolina (now Brevard College), which was then owned by the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist/Episcopalian Church-South. In 1902 he founded the Society of St Philip the Apostle for Mission-Preachers. By 1905, he was at St Peter’s, Uniontown, Philadelphia, and was described in the press as “one of the best-known Episcopal rectors in the East.” He spoke out in opposition to the temperance unions (see illustration above), inviting liquor-dealers to his church, and saying “Why should I, as an accredited and authorized minister of…Lord Christ draw a line of demarcation where He has not drawn it, or exclude one class of His children to whom as well as all others, His arms are outstretched?”

In 1898, Lloyd published the first clerical directory of the clergy of the PECUSA, modelled on Crockford’s Clerical Directory, which was the equivalent work of reference for the Church of England. “Lloyd’s Clerical Directory” (renamed the “American Church Clergy and Parish Directory” in the 1903 and 1905 editions) appeared until 1913. In 1916, Lloyd sold the title to the Revd. Andrew D. Stowe, and it became “Stowe’s Clerical Directory” thereafter. Between 1901-03, Lloyd edited “Church Life” for the Ohio Diocesan Organization. In 1910, Lloyd published a further title, “Lloyd’s Church Musicians Directory”.

In 1905, Lloyd was nominated for the vacant coadjutor bishopric of Oregon and elected to this office by the Convention of the Diocese of Oregon on 17 June. However, the PECUSA House of Bishops refused to elect him on account of unspecified charges relating to his past record. Lloyd offered to withdraw his acceptance of the nomination, but this was refused by the Standing Committee, and a standoff ensued, the ultimate result of which was that the House of Bishops prevailed. He remained in Uniontown, but in due course, on 16 January 1907, resigned from the ministry of the PECUSA and joined the Roman Catholic Church as a layman.

As a Roman Catholic, Lloyd hoped to undertake missionary work, but this did not endure. In 1909 he was readmitted to the PECUSA with faculties as a priest, and in 1910 published a simplified edition of the Book of Common Prayer for use in the PECUSA. From 1911 to 1915 he served as rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Oak Park, Illinois. However, his attention was increasingly occupied by politics during this period, Lloyd being a member of Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Party. Between 1912 and 1914 he served as a member of the House of Representatives for Chicago in the forty-eighth General Assembly of the State of Illinois. He was appointed a member of the Curran Commission by Governor Dunne, for investigating home-finding institutions of Illinois.

By 1915, Prince-Abbot Joseph III (Vilatte) had established a number of Old Catholic missions in the United States, and during that year he worked to consolidate them into a single superstructure. Lloyd resigned from PECUSA to join with him in this endeavour, and on 13 June 1915 he and three others were signatories with the Prince-Abbot when the American Catholic Church (The Old Roman Catholic Church of America) was established as an Illinois corporation. On 20 June 1915 the Prince-Abbot ordained him priest conditionally, in order to remove any doubt that might attach to his Anglican orders. On 29 December 1915 at St David’s Chapel, Chicago, he was consecrated as Bishop of Illinois for the ACC by the Prince-Abbot assisted by Bishop Paolo Miraglia Gulotti.

On 7 February 1917, Lloyd married Mrs. Philena Ricker (Maxwell) Peabody, of Chicago, widow of the late Hiram Bell Peabody. His third wife was of a wealthy background, and a trust in her name is still extant today.

At the ACC Synod on 11 April 1920 the Prince-Abbot expressed the wish to retire from his responsibilities as the Primate of that church, and Lloyd was appointed to succeed him. The chief issue that faced him in his new charge was that of maintaining a church which not only had a troubled relationship with both the Episcopalians and the Roman Catholics, but that was facing competition in its mainstream Old Catholic witness from the North American Old Roman Catholic Church under Archbishop Carmel Henry Carfora. In 1925, at a synod convened by Carfora at Chicago, Lloyd and Carfora signed a concordat that would allow their churches to work together as “The Holy Catholic Church in America” and publish a journal jointly to be entitled “The Catholic American”. However, only one edition of this work appeared, and as the two churches continued to pursue largely separate paths, the concordat was increasingly left a dead letter.

The ACC continued to enjoy success in appealing to the same ethnically-based immigrant foundations as had the original Vilatte missions, and both Polish and Swedish-speaking ministries enjoyed growth. Lloyd continued to ordain clergy for the ACC; he also published its liturgy in 1921. On 20 November 1919 he conditionally ordained John Barwell-Walker (the future Prince-Abbot Edmond I of San Luigi) priest.

The Intercollegiate University had been founded in the United States in 1888 as a correspondence school, and in due course Lloyd, who held the degree of Doctor of Divinity from that body, became its President. He oversaw its expansion to London, England, under his bishop in England, (St) Churchill Sibley, where it continued its work until the transfer of its students to the new University of Sulgrave in 1943. The University was described in its publicity material as offering “exceptional advantages to earnest students through its varied carefully arranged courses of Study in Theology, Arts, Music and Practical Business” with degrees conferred “after thorough preparation” at an annual service in St George’s Church, Bloomsbury, London, which was followed by a banquet and speeches.

On 5 January 1926, J. Hamilton Lewis, a former United States Senator from Illinois, wrote to Lloyd, “It has come to my attention that you are on the eve of delivering some lectures upon your recent travels in Palestine and other subjects. I am delighted to know that you will present yourself in communities where I have acquaintances and friends, and I would be happy if you felt free to let them know that by this letter I present you as one of the men who has been ardent as a citizen, one of the important men in our civic life, a distinguished member of the Legislature, have ever been regarded as one of the first men of letters; and in the long life you have lived here, esteemed as a gentleman representing the highest ideals of honor, citizenship and integrity. I beg to wish you success in the field that you now advance upon.”

In 1928, on the direction of Prince-Abbot Joseph III, who was then planning to separate from Rome and return to the United States, Lloyd organized the Order of Antioch as a body to unite those clergy who owed the succession of their Holy Orders to the Syrian Orthodox Church. Under his aegis, the ACC had been recognized by the Syrian Patriarchate, and had continued to send financial contributions to the Patriarchate on a regular basis. In 1928, the Patriarchate sent a bishop as legate to the United States who met with Lloyd and other bishops of the Syrian succession. Among his demands was a significant increase in the monies to be paid to the Patriarchate. It was made clear that if, as the clergy indicated, this increase was not to be forthcoming, the consequence would be that the Patriarchate would repudiate its American kin – a course of action in which they were also being encouraged by the Anglicans, who saw the Vilatte succession as a threat. The role of the Order of Antioch thus became that of securing unity among those clergy affected; ensuring that the true facts concerning the source of their Holy Orders continued to be made known in the face of hostile propaganda; and continuing to assert the faith that was at once Old Catholic and Western Orthodox, just as had been acknowledged by the Syrian Orthodox Church at its consecration of Prince-Abbot Joseph III in 1892.

Lloyd had intended to retire from the Primacy of the ACC in favour of Prince-Abbot Joseph III had the latter lived to return to the United States. In the event, he retired on 1 November 1932, being succeeded by Bishop Daniel Cassel Hinton. He passed away on 11 September the following year.

The authors of the “Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois with Commemorative Biographies” (Munsell Publishing Co., 1929) summed up Lloyd’s achievement thus:

“In preparing a review of the lives of men whose careers have been of signal usefulness and honor to the country, no name is more worthy of mention in the history of Illinois than that of Archbishop Frederic E. J. Lloyd, of Chicago. He stands as a worthy example of that element of aggressive and public spirited citizens who have contributed so much to the social and religious advancement of the city during the past two decades, and a history of the State would be incomplete without a review of his work. His history is written in the lives of those who come under his influence and follow his teachings, and no citizen of Illinois is more respected or more fully enjoys the confidence of the people and more richly deserves the regard in which he is held.”