STATUTES OF THE RELIGIOUS ORDER OF ANTIOCH (OA)
I. THE NATURE OF THE ORDER
1. The Order of Antioch is maintained by the Prince-Abbot of the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi, in accordance with its foundation in 1928 by Archbishop Frederick Ebenezer John Lloyd, Primate of the American Catholic Church, upon the directions of Prince-Abbot Joseph III of San Luigi. In January 1964, Prince-Abbot Edmond II received the legal title to the Order following the death of the Rt Revd Timothy Howard Ellsworth Mather, at which point it was incorporated into the San Luigi Orders.
2. The character of the Order shall be that of an Autogenic and Autocephalous Denomination or Part of the Body of Christ that is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Order is Traditional Catholic and Western Orthodox in its ethos. The Order is a voluntary religious non-profit association dependent on its Statutes and any supplementary Constitutions that may be promulgated.
3. The dignity of Superior-General is attached to the Office of Prince-Abbot of San Luigi, whose right it is to appoint His Successor, in consultation with the Supreme Council if He so desires. The Superior-General is constituted as a Corporation Sole under the laws of England and Wales.
4. The Spiritual Patron of the Order is St. Kadavil Paulose Mar Athanasius of Kottayam. The Order recognizes the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church as its parent body, that church being responsible for the episcopal consecration of Prince-Abbot Joseph III as Metropolitan of the Old Catholics in the United States in 1892.
5. The Order was under the High Protection of H.I.R.H. Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia from 1960 until his death in September 1994; the High Protectorship has been vacant since that date.
6. The Order is International in character, and is represented in various countries by Regionary Bishops and/or Vicars General whose duty it is to propose those persons who desire admittance to the Order, to support them in their completion of the various tests and pre-requisites for admission, and to be responsible for the organisation and financial administration of the Order in their respective territories.
7. Where the duties of clergy and other members of the Order are described below, they shall be understood as if the phrase “provided such an action is compliant with all relevant secular laws and regulations in the jurisdiction(s) where it is to be performed” were postpended in each case. It is recognised that in some cases, particularly in respect of marriage laws, the law may vary widely from one jurisdiction to another, and what is legal in one place may not be legal elsewhere.
8. No part of these Statutes shall be understood, interpreted or relied on as offering guidance or advice on any aspect of secular, civil or criminal law whatsoever. All persons affected by these provisions are recommended to seek independent legal advice before proceeding.
9. Changes to these Statutes may be made by proposal of the General Chapter, a simple majority being sufficient, and assent of the Superior-General.
II. THE AIMS OF THE ORDER
1. The chief Aims of the Order are
(a) to defend the Catholic and Orthodox Faith, Ideology, Tradition and Cultural Inheritance, and to establish such missions, churches and other means of outreach as may be appropriate to fulfil this Aim; it may establish communities of men or women living under a common rule; establish seminaries and schools; and do such other things as may enable it to provide effective ministry. The Order understands the specific terms “mission episcopate” and “mission parish” to be without geographical restriction. The mission episcopate or parish embraces all people who come into contact with a particular member of clergy who is affiliated with that body in the context of his ministry. The Chapter-General of the Order may prescribe measures for the administration of these bodies under the aegis of the Order. The clergy of all such bodies are to be held in common by all and for the benefit of all.
(b) to preserve the Antiochian Succession and to disseminate its history, and to counter any inaccurate representation that has or may be made concerning such matters;
(c) to act as a centre of reunion for clergy of the Antiochian Succession who are not at present in communion with the Syrian Orthodox Church.
III. MEMBERSHIP OF THE ORDER
1. Membership of the Order is in three Classes, as follows:
a) Members of the First Class are Clergy who are under Canonical Obedience within the Order. They may serve bivocationally only with specific assent of the Superior-General.
b) Members of the Second Class are Clergy who are not under Canonical Obedience within the Order. They serve in other communions and form a body of affiliated clergy within the Order.
c) Members of the Third Class are Laity who are attached to the Order.
2. Only members in the First and Second Classes may describe themselves as Members of the Order of Antioch and use the postnominal designation OA.
3. Members in the First and Second Classes may be granted Ecclesiastical Rank within the Order for the fulfilment of specific duties and missions.
4. Only Members in the First Class may become members of the General Chapter.
5. The Order may grant various other titles under certain conditions. Members who are Catholic or Orthodox clergy are further eligible for advancement as Prelate, Canon or Dean of the Abbey of San Luigi. The title of Doctor Christianissimus (D.Chr.) has been established within the San Luigi Orders since their early years and is today conferred upon senior Catholic and Orthodox clergy who are members. This title is an honorary distinction conferred under the authority of the Abbey-Principality and is in no respect an academic degree.
IV. CHARACTER AND GOVERNANCE OF THE ORDER
1. The Profession of Faith of the Order is the 1889 Declaration of Utrecht. The Order accepts the Nicene Creed and the seven Ecumenical Councils; it rejects Protestantism; it admits married men as clergy; it does not admit women to Holy Orders. Except where otherwise specifically provided for, the system of Canon Law operative in the Order is that which pertained in the Roman Catholic Church prior to 1870. Members in the First Class serve under Canonical Obedience. Members are encouraged to assent to the Oath against Modernism promulgated by Pope St Pius X in 1910, in so far as its provisions are compatible with an Old Catholic witness, but this is not compulsory.
2. The system of governance of the Order as a whole is through the Superior-General, who delegates an advisory role to the General Chapter. The General Chapter shall consist of the Superior-General, who is its Chairman, together with senior members of the First Class of the Order nominated by him. Any vacancy shall be filled by means of a simple majority vote of the General Chapter, with the Superior-General having a casting vote if necessary. A member other than the Superior-General may resign membership of the General Chapter in order to retire from the active exercise of their office within the Order.
3. Although a bishop of the Order is customarily appointed to a titular See, appointment to the Episcopal Order is conferred ad personam (to the person concerned) and does not automatically carry with it the implication of territorial diocesan governance or hierarchical responsibility for clergy and communities. To a large extent, clergy and their communities function autonomously provided that they remain within the ethos and requirements of these Statutes.
4. Appointment of a bishop or priest to an office which has specific responsibilities for governance is recognised through an additional appointment to a position as Regionary, Head of a Mission Episcopate or similar.
5. Due to geographical distance, the General Chapter meets mainly through electronic communications for the conduct of routine business, although it may also meet in person. The General Chapter undertakes all routine administration of matters affecting the Order as a whole as well as specific duties and commissions that may arise from time to time.
6. All contentious matters for decision by the General Chapter will be resolved by means of unanimous decision where possible. Simple majority shall not by itself be considered sufficient means of resolving an issue since the General Chapter shall be charged with the responsibility to reflect all aspects of opinion within the Order. Where possible, the General Chapter shall seek compromise and act not only from personal conviction but with the overall good of the Order in mind.
7. All candidates for ordination or incardination, and all candidates for consecration to the Episcopal Order, shall normally have received the unanimous support of the General Chapter before being admitted.
8. The Superior-General is the overall Head of the Order. The Superior-General holds office for life or until his retirement or resignation as Prince-Abbot of San Luigi. A former Superior-General shall have the designation Superior-General Emeritus. The Superior-General’s office embraces responsibility for the Order as a whole, and the formal role of the General Chapter is to advise him. In practical terms, the Superior-General does not exercise power as an autocrat, but instead acts within the normal bounds of the role of Head of a Religious Order.
9. The Superior-General is not obliged to seek the advice of the General Chapter, but shall normally do so according to his judgement in the conduct of any business which has a bearing upon the Order as a whole or that is contentious or potentially contentious in nature. In rare and exceptional cases where in his view the good of the Order demands it, the Superior-General may overrule the General Chapter’s decision. The decision of the Superior-General is final and not subject to appeal.
10. In proceedings of the General Chapter, silence shall normally be construed as assent. A member of the Chapter who dissents or wishes to ask for time to reflect on or discuss an issue further must make these feelings known to fellow members of the Chapter at the earliest opportunity, and bears the responsibility for doing so himself. For practical purposes, and because the business before the Chapter can at times be considerable in volume, it is assumed that members of the Chapter will respond to matters before them within twenty-four hours of their receipt.
11. Correspondence concerning the Order that is sent to the Superior-General, excepting matters of a personal nature, will normally also be copied to the General Chapter. Except in cases where pastoral confidentiality has been specifically requested and granted in advance, correspondents and clergy must not assume that their correspondence with the Order will not be shared with the General Chapter. The General Chapter undertakes, however, that any matters of sensitivity will not be discussed outside the Chapter except with the express permission both of the Chapter as a whole, and wherever possible that of the correspondent concerned.
V. CONDITIONS OF ADMISSION TO THE FIRST AND SECOND CLASS
1. Candidates must be male clergy in the major Holy Orders of deacon, priest or bishop. They must have received any one of those orders in direct and provable Apostolic Succession from the Syrian Orthodox Church (the Antiochian Succession). The majority of members of the Order trace this succession from the 1892 consecration of Prince-Abbot Joseph III (Vilatte). Applicants will need to produce documentary evidence that any one of their major orders was received in the Antiochian succession, by producing their letters of ordination and the letters of consecration from those bishops from whom they assert descent, tracing back to Archbishop Vilatte. Where a bishop is listed in a standard reference work such as Ward, Bain & Persson: Independent Bishops: An International Directory, Detroit, Apogee Press, 1990, there is not normally a need to produce historical documentation.
2. While there is provision for the admission of ordinands who are aspirant to the First Class of the Order, such admission is at present restricted to those who have already completed a first degree in theology or a closely-related discipline. Such credentials are offered by the Western Orthodox University (Commonwealth of Dominica), which is associated with the Abbey-Principality, as well as by many other colleges and universities. Prospective ordinands are welcome to discuss their plans at an early stage before completing their educational pre-requisites; this enables them to be attached as lay ministers to one of our Missions while in training.
3. Nomination of a candidate, or self-nomination, should be addressed to the Superior-General, which may be made direct if the country in which the candidate lives does not have an Official Representative. The application should clearly set forth the basis for membership and further testify to the applicant’s good character and creditable work in the ordained ministry. A form of application is available upon enquiry.
4. The Superior-General, either directly or through his Representatives, makes inquiry into each application, and later renders his decision; which, whether favourable or unfavourable, is final and not subject to question. If unfavourable, such decision is not to be interpreted as being in any way a reflection upon the candidate.
5. All candidates for admission are subject to additional scrutiny regarding their theological and ministerial knowledge and understanding, their record in ministry, the support for their ministries from other clergy and laity, and such other matters (including criminal record clearance and psychological assessment) as are appropriate for a body of clergy serving the public. It is not usual to admit candidates who do not already hold a degree or equivalent seminarian’s credential in theology, and any offer of admission may be made conditional upon the candidate gaining such a credential by a given time.
6. The Superior-General has the right to grant admission to the Order to anyone of his own choice, without necessarily requiring the complete fulfilment of these Regulations. As he confers all the Offices and Dignities granted within the Order, so he may revoke them without having to give any reasons for his decision.
VI. DUTIES OF MEMBERS
1. Members of the Order are expected to exercise a purposeful ministry in keeping with the position of faith of the Order, and to propagate the Order and the interests of the Antiochian Succession by every proper means in their power. They are required to maintain contact with the Superior-General or His Representatives, and to advise promptly of any change of address. They are required also to avoid all political or inter-church entanglements or discussions in their capacity as members, whether collectively or singly.
2. On 1 January each year, members are liable for an annual Oblation in amount as may be fixed from time to time, which is applied towards the administration of the Order and its central costs. Those who are on limited incomes may be exempted from this obligation at the discretion of the Superior-General. Members who do not meet this obligation, not having been exempted, will be considered inactive and may not hold themselves out to be clergy of the Order, use its designations or wear its Insignia, nor attend its meetings, until such time as they have discharged their liabilities.
3. In the general course of events an annual Meeting of the San Luigi Orders will normally be scheduled at a Central London venue at which new members may be formally invested by the Superior-General. Members will be required to contribute an amount to be advised to assist the Orders to cover their costs in organising such an event. In addition, such occasions will normally include a monetary collection for a charitable cause. Additional meetings will be held as circumstances warrant.
VII. DISCIPLINARY PROVISIONS
1. Any member may approach the General Chapter and request a hearing of a matter of concern or seek advice and spiritual guidance. It is always best for to seek advice earlier rather than later in a situation that may have implications for present or future difficulty or conflict. Members should not be concerned in so doing that they are wasting the Chapter’s time or burdening its members unduly; it is better that they do so than that a small problem be allowed to grow into a large one where early intervention would have prevented this.
a. Members in the Second Class who are also clergy of affiliated bodies will normally in the first instance be subject to the disciplinary procedures of those bodies. Where there is any conflict between them and these Statutes, the Statutes shall have primacy. While such members do not serve under canonical obedience, they are nevertheless subject to the general provisions outlined below regarding proper conduct, behaviour that may bring the Order into disrepute, and so on.
2. Proceedings of the General Chapter regarding the discipline of members shall normally be public. Any member of clergy who is the subject of proceedings before the General Chapter shall have the right to be accompanied or represented by a solicitor or other person trained in Canon Law, or a friend. The General Chapter shall have the right to delegate any part of their representation during the proceedings to a solicitor, advocate or other person trained in Canon Law. All legal representation shall be at the expense of the party who employs it.
3. In the event that the behaviour of any member of either class gives rise to concern, any person, whether lay or ordained, shall have the right to report the matter to the General Chapter using the contact information on the website. It shall be the responsibility of the General Chapter to provide pastoral care for those involved with the intention that the matters that have given rise to concern be investigated and dealt with as is necessary. If, despite this, the behaviour concerned continues, the General Chapter may issue an official Ad Clerum or other Notice dissociating itself from the behaviour concerned and suspending the faculties or membership of the member in question on a temporary or indefinite basis.
a. The same arrangements shall apply in the event of any dispute between clergy or between clergy and laity that has Order-wide implications and thus requires the involvement of the General Chapter. It is also open to the Chapter to convene a formal hearing in relation to any such dispute.
b. Members in the First Class are required as a condition of their Oath of Canonical Obedience, and in the Second Class as a condition of continued membership, to inform their Ordinary immediately in the event that they are convicted of any criminal offence or are involved in any situation, whether criminal or not, that is liable to be injurious to the good name of the Order.
c. Members must not issue statements that are or may appear to an observer to be made on behalf of the Order without clearing those statements in advance with the General Chapter.
4. A member of clergy who is subject to the measures detailed in Statute VII:3 but who subsequent to censure desists from the behaviour concerned and expresses repentance for his actions may have this fact recorded in an official Notice issued by the General Chapter and may have any penalty fully or partially remitted.
5. In the event that a member of clergy is accused of misconduct, the complaint must be made to the General Chapter with full details of the matters complained of, and this must be signed by the person or persons concerned. Anonymous accusations will not be accepted.
a. A formal hearing before the General Chapter shall be arranged and the member of clergy concerned shall be requested to attend the hearing together with his representatives. A notice period of twenty-eight days will normally be given. Clergy who are unable or unwilling to attend the hearing may submit evidence in writing for the consideration of the Chapter. Where geographical considerations make a hearing in person impractical, it is open to the Chapter to conduct a hearing by electronic means or to delegate authority to a senior member of clergy based in the geographical area concerned.
b. The Chapter will consider the evidence and representations made to it and will find the allegation Proven or Not Proven. For an allegation that is Proven, the Chapter may impose sanctions including the admonishment of the member of clergy concerned, and the suspension or removal of his faculties and/or membership. In exceptionally severe cases, the Chapter may recommend to the Superior-General that the sanction of excommunication, which is the most serious available to the Order, be applied.
6. An appeal against a ruling of the General Chapter may be made to the Superior-General within twenty-eight days of the publication of the ruling, setting out the grounds for appeal including the substantive evidence under which the ruling may be deemed unsafe. The Superior-General shall hear any appeal in person, giving a notice period of twenty-eight days for the hearing, and he may choose to be accompanied by any legal or other advisor. If the member of clergy is unable or unwilling to attend the hearing, he may submit evidence in writing for the consideration of the Superior-General. The Superior-General after due prayer and consideration has the right to endorse or overturn a decision of the General Chapter, and will normally publish his judgement.
7. A member of clergy of the Order who resigns from membership shall not normally be eligible for readmission except in special circumstances. A member of clergy seeking such readmission shall make application to the General Chapter giving a full account of the reasons for his actions. The Chapter shall investigate the matter and issue a ruling within fourteen days of receiving the application for reinstatement. No member of clergy of the Order may be readmitted after resigning for a second time.
8. Clergy are under obligation to regard the promises made at Ordination as binding in conscience. All clergy in the First Class serve under Canonical Obedience to the Superior-General and in so doing accept the authority of the Superior-General and the right of the Superior-General to delegate any aspect of that authority to the General Chapter or any other member of clergy.
9. All members of the clergy of the Order are bound by these Statutes at all times while they remain members of the clergy of this Order. In accepting the role of clergy, they accept both this obedience and the authority of the Superior-General and the General Chapter in administering the Statutes and, with the help of God in prayer, in rendering any form of judgement based upon them.
10. Where a member of clergy of the Order is diagnosed with any physical or mental ailment that will affect the performance of his duties, he must inform his Ordinary directly.
a. Clergy are required to inform the Order in the event that they are diagnosed with any form of mental illness or mental impairment, and are likewise required to disclose any past such diagnoses upon joining the Order. The Order does not bar persons from ministry on these grounds. However, it recognises that in the interests of the safeguarding of the faithful, it may be necessary to provide additional support and oversight for the member concerned. It must be understood that such support and oversight is inevitably limited by the scope of the Order as a voluntary organisation with restricted facilities. In some cases, these facilities may not be sufficient to manage particular situations effectively. In these cases, the Order will take appropriate action to protect the best interests of all parties concerned.
11. No member of clergy may form an intimate relationship of an exclusive nature, whether celibate or not, with another member of the Order, nor with any candidate for ordination. Such conduct shall result in removal from membership.
VIII. THE SACRAMENTS
1. We are an Order in valid apostolic succession from Jesus Christ and the Apostles and practice the seven sacraments handed down to us through their tradition, that is to say: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, The Eucharist (Mass), Confession, Anointing of the Sick (Unction) and Holy Matrimony. We may vary the way in which these sacraments are performed, for example through the use of different liturgies, providing always that the Catholicity of the sacrament in matter, form and intent is preserved. We understand the sacraments to be outward signs of an inward spiritual grace.
2. With the exception of the sacrament of Holy Orders, clergy of the Order should not normally deny the sacraments to those who ask for them, provided that the reasonable discretion of the minister shall apply with regard to the choice of the time and appropriate place for their administration. The minister should also have regard as to whether the clergy of other denominations may be better placed to serve in the particular situation concerned.
3. The Order recognises that Holy Baptism may in theory be performed by any adult provided the correct form, matter and intent is present. However, it is usually performed by the clergy. The use simultaneously of the spoken formula of the Holy Trinity and of water by the minister of the sacrament are considered obligatory. The usual means of baptism in the Order is by aspersion or affusion, although where the layperson concerned requests it and it is practical to arrange, baptism by submersion is also permissible.
4. A bishop is usually the minister responsible for Confirmation. However, in cases of necessity, a bishop may issue Confirmation Faculties to an experienced priest. Priests may in other situations administer Confirmation where a bishop is not available, specifically in the case of the baptism of adults, the admission of a baptised adult to full communion or the baptism of a person in danger of death.
5. The Mass may either be celebrated in Latin or in the vernacular.
a. Wine must be used during the Mass; this is defined as the fermented juice of the grape; the use of unfermented grape juice is not permitted. It is acceptable for Communion to be given either by intinction or into the hand.
b. The Order approves for use such Liturgies as are in conformity with the essential form of the Tridentine Mass, and also the liturgies of the Orthodox Churches in the form approved before the twentieth-century. The Rite of Perfection of Archbishop Lloyd is a designated liturgy of the Order. The Order does not generally permit the use of the Mass of Paul VI, holding this to be valid but illicit.
c. Those who wish to receive Holy Communion should first have received Confirmation. However, admission to Holy Communion is ultimately at the discretion of the celebrant, and exception may be made, for example, in the case of a person in danger of death.
d. A person who is excommunicated from the Order may not receive the Sacraments until they have completed such penance and corrective action as may be prescribed for the lifting of the excommunication, and complied with any conditions that may be attached thereby.
6. Where it is desirable the Blessed Sacrament may be exposed for the purposes of prayer and adoration.
7. The Order makes auricular confession available to its members along with pastoral counselling so far as resources permit. We recognise that the seal of the confessional is absolute.
8. The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is understood by the Order to be a religious ceremony solely. While civil registration may be necessary to give legal standing to the union of two persons, such a ceremony cannot by its nature constitute marriage as that sacrament is understood by the Church in religious terms. The policy of the Order is that two persons of the opposite sex may proceed to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony provided that such a service is permitted by law in the jurisdiction concerned and all legal requirements have first been complied with.
a. Marriage is not to be undertaken lightly. The member of clergy should in each case satisfy himself that the couple are fully aware of the solemn and lifelong nature of the promises which they are to make, and of the duties of Christian family life, particularly with regard to the upbringing of children.
9. The Order will permit divorced and remarried persons to marry, provided that the minister concerned is satisfied that the moral intentions of the couple concerned are in keeping with the nature of Christian matrimony. The Order maintains a tribunal for the consideration of the marital state, which is empowered on behalf of the Church to issue an annulment of a marriage that has not been validly contracted. Such decisions are made within the Church and have no bearing upon civil law.
10. No member of clergy shall be compelled to celebrate any form of marriage blessing or to marry persons who have been previously divorced if this is not in accordance with his conscience.
11. Sacramental Certificates must be issued for all baptisms, confirmations, and blessings. Clergy must issue their own sacramental certificates and maintain a record of these in a register. All certificates for Holy Orders and appointments in the Order itself are issued centrally. Sample forms of wording for sacramental certificates are available from the General Chapter.
12. Holy Oils are available from the Ordinary to clergy of the Order. In the case of the Oil of the Sick, a priest may bless oil when necessary, but shall do so during the same service in which the oil is to be administered.
13. Clergy must not attempt to conduct services of exorcism involving human or animal subjects without first having sought and been granted the permission of the General Chapter in each case. There are serious legal implications that may follow from such services. Experienced clergy of the order of Exorcist and above may apply for a faculty to exorcise places and objects (only), which is a less problematic area.
14. Clergy who wish to undertake healing ministry that involves physical contact with subjects are strongly recommended to seek accredited training in their chosen method. They are also advised that they may require insurance cover to undertake such ministry. No healing ministry should take place without a second person being present to act as a witness.
1. Clergy members of the Order are those admitted or ordained to any of the following Orders: Cleric; Ostiarius; Lector; Exorcist; Acolyte; Subdeacon; Deacon; Priest; Bishop, as well as any who shall belong to named religious orders, societies or sodalities designated as being under the Order’s protection. The Superior-General may upon recommendation of the General Chapter appoint to offices including those of Chancellor, Registrar, Treasurer and Secretarius, the latter three of which may also be held by a layperson, and shall in each case define the responsibilities of the office concerned. Such offices as are applicable to monastic communities may be created. The Superior-General may create additional offices within the Order as are necessary for its proper administration.
2. No member of clergy or person in minor orders or person holding a lay office of the Order shall be considered an employee of the Order under any circumstances whatsoever. All appointments within the Order are made conditionally upon this understanding.
3. Each member of clergy, if fit for work and younger than the usual retirement age, is expected to support himself through secular work, although it is also recognised that some may be able to support themselves as full-time funeral ministers, youth workers etc. The Order makes no distinction between those who undertake secular work and those who undertake full-time ministry.
4. Those ordained to the Minor Orders of Ostiarius, Lector, Exorcist, Acolyte and Subdeacon may discharge the responsibilities particular to those offices. It is not necessary to receive the minor orders before ordination as a deacon, although it is generally considered useful. All persons in Minor Orders are responsible to the General Chapter who may delegate this authority to a bishop as their Ordinary or to a priest.
5. Deacons are men ordained to the Diaconate. They may perform funeral services (but may not celebrate a Funeral Mass) and baptisms. At Mass, they should read the Gospel, may preach the homily, and should assist the priests and bishops present. They may perform marriages and blessings of civil marriage. All Deacons are responsible to the General Chapter who may delegate this authority to a priest. A Deacon is addressed as The Reverend X, or in speech by his Christian name.
6. Priests are men ordained to the Priesthood. They may celebrate Mass, perform marriages, blessings of civil marriage and baptisms, anoint the sick, hear confessions and perform funeral services including a Funeral Mass. They may administer Confirmation in conformity with Statute VIII:4. All Priests are responsible to the General Chapter and will be assigned to an Ordinary. A priest is addressed as The Reverend Father X.
7. Bishops are men consecrated to the Episcopate. They can perform all ecclesiastical duties and confer all Holy Orders; they may also administer Confirmation. A bishop is addressed as The Most Reverend X, or in speech as Bishop [Christian name].
8. The consecration of a bishop is valid when performed by at least one bishop and witnessed. A photographic record of the key stages in the ceremony should also be kept. All Bishops must be in valid Apostolic Succession through the Antiochean line.
9. All clergy below the rank of bishop shall be assigned to an Ordinary who will be responsible for their pastoral advice and guidance as required.
10. Clergy in the First Class who wish to accept any lay or ordained office in another communion concurrently with their position in this Order must first seek the permission of the General Chapter.
11. Clergy in the Second Class normally serve bivocationally. The specific restrictions on such bivocational service are that:
a. they may not serve in any body that confesses a position on Faith that is substantially different from that of the Order;
b. they may not serve in any body that includes clergy who have been excommunicated or deprived of faculties for disciplinary cause from the Order or any of its associated communions, or that admits such clergy to sacramental roles as visitors.
12. All clergy shall keep a criminal record background check on file with the Order at all times, and must produce this as a condition of admission to ordination or incardination.
13. Members of clergy in the First Class commit to a minimum term of service of five years under the terms of their Oath of Canonical Obedience. During that minimum term, the member concerned may not request excardination to another communion.
a. A member of clergy who is still within the minimum term concerned but nevertheless feels unable in conscience to continue in ministry under the aegis of the Order may ask to be placed on the Inactive List and will remain there until the expiry of his minimum term.
14. The Superior-General may confer, and the General Chapter may recommend to the Superior-General that he confer, emeritus or honorary titles on clergy who have performed signal service to the Order. The Valiant Order of St John the Baptist is the Order’s main means of such recognition.
X. ORDINATION AND INCARDINATION
1. In conformity with Statute IV:7, all candidates for ordination or incardination must normally have received the unanimous approval of the General Chapter.
2. A candidate for ordination shall have made proper application and shall have provided evidence of his religious and secular qualifications along with details of suitability for ordination and a criminal background check. He must provide evidence that he has been baptised and confirmed. The Order looks for candidates well versed in the Catholic faith, with a clearly expressed vocation, and whose ministerial intentions are such that the Order is an appropriate vehicle for that vocation. In selecting any candidate for ordination, the Order will have regard to its available resources, which may limit the number of otherwise suitable applicants who can be accepted in practice. In particular, candidates cannot generally be ordained in a country where effective episcopal oversight cannot be offered.
3. The Order does not usually ordain persons with serious criminal convictions, even in the event that the person concerned can show that he has taken sincere steps to reform his life since being released from gaol. In the case of minor or spent criminal convictions the discretion of the General Chapter will apply as to whether the candidate can be approved.
4. All candidates for Holy Orders must complete appropriate educational prerequisites before they can be ordained priest. These are defined by the Order as a standard of theological education that is a first degree in theology, or its equivalent. Candidates may meet these prerequisites by demonstrating prior theological studies at legitimate institutions, or by demonstrating ministerial service that has clearly shown them to have an adequate educational background for the proper discharge of the duties of ministry.
a. All candidates are encouraged to continue their theological education after receiving Holy Orders. Evidence of such commitment to personal development shall normally be looked for in any candidate for the Episcopate. As a guideline, a candidate for the Episcopate must demonstrate through proven accomplishment that his professional standing in ministry is equivalent to the doctoral level.
b. Candidates for Holy Orders will not be debarred from the completion of educational prerequisites for financial reasons wherever possible.
5. Candidates who wish to incardinate from other churches must produce Letters of Excardination from their current and any previous denomination in the case of members in the First Class, and a Letter of No Objection in the case of members in the Second Class. They will be required to explain fully their reasons for wishing to incardinate, and may be required to complete additional educational prerequisites. They may be required to be reordained subconditionally. Candidates will not be incardinated where it is not possible to offer effective episcopal oversight in the country concerned. The Order does not recognise any form of ordination that is not conducted physically by the laying on of hands by a bishop in the Apostolic Succession.
a. Bishops are permitted to incardinate, but particular conditions may be attached to their admission.
6. Holy Orders are bestowed in public services at which the Mass is celebrated. Those wishing to become candidates for Holy Orders should be aware that they may be required to travel to a country in which bishops of the Order are resident in order to be ordained. The bishops of the Order are not usually able to accept invitations to travel overseas for the purpose of conducting services of ordination. For all new clergy the first year is probationary, and permanent faculties are issued upon satisfactory completion of that year.
7. Once Holy Orders are bestowed, they are permanent and cannot be resigned. However, clergy wishing to return to lay life may execute an Instrument of Resignation from Active Ministry if they wish, which will enable them to remain within the Order as retired or inactive clergy. Clergy should also have regard to the provisions of Statute IX:13 with respect to minimum terms of service and their effects.
8. Clergy wishing to resign from the Order in order to exercise their ministry in another denomination must apply to the General Chapter for an Instrument of Excardination subject first to the terms of Statute IX:13.
a. They are reminded that any form of re-ordination to the Holy Orders they have previously received that is not specifically conducted sub conditione is inherently blasphemous.
b. The admission of a person who is either under canonical obedience to this Order, or who is under the penalty of excommunication or other grave sanction imposed by the Order, to any other communion without Letters of Excardination having first been issued is regarded as a grave ecclesiastical discourtesy. This Order will not admit a communion that acts in this manner to any form of dialogue or theological co-operation, nor will it permit its members to serve in that communion bivocationally.
1. The General Chapter may appoint a member or non-member of the Order to act as Treasurer. The Treasurer shall be responsible to the General Chapter. He or she shall maintain accounts for the Order and shall present these at regular intervals. He or she will not be responsible for the accounts of individual communities, parishes or clergy.
2. No member of the Order’s clergy shall be entitled to receive any form of stipend or emolument whatsoever from the Order in recompense for their membership or service within the Order, and nor will the Order be responsible for the individual expenses of clergy. All clergy are to be fully self-supporting and shall offer their service to the Order voluntarily and without expectation of financial reward. They shall be responsible for their own tax affairs and in respect of any activities, such as community, parish, wedding or funeral ministry, for which they may receive donations, are considered by the Order to be self-employed.
3. Clergy must remit an annual Oblation to the Order, in amount to be fixed from time to time, in order to remain in good standing. Clergy who are retired or on fixed incomes may be fully or partly exempted from this requirement at the discretion of the Superior-General.
4. Clergy and mission communities undertaking public ministry may solicit financial contributions from their community or parish in order to support the clergy, and some communities or parishes may be in a position to pay their clergy a stipend. Clergy shall not make their ministry conditional on receiving financial contributions, providing however that they shall not be required to offer ministry if it is not possible to cover their normal expenses in doing so. Such financial contributions shall be accepted by the relevant authorities of the parish or community on behalf of the clergyman, community or parish concerned and not on behalf of the Order.
5. It is strongly recommended that all communities and parishes that wish to solicit financial contributions should appoint their own treasurer, and that their treasurer should be responsible to the organising committee or council of the community or parish concerned. All such accounts are wholly independent of the Order and are the responsibility of the community or parish concerned solely. Whether or not a treasurer is appointed, all clergy must keep proper records of offerings received in the course of ministry and of the expenditure of those offerings. Such records shall be made available for inspection on request by the General Chapter or their deputed officers.
6. Clergy may also solicit a donation for the performance of the following services: funerals; blessings; healing ministry such as exorcisms; baptisms. They shall reduce their suggested donation in the event of proven financial need, though they will not be obliged to perform a service without their expenses such as travel and materials having been covered. For the funerals of babies and very young children, clergy should seek to cover expenses only.
7. Where an offering is given to a clergyman for a specific purpose, it shall be used for that purpose provided said purpose is not contrary to the law.
8. All clergy shall exercise integrity in their handling of money and specifically in the handling of money in the context of their ministry.
9. Clergy may discuss donations to specific works of the Order outside of the immediate concerns of their community or parish when potential donors wish to initiate such a discussion. A report of this discussion must be sent to the clergyman’s Ordinary who will determine whether the donation should be accepted and what conditions, if any, should attach to its acceptance.
10. The General Chapter shall have discretion to hear any proceedings relating to finance as those proceedings relate to the conduct of individual members of clergy or the Order as a whole, but shall not have responsibility for the financial affairs of autonomous communities, parishes or other external ministries of the clergy.
XII. RELATIONS WITH OTHER CHURCHES
1. The Order is not in communion with the Holy See as a result of the provisions of the 1870 Council of the Vatican that separated the Holy See from the true expression of the Catholic Faith as understood by the Church since her foundation. The Order thus consists of faithful Catholics who recognize and abjure the errors into which the Holy See has fallen, and earnestly desire and pray for Reunion with the Holy See at such a time as the Holy See shall recognize and repent of those errors. The Order is not in communion with the Syrian Orthodox Church (Patriarchate of Antioch) as a result of the decision of that church to repudiate communion with the Old Catholic clergy of its succession that was promulgated in 1938. The validity of the Holy Orders of the Order of Antioch has been conceded by the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, which is recognized as the parent body of the Order, and a cordial relationship of dialogue exists with that church. However, no agreement of intercommunion, nor any formal or concordat relationship, currently exists in this regard.
a. The person of the Pope is held in respect and prayers are offered for him at each Mass. The Order does not endorse the modes of belief known as sedevacantism, sedeprivationism or conclavism, nor does it regard these beliefs as compatible with its membership.
b. The Order is not schismatic according to the canonical definition of this term. Canon 751 of the current Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church provides that “schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.” This definition does not apply to the Order. The Order has never refused to submit to the Pope. The Order is not at present under his jurisdiction, but that does not mean that if it was not asked by proper authority to submit as a body to a just ruling of his that it would necessarily refuse that command. The Order does not cut itself off from those in communion with the Pope; by contrast it is only too happy to share in Christian fellowship and in the sacramental life with them when opportunity permits.
c. It has only been since the Decree of the Holy Office of 9 August 1951 that excommunication ipso facto has been applicable to episcopal consecrations performed illicitly, that is to say without the permission of the Holy See and a resultant Papal mandate. The Code of Canon Law of 1917 provides that the penalty for illicit consecrations shall be suspension, not excommunication: “Ipso iure suspensi sunt, donec sedes Apostolica eos dispenaverit” – “They are suspended by the law itself, until the Apostolic See dispenses them.” [Canon 2370, CC 1917.1). It is only possible for men who have previously been members of the Roman Catholic Church to be subject to these penalties; those whose background is in other communions, including Old Catholicism, are not affected by them. The lineage of the Order dates to a consecration that occurred without Papal mandate (but with such a mandate from the Syrian Orthodox Church) in the nineteenth-century, and thus antedates both of the above provisions.
2. The Order may execute agreements of intercommunion with fellow communities. In doing so, it will look for a substantially identical position on faith and for a canonical (as distinct from Apostolic) descent of the given community from an established historic communion.
a. No communion shall be entitled to state that it is in intercommunion with the Order unless a specific written agreement exists in support of this.
b. The Order does not recognise “chains” of intercommunion, and holds that each church is autonomous as to its links of intercommunion.
3. In order for the Order to recognise any sacrament as valid within its own boundaries, that sacrament must have been celebrated with the proper form and intent by a sacramental minister who has been ordained in the Apostolic Succession.
4. Clergy of the Order may if they wish accept invitations to preach or minister in churches that hold the Apostolic Succession. They may if they wish accept invitations to concelebrate the Eucharist with ministers of other churches who are ordained in the Apostolic Succession.
a. Clergy are always recommended to seek the guidance of their Ordinary in advance on all such matters, particularly where they involve churches with which the Order is not in intercommunion.
5. Clergy of the First Class of the Order may if they wish choose to accept invitations to preach in churches not holding the Apostolic Succession, but they may not accept invitations to concelebrate the Eucharist with ministers who are not Apostolically ordained.
a. Since these areas can involve significantly divergent views on fundamental matters of faith and practice, clergy are always recommended to seek the guidance of their Ordinary in advance, particularly if they are inexperienced in such matters.
6. Clergy of the Order may if they wish accept invitations to participate in ecumenical and inter-church projects with other Christian churches and communities, providing they are compatible with the position on faith held by the Order. They may participate in local or regional committees that have been established to represent different religious groups (including non-Christians) within a particular area, but should have care to ensure that they do not compromise their witness in so doing.
a. These matters can require considerable sensitivity and all clergy who wish to be involved in this work must satisfy their Ordinary in advance that they have undergone sufficient training and are appropriately experienced.
7. Having first obtained the consent of the General Chapter, one or more bishops of the First Class of the Order may participate in the ordination of a deacon or priest, or the consecration of a bishop, in and for another church with which the Order is in intercommunion.
a. No member of clergy in the First Class of the Order may participate in the ordination or consecration of any member of clergy for another church without first having sought and gained the explicit written consent of the General Chapter. “Participation” in this case is defined as being present in any capacity within the Sanctuary. Permission is not required to be present at such a service solely as a member of the congregation without taking an active role in the ordination itself.
b. No member of clergy in the Second Class of the Order shall participate in a service of ordination or consecration at which:
(i) any participant in the service is a former member of the Order, without first obtaining the permission of the General Chapter;
(ii) any participant in the service is a member of the Order who has not obtained the permission of the General Chapter for his participation;
(iii) the ordinand or consecrand is a person who has been removed from membership, excommunicated or censured for disciplinary cause by any church or other body that is in intercommunion with the Order, or who is a member of a church or other body that includes such persons among its clergy or customary ecclesiastical visitors.
c. Members in the First Class as a matter of canonical obedience are reminded that they may not participate in any service that involves the ordination of a woman to the priesthood or her consecration to the Episcopate; members in the Second Class are not bound by canonical obedience but should have proper regard to the nature of their moral obligations as a member of the Order. This is a disciplinary issue within the Order and not in any respect a commentary on the validity of the ordination of women.
8. In accepting any invitation from another church or community, clergy of the Order shall have regard to the principle of mutual respect in interdenominational relations. This principle requires that there should be a mutual understanding and respect for the theology and polity of each church or community involved, such that although significant differences may exist, there is an agreement that such differences should be put aside during the given occasion, in as far as is possible, in the interests of ecumenical relations and fellowship. However, clergy should avoid placing themselves in situations where they are deemed to have consented or to have given implied consent to teachings which are against their conscience or against the fundamental principles of these Statutes.
a. The Order does not seek to proselytise or convert others to its beliefs in its relations with other communities and no member of clergy should seek to use such opportunities for these purposes.
b. No member of clergy of the Order should feel under pressure to discuss the affairs of the Order beyond the normal bounds of such discussion with the public.
c. Although members of clergy of the Order should not deny or deliberately conceal their clerical status at any point, nor allow any misunderstanding as to their status to go uncorrected, they are not obliged to declare that status openly in situations where to do so would in their judgement be inappropriate or undiplomatic.
XIII. CLERGY DRESS
1. Clergy are required to wear appropriate vesture when administering the Sacraments, and should dress appropriately when taking funerals, visiting the sick and appearing at any other function where they are to offer ministry.
a. It is the free choice of the clergyman concerned as to whether he wishes to wear clerical dress when not exercising such functions. There is no obligation that clergy should wear clerical dress “on the street” or when undertaking secular responsibilities. Equally, for some clergy, it is recognised that the wearing of clerical dress is in itself a form of ministry.
2. The clergy shirt shall consist of a shirt with contrasting white collar, or a white shirt with white collar. The clerical shirt may be in any colour. The “tunnel collar” or “Roman collar” or alternative collar style is acceptable providing the collar is white and contrasts with any other colour used for the body of the shirt. Any member of the clergy may wear a pectoral cross, although for those below the order of bishop this should be discreet and not overly demonstrative. Devotional medals may be worn if wished. The insignia of the Order can be worn where appropriate.
3. Cassocks may be worn as part of the dress of clergy in the Order. The cassock should be black, with matching cincture. The Superior-General is entitled to wear a scarlet choir cassock. Bishops may wear a black cassock piped with red, with a rose-purple cincture. Bishops may wear a choir cassock of rose-purple piped with red. The Roman style of cassock should be used; the Sarum style is strongly discouraged.
4. Members entitled to do so may wear a mozzetta bearing the embroidered insignia of the Order.
5. Useful instructions for proper clerical dress and the use of vestments at the celebration of Mass, along with details of liturgical colours and much other relevant information are provided at http://www.sanctamissa.org in respect of the Tridentine Mass.
XIV. INSIGNIA OF THE ORDER
XV. CODE OF PRACTICE CONCERNING CHILD PROTECTION
The purpose of this policy is to protect children who may come into contact with clergy of the Order in the context of ministry, and to ensure that clergy can work within a supportive framework that sets out clear guidelines for their actions.
2. Criminal Record checks
Every member of clergy of the Order shall, if based in the United Kingdom, be required at the time of application for ordination or incardination to produce a recent check obtained from the Disclosure and Barring Service and/or the Police National Computer. For clergy based outside the United Kingdom, and where no equivalent national or state system for the provision of criminal record checks exists, they shall be required to provide a notarized affidavit affirming that they have not been convicted of any criminal offence.
No person who has been placed on the Sex Offenders Register or convicted of any sexual offence, shall be admitted to any form of ministry involving children.
In the event of non-sexual minor criminal offences (such as driving offences) the discretion of the communion concerned shall apply in any decision to allow the person concerned to be admitted to ministry. Advice and guidance on such matters is available from the General Chapter on a confidential basis.
In ministering to children and young people below the age of eighteen, all members of clergy of the Order shall ensure that they are accompanied by a second responsible adult at all times. If the second responsible adult is not present, ministry may not take place.
In the event that a member of clergy of the Order participates in the running of any youth organisation such as a club or Bible study group, they shall ensure that a register of attendance is kept of each meeting. If the group consists of members of both sexes, the second responsible adult present shall be of the opposite sex to the clergyman.
4. Avoidance of false allegations
Clergy shall conduct themselves in such a way as not to facilitate the making of false allegations by young people. In particular, in the event that they are placed in a situation where they feel that their integrity is at risk, they shall have the full support of the General Chapter in immediately removing themselves from that situation or activity. Clergy must not give lifts to children and young people under the age of eighteen without a second responsible adult being present.
5. Child protection policies of other organisations
Clergy will observe the child protection policies of other organisations when involved in activities within those organisations.
6. Designated child protection officer
Each mission or parish of the Order must appoint a member of clergy as its designated child protection officer.
Approved this first day of September in the year of Our Lord two thousand and twelve:
Prince-Abbot of San Luigi
Superior-General of the Order of Antioch