OSMTH in Brazil

The Grand Priory of Brazil of the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem) has recently launched its new website at https://www.osmthbrasil.org The website contains many informative texts and video presentations on subjects of interest.

The OSMTH is in treaty partnership with the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi and the Grand Priory of Brazil includes a description of the Abbey-Principality in its website.

In Brazil, the Grand Priory of the OSMTH has built a Templar Complex dedicated to the Spiritual Cavalry of St John the Baptist, located in Santa Maria, Carangola, Minas Gerais. It is built of stone following the medieval model and consists of three parts: (1) the Temple of Saint John the Baptist, built in the shape of an octagon, like the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, where the Order was born. This is where private meetings take place; (2) the Candle Room of Arms of Grandmaster Dom Fernando Campello Pinto Pereira de Souza Fontes, where the postulants are received for the first time, before their initiation; and (3) the Chapel of Santa Maria Madalena, built in the shape of a cross (like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Gothic Cathedrals built in Europe by the Order), which is where the Public Ceremonies are held. Everyone is welcome at the complex, regardless of their religious beliefs.


Death of Archbishop Paul Lorentzen

Archbishop Lorentzen (left) with Archbishop Paget Mack of the AEC at his consecration at St Lucy’s Cathedral in New York in 2014

The Apostolic Episcopal Church has been informed of the death of the Most Revd. Paul Lorentzen, who served as Archbishop of the Province of the East in the Apostolic Episcopal Church between 2015 and 2019. He died of cancer on 5 July at the age of 71.

Paul Lorentzen was a graduate of McKee High School and following his Associate of Science degree earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion and a Master of Divinity degree from Faith Evangelical College and Seminary, Tacoma, Washington. He followed this with a PhD in Christian Counseling for substance abuse.

His secular career ended with the position of plant superintendent of The South Beach Psychiatric Center, from which he retired in 2001. Thereafter he pursued his religious vocation and was ordained priest in the North American Lutheran Church. He pastored various Lutheran churches in New York, including St Paul’s Lutheran, Brooklyn, Immanuel Lutheran, and Eltingville Lutheran Church, Staten Island.

He came to know the late Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan of the Order of Corporate Reunion, who was in communion with the Apostolic Episcopal Church. Archbishop Brennan duly ordained him deacon and priest and he joined the OCR. In addition to his other ministerial responsibilities he served as a deacon in the Association of Independent Evangelical Lutheran Churches (which was also in communion with the AEC) at St George’s Astoria. During this period he was also supply clergy for the Episcopal Church on Staten Island. On June 20, 2014, he was consecrated bishop by bishop Alan Stanford, assisted by bishops Gregory Raeppel and George Jachimczyk. Bishop Stanford was consecrated by Archbishop Maxey, formerly Primate of the AEC.

In 2014, Archbishop Francis Spataro announced his retirement as Primate of the Apostolic Episcopal Church. Paul Lorentzen was admitted to the Apostolic Episcopal Church and conditionally consecrated bishop by Archbishop Spataro assisted by Archbishop Brennan and Archbishop Paget Mack of the AEC at St Lucy’s Old Roman Catholic Cathedral on 30 December 2014. He was appointed Provincial of the East when Archbishop Spataro retired on 5 February 2015, served as a Deputy to the Primate, and received the honorary degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology from the AEC. As a result of Archbishop Brennan’s efforts, he was also appointed a Delegate at the United Nations to represent the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II.

During 2015, Archbishop Lorentzen accepted the Lutheran pastorate of Transfiguration Church on Staten Island, New York, where he also ran a men’s ministry called Transfiguration Life Together. It was further intended that an Evangelical Catholic mission for the AEC should develop there, but this unfortunately did not happen. Archbishop Lorentzen also wished to extend his existing work in the Episcopal Church by becoming certified with them so that he could go on their regular call roster for Staten Island, but again this came to nothing.

The death of Archbishop Brennan in 2016 seems to have marked a turning-point in Archbishop Lorentzen’s ministry. Archbishop Lorentzen was in attendance upon him during his last days and gave him Holy Communion on his deathbed, Most of the former ecumenical activity that had been associated with the OCR, and with which the AEC had also been closely involved, came to an end. When the AEC reasserted its own representation of the Order of Corporate Reunion in 2017, Archbishop Lorentzen was supportive of this action, but it was difficult to escape the impression that his priorities were now elsewhere.

By February 2019, Archbishop Lorentzen’s ministry had developed to the extent that it was now wholly centred upon the Lutheran Church, giving rise to concerns that while he continued to hold senior office in the AEC, this had now become purely a nominal appointment. It was clearly not in the best interests of anyone that this situation should continue, and accordingly he resigned from the AEC and the OCR and thereafter devoted himself to the Lutheran ministry.

He was past master of Tompkins Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons No. 471, and Lodge No. 66, and a member of Nansen Lodge Sons of Norway on Staten Island.

He was passionate about rescued Pit Bull dogs, and they were his constant companions.

Memory Eternal!

Kabalega Foundation

The Abbey-Principality of San Luigi commends its members and visitors to support the Kabalega Foundation, a charitable and commemorative institution which has been established in the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara in memory of His late Majesty Omukama Chwa II Kabalega. H.M. Omukama Chwa II Kabalega, then the absolute ruler of the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, was responsible for the re-establishment of the Abbey of San Luigi in 1885 and bestowed upon Prince-Abbot Joseph II the title of Mukungu of the Ancient Abbey-Principality of San Luigi (Fizzan), which is held by his successor today.

The Foundation’s activities include civic advocacy and engagement, cultural research and development, environmental protection, and health, water, sanitation and hygiene.

There is also much historical information at the Foundation’s website. The Fact File about H.M. Omukama Chwa II Kabalega recounts the history of the King’s generosity towards the Abbey-Principality, saying,

In 1885 Kabaleega signed a diplomatic agreement with the Abbey Principality of San Luigi (Fezzan), in which he formally recognised the Prince-Abbot and granted the monks territory in Bunyoro. On March 15, 1885, Kabaleega conferred upon the Prince-Abbot the title of “Mukungu (Prince Governor) of the Chieftainship of the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi (Fizzan)” (incorrectly transcribed “Makougos” in a number of later documents). This marked the beginning of the diplomatic relationship between Bunyoro and the Principality, which has continued to-date.

The monks, who had travelled from Fezzan (Libya) through Sudan, remained in Bunyoro until 1888 when an epidemic of tropical fever left Prince-Abbot José II the only survivor; he therefore closed the Abbey in Bunyoro and returned to Europe.

The Principality of San Luigi is a traditional Catholic sovereign principality. It was founded on St Louis’ Day, August 25, 1883, at Ghadames in the Touareg-Azgar country (Tripolitania-Fezzan, now part of modern Libya) by members of the Benedictine Order, with the Rev. Fr Dom Henrice Pacomez elected the first Prince-Abbot and recognised as such by the French government and the Roman Catholic Church. The dignity of Prince-Abbot is of the same character as the Papal titles of prince-abbot and prince-bishop which historically carried with them territorial sovereignty.

An exciting discovery in France

Mgr. Raphaël Steck, our Prior for France, informs us that he was recently contacted by the “Librairie au Coin Littéraire” bookshop in Strasbourg where an exciting discovery had been made. The book in question is a Roman Missal dated 1702 – in itself a beautiful work.

However, it soon emerged that this Missal had once belonged to Prince-Abbot Joseph III. It bears his photograph, signature, stamp and dry seal. His signature is given as “J.R. Vilatte, Archevêque-Metropolitain”. This remarkable missal has been acquired and will be housed at the Centre Misericorde at Lingolsheim, which is the home of the Union Apostolique Gallicane and the French Priory of the San Luigi Orders.

Treaty with the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (O.S.M.T.H.)

The Abbey-Principality of San Luigi has entered into a Treaty of Friendship and Collaboration with the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (O.S.M.T.H.)

The Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem) continues the Templar tradition that was revived in France in 1705, reconstituted under Bernard Raymond Fabré-Palaprat in 1804, and recognized by the Emperor Napoléon I in 1805. It was under the leadership of Grand Master Fernando Campello Pinto Pereira de Sousa Fontes between 1960 and 2018. The present Grand Master is Fra Albino Neves.

The Prince-Abbot is a Knight Grand Cross of the Order.

The Italian Magistral Delegation of the Order maintains a website at http://www.cavalieritemplariosmth.it

New partnerships with the Collegium Heraldicum Concordiæ, Poland

The International College of Arms of the Noblesse and the Institute of Arts and Letters (London) have entered into new reciprocal Treaties of Collaboration, Partnership and Recognition with the Collegium Heraldicum Concordiæ in Poland. The CHC was founded in 2009 to promote traditional and conservative values within society and is led by the Fizzan King of Arms of the Abbey-Principality, Dr Norbert Wójtowicz.

Death of Fr. James Phillips

The Abbey-Principality has been informed of the recent death of Fr. James Phillips, quondam Member of Supreme Council of San Luigi and Vicar-General of the Order of Antioch, at the age of seventy-six.

The Prince-Abbot writes:

James Vincent Alfred Phillips was raised in the hamlet of High Garrett, close to Braintree, Essex. He studied music privately, gave concerts as a musician, and took up a series of teaching appointments as a peripatetic instrumental teacher, classroom teacher of music, and organist and choirmaster. His range as a musician was wide; principally an organist and harpsichordist, he also taught a variety of other instruments. For a short period, he was also an occupational therapist at Severalls psychiatric hospital in Colchester.

While teaching at a preparatory school at Westbury, Northants., in 1969, he came into contact with the late Archbishop Charles Brearley of the Old Holy Catholic Church, who he remembered as a kind and generous man. Brearley ordained him to the subdiaconate and diaconate in the school chapel, and through his Ministerial Training College conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Music on the basis of the submission of a Mass setting and an anthem composed by Phillips. Brearley also arranged for Phillips to receive the same degree conferred ad eundem by the National University in Canada under Archbishop Earl Anglin James. Although both educational institutions were heavily criticized by opponents of Old Catholicism, I was able in later years to reassure Phillips that his degrees had been legally granted according to the laws in force at that time, and that, since they had been based on solid work, he need have no qualms about using them. Brearley was also Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, and admitted Phillips as a Knight Commander of that Order.

In the 1970s, Phillips came to know Bishop Francis Glenn of the Old Catholic Church of England, later the Catholic Episcopal Church. Bishop Glenn was a clergyman of a rather different order from Brearley, and did not accept that Phillips had been validly ordained. He tonsured him in 1973 and it would not be until 1975 that he was advanced to the minor orders and the diaconate de novo. Thereafter, Phillips remained with Bishop Glenn’s church until its closure in 1994. He had fond memories of services at the former chapel at Crystal Palace railway station as well as at other Old Catholic chapels in and around London.

In 1976, Phillips (who was then using the name James Thompson-Phillips) established the Hughendon School of Music which was run from rented premises in Dulwich, south London. According to the advertisement in The Musical Times, this offered “courses and studies in all musical subjects; preparation for musical examinations; O and A level music courses; diplomas, degrees; recitals: consultation lessons; General Studies department and English for foreign students”. Despite this wide scope, the School failed to recruit students.

During these years, Phillips also developed a friendship with Fr. George Tull of the Old Roman Catholic Church of Great Britain, who was then living in retirement. Fr. Tull was the representative for the San Luigi Orders in Great Britain and a member of Supreme Council of San Luigi. After the death of Prince-Abbot Edmond II in 1998, he was left as the only surviving member of Supreme Council, and appointed Phillips to that body in 1999. Phillips inherited from Tull the latter’s extensive file of documentation and correspondence with Prince-Abbots Edmond I and Edmond II, which would prove invaluable in the work of revival that was to come.

With the closure of Bishop Glenn’s church, Phillips was received into the Old Roman Catholic Church of Great Britain. He was ordained de novo for the third time to the diaconate on 31 March 1994 by Archbishop Douglas Titus Lewins and then ordained priest by him on 23 July 1994. In the late 1990s, Phillips formed the Benedictine-influenced Sitio Community, based on the south coast of England, and with a special mission to care for those suffering from HIV/AIDS. This was registered as a charity in 1999 but removed as having ceased to exist in 2005.

In 1998, Archbishop Lewins reconciled with the Holy See and Phillips was appointed Administrator of the ORCCGB. Unfortunately, the ensuing years were largely concerned with the end of viable worship in the remaining churches of the ORCCGB and the consequent closure and sale of buildings. Foremost among these was the sale of the Pro-Cathedral at Wittering, Cambridgeshire. This had suffered a serious decline in worshipping numbers, since the end of the Cold War had resulted in the departure of most of the American servicemen who had been stationed at the nearby RAF base. On 12 May 2000, Phillips also issued a Notice of Redundancy and Disposal in respect of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Penge, but this became moot in the light of subsequent events.

In 2001, Phillips went to Burkina Faso for several months to undertake missionary work. By this time, the ORCCGB had effectively ceased activity and its remaining clergy were working in other churches. The registered charity that had represented the church since 1965 was removed in 2005, having ceased to exist.

In 2006, Archbishop Lewins expressed a wish to resume his office in the ORCCGB and Phillips, as Administrator, reappointed him to the Primacy. However, Phillips resigned from the jurisdiction immediately following this, and made an approach to the Church of England seeking incardination. This course of action was not pursued when the Church of England made it clear that it would require Phillips to undergo the usual course of theological study expected of ordinands.

Phillips eventually rejoined the ORCCGB, which was enjoying a period of purposeful ministry with new links forged both at home and abroad. In the ensuing years, Phillips visited the United States, where he met with Archbishop John Joseph Humphries and other clergy of the ORCCGB and helped bring about closer relations between the different branches of the Old Roman Catholic Church.

When the revival of the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi was proposed, Phillips became one of the key figures because of his position as the only surviving member of Supreme Council. He appointed further members and in due course presided over the election of the present Prince-Abbot to office. He was among the first Trustees of the San Luigi Orders Charitable Trust, and took administrative responsibility for the running of the Trust. He also served as Vice-Chancellor of the Abbey-Principality.

Phillips was a man of great personal charm and intelligence, and had a deep and genuine religious vocation, but his restless and somewhat impulsive nature meant that he was never greatly amenable to order and discipline. During the 1970s, he moved constantly from one job to another and also moved up and down the country, sometimes pursued by creditors. This brought about some regrettable press publicity at a time when Old Catholic clergy were seen as easy targets in some quarters of the tabloids. He was also a great raconteur and teller of tall tales. On reflection, I found that what he said to me about the Church and his vocation was generally truthful and unembellished (and was confirmed by documentation and other corroborative evidence), whereas what he said and claimed about his musical career sometimes included some obvious and embarrassing untruths.

Eventually, he achieved a greater degree of stability, and met the man who would be his close companion throughout his later years. He remained busy professionally, and was still providing peripatetic music tuition in schools through the local authority music service well into his seventies. He undertook a range of voluntary work over the years and had good relations with several well-regarded charities.

In 2013, differences between Phillips and the ORCCGB concerning aspects of practice and mission reached a point of crisis. It was agreed in a spirit of friendship between the ORCCGB and San Luigi that he should transfer from the ORCCGB to the Order of Antioch, in which he was appointed to Membership in the First Class and further as Vicar-General in July 2013. There were plans to establish a mission in Bethnal Green, east London, which were enthusiastically supported by me, but these were abandoned after the chapel in question was closed indefinitely on safety grounds due to roof damage. After this, there was for some time a joint mission on the south coast with a fellow Benedictine who was also briefly a member of the Order of Antioch. On a number of occasions, Phillips showed himself to be a most able master of ceremonies, and his close interest in liturgy and ceremonial had clearly been the product of considerable study and training.

Unfortunately, it was not long before Phillips was as dissatisfied with life in the Order of Antioch as he had been within the ORCCGB, and after his proposals for a complete re-organization of the jurisdiction had fallen on stony ground in March 2014, my reply to him would include the following observations,

It is difficult to avoid the overall impression from what you say that you are unhappy in your vocation with us, and I think this is probably the key issue that we need to address rather than concentrating our attention upon particular details. Many clergy in the Old Catholic movement wish for something that is not realistically available to them. When they come to the realization that it is not available, their response is too often to blame their denomination for not being something that it had, in fact, never claimed to be. Both ++Andrew and I have enjoyed working with you during the past eight months. We have valued your work, your commitment and your contribution to our jurisdiction. I believe we have developed a good personal understanding between us and, all things being equal, we would have certainly wished to see this continue into the future. However, if it has come to the point where you believe your vocation is better expressed within another denomination, or indeed outside of any affiliation, then it is better that we are honest about that and that we should make arrangements for your canonical release from the jurisdiction and from your administrative responsibilities rather than risk the sort of rancour that can easily develop in those situations if they are suppressed.”

Following this, Phillips made no contact with us for a period of three months. However, Phillips returned after this period, and faced with his renewed pledges of support I decided to overlook the previous difficulties. When I was additionally elected to the primacy of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, a Continuing Anglican jurisdiction, Phillips was enthusiastic about the prospects that this offered and was incardinated as an Archpriest in a ceremony on 16 February 2015.

Less than a month later, I received a communication from Phillips that contained much in the way of wilful misunderstanding and essentially returned to the themes he had pursued almost exactly a year previously. This time, I was not inclined to prolong what was clearly an unsuitable affiliation for him, and granted him a full canonical release from my jurisdiction without penalty. In my letter to him and the Benedictine who had made common cause with him, I would write,

“With the benefit of hindsight, all we have managed to achieve is to delay the outcome I foresaw above for a year. The misunderstandings expressed by Fr. James concerning the Order of Antioch then have merely been extended to include equal misunderstandings concerning the Apostolic Episcopal Church now. This may explain to you why it was not difficult to arrive at a swift judgement as to what should be done in the current circumstances regarding his release from my jurisdiction.”

Shortly afterwards, and entirely unbidden by me, Phillips chose to return his insignia in the San Luigi Orders, which act was interpreted as definitively ending the long connexion he had had with those bodies and in which he had played such a key role.

This, however, was not to be the end of the story. In January 2016, Phillips wrote to me thanking me for my Christmas card, and going on to seek reinstatement and offer a fulsome and detailed apology for his earlier conduct. On this occasion, caution was urged upon me, and the offer that was made to Phillips at our ensuing meeting was that of reinstatement to the First Class of the Order of Antioch only, with any other office to be considered after a period of three months. This was not acceptable to Phillips, who took the view that he wanted all or nothing, and it was not long before the warm sentiments he had expressed in his letter of January were replaced by others familiar to me from his previous complaints. Nonetheless, he expressed the wish that we would continue to maintain friendly contact and collaboration on issues of mutual interest. Shortly afterwards, I was informed that he had moved from the south coast to Lincolnshire, but this was at a point when I was myself about to move away from the Fens, and in the event, we did not meet again.

Phillips was the sort of person who was difficult to dislike and it would be impossible to deny that he could be excellent company. He was personally generous and I well recall a meeting at Enfield that concluded with the gift of around twenty antique liturgical books, some of which were very rare. There was also a strong element of risk-taking to his character, and to be a passenger in a car driven by him was to take one’s life in one’s hands. In the history of the smaller churches, he was one of the last links to English Old Catholicism as it had been constituted some fifty years ago, and in some ways was rather typical of the sort of person who was drawn into the movement in those days.

The life of Fr. James Phillips reminds us that God does not always choose as clergy the most obvious candidates. Doubtless certain aspects of his character would have disqualified him for service in some other churches, but within the denominations he served he found his niche and at times served with distinction. May he rest in peace and rise in glory!