The Catholicate of the West has been informed of the recent death of the Most Reverend Nagui Youssef Zayat, Metropolitan of Brazil and Exarch for Latin America of the Byelorussian Patriarchate of St Andrew the First-Called Apostle after contracting COVID-19. He was seventy-two years old.
Nagui Youssef Zayat was born in Cairo, Egypt, on 5 March 1949. He became a member of the Byelorussian Slavic Orthodox Church Abroad under the late Archbishop Viktor Ivan Busa, which was part of the American World Patriarchates. This church built up a significant following in Brazil, and acquired the Cathedral of St George and St Sebastian in Rio de Janeiro (pictured below), where (as of 2021) about fifty families worshipped. Zayat was consecrated bishop there on 28 June 1991 and appointed diocesan bishop and eparch of Rio de Janeiro. He was promoted to archbishop and eparch of the same diocese on 30 November 1992, and to archeparch in 2002.
In 1995 he received appointment as Grand Cross of Justice with Collar of the Ordre Chevaleresque et Initiatique de la Couronne Atlantide de Mauretanie from its Grand Master, Dom Saul III Kaesar Augustus. In 2002, he was ennobled as Baron of St Nicholas of Myra by Kyr Athanasios Aloysios I. Both of these fontes honorum were descendants of formerly-reigning Roman dynasties. In 2015, Kyr Athanasios would promote him to Prince-Assistant of the Pro-Patriarchal Ecumenical Sacred Throne of the Aryas. In 2008, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Sovereign Catholic Orthodox Order of St Michael the Archangel of the Byelorussian Slavic Orthodox Church Abroad.
In Brazil, from 2006 onwards, the governance of the church was delegated by Patriarch Viktor to the late Patriarch Athanasius (Luiz Antonio do Nascimento) with Zayat serving as one of the two assistant bishops to the Patriarch. After the death of Patriarch Viktor in 2013 the jurisdiction united with the other American World Patriarchates Byelorussian body, the Byelorussian Orthodox National Church in Exile under Patriarch Yuri (Ryzy-Ryski). However, with the deaths within a short period of Patriarch Yuri in 2015 and Patriarch Athanasius in 2018, the American World Patriarchates were left without leadership and the Brazilian jurisdiction fragmented.
In this context, Dom Nagui made approach to the Byelorussian Patriarchate of St Andrew the First-Called Apostle in August 2019 and was received by incardination, whereupon he became a bishop of the Catholicate of the West and was appointed Metropolitan and Exarch, subsequently being further appointed as co-adjutor of the Patriarchate. He was further appointed to the Order of Corporate Reunion by Prince Edmond as its Prelate. His ministry continued to be successful, with expansion both in Brazil and other countries in Latin America, and a successful Synod was held at the Rio cathedral in December 2020. He was in regular touch with Prince Edmond and throughout his communications his steadfastness in the Faith and pastoral warmth towards others were always apparent. It was clear that he was both loved and respected and that his ministry touched many and was greatly valued within and beyond Rio de Janeiro.
The affiliation of the Cathedral and parishes in Brazil to the Patriarchate will continue after Dom Nagui’s passing and further details will be made available once the Brazilian Synod has met to elect his successor.
Our condolences go to his family at this difficult time.
About the author:
Rudolph Andries Ulrich JUCHTER VAN BERGEN QUAST, LLM, FSS is a lawyer and Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. He is the honorary president of the Family Association of the Barons von Quast (Familienverband der Freiherren von Quast), a Swiss Verein. Main interests: international law and finance, international relations, banking, statistics and the law, art, culture and history.
In earlier articles, I examined the fons honorum of certain historical dynasties, like the former monarchs of Georgia, Rwanda and Hawaii. This article investigates, from a legal perspective, the fons honorum of religious organizations to grant titles and awards. I will demonstrate that this fons honorum is based on religious freedom and the freedom of association. Although international law does not define religion, it does identify religion with conscience, and enumerates a number of manifestations of religion that are to be protected.
The freedom of religious manifestation
European legal perspective
Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), guarantees the freedom of thought, conscience and religion in relation to the State. From a European law perspective, there are three aspects to the aforementioned freedoms: internal, external and collective aspects.
Regarding the internal aspect, the aforementioned freedom is absolute. This freedom concerns deeply held ideas and convictions that are forged in a person’s individual conscience and therefore cannot in themselves prejudice public order. Therefore, these ideas and convictions cannot be subject to restrictions by State authorities.
With regard to the external aspect, the freedom is not absolute but relative. This freedom to manifest a person’s beliefs is limited, because it can affect or even threaten a country’s public order. While religious freedom is primarily a matter of individual conscience, it also implies, inter alia, freedom to “manifest [one’s] religion” alone and in private or in community with others, in public and within the circle of those whose faith one shares. Article 9 lists a number of forms which manifestation of one’s religion or belief may take, namely worship, teaching, practice and observance (European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia and Others v Moldova, judgment of 13 December 2001, ECHR Reports 2001-XII, § 114 et seq. and case-law cited).
Most of the rights recognised under Article 9 are individual rights that cannot be challenged. However, some of these rights may have a collective aspect. Accordingly, the ECtHR has recognised that a Church or ecclesiastical body may, as such, exercise on behalf of its members the rights guaranteed by Article 9 of the Convention (ECtHR, 12 June 2014, Martinez Fernandez v. Spain, Comm. 1104/2002, U.N. Doc. A/60/40, Vol. II, at 150 (HRC 2005).
Freedom of conscience and of religion does not protect each and every act or form of behaviour, motivated or inspired by a religion or a belief. In other words, Article 9 of the ECHR protects a person’s private sphere of conscience, but not always any public conduct inspired by that conscience. It does not allow general laws to be broken (Pichon and Sajous v. France (dec.), no. 49853/99, ECtHR 2001-X).
As religious communities traditionally and universally exist in the form of organized structures, Article 9 ECHR has to be interpreted in the light of Article 11 ECHR which safeguards associative life against unjustified state interference. Seen in this perspective, the believer’s right to freedom of religion includes the right of a religious community to function peacefully; free from arbitrary State intervention. This autonomous existence of religious communities is indispensable for pluralism in a democratic society and is thus an issue at the very heart of the protection which Article 9 affords (Hasan and Chaush v. Bulgaria [GC], no. 30985/96, § 62, ECtHR 2000-XI; Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia and Others, cited above, § 118; and Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Metropolitan Inokentiy) and Others v. Bulgaria, nrs. 412/03 and 35677/04, § 103, 22 January 2009).
There exist a vast number of cases where the ECtHR decided regarding the wearing of religious clothing and the use of symbols. Under Article 9(2) ECHR, the right to freely manifest one’s religion can only be restricted under certain cumulative conditions. These restrictions must (i) be prescribed by law; (ii) be necessary in a democratic society by fulfilling a pressing social need; (iii) have a legitimate aim (these aims are mentioned in Article 9(2) ECHR); and, (iv) the means used to achieve that aim must be proportionate and necessary. The right not to be discriminated against can, according to the ECHR, also be restricted under certain circumstances, where a similar justification test is applied. In addition, article 51(2) Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EUCFR), is a similar test that also applies to restrictions on the rights in Articles 10 and 21 EUCFR. The bans on the wearing of religious clothing or symbols are justified under Article 9(2) ECHR.
Global legal perspective
The freedom of religion or belief is also guaranteed by article 18 of the (mondial) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Regarding the use of religious expressions, the United Nations issued the following statements:
Art. 6 (c): The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, “To make, acquire and use to an adequate extent the necessary articles and materials related to the rites or customs of a religion or belief;”.
4 (b): The Commission on Human Rights urges States, “To exert the utmost efforts, in accordance with their national legislation and in conformity with international human rights law, to ensure that religious places, sites, shrines and religious expressions are fully respected and protected and to take additional measures in cases where they are vulnerable to desecration or destruction;”.
UN Commission on Human Rights, Resolution 2005/40 on Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, 19 April 2005
UN Commission on Human Rights, Resolution 2005/40 on Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, 19 April 2005
Para. 4: “The concept of worship extends to […] the display of symbols”.
Para. 4: “The observance and practice of religion or belief may include not only ceremonial acts but also such customs as […] the wearing of distinctive clothing or head coverings […].”
The aforementioned legal frameworks show that religious freedom and the liberty to manifest this freedom by symbols is a fundamental human right and protected by international law, that is incorporated by states in national law. In my opinion, religious freedom also includes the freedom to grant titles and awards when issued in the context of religious customs, symbols and honorifics. Therefore, the fundamental human rights of religious freedom combined with the freedom of association are the source of authority of religious groups for legally and legitimately granting such titles and awards.
Roman Catholic Church
At the age of 14, the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) left Salzburg to go on tours to Italy, accompanied by his father, the musician Leopold Mozart (1719-1787). Their principal destinations were Verona, Mantua, Cremona, Milan, Parma, Bologna, Florence and finally Rome, which he reached on 10 April 1770. When Pope Clement XIV was informed of the child prodigy, he received Mozart and his father in a private audience on their return from Naples two months later, on 4 July 1770. On that occasion, the Pope conferred the Order of the Golden Spur on young Mozart (Jahn, 1856, pp. 199-205; Cardinale 1983, pp. 35-42), thus making him a Papal Knight of the Golden Spur. The following day, Mozart received his official insignia, consisting of ‘a golden cross on a red sash, sword, and spurs,’ emblematic of honorary knighthood. In 1777, Mozart had his portrait painted with the star-encircled cross of the order on his coat.
The papal patent of 4 July 1770 for the award stated:
Inasmuch as it behoves the beneficence of the Roman Pontiff and the Apostolic See that those who have shown them no small signs of faith and devotion and are graced with the merits of probity and virtue, shall be decorated with the honours and favors of the Roman Pontiff and the said See.’
Vatican secret archives 2009, p. 183
It is interesting to examine the capacity in which the pope issued the diploma. Roman Pontiff refers to the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. An apostolic see is an episcopal see (a bishop’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction) of which the foundation is attributed to one or more of the apostles of Jesus or to one of their close associates. In Roman Catholicism, the apostolic see refers to the See of Rome. Therefore, both references to the fons honorum are of a religious nature. Although the Papal States on the Italian Peninsula were under the direct sovereign rule of the pope at that time, the fons honorum for the diploma is based on religion, instead of public law. It has an internal character within the church structures.
Currently, the Pontifical Orders of Knighthood are secular orders of merit of which the membership is conferred by a direct decision of the Pontiff. The diplomas given to recipients of the most popular Pontifical Orders, the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Sylvester Pope and Martyr (reorganised by Pope Pius X on his own initiative, motu proprio, “Multum ad excitandos” on 7 February 1905), and the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great (established on 1 September 1831, by Pope Gregory XVI), are issued in the capacity of pontifex maximus. Although this designation has been used in inscriptions referring to the Popes for some centuries, it has never been included in the official list of papal titles, which is published yearly in the Annuario Pontificio. The official list of titles of the Pope given in the Annuario Pontificio mentions “Supreme Pontiff of the whole Church” (in Latin, Summus Pontifex Ecclesiae Universalis) as the fourth title, the first being “Bishop of Rome“. The title pontifex maximus appears in inscriptions on religious buildings and on coins and medals. Awards are gazetted in Acta Apostolica Sedis, the Gazette of the Holy See. Diplomas of appointment are issued by the Secretariat of State. Papal knighthoods are personal. Perpetual succession is no longer granted.
The Order of Saint Sylvester is intended to honour Roman Catholic lay people who are actively involved in the life of the church, particularly as it is exemplified in the exercise of their professional duties and mastership of the different arts. According to Pope Gregory XVI’s Papal Brief of 1 September 1831, the Order of Saint Gregory is an order of merit to be bestowed on gentlemen of proven loyalty to the Holy See who, by reason of their nobility of birth and the renown of their deeds or the degree of their munificence, are deemed worthy to be honoured by a public expression of esteem by the Holy See (see: appendix 1, underlined sentence).
Clearly, the orders of knighthood focus on religious merit and are issued in a religious capacity. I have not seen an explicit reference to the capacity of the pope as sovereign of the Vatican State. The latter capacity is referred to as the temporal power of the church: the rule of the Church in earthly possessions and the authority of the Pope over civil territories belonging to the Church, as in the former Papal States. This power is an addition to his dominion in spiritual matters and becomes necessary if freedom from civil power is to be assured. The church’s temporal power is presently exercised in relation to the Vatican City State since the Lateran Treaty of 1929. The term may also refer to the exercise of political influence by the bishops formerly through landed estates and currently through financial and other means. The aforementioned orders of knighthood are not issued as part of the Vatican’s temporal power; they are awards, issued for religious merit and therefore have a religious nature.
Considering the foregoing, from both a historical and a legal perspective, for centuries, Popes have exercised their religious fons honorum to grant titles and awards. These awards have an internal effect. They are part of the religious structure of the Roman Catholic faith and are logically recognised as such by the Vatican City State. Other states may choose to either allow their citizens to wear them or to forbid them. The latter could be in breach of religious freedom, as guaranteed by international law.
Abbey-Principality of San Luigi
Since 1970, the Catholic population has nearly doubled, growing from about 650 million in 1970 to about 1.3 billion in 2020. The Church has circa 415.000 priests. As the world’s oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilization. It is interesting to compare this huge organization to a small religious group, like for example the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi, based in the United Kingdom.
The history of the Abbey-Principality, is described on its webpage:
The new scandal, the new nightmare, the tomb of the Pope’s Roman Catholic Moral Theology: aborted babies used for making COVID-19 Vaccines.
by Professor Luca Scotto di Tella de’ Douglas
Bioethics was born after the most terrible experiments made on prisoners during the Second World War II by the Nazis and the Japanese allied to the Nazis. Dr. Mengele and Dr. Ishii without any ethics, pity, mercy, or compassion tortured and killed a huge quantity of human beings who were used like guinea pigs. Now after some decades in the name of profit and for a few months of supposed protection – a shield from Covid 19 – we discovered the skeleton in the closet, the vaccines proposed as a great solution are based on the torture and death of innocent babies, aborted. Several vaccines are made in cells from foetuses aborted for example, decades ago. They include vaccines against rubella, hepatitis A, and chicken pox/shingles.
We don’t need to be saints in order to raise a firm ethical objection to this cruel and merciless, barbaric and inhuman trivialization and banalization of Human Life that, for profit and career is not any more considered as sacred but a mere tool for making money. The manufacture of this group of unethical vaccines using such ethically-tainted human cell lines demonstrates profound disrespect for the dignity of Human Life which for us comes from God and which deserves to be respected in depth. A true “hara kiri”, a suicide, was made by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life (that should after this be renamed FALLING) when it declared in 2005 and reaffirmed in 2017 that in the absence of alternatives, Catholics could, in “good conscience”, receive vaccines made using historical human fetal cell lines. This means that if there is a risk for health, a Roman Catholic can ask legally and with a pure conscience, to the scientist, to have a medicine (a vaccine is a medicine) without even asking how it was produced. If in that production they were partners in crime, accomplices in horrible acts such as abortions, who cares. This is something profound, serious and shameful that has nothing of Christianity about it; it is simply abominable even for a non-Christian and for an Atheist Man of Good Will.
The current Pope and the Vatican approve of Catholics receiving vaccines manufactured using human fetal cells by abortion “only” in the absence of alternatives but this is also equivalent to justifying the dirty trafficking of organs sold, for example by countries where the death penalty is in force and the organs of executed criminals are sold. The important thing is to get what you need, ethics are of no use, obviously, morality is something heavy and impractical, better to be cynical, selfish and not ask too many questions.
Let us ask ourselves this, would Jesus, the Christ, ever approve, in order to create a medicine, to have innocent babies killed in small pieces in the womb of Mothers? To order this butchery of fetuses and consciences?
The Apostolic Episcopal Church strongly condemns the purchase and use of aborted human foetal corpses for so-called “scientific” uses. The AEC firmly calls on drug companies to work to create ethical medicines and vaccines that reject certain shameful uses of Human Life.
The Synod of the Byelorussian Patriarchate of St Andrew the First-Called Apostle took place between 18-20 December at the Cathedral of St George and St Sebastian of the Patriarchate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The convenor of the Synod, representing H.S.H. the Prince of Miensk and Ecclesiast, was the Most Revd. Dom Nagui Zayat, Exarch of the Patriarchate. On the final day of the Synod, two new bishops were consecrated for the Patriarchate.
The Apostolic Episcopal Church, founded in 1925 in New York, USA, is a worldwide communion with unbroken succession from its foundation. Its name is particular, not generic, and while there are many churches that have similar names, it is not conceivable to us that any reasonable enquirer could fail to be aware of our web presence and our distinctive history and mission. The official URL of the Apostolic Episcopal Church is www.apostolicepiscopalchurch.org, which domain now redirects to this website.
The only past mission that the AEC has been associated with in India was when the Catholicate of the West, with which the AEC was and is united, was incorporated in India under the Societies Act of 1860 during 1950. This period came to an end when Mar Petros, who was responsible for the Catholicate in India, died in 1954. No church activity in India has been authorized since that time, although there was briefly a mission in Pakistan during the 1990s. By contrast, today there are good relations between our communion and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church in India, and it would be the wish of the Apostolic Episcopal Church to support the important work of our Malankaran brethren there rather than set up any form of competition.
An entity has recently appeared on Facebook calling itself “The Apostolic Episcopal Church in India”, apparently based in Secunderabad and claiming links with “Dayspring Christian University” This, according to information received, is a continuation of the imposture of Gary Barkman. The Apostolic Episcopal Church issued an Ad Clerum concerning Gary Barkman and his associates on 23 February 2013 and the salient points of this document are repeated below,
The Metropolitan Synod of the Apostolic Episcopal Church (AEC), has recently expressed its concern at the actions of one Dr Gary Barkman and those clergy associated with him. Dr Barkman has established a website at http://drgbarkman.tripod.com on which he holds himself out to be “Patriarch” of the Apostolic Episcopal Church and other clergy of his body to be likewise clergy of the Apostolic Episcopal Church. This is a baseless, fraudulent and impertinent imposture. For some time, text and images belonging to an official AEC website were reproduced on Dr Barkman’s website verbatim and without acknowledgement. After receiving representations from Metropolitan Synod to cease and desist from these actions, these materials have now been removed. However, there continue to be unauthorized references to the AEC on the website and the revised name of Dr Barkman’s group, viz. “Episcopal Apostolic Church” is close enough to that of the AEC to cause needless confusion.
For the purposes of clarity, it is therefore made explicit that:
Dr Gary Barkman, Dr Titus MacMillan and other clergy associated with them are not, and never have been, members of clergy of the Apostolic Episcopal Church.
The Apostolic Episcopal Church has had no office of “Patriarch” since the 1990s.
Any claim by these men to represent the Apostolic Episcopal Church is unauthorized and without warrant of Metropolitan Synod of the AEC.
Any assertion by these men that the AEC is or has become a Pentecostal body is false and baseless. The AEC continues to abide by its Statement of Faith as recorded inter alia on p 561 of “Religious Bodies, 1936: pt. 1. Denominations, A to J : statistics, history” by Timothy Francis Murphy, United States Bureau of the Census, 1936.
A list of the members of Metropolitan Synod of the Apostolic Episcopal Church is provided here. No other bishop, whether their church is in intercommunion with the Apostolic Episcopal Church or not, is recognized as a member of Metropolitan Synod. No person who derives their authority from Gary Barkman is recognized as a member, let alone as clergy, of the Apostolic Episcopal Church. Lastly, the Apostolic Episcopal Church has no clergy and no missions in India at present.
The Apostolic Episcopal Church wishes to advise the public that the website at https://aecorcny2.weebly.com (and previously at https://apostolicepiscopalchurchocr.weebly.com which is defunct at the time of writing) is fraudulent and has not been authorized by the Apostolic Episcopal Church. In addition, Rodney Rickard, who is responsible for this imposture, is not and never has been a member of the Apostolic Episcopal Church.
The website makes a number of wholly inaccurate statements concerning the faith and position of the Apostolic Episcopal Church and the AEC wishes to formally dissociate itself from these. All relevant information about the faith and nature of the AEC is provided on its official webpages on this website. Furthermore, Rickard’s website copies sections of this official website verbatim and without acknowledgement, violating our copyright and demonstrating a high degree of intellectual dishonesty.
This statement has been issued only after the failure of discussions with Rickard, who has been contacted privately by senior clergy both of the Apostolic Episcopal Church and of other churches in attempts to make him desist from this course of action. It has been made clear to him that there will inevitably be legal consequences from his imposture and in addition he is likely to do considerable damage to his own reputation.
On 15 December 1995, the AEC and the Order of Corporate Reunion in New York, which were at that time united under a single administration, authorized the formation of a corporation in the State of New York called The Apostolic Episcopal Church – Order of Corporate Reunion, Inc. The incorporators were the Most Revd. Donald Hugh, then Archbishop of the Province of the West in the Apostolic Episcopal Church, and the Most Revd. Francis C. Spataro, then Archbishop of the Province of the East in the Apostolic Episcopal Church. On 23 June 1996, Archbishop Hugh was suspended a divinis from membership of the Apostolic Episcopal Church by then-Primate Archbishop Bertil Persson, and Archbishop Spataro subsequently resigned from membership of the corporation. As of 23 June 1996, authority was therefore withdrawn from the corporation by the Apostolic Episcopal Church.
Dr Hugh continued to maintain this corporation and a schismatic representation of the Apostolic Episcopal Church and the Order of Corporate Reunion for some years afterwards. As AEC Primate from 1998-2015, Dr Spataro decided not to act on the matter and this was also the policy that Dr Kersey pursued after succeeding as AEC Primate in 2015. The view that was taken was that there was some sympathy for Dr Hugh’s past differences with Dr Persson, that his schism was small and had attracted few if any followers, and that Dr Hugh was advanced in years and his false representation of our church would likely die with him. In the past decade there was some contact between Dr Hugh and Archbishop Brennan of the OCR and this contributed towards a thawing of relations, even if reunion was not to be achieved.
It was therefore with dismay that the Apostolic Episcopal Church learned earlier this year that Dr Hugh’s New York corporation had recently been purchased by Rodney Rickard, who has never been a member of the Apostolic Episcopal Church. Rickard represented to us that he was interested in working with us to re-establish the Order of Corporate Reunion, of which he had previously been a member, on a sounder footing in the USA. These efforts were supported by us, but it was never discussed or made clear to us by Rickard that he would also be making false claims regarding the Apostolic Episcopal Church. Indeed, when the implications of his actions were made clear to him initially, he gave an undertaking “We are NOT AND WILL NOT be using AEC-OCR as an acronym for these two ecclesial entities.” This was a lie, as is proven by Rickard’s current website.
There are loosely-constituted church movements such as Pentecostalism and some schools of the Baptist Church in which any person may claim the authority to lead and teach. The Apostolic Episcopal Church is definitively not of this classification. Since its inception, it has been a canonical and hierarchically-organized church, and during its earlier years had provision for synodical governance. It has never been a free-for-all or a body in which mere ownership of a corporation would give an individual any rights within it. The present constitution of the AEC is dependent upon the Primate and Presiding Bishop as a church nonprofit Corporation Sole in the State of Hawaii and upon the canons of the church which are the bylaws of that corporation. Canon IV:12 states
No person may incorporate any corporation, or establish any non-profit or other entity using the name “Apostolic Episcopal Church” without first having received the consent of Metropolitan Synod, nor may any website be maintained that uses the name and distinctive emblems of the Apostolic Episcopal Church without receiving the consent of the Primate.
The Apostolic Episcopal Church has today initiated primary legal action against Rickard with the aim of ending his fraudulent misrepresentation of our church. It has also taken the step of declaring that he and any persons who may join his schism are to be regarded as vitandus by this Church. We pray that they may yet repent of their actions and cease their wrongdoing.