Prince-Abbot receives awards

The Prince-Abbot has been honoured with two appointments from a senior member of the San Luigi Orders, the Most Revd. Prince Kermit William Poling (Mar Titus).

The Holy and Blessed Order of the Sacred Cup is a fraternal fellowship of Christian men dedicated to the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist. The Order was founded on 1 August 1970 under charter of H.B. Peter Zhurawetsky (1901-94), Patriarch of Miensk and all Byelorussia in Dispersion of the Orthodox Catholic Patriarchate of America, with blessings from H.B. Benediktos, Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, who became one of its first members.  In 1988, the Most. Revd. Kermit Poling became head of the Order and Grand Knight Chancellor. Archbishop Poling was consecrated by Patriarch Zhurawetsky on 1 September 1970 and received from him the title of Prince of Miensk.

The Order maintains close ties with the Shrines of the Holy Land. The Grand Knight Chancellor and other officers visit on an occasional basis The Cenacle on Mount Zion, a room in an old church built on the traditionally accepted site of the house where the Last Supper was held. Services of Investiture for the Order have been held here and insignia of the order blessed.

In December 1970, the Most Revd. Joseph Raya, Metropolitan of Akko, Haifa, Nazareth and All Galilee in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, and a Knight of the Order, began the tradition of remembering the Knights of the Sacred Cup at the Christmas Eve Liturgy each year celebrated in “The Home of Our Lord” in Nazareth.

The Order has made periodic donations to the Cenacle and to the Church of Gabriel in Nazareth, in addition to assistance for children in need.

Members of the Order have included Patriarch Mar Ignatius Jacob III of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Ecumenical Patriarch Athenogoras, President William V.S. Tubman of Liberia, J. Edgar Hoover, President Chiang Kai-Shek of China (Taiwan), Archbishop Makarios III of the Cypriot Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Athanasius Y. Samuel of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Thomas Julius de Czernohorsky-Fehervary of the Traditional Catholic Christian Church and Dr Oral Roberts. In the category of Honorary Members, which includes women and those not of the Christian faith, are included H.H. the Dalai Lama, Queen Diskit Wangmo of Ladakh, and H.H. Raghubir Singh, Maharaja of Rajpipla.

The consecrator of the present Prince-Abbot, Archbishop Professor Bertil Persson, and his predecessor in his offices in the Apostolic Episcopal Church and Order of Corporate Reunion, the late Archbishop Count George Boyer, together with a number of members of the San Luigi Orders, are also counted among the Knights of the Sacred Cup.

Prince Kermit, who was admitted to all three San Luigi Orders by Prince-Abbot Edmond II, is a descendant of King Edward III of England and thereby of several of the Byzantine emperors and the early Kings of Poland. He traces both his paternal and maternal lines via traditional genealogies to Leszek (Lech), the legendary founder of Gniezno. He has established the united heritage of his paternal and maternal ancestry as the Dynastic House Polanie-Patrikios. In 2006, the House established a study society to foster interests in various aspects of Byzantine history and culture, the Constantinople Orthodox Institute.

Now retired, Prince Kermit served as a Petty Officer on active duty with the United States Navy (receiving the Good Conduct Medal) and subsequently with the Identification Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation before training for the ministry of the Evangelical United Brethren Church. In 1968, that church merged with the Methodist Church to become the United Methodist Church. Prince Kermit has pastored churches in West Virginia including the Crossroads United Methodist Charge near Parkersburg, Hope-Halleck Charge UMC near Morgantown, Trinity and Warren UMC Charge near Grafton, and First-Trinity UMC Charge at Pennsboro. He has been chaplain of Grafton City Hospital, broadcaster of the “Morning Devotions” radio programme, Instructor in Bible History for the United Methodist Lay Academy, and a lecturer on religious subjects whose talks and interviews have been broadcast in over twenty countries. He is past Assistant Secretary of the West Virginia Conference of the UMC.

He received Holy Orders in the Orthodox tradition alongside his UMC service and on 11 April 1972 was consecrated by Dr William Bernard Crow (1895-1976) (pictured), Sovereign Prince-Patriarch of Antioch in the Ancient Orthodox Catholic Church, who was the senior bishop in the Antiochean succession from Mar Julius of Iona (Ferrette) and the consecrator of Mar Georgius of Glastonbury (q.v.) Dr Crow appointed Prince Kermit as Bishop of the Apostolate of the Holy Wisdom and on 7 October 1972 as a knight in the Sacred Antiochene Order of Saints Peter and Paul. Dr Crow was also a Knight of the Sacred Cup.

Prince Kermit has been appointed an Ambassador of Good Will for West Virginia by the Secretary of State and is an Honorary Citizen of Texas, Tennessee and Georgia by appointment of the Governors of those states. In 1988, the Ohio House of Representatives awarded him a commendation for outstanding achievement in ministry and the Ohio Senate commended him for achievement as a religious leader. He has further received a Citation of Commendation and Praise from the Senate of the State of New Jersey. Among many chivalric and religious awards he has received a knighthood from King Peter II of Yugoslavia (late High Protector of the Order of the Crown of Thorns), the Cross of St Mark from Stéphanos Cardinal Sidarouss, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Coptic Catholic Church, and the Cross of St Antony of the Desert from the late Anba Marcos, Archbishop of France of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Within the Abbey-Principality of San Luigi he has received the title of Duke of Kelibia and is also a Frater Knight Grand Cross of the Valiant Order of St John the Baptist. He is a Fellow of the Augustan Society and a recipient of its Principate of Augustus Commemorative Medal.

He is married to his fifth cousin, Patricia (née Groves) and has two sons, three grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Posted in News, San Luigi Gazette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Members of the San Luigi Orders: The Revd. James Yorke Batley

The Revd. James Yorke Batley (1880-1971) was a Chevalier of the Order of the Lion and the Black Cross, receiving the accolade from Grand Prieur Mgr. George Tull in a ceremony at Pevensey Castle, Sussex (pictured left), in 1961.

Born in Tonbridge and educated at Tame Grammar School, he won a place at Trinity College, Cambridge. Here, he proceeded to the degree of Master of Arts of the University of Cambridge and was appointed Lecturer in the Faculty of English there. Subsequently, he felt the call to ordination in the Church of England, and served as assistant curate of St Paul’s Church, Cambridge, between 1911 and 1913. After this, he became an assistant master at St John’s School, Leatherhead. In 1916, Cambridge University Press published his “The Problem of Suffering in the Old Testament,” a thorough exposition of the subject that was reprinted by the University of Michigan Library in 2009. He would follow this with “On a Reformer’s Latin Bible: being an essay on the Adversaria in the Vulgate of Thomas Bilney” (1940).

Batley became a member of the Society of Free Catholics under the Revd. Joseph Morgan Lloyd-Thomas. This body, which combined elements of Unitarianism, Catholicism, and Socialism, had been founded in 1914 and sought to unite a ritualistic approach to liturgy with free thought in theological matters, forming the bedrock of a Free Christian Church. It met for its annual conference at Lloyd Thomas’s Old Meeting Church in Birmingham (pictured right), where the Revd. Conrad Noel, Anglican Vicar of Thaxted, celebrated; it also gained the support of Fr. Vincent McNabb, O.P., and Dr. W.E. Orchard, sometime minister at the King’s Weigh House in Mayfair, London (he was ordained priest by Vernon Herford (see below), and would eventually become a Roman Catholic). All three men contributed to its monthly journal “The Free Catholic”. In 1929 the Society dissolved, Lloyd Thomas believing it had done all that it could achieve.

In 1926, the course of Batley’s vocation was to change with his first meeting with Bishop Vernon Herford (pictured left), who was closely involved with the Society of Free Catholics. Ulric Vernon Herford (1866-1938) was a scion of a distinguished Manchester Unitarian family, being the son of educationalist William Henry Herford. Educated at the Victoria University of Manchester (B.A., 1889) and at Manchester College, Oxford, where he prepared for the Unitarian ministry, he also spent a year studying at the Anglican St Stephen’s House, Oxford. Ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1892, he pastored Unitarian missions at King’s Lynn, Whitchurch and latterly the Church of the Divine Love at Percy Street, Magdalen Bridge, Oxford. This congregation had begun as an outgrowth of Manchester College but was developing towards a Catholic style of worship. The congregation wished Herford to seek valid Apostolic Holy Orders, and Herford believed that this could best be achieved by approaching what he saw as “the purest and most primitive Branch of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church,” the Syro-Chaldean (Nestorian) Church of the East in India. Their Metropolitan agreed to consecrate Herford to the Episcopate, and so Herford travelled to India in 1902 for that purpose. On his return to Oxford he formed the Evangelical Catholic Church as a unifying body to which he hoped all Christians could subscribe. The following year, the Metropolitan passed away and Herford inherited pastoral responsibility for his Indian mission. He became known for his charity to others, his strong social conscience and support for the peace movement, and his work for animal welfare.

Batley relates the story of their meeting in his own words,

“I first met Bishop Herford in 1926, when I approached him with a view to receiving ordination to the Priesthood. He kindly invited me to stay to lunch, where I was introduced to Mrs Herford, who informed me that she belonged to the Church of England. She also told me that there was much coming and going on the part of men who were presumably also seeking Orders. The Bishop had much to say about Unitarianism, Anglicanism and intercommunion between the Churches. He also mentioned possible alternative spheres of work for me. Later on he spoke of Lloyd Thomas and the Society of Free Catholics (I was a member of that body). The Bishop impressed me as having an unhappy ‘flair’ for destroying his own work. The breach with Bishop [William Stanley McBean] Knight [B.Litt. Oxon., barrister and Tutor of New College, Oxford, he was the only bishop consecrated by Herford – Herford expelled him from the E.C.C. two years after the consecration] is an unhappy example of this trait. Bishop Herford’s activities on behalf of the E.C.C. were, I would say, threefold in character – there were negotiations with various Free Churches, with a view to undertaking spiritual oversight; various Christian workers were ordained to the Priesthood or Diaconate, to enable them to exercise a wider and more effective ministry; he wrote many booklets and pamphlets. Some of these were designed to expound the E.C.C. principles.

The Bishop was anxious to provide one or more cottages for use as Retreat Houses. I think that one of these materialised for a time. He was of a kindly disposition and liked to be surrounded by young people and also by animals, especially cats.

I ought to mention Bishop Herford’s conversational powers. He was a fluent talker on many subjects, but such an untidy thinker that it was almost impossible to follow him for any length of time! Let it be remembered that Bishop Herford spent his life devoted to three great causes – Christian Unity, World Peace, Kindness to Animals.”

Batley was to become one of the first Trustees of the E.C.C. and after his priestly ordination was appointed by Herford as its Vicar-General. In 1929, Herford became concerned at the lack of news and confused reports from his Indian mission, and therefore despatched Batley to South India to investigate. Batley arrived there in the autumn, and remained there for nearly two years. The conclusion was that most of the missions had declined irretrievably under the burdens of persecution by the Jesuits and poverty, but that there was some remnant of the congregations still extant and the possibility of further fruitful work at Maraman.

Returning to England, Batley became closely associated with one of Herford’s lay-ministers, Ernest O’Dell Cope, who was based at St John’s Church, Stapenhill, Burton-on-Trent, until the wooden building was blown down in a storm. A disagreement with Herford led to Cope’s resignation from his jurisdiction in 1937, and in 1945, Cope controversially claimed that he had been secretly consecrated in 1940 by Ralph Whitman, allegedly a bishop who had been consecrated by Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew in 1910. This claim was given some degree of credence by Mar Georgius of Glastonbury (q.v.) as well as the late Fr. Alban Cockerham of the Liberal Catholic Church, and Batley received consecration secretly from Cope on 2 August 1942.

From 1939 onwards, Cope developed a plan to revive the Benedictine community of Fr. Ignatius at Llanthony Abbey in Wales. Fr. Ignatius (Joseph Leycester Lyne) (1837-1908) had been ordained priest by Prince-Abbot Joseph III after the Church of England refused him ordination on the grounds that it was then opposed to monks also being priests. The monastic life at Llanthony endured for over forty years, but ended around 1908 under Fr. Ignatius’s successor Dom Asaph Harris.) In 1924 the former monastery was sold by Dom Asaph to the artist Eric Gill, and after his death in 1940 his widow continued to live there while the abbey church partially erected by Fr. Ignatius (and where he is buried) had fallen into some disrepair (the building is pictured right). Here, in 1880, visions of Our Lady had been seen. At Christmas, 1947, Cope, Batley and two further clergy moved to Llanthony, where they were given the use of a bungalow (“St David’s”) at Capel-y-Ffin that was owned by two elderly nieces of Fr. Ignatius, Hilda and Irene Ewens.

The objects of the new Order of Llanthony Brothers were stated as being:

“(1) To re-establish the Monastic Vocation, with the spirit of the former Llanthony Abbey, a Community of Men under the late Abbot Ignatius, OSB;

(2) To provide possibilities of study, prayer and evangelistic priests and ordinands to the Ministry of the Church of Jesus Christ, with the Anglican and Catholic system.”

There was a special call to men who had served in the Armed Forces. Along with the Order, Cope founded a new church, the Free Anglo-Catholic Church. However, this activity was to be short-lived. The new Abbot-elect of the community, Br. William, who was something of an unstable character, proved to be unaware of the extent of the control of the law of the land by the Church of England, and charges were brought against him that he had solemnized marriages at a place other than a church or licensed chapel, and had performed an irregular burial service. The Abbot was convicted on these charges at the Old Bailey in April 1948 and bound over to keep the peace for two years. Although he was eventually installed in his office by Batley on 26 September 1948, the community did not survive the scandal, which was catnip to Anglican and Roman polemicists, and the remaining members disbanded shortly afterwards.

After this episode, Batley established the Evangelical Catholic Mission in East Sussex, based at his home in Guestling, and this mission was announced for the first time in the winter of 1953. During the 1950s he came into contact with Mgr. George Tull, then a priest of the E.C.C., who would subsequently become Grand Prior and Vice President of the San Luigi Orders. Mgr. Tull edited the newsletter of the Evangelical Catholic Communion, “The Light-Bringer”, and Batley contributed a number of articles to that organ on theological and pastoral subjects. In December 1955, Mgr. Tull took on responsibility for the E.C.C.’s revised East Sussex mission dedicated to St Philip in Blackboys with Batley as his assistant. which continued until the autumn of 1958. During these years, Mgr. Tull was also researching his biography of Herford, “Vernon Herford: Apostle of Unity” (1958). This work, long out of print, remains the only objective survey of Herford’s ministry. Upon Mgr. Tull’s appointment as a Grand Prior of the San Luigi Orders. Batley was one of his first nominations for knighthood in the OLBC.

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Members of the San Luigi Orders: Alvin F. Germeshausen

The photograph above depicts a ceremony of the San Luigi Orders on 15 August 1971 at “Ivory Towers”, Woodhaven Drive, Hollywood, California. Admitted as a Commandeur to the Order of the Lion and the Black Cross is the resident of that address, Alvin F. Germeshausen (1906-82), former Director of Industrial Relations for the State of California, arts administrator and literary critic. Chevalier Germeshausen is seated, having received the accolade, while to the left, San Luigi Vice-Chancellor Archbishop Frederick C. King proposes the toast to him. To the right stands the Grand Master, Prince-Abbot Edmond II, while a group of knights and dames of the San Luigi Orders look on.

Chevalier Germeshausen – or Sir Alvin, as he was known to his friends – furthered interest in some fascinating literary figures. He was active in the “Praed Street Irregulars”, the society devoted to August Derleth’s ingenious detective Solar Pons (founded by Luther Norris at Germeshausen’s home in 1966), and wrote for its journal “The Pontine Dossier”. He contributed an introductory essay to the 1979 reprint of “The Spirit of Bambatse” by H. Rider Haggard, and was noted as an authority on the work of Edgar Rice Burroughes. He was also a member of the Count Dracula Society, whose founder Dr. Donald Reed was admitted to the Order of Antioch on the same occasion as depicted above.

(From left: Terri Pinckard (of the Pinckard Science Fiction Writers’ Salon), Alvin F. Germeshausen, August Derleth. Photo credit: The Solar Pons Gazette)

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Prince-Abbot Edmond II

In this photograph from the early 1960s, Prince-Abbot Edmond II wears a lapel badge of the Order of the Crown of Thorns and a pectoral cross of the Antiochean design.

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Members of the San Luigi Orders: Archbishop Emile Rodriguez y Fairfield

Archbishop Emile Federico Rodriguez y Fairfield (1912-2005) was the last Archbishop-Primate of the Iglesia Ortodoxa Católica Apostólica Méxicana (Mexican National Catholic Church). He was admitted to the Order of the Crown of Thorns as a Grande Officier in July 1961 by Prince-Abbot Edmond I and served as a Vice Chancellor of the San Luigi Orders.

Emile Federico Rodriguez was born in Michoacan, Mexico, on 22 July 1912. In 1932, he represented Mexico in the 1,500 metres at the Olympic Games at Los Angeles, being eliminated at the heats stage. He was ordained priest on 21 June 1938 by his elder brother, Alberto Luis Rodriguez y Durand (1901-55), who was Bishop of Los Angeles in the Mexican National Catholic Church. The MNCC had been formed in 1926 by fiat of Archbishop Carmel Henry Carfora, Primate of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, and was closely associated with that denomination. It was a national body intended to provide a valid Catholic alternative to the Roman Catholic Church, and initially attracted a numerous following. Rodriguez y Fairfield became an American citizen in 1944, and pastored the Church of St Augustine of the Mystical Body of Christ in East Los Angeles. He spent a year in India as a physical education instructor in 1953 and added the surname “Fairfield” in recollection of his athletic ability since his sponsors wanted him to have a more English-sounding name.

On 12 March 1955, in one his last acts, Bishop Rodriguez y Durand consecrated his brother as bishop. However, Rodriguez y Fairfield and the other MNCC bishops were unable to halt a decline in the MNCC that was caused by improving relations between Mexico and the Roman Catholic Church; against this background the appeal of a national independent Catholic church inevitably decreased. The work became increasingly concentrated upon serving the Mexican immigrant population in California. After the death of Archbishop Carfora in 1958, Rodriguez y Fairfield made the decision to affiliate his church with the Old Roman Catholic Church of Great Britain under Archbishop Gerard George Shelley, which union was effected in 1962, and also worked closely with Archbishop Aneed (q.v.) and Prince-Abbot Edmond I, both of whom bestowed additional commissioning upon him by means of subconditional consecration. Prince-Abbot Edmond I described him in 1961 as “a real spiritual man..a real asset to the Order.” In 1963 Rodriguez y Fairfield was accepted additionally into the Old Roman Catholic jurisdiction of Archbishop Richard A. Marchenna, another successor of Carfora, and served as his bishop for the Western States.

Rodriguez y Fairfield consecration of Edmond IIArchbishop Rodriguez y Fairfield at the private oratory of Prince-Abbot Edmond II on the occasion of the latter’s consecration in 1963

When Archbishop Shelley died in 1980, he was succeeded by Fr. Michael J. Farrell, who was consecrated bishop in June 1981 by Rodriguez y Fairfield assisted by John Joseph Humphreys. However, Farrell resigned as Primate within a few months of his consecration, and as a result Rodriguez y Fairfield became Primate of the Old Roman Catholic Church and Archbishop of Caer-Glow. In 1983, with the death of Primate José Cortez y Olmos, Rodriguez y Fairfield became the only surviving bishop of the MNCC and was installed as Primate of that church on 13 September 1983. In 1984, Rodriguez y Fairfield resigned the Primacy of the Old Roman Catholic Church in favour of the present incumbent, Archbishop John J. Humphries.

During this period, Rodriguez y Fairfield signed an agreement of intercommunion between the MNCC and the Apostolic Episcopal Church under its primate Bertil Persson, and participated in a number of ecumenical initiatives as part of the work of that church, also working closely with AEC Archbishop Paul G.W. Schultz who was a senior member of the San Luigi Orders. As a result of this, his succession passes to the present Prince-Abbot as well as to the Universal Primate of the Order of Corporate Reunion, Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan (San Luigi Grand Prior of the USA), who was consecrated by Rodriguez y Fairfield and Schultz. In 1988, the MNCC entered into intercommunion with the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Catholic Church) as did the AEC.

He passed away on 2 January 2005 leaving a son and daughter, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. An In Memoriam page for him is maintained by the American Catholic Union here. We close with the words of one of his prayers:

May the light of His star
illumine your path
and the wings of His love
enfold you forever

Que la luz de Su estrella
ilumine tu camino
y las alas de Su amor
te envuelvan para siempre

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Members of the San Luigi Orders: Canon Charles Edmund Johnson

Canon Charles Edmund Johnson (1925-2012) was an Officier Compagnon of the Order of the Crown of Thorns, being admitted under Prince-Abbot Edmond I. He was Headmaster of Seaford College (pictured left) for forty-six years.

According to his obituary in the “Church Times”, Johnson attended Seaford College and then read History at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He was captain of the University hockey team and continued to play the game for many years thereafter as a member of the Hounslow and Ealing Hockey Club. He trained for the ministry of the Church of England at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and served his title at Woking. Whilst there, the governors of Seaford College invited him to be the school’s next headmaster, charged with re-establishing the school on a new site more suitable for expansion after the evacuation of the war years.

His tenure as Headmaster, which was to continue until 1990, won high praise. He was commended for his work as a fundraiser, as a countryman preserving the school’s estate, and for his pastoral gifts in “taking a personal interest in every boy and bringing out the best in him”. He made the Chapel the centre of school life, and through a traditional, direct and carefully-prepared approach to religious matters ensured that the fundamentals of the Christian faith would be well-understood.

At his death, aged nearly eighty-seven, he left a widow and four daughters.

We reproduce several letters from Canon Johnson from the San Luigi Archives below. The first letter was in response to the late Grand Prieure Mgr. Tull’s re-establishment of contact with the members of the San Luigi Orders after a period of relative inactivity in England. The second was in response to the announcement of a pilgrimage to Stanbrook Abbey in September 1962 for the purpose of the veneration of a relic of the Holy Thorn.

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Members of the San Luigi Orders: Patriarch Anthony Aneed

Archbishop Anthony Joseph Aneed (1879-1970) was Patriarch of the Byzantine Universal (Catholic) and Orthodox Church of the Americas, a church in which Prince-Abbot Edmond I held office. He was a member of the Order of the Crown of Thorns. In 1946 he was responsible for the re-establishment of the ecclesial jurisdiction of San Luigi in enthroning Prince-Abbot Edmond I as Archbishop.

Aneed was born in Beirut, Lebanon, on 27 February 1879. As a young man without material advantages, he obtained employment at the railway station there. However, he was also active as a layman in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, one of the Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with the Holy See, and became a member of the Eastern Patriarchal Delegation to the Great Centennial in honour of the 1,500th anniversary of the death of St John Chrysostom. In 1908, he was a participant in a ceremony of the Delegation at the Sistine Chapel in Rome, presided over by Pope Pius X and with the participation of Patriarch Cyril VIII of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and Metropolitan Archbishop Athanasius Sawoya of Beirut and Gebeil (Byblos). In this same year, Aneed was appointed as secretary to Archbishop Sawoya.

On 11 June 1909, at the Monastery of St. George, Makeen, Mt. Lebanon, Aneed was ordained priest by Archbishop Sawoya in the presence of Bishop Agapios Maloof of Baalbeck and a group of monks of the Order of St. Basil. At this time, his gifts as a singer were considered to be of particular value to the Church. However, he was soon advanced, on 29 October 1910, to the position of Exarch of the Archdiocese of Beirut and Gebeil, and in 1911 moved to the United States to begin this phase of his work.

Aneed settled in New York, and began missionary work in Brooklyn where Melkite parishes had started to form. Soon after his arrival, Archbishop Sawoya visited the United States (against the wishes of the Pope) and stayed with Aneed for some time. On 9 October, Archbishop Sawoya consecrated Aneed as Assistant Bishop in his private chapel at Brooklyn (see certificate of consecration, right). While Patriarch Cyril IX Mogabgab, Melkite Patriarch 1925-47, later recognized this consecration, the Holy See did not.

From March 1915, Aneed served the Syrian parish of St George’s Church, W. State Street, Milwaukee, as a priest. On 14 June 1918 he received formal permission to use the title Exarch from Archbishop Sebastian Messmer of Milwaukee. In the following year, Aneed visited Archbishop Sawoya in France, and published “Syrian Christians. A Brief History of the Catholic Church of St. George in Milwaukee, Wisc. and a Sketch of The Eastern Church” (St. George Church, Milwaukee 1919) with a preface by Messmer. In 1921, Aneed left Milwaukee to establish and pastor a new parish at St Ann’s, New London, Connecticut, where he would remain until 1934. Here, a new church was built and continues to exist today.

Returning to New York in that latter year, Aneed underwent subconditional consecration for ecumenical reasons from Archbishop Sophronios Bishara of The Holy Eastern  Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America (The American Orthodox Catholic Church).

He was active as a priest in New York until 1942, when he moved to San Francisco and built up a ministry to expatriate Syrian-Lebanese Christians. Convinced that his flock was not adequately served by the extant denominations, and also that the Melkite Church must break from the subjugation of Rome, he sought a path to independence.

In those days, California was a lively gathering-place for clergy of the smaller denominations, and Aneed established co-operation with Archbishop Lowell Paul Wadle of the American Catholic Church of Laguna Beach and Archbishop Edgar Ramon Verostek of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, as well as with Prince-Abbot Edmond I. The aforementioned prelates were to become members of the Order of the Crown of Thorns, as also several members of their flocks, although Archbishop Wadle led his particular so-called “American Chapter” of the OCT into a short-lived schism (he and his followers having been regarded as heretical by Prince-Abbot Edmond I, and therefore expelled in 1950-51). Further co-operation was secured with Archbishop Henry Kleefisch, an attorney who had received consecration from the Russian Orthodox Church and became a bishop under Aneed, Archbishop Wallace de Ortega Maxey of the Ancient Christian Fellowship and Apostolic Episcopal Church, and Bishop Charles Hampton, formerly of the Liberal Catholic Church. All of these bishops participated in subconditional consecration for ecumenical reasons, in order to secure acceptance of their ministry from the widest range of members of the mainstream denominations.

On September 10 1944, Aneed, Wadle and Verostek established the American Concordat Exarchate, with Aneed as its Exarch (a Codicil to this document was added in 1945 when Kleefisch and Hampton joined the organization). On the aforementioned date, the three bishops united their successions, and established The Byzantine Universal (Catholic) and Orthodox Church of the Americas from the foundation of Aneed’s work in California. It was stated that the object of this body was “to free the Melkite Church, if possible, from foreign domination, and to give it Freedom under the authority of Jesus Christ to go into all the world and preach the Gospel of the Love of God.” The intention was to restore the Melkite tradition to its position before union with Rome.

At a Synod on 1 April 1945, at St Francis’ Church, Laguna Beach, California (pictured left), Aneed was elected Primate of the Byzantine Universal (Catholic) and Orthodox Church of the Americas. He was enthroned as Patriarch Antionius Joseph I on 1 January 1946. On the same occasion, Aneed assisted by Wadle and Kleefisch conditionally consecrated Prince-Abbot Edmond I, appointing him Titular Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia in the Byzantine Catholic Church,  and enthroned him then and there as Grand Master of the Order of the Crown of Thorns and Archbishop of San Luigi. This was a formal re-establishment of the ecclesial jurisdiction of San Luigi after the repudiation of the Syrian Orthodox Church published in 1938.

On 29 August 1948, Aneed opened the Seminary of St Anthony, The Star of the Desert, at Sunnymead, California. By this time, the Concordat had expanded into the Federation of Independent Catholic and Orthodox Bishops (FICOB), a body into which bishops of other churches professing the Nicene Creed and practising the sacramental life were accepted and granted additional commissioning in the successions embodied therein. During the later 1950s, Herman Adrian Spruit became extremely active within this group. Just as with Wadle, Prince-Abbots Edmond I was concerned by, and Prince-Abbot Edmond II strongly opposed to, the liberal nature of Spruit’s profession of faith, and their correspondence reveals their reservations in some detail. It was for this reason that relations between the Federation and the Abbey-Principality did not prosper during the 1960s.

On 5 June 1960, Aneed celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his priesting at the Cathedral of the Merciful Savior, San Diego, California, at a service that was attended by many of the clergy who had become associated with him, including Prince-Abbot Edmond I. By the following year he was reported by Prince-Abbot Edmond I to be in very poor health, and Deacon James B. Gillespie, (Officier OCT), then wrote of him, “Bp. Anthony is quite old but not always so inactive. He has been called a “true son of the desert”…When he does get a chance, he will celebrate in public, but he is rather far from an altar at the present time – except that in his home. Rome has courted him for years, but he will not relinquish his wife. It seems they made their last big attempt in 1955 through Bp. Buddy of San Diego.”

In September 1961, it was announced that Aneed would come out of retirement and take over the Church of the Merciful Savior in San Diego, but this appears to have been short-lived. At his death on 24 August 1970, he was survived by his wife, Helen, whose biography of him remains unpublished, and his jurisdictional successor was Herman Spruit. He continues to be memorialized by the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

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