Foundation and originating religious status
The founding Charter of the Western Orthodox Academy, issued on 1 August 1945, defined its authority as issuing directly from the powers inherent in the Chancellor as Catholicos of the Catholicate of the West as a fully autocephalous Orthodox and Catholic communion. These powers originate firstly in the commission to Mar Julius of Iona (Jules Raimond Ferrette) (1828-1904) on 2 June 1866 (Old Style) as Bishop of Iona and its dependencies by the Syrian Orthodox Church, and in the subsequent erection by Mar Julius of a British Patriarchate on 6 March 1874, united with the Catholicate of the West since 29 January 1945. Secondly, they originate in the acts of the Council of London of 17 October 1943, which established the Ancient Orthodox Catholic Church as the continuation of the Western extensions of the Syrian Orthodox Church. The Western Orthodox Catholic Church, having been formed by a Deed of Declaration on 23 March 1944, was then erected by the Patriarch of Antioch of the Ancient Orthodox Catholic Church into the Catholicate of the West. The Charter of the Western Orthodox Academy was issued by the Catholicos of the West on 1 August 1945. Subsequently, the Western Orthodox Academy was renamed the Western Orthodox University.
It may therefore be seen that the Western Orthodox University did not owe its foundation to any civil power or secular government, but was established purely on ecclesiastical authority. However, legal and regulatory developments since 1945 have meant that while the religious authority of its foundation has not at any point been rejected, the Western Orthodox University has been compelled to seek and obtain additional secular authority to grant degrees.
Past secular authorities of the Western Orthodox University
The University has obtained the status of an incorporated body, thus gaining secular authority for its grant of degrees and related academic activities, on four occasions during its history. The first such incorporation was on 20 February 1950 in India, under Act XXI of 1860 (registration no. 5/1950), and the second on 6 August 1977 in California, USA (corporation 213240). Both corporations are now inactive. Between 2015 and 2019, the University was incorporated with degree-granting authority in the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Current authority to grant degrees
The awarding body for all degrees from 1 January 2020 onwards is European-American University, of which the Western Orthodox University is a constituent division. Degree documentation bears the name and insignia of both institutions.
European-American University is incorporated and empowered as a University in the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara by a Royal Charter of Incorporation issued by H.M. the Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara on 6 February 2012. Bunyoro-Kitara is one of the subnational kingdoms of the Republic of Uganda. H.M. The Omukama (King) of the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara and the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom itself were restored by the Amendment [No. 8] Act – Statute No. 8, Article 118 (1)- of 1993 enacted by the Parliament of Uganda. They are officially recognized and protected by the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda viz.: Chapter IV. –Article 37.-, Chapter XVI. -Article 246. (1) – (6)- of 1995 and by the Amendment [No. 2] Act -schedule V. -Article 178.8- of 2005 and by the Acts Supplement [No. 4] -Act 6. of 2011. Under Amendment (No. 2) Act 1995, His Majesty is the titular head of the regional government and assembly of Bunyoro-Kitara and opens, addresses and closes sessions of the assembly. His Majesty is assisted by his Principal Private Secretary, a Cabinet of twenty-one Ministers and a Orukurato (Parliament). His Majesty is the Royal Patron of European-American University.
European-American University is further incorporated as European-American University, S.A., in the Republic of Panama under Law 32 of 1927 by Public Deed no. 18.209 executed by Notary Public Twelfth of the Circuit of Panama, on 8 July 2019, recorded in the Public Registry Office of Panama, Mercantile Section, Folio 155682084, on 9 July 2019. The Articles of Incorporation empower European-American University, S.A., as an international private university.
As a result, each degree is issued under dual authority: that of European-American University’s Royal Charter of Incorporation in Bunyoro-Kitara, and that of the University’s incorporation in the Republic of Panama.
The University has a full relationship of reciprocal partnership, recognition and accreditation with the historic Pontificia Accademia Tiberina in Rome, Italy, founded in 1813 and recognized by the Sacred Congregation of Studies under Pope Leo XII in 1825. The University is also accredited by the Anglican Association of Colleges and Schools, the umbrella body for the educational institutions of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, and holds a number of other recognitions and validation agreements, including dual degree agreements with several government-recognized universities in Central America. The dual degree agreements allow graduates of the Western Orthodox University to obtain, without requirement of further academic work, a reciprocal degree from a government-recognized university on payment of a validation fee.
Status of the Apostolic Episcopal Church
The Apostolic Episcopal Church, with which the Western Orthodox University and the Catholicate of the West have been united since 1977, was given official standing by the State of New York, USA, under the Religious Corporations Law, article 3-A, section 50, in 1932-33. The law provides inter alia that “any…biblical seminary for the preparation of candidates for the ministry, leading to ordination and the granting of credentials of ecclesiastical degrees of orders in sacred theology,” shall be formally “deemed a congregation to all intents and purposes…of the Apostolic Episcopal Church”.