The Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom traces its ancestry through Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew the first Bishop in Great Britain and through Utrecht, and the Apostolic Succession of its bishops can be traced with certainty, bishop by bishop, to the early Middle Ages, beyond which the records of all branches of the Universal Church (Catholic and Orthodox) become very vague, but since the Universal Church traces its succession to Apostolic times we can say the same. This means that our priest's orders are valid and the sacraments they offer are genuine and valid sacraments which help those receiving them to holiness.
We differ from most Churches in that our priests are unpaid, but have to make their own provision for receiving stipend. They emulate the Apostles and early believers to receive payment for the good works they do. Priests minister within their diocesan geographical areas, but if called upon will minister to all no matter where, without bias.
The Provincial Cathedral and Priory Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Rugeley, Staffordshire, United Kingdom is based in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside and is a focal point for administration here in the UK and overseas. Although we have many enquiries for Incardination from overseas, which we encourage. A Provincial Mass is held on the first Sunday of every month at the Cathedral and all are encouraged to attend. This instils a sense of unity, fellowship and belonging.
The Province is divided into diocese and overseen by a Diocesan Bishop. Priest's are encouraged to establish Mass Centres and report to the diocesan on a regular basis.
The Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom is guided by a Provincial Council, which consists of the Metropolitan Archbishop, Bishop's and Senior Clergy from each diocese, so that a transparent leadership is maintained.
The Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom is not attached to Utrecht, for reasons stated in our canons, we lean more towards our Roman brothers in subscribing to an only male priesthood. Priests can marry, celibacy is not an issue, but can be adopted if so desired. The OCCUK is totally autonomous.
The Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom, being of Apostolic Succession is able to offer ordination to the priesthood to suitable men of high moral standard, and this priesthood is totally valid in Christ.
The criteria is moderately stringent, requiring supportive statements, profile, evidence of qualifications (copies), interviews and training over a period of time. Past churchmanship, education and experience is always taken into account and used as acquired prior learning, experience and training.
The Province of the United Kingdom and Ireland provides the independent jurisdiction within which The Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom was founded.
These Canons may be added too or amended from time to time as seen fit by the College of Bishops. The Church seeks to be as transparent as is reasonable and practical in its day to day governance.
1) The Church is a Community of Faith from Old Catholic Apostolic succession who's aim is to provide sacramental ministry to all without bias.
2) The Province and the Church are governed by the College of Bishops, advised by the Synod of senior Clergy (namely the Vicar General, the Chancellor, and such clergy as they may appoint together with the Bishops making up the Provincial Council). The Presiding Bishop is the Primate of the Church. He is a bishop elected from among the bishops to provide a focus of unity for the Province as a whole and for the Episcopate in particular and to act as a spokesperson for the Church.
3) There shall be three categories of membership:
a) Bishops, Priests and Deacons who have Old Catholic Apostolic succession.
b) Bishops, Priests and Deacons in Holy Orders from different denominations that hold to Catholic theology, doctrine and liturgy.
4) All members must subscribe to Theology, Doctrine and Liturgy of the Catholic Church.
5) All must hold to the seven sacraments of the Church: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony.
6) All members must accept the Creeds of the Church as a statement of faith as defined by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
7) Each member will centre their spiritual life on the Eucharist. Pray for their brothers and sisters. Attend all meetings unless prevented by good reason.
8) All members shall believe that the Holy Scriptures, both Old and New Testament are the word of God and promote priestly spirituality and Catholic practice.
9) All must hold to the Holy Orders of Bishops, Priest and Deacons and believe that according to the Holy Bible and traditions of the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church that all who hold these orders must be men of high moral character. Celibacy is not a requirement.
10) All categories of membership are required to commit to meeting for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and fellowship at their Diocesan Mass Centre. Also to commit to gathering at the Pro Cathedral twice a year for the Provincial Mass.
11) All members must offer a tithe to assist the financial aid in administration of the Church.
12) The Church being of Apostolic succession has the right to ordain/consecrate suitable candidates after careful examination and training to Holy Orders.
13) Membership is regarded as a life-long commitment. Termination is explored by submitting a letter of resignation. If a member acts in a way that brings the Church into disrepute or adopting behaviour not befitting Holy Orders or otherwise, termination will be authorised by the College of Bishops.
Please contact Province Administration via the contact e-mail address.