The Old Roman Catholic Church Parish of St. Andrews in Toronto and Newmarket Area
The Old Roman Catholic Church Parish of St. Andrews in Toronto and Newmarket Area



1.   History of the Independent Old Catholic Church (Old Roman Catholic Church) In North    America.

2.  This is a short history of the OORCC.  This excerpt was taken from the "Encyclopedia of American Religions, 4th Edition."

3.  Corpus Dictionary of Western Churches  1970May 6, 2016.    4.  The Jurisdictions of the Old Catholic Church...


History of the Independent Old Catholic Church

In North America

A Historical Sketch of the Independent Catholic (Old Roman Catholic) Movement.

Old Catholic Church in North America (prepared for the Ontario Multifaith council on Spiritual and Religious Care.  The above contents have been edited.


Historical Overview of
The Old Roman Catholic Church In North America


A quick look at our past:

     The Church traces its origin back to the Ancient Catholic Church of the Netherlands, the See of Utrecht, which received autonomous privileges from the Roman Catholic Church under a grant by Blessed Eugene III in 1145.

     These privileges were confirmed subsequently by the Roman Catholic Church in 1215, 1520 and 1717.

In 1908, the See of Utrecht appointed the Most Reverend Arnold Harris Mathew to establish a non-papal Catholic presence in the United Kingdom.  Bishop Mathew declared autonomy of the English mission in 1910.

 In 1914, Bishop Mathew appointed Bishop Rudolph Francis Edward Hamilton de Lorraine-Brabant, Prince de Landas Berghes, to establish the ministry of the old Roman Catholic Church in the United States.

Shortly thereafter, Fr. Carmel Henry Carfora, an Italian Franciscan Friar, was elected to succeed Bishop de Landas Berghes as Archbishop of the old Roman Catholic Diocese of America.

Following Archbishop Carfora’s death in 1958, the North American Old Roman Catholic Church evolved int five autonomous, but co-operating ecclesial bodies, one of which is the Old Roman Catholic Church in North America.

     In 1962, Archbishop Richard Arthur Marchenna of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church consecrated William Pavlik for a newly erected diocese in Ontario Canada.  In 1964, the Church in Canada was incorporated as the Ontario Old Roman Catholic Church and became an independent entity in Canada.


An Historical Sketch of the 
Independent Old Roman Catholic Movement


     The Independent Catholic or Old Roman Catholic movement is simply an honoured and historic part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church instituted by Christ.  This movement is composed of Catholics who adhere to the teachings of the Holy Roman Church but who are not under the jurisdiction of the Holy See.  The old Roman Catholic or old Catholic church as it is often called in North America, has its origins in the ancient Catholic Church of Utrecht, Holland which was missionized under the direction of St. Willibrord, apostle of the Netherlands, in the 7th century.

     The growth and development of the church of Utrecht Pleasant knowledge by churchmen of the time, including the Popes. To essential papal concessions were granted to the See of Utrecht. The first was by Pope Blessed Eugene III 1145, which granted the Cathedral Chapter of Utrecht the right to elect the successors to the See in time of vacancy.  This privilege was affirmed by the Fourth Council of the Lateran in 1215. The second papal grant set forth in the Bull of Pope Leo X in 1520 conceded the air revocable right to the Archbishop of Utrecht to adjudicate ecclesiastical Affairs of the territory without their evocation to the Roman tribunals. Both of these grants work to prove of immense significance in later years.

     During the period of reformation, certain overly zealous clerics in the Roman Catholic Church launched attack upon the church of Utrecht. For reasons largely political, it was falsely alleged that the church of Utrecht had reverted to the status of a “Mission territory”.  At the beginning of the 18th century, these assaults, culminated contact on Peter Codde, the Archbishop of Utrecht charging him with complicity in heresy. He was summoned to Rome to answer the charge and was completely exonerated. Yes he returned to Utrecht in 1703 a broken man. From Codde’s death in 1710 until 1723, the See of Utrecht was under the supervision of a Pro Vicar elected by the chapter since Rome would not accede too a legitimate request to provide a bishop to ordain a duly elected successor to Codde.

     All of Catholic Europe decried the injustice committed against a sea of Utrecht. Indeed, the theological faculties of Louvain and Paris in 1717 issued opinions that the Church in Holland had survive the tragedy of the Reformation and thus retained all its ancient privileges. Yes no bishop, until Dominique-Marie Varlet, Bishop of Ascalon, in 1724, would risk censure to rectify the wrong. On October 15 fifteenth of that year he consecrated Cornelius Steenoven the seventh archbishop of Utrecht in 1723. Undaunted by suspension and deprivation of his own See for his act of charity, Varlet, exceeded to the petition of the chapter on three occasions between 1724 and 1739 to provide Bishop for Utrecht. In 1739, he elevated Peter John Meindaerts to the episcopacy as 10th Archbishop. As a result of the exercise of its rights the church of Utrecht was cast in a position of isolation from the remainder of the Catholic world. In spite of this isolation, the See of Utrecht continued to witness its fidelity to Catholicism universally accepted throughout the world. Successive statements of its clergy and bishops especially that of the second provincial Council of Utrecht in 1763 our testimony of Orthodoxy in faith as well as respect for the Holy See.

     Following the first Vatican Council in 1870, the Church of Utrecht moved out of its isolation to provide bishops for independent Catholic groups in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland that had reacted to the positions taken by that council. In the following years, the church of Utrecht gradually furthered its contacts with these groups and formed an association or union of economist national churches to pursue an independent expression of Catholicism with recognized apostolic succession. This movement was to take a hold ever so cautiously in England with the consecration of Arnold Harris Mathew, a Roman Catholic priest, as a region Mary Bishop in 1908 by Gerardus Gul, archbishop of Utrecht. It was Mathew's charge to work in England among Anglo-Catholics as well as Roman Catholics impeded from full participation in the life and sacraments of the church. A colourful figure among English gentry, Bishop Matthew laboured under great stress to fulfill his mission.  Unfortunately, outside influences coupled with his sometimes faulty judgment were to spell the virtual failure of his efforts. It must be noted that the Church of England at this time was asserting the position that it was indeed the story Catholic Church England. The Church of England, the state church, was going through its own struggles with a strong influences of the Oxford movement which spawned the Anglo-Catholic tradition with in an otherwise Protestant reformed church. The Church of England had no tolerance for an English old Catholic movement. By 1911, bishop Matthew had ceased communication with the Seaview track and the other continental groups over his largely unfounded fears of a dilution of Catholic doctrine and practice by the emerging theological inquiries of Swiss and German old Catholic scholars.  Bishop Matthews hasty, though perhaps sincere action has to the present time cost unnecessary isolation of his ecclesiastical progeny engaged in an independent Catholic apostolate.


The work of the movement in the United States of America:

     In spite of the difficulties imposed by isolation, the independent Catholic movement planted its roots in the USA in 1914. Rudolph Edward de Landes Berghes, an Austrian nobleman who was ordained a priest and consecrated Bishop by Mathew in 1913, was instrumental in bringing organization of the work in the USA. He elevated to men, Carmel Henry Carfora and William Francis Brothers to the episcopacy.  These men, each in their own manner continued the mission begun by de Landes Berghes.

     Or Originally established as a highly structured hierarchical organization, the Carafora Group house, in more recent times, evolved into several self-governing dioceses and provinces modelled after St. Ignatius of Antioch’s concepts of the Church as a communion of communities each labouring together for the advancement of Christ's message.

     The growth of the movement is slow but deliberate. By developing new methods and ideas with an emphasis on communal, concerned Catholicism which expresses a warmth and an interest in the total person, the movement is able to meet the needs of all pluralistic society in the waning years of the 21st-century. For the contemporary Catholic searching to maintain his/her's faith but desiring to do so without excessive institutionalism that often loses contact with the individual, the movement provides the variable alternative and allows the person to remain part of Christchurch and at peace with his/her conscience. By means of an active ecumenical involvement in both parochial and social ministry, the movement is also able to chart a course of service to the many unchurched to bring them to the joy and peace of Our Lord’s Word and Sacraments.


     The tradition in faith of the Independent old Catholics is simply that of the Catholic Church as taught by the church from apostolic times to the present-day. The great ecumenical councils including Vatican Council II clearly express what Old Catholics believe without the need for apology or excuse.  In 1823, Archbishop Willibrord Van Os of Utrecht reenter rated adherence to the changing doctrine of Catholicism:"We accept without any exception whatever, all the articles of the holy Catholic faith. We will never hold nor teach, now or afterwords, any other opinions then those that have been decreed, determined and published by our mother, holy Church.”

     It is only in matters of discipline, administration and procedure that Old Catholics differ from their elder brother and of the institutional Catholic Church. Because the movement is small, it is able to successfully implement the Ignatian and model of the church referred to earlier. This concept use the faithful and their clergy and the Bishops as a community or family in loving concern for each other and each working together to live this spiritual commands in their daily lives as Christians and bring the love of Christ to others. Each member of the community is a participant in the polity of the Church as well as activities of the community as his/her time allows. Other matters of discipline such as clerical celibacy and liturgical expression are administratively determined locally so that as one visits the widely scattered parishes and missions in the USA when would likely find celibate and married clergy working side-by-side or encounter the Tridentine Mass, the Mass of Pope Paul VI or the English Mass of the Knott/Mathew Missal on the same Sunday schedules. In addition, there's sized does not preclude individual attention to the spiritual needs of the faithful or the development of unique ministries to meet those needs.


The work of the movement in Toronto, Ontario, Canada:

     In 1962, Richard Arthur Marchenna (consecrated by Carmel Henry Carfora on April 16, 1941), better Politan Archbishop of the North American problems of the old Roman Catholic Church consecrated William Pavlik for the newly erected diocese of Ontario (Ontario Old Roman Catholic Church Incorporated.) As Archbishop of all Canada. This new diocese is also known as the diocese of York. In 1963, Pavlik declared the independence of the Ontario Old Roman Catholic Church and in 1964 consecrated Nelson Dudley Hillyer as coadjutor with the right of succession. Upon Pavlik’s death, Bishop Hillyer assumed the title of Archbishop of all Canada. The church was incorporated on January 2, 1964 under provincial legislation.

     The church of St. Andrew and Mission of Mercy where established by Nelson D. Hillyer, well still a priest, on May 7, 1958. Its mandate at the time was to reach out to the poor living in the urban public housing sector in the inner city. This work of mercy set an agenda for the years to come. For nearly 50 years, St. Andrew’s has continued to work with those most marginalized by mainstream society.

     After the death of Nelson D. Hillier in 1987,  St. Andrew’s expanded its ministry to people living with AIDS, prison work, the deaf community and to feeding the poor and homeless. Urban Mission continues to be the impetus of Old Catholicism in this jurisdiction. Through this life of faith in action, we also provide spiritual direction connecting those we serve with the more progressive elements in their own faith communities from whom they have become alienated.

     The liturgies and rights of our community derived from the Catholic and orthodox tradition. Specifically, Eucharistic Liturgy is celebrated according to the Tridentine write in English (English missal version, Knott 1958; the Mathew missal; the Book of Common Prayer or a contemporary English version approved by the Ordinary).  Priests are expected to recite the divine offices daily and to nurture our prayer life that includes meditation, retreats and study. We gather communally for the celebration of Divine Mysteries.

     Thomas Merton, a Roman Catholic Trappist monk most aptly describes our theology and praxis of community: “My Community is every person, on every street corner, in every city of the world.
Community defined by love, not by rules, not by law, cannot be regulated and bound. Community alive with possibility.”


Old Roman Catholic Church in North America



     The Old Roman Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ almost 2000 years ago.


Nature of Religion:

     The Old Roman Catholic faith is monotheistic and Trinitarian.  The Old Roman Catholic Church adheres to the first seven Ecumenical Councils.



Scriptures and Religious Books:

     The authorized translations of the Bible use by Old Roman Catholics include the King James, the new Jerusalem new Revised Standard Version.  These translations include not only the canonical books but also the Aprocrypha (deutero-canonical).  Other religious books include the English Missal, the English Ritual, the Roman Ritual, the Book of Common Prayer and hymnals (The Book of Common Praise, Hymns Ancient and Modern, The English Hymnal, The St. Gregory Hymnal and The St. Basil Hymnal).


Basic Beliefs:

     The basic beliefs of the Old Roman Catholic Church are formulated in the ancient creeds of the catechism (the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed and the creed of St. Athanasius).


Mode of Worship:

The central act of worship in the Old Roman Catholic Church is Eucharistic (commonly known as Mass, Holy communion and the Lord’s Supper).  The Eucharist is a sacrifice and Memorial of Christ's passion, resurrection and ascension into heaven. It is the belief of the old Roman Catholic Church that the bread and wine offered at the Eucharist become the true body and blood of Christ crucified (transubstantiation, the real presence).
Priests are required to say that the daily Divine office corporately or privately.



     The Old Roman Catholic Church is hirerchical Organization represented by Bishops, Priests, Subdeacons (Major Orders) and Door-Keepers, Lectors, Exorcists and Acolytes (Minor Orders).  The Bishops are in direct succession from the 12 apostles and in the office of Bishop rests the teaching authority of the universal Church.


     The Old Roman Catholic Church is divided into Provinces, Dioceses, Parishes/Missions. The churches under the governance of an Archbishop Metropolitan. Each parish within the diocese is directed by a pastor and a parish advisory Council the pastor is accountable to the diocesan Bishop and the Bishop is accountable to the Metropolitan. In some places, there are councils of Independent Old Catholic bishops representing geographical regions (for example, Great Britain, North America, Mexico and South America).

The Bishop of Rome (the Pope) is considered by all Roman Catholics as Primus inter pares, “first among equals”.

     The Old Catholic/Old Roman Catholic Church in North America is largely and urban mission outreach and has ecumenical focus (ecumenical in the broadest sense, reaching out to all faith communities) with a special ministry to the poor and the marginalized. The old Catholic church is both Catholic and orthodox. Pro vision is also made for communities of men and women living under vows and following a rule of life.



     Within the Old Catholic movement, each diocese functions autonomously but in collegial and fraternal co-operation with one another.  As a result, there are a variety of local and national names of parishes and dioceses to distinguish this autonomy (North American Old Roman Catholic Church, Old Catholic Church of Canada, Old Catholic Church of American, Ontario Old Roman Catholic Church and Christ Catholic Church to name a few designations).



     As indicated previously in this section Mode of Worship, the Old Roman Catholic Church recognizes Eucharist as a central sacrament in public worship. In addition of the church believes in the sevenfold sacraments instituted by Christ:  Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Confession, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders and Matrimony.  The Old Roman Catholic church provides communion to the sick, shut-ins and prisoners.



     The code of Canon law is a body of judicial and legislative precepts developed over time through revelation and tradition

     The overarching laws are those of the covenant between God and Israel has said out in the ten Commandments in Hebrew scripture and the great summary of the wall by Jesus in the New Testament, love of God and love of neighbour.


Mode of Dress/Modesty Requirements:

     All priests are required to wear a black suit with a clerical shirt and collar, or black cassets. No visible jewelery is to be seen.

Dietary Requirements:

     Old Roman Catholics are encouraged to observe the practices of fasting and abstinence throughout the year on Wednesdays and Fridays (particularly during Lent and on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday).

Holy Days/Festivals:

     The celebration of the Lord’s Day, the day of resurrection, is central to communal worship in the Old Roman Catholic church. The Eucharist is the central act of worship. Easter day is a holy day of obligation. It addition, there are special d set apart, holy days, commemorating the lives of Christian heroes (saints) of the past.

Sacred Writing Requirments:

     Please refer to the section on scripture of the Holy Bible.

Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialoge:

     A central charism of the Old Roman Catholic Church it Is to actively engage in and encourage interfaith dialogue and action through shared ministry initiatives (social justice and peace), joint worship experiences and chaplaincy.


Dearmer, Percy, The Parson’s Handbook, Oxford University Press 1953.

Fortescue, Adrian and O’Connell, Editors, The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, (First Edition 1917), The Saint Austin Press 1996

Lamburn, E.C.R., Editor, Ritual Notes: A Comprehensive Guide to Rituals and Ceremonies Eleventh Edition, W. Knott and Son Ltd. 1964

Piepkorn, Arthur Karl, Profiles in Belief, Volume I, Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Harper and Row 1977

Pruter, Karl Melton J. Gordon, the Old Catholic sourcebook, Garland publishing, New York and London 1983.

Trela, Rev. Jonathan, hey history of North American Old Roman Catholic Church, scranton, Pennsylvania 1979.

St. Willibrod Journal, a publication of Christ Catholic Church.

The confirmation workbook and catechism, hey publication of Christ Catholic Church.


In Canada the current Archbishop of the Ontario Old Catholic Church is:
Archbishop Eric Reynolds



This is a short history of the OORCC.  This excerpt was taken from the "Encyclopedia of American Religions, 4th Edition."


The old Roman Catholic Church in Canada began in 1962 when Archbishop Richard A. Marchenna of the old Roman Catholic Church consecrated William Pavlik (d.1965) as Bishop of Canada. Plavik was to head the newly created diocese of Ontario. In 1963 Pavlik separated from Marchenna and formed the Ontario old Catholic church. The next year he consecrated Nelson D. Hillyer as his coadjutor.  Hillyer became Head of the church following Pavlik’s death. In recent years it has assumed its present name.


Following Archbishop Hillyer's death, Frederick P. Dunleavy was elected by the synog to succeed him as bishop. He was consecrated on April 17, 1988, by Bishop Carl Pruter of Christ Catholic Church. In November 1987, Bishop Dunleavey began a period of service as a general secretary of the student Christian Movement of Canada. In 1989, the old Roman Catholic Church in Canada merged with Christ Catholic Church to become Christ Catholic Church in Canada.  In 1991, Pruter, retired and Dunleavey succeeded him as Archbishop.


The church follows the Nicene creed, including filioque clause, “Of the Son, “ which states that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both God the Father and God the Son.  The Knott Altar Missal, published in English, is used for worship. The church does not accept Papal infallibility, nor does it recognize changes introduced into the Roman Catholic Church by Vatican Council II.


Membership: there is only one parish, saint Andrews the apostle in Toronto, in the small jurisdiction which in 1988 reported 55 families as members and 23 families as associates.


This above excerpt was taken from the "Encyclopedia of American Religions, 4th Edition."

J. Gordon Melton

Gale Research Inc.

ISSN 1066-1212



Corpus Dictionary of Western Churches



     Old Catholics, members of religious body that arose in the 19 century as an organized secession from the Roman Catholic church in protest against its teaching on Papal primacy and infallibility. The accused Roman Catholic church of discouraging traditional Catholicism in the following instances: the Council of Trent, centralizing power in the papacy; the bull *Unigenitus (1713), demanding blind obedience to the Pope's word; Puis IX's issuing the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (1854) without a Council the * Syllabus of Errors (1864), manifesting Papal despotism: the Vatican Council I, proclaiming under constraint the dogma of the infallibility of the universal episcopate of the pope.


     Denial of papal supremacy by the celebrated canonist Z. B. van Espen (1646-1728) led to the * Schism of Utrecht inaugurating the independent Little Church of Utrecht(1724), which ultimately became the Old Catholic Church  (OCC) of the Netherlands. Van Espen's idea was expanded by J. N. von Hontheim (1701-1790), coadjutor bp. of Trier (pseudonym, J. Febronius).  He asserted that BPS. Must govern the church and that scripture contained non-bases for papal claims two divine right (FEBRONIANISM).  Febronius's ideas were put into practice successfully in the diocese of Constance Vicar-General I. H. von Wessenberg (1774-1860), who became the forerunner of the OCC in Central Europe. Vatican Council I aroused German professors includingI. von *Dollinger, F. *Reusch, and J. von *Schulte, who issued the *Nuremberg Declaration (1870) that spark the Old Catholic movement.  J. H. Reinkens, elected Bishop of the German OCC, was consecrated (1874) by Bishop H. Heykamp of Utrecht. Humanism and rationalism contributed to the birth of the Swiss *Christkatholiken, chiefly lay movement; Reinkens, consecrated the first Bishop E. Herzog (1878). The Austrian OCC began in 1872, but the government allowed it no bishop until 1925. Also traceable to the late Hapsburg era and belatedly obtaining a bishop (1924) was the OCC of Czechoslovakia. Disputes with Italy and traditions of independence brought forth the Yugoslav OCC (1923). The old Catholic communion the * Union of Utrect, dates from 1889. Members are: the Dutch, german, Swiss, Austrian, Chech and Yugoslav (Croatian anti-Kalogjera segment) OCC:  the* Polish national Catholic church in America and Poland (founded by F. Hodur); the largest, the *Philippine Independent Catholic Church was accepted as a member in 1965. These churches include about 2,400,000 persons (see Mariavites).  Silver British and European churches style themselves Old Catholic but are not recognized by the Utrecht Union. This is also true of the following in the U. S.:  *American Catholic: archdiocese of New York, *American Catholic (Syro-Antiochean), *Christ Catholic, and the two *North American Old Roman Catholic Churches. The liberal Catholic Church traces its apostolic succession through the Dutch OCC.  The *Bonn agreement (1931) established intercommunication between the Utrecht union and the *Anglican communion.


     The doctrinal standard is the *declaration of Utrecht. Scripture is the primary rule of faith, genuine tradition is an authoritative source of teaching. The Bishop of Rome is recognize solely as "first among equals." Faith working by love is the means of men's justification. The Declaration accepts the seven sacraments (auricular confession is optional for adults), *apostolic succession, the obligation to hear Mass on Sundays and holy days, in commemoration of the faithful departed. The Eucharist *Real Presence is professed, but not transubstantiation. Divorce is forbidden. Old Catholics reject the treasury of merits of Saints: the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary as well as the title "mediatrix of all graces";  compulsory days of fast; indulgences; pilgrimages; processions; veneration of the Saints, relics, and images; sacramental's, the Roman Index of Forgotten Books; male religious orders; obligatory reading of the Breviary by priests; the temporal power and privilege for Church and clergy. Clerical marriage, mixed marriages, cremation, and communion under both kinds by * intinction are allowed. The Polish National Catholic Church in the Philippine Independent Catholic Church have minor variations in doctrine and practice.


     Church edifices and ornaments are similar to those of the Roman Catholic Church, but simpler. Liturgy for services in Sacramento is based on the Roman rite and uses the vernacular except for the formula "Receive the Holy Ghost, "which is said in Latin at the bishop's consecration. In the creed the filioque is omitted. Rites are recited aloud with the congregation participating. Sunday readings are spread over a five – year cycle. Each OCC is a national Church; it's Bishop (archbishop in the case of Utrecht) rules as a constitutional monarch. The supreme government is the Synod, comprising of the bishop and synodal Council members (priest and lay representatives of the parishes). Eating annually, the synod is chaired in Germany by the bishop, but in Austria and Switzerland by a layman; it legislates with may not alter or add dogma; who (in Europe) must seek approval by the civil government. The synod chooses members of an executive body, composed of the bishop, three priests, and fiven laymen, which is responsible to the synod.  The synod also elects four jurymen of the synodal court; the bishop, an ex-officio member, appoints three judges; cases may be appealed to the synod. Each parish elects its own pastor.


See V. Conzemius, "Catholicism; Old and Roman,"  Journal of ecumenical studies 4 (1967), 426 – 445; C. B. Moss, Old Catholic Movement (1966 bracket).


May 6, 2016:
The Jurisdictions of the Old Catholic Church
came together in cooperation and support in a new venture by forming the Synod of Old Roman Catholic Churches of Canada.
The jurisdictions involved to date, include The Ontario Old Roman Catholic Church, The Old Roman Catholic Church of Upper Canada, and the Traditional Old Roman Catholic Church.




Print | Sitemap
© St, Andrews Old Roman Catholic Church in Toronto - IONOS MyWebsite