Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch
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Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch also known with the acronym CCOA is a free and independent sacramental Church in the Catholic tradition, but is not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. The church is considered part of the Independent Catholic Churches and was founded in 1958. The church does not believe that the traditional bias against women in the priesthood can be justified any longer. The Church of Antioch has been ordaining women priests, as well as consecrating women bishops for many years. Marrying of priests is allowed and celibacy is optional as the church does not find in the Scripture anything to prevent it.
History and hierarchyEdit
The apostolic succession of the Catholic Church of Antioch comes from the Roman Catholic Church, through the Dutch Old Catholic Church and the Liberal Catholic Church in England. The founder of the Church was Archbishop Herman Adrian Spruit (born January 26, 1911 - died August 5, 1994). He was approached by Bishop Hampton of the Liberal Catholic Church, who consecrated him to the episcopate on June 22, 1957. Within a year, Archbishop Spruit founded the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch in 1958 taking the title Archbishop Patriarch of the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch. He emphasized that the church founded was an independent branch of the "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church" based on teachings of Jesus Christ. The church titles recognized for church leaders can vary: Patriarch (for founder), Matriarch (for second leader), the Presiding Bishop (present title of church leader), the Archbishop, the Prime Bishop.
After retirement of church founder Archbishop Spruit, his wife Meri Louise Spruit (Reynolds) (born August 1, 1926 - died June 3, 2014) became responsible for continuation of the church as enthroned Matriarch on February 27, 1986. She continued in that position until her retirement in 2005. Following Patriarch Herman and Matriarch Meri, leadership of the church was assumed by Bishop Richard Alston Gundrey (Presiding Bishop 2005-2009) and Bishop Mark Elliott Newman (Presiding Bishop 2009 to present). Bishop Newman is also the Rector of Sophia Divinity School, founded in 1958. The school is the official seminary for priestly formation and for the professional practice of religion pertaining to the church.
The current churches and organizations belonging to the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch include:
- United States
- Phoenix, Arizona: Christ of the Desert - The Most Rev. Mark Elliott Newman OC, Presiding Bishop of the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch
- Ashland, Oregon: Pilgrim Chapel of Contemplative Conscience, CCOA - Reverend Father Scott Allan Carter
- Austin, Texas: Contemplative Communion CCOA The Reverend Fr. Jeff Genung
- Edgefield, South Carolina: Sophia Ministries - The Reverend Mother Mary Altalo
- Gallup, New Mexico: Agape Ministries - The Most Reverend Linda Rounds-Nichols, Spiritual Director.
- Kapa’a, Hawaii: Spirit Heart Sanctuary The Reverend Mother Maia Nartoomid
- Las Cruces, New Mexico: St. John’s Catholic Church of Antioch - Reverend Father Ronald Catherson
- United Kingdom
Association with the Nicene Catholic Apostolic Church - an Autocepalous Catholic Church of Antioch - Archbishop Leon Hunt
- Outside the United States
- Argentina: Igesia Universal Apostolica de Antioqui - Archbishop Anastasia Voyatijides
- Mexico: Iglesia Católica Apostólica de Antioquía ~ Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch - Bishop Daniel Barcenas Arellano
- Quebradillas, Puerto Rico - The Reverend John Mullee
- Herman Adrian Spruit (1958-1986) - Archbishop Patriarch and founder
- Meri Louise Spruit (Reynolds) (1986-2005) - Matriarch
- Richard Alston Gundrey (2005-2009) - Presiding Bishop
- Mark Elliott Newman (2009-presently) - Presiding Bishop
- [http://www.churchofantioch.org/about-the-church/apostolic-succession/ Church of the Antioch website also adds: In addition, the Catholic Church of Antioch has made an effort to unite eastern and western lines of apostolic succession. The Catholic Church of Antioch derives additional lines of succession from Archbishop Spruit's co-consecrators (in addition to our name). These additional lines include the Syrian Jacobite Patriarchate of Antioch, the Chaldean Patriarchate of Babylon at Baghdad, the Catholicate-Patriarchate of Assyria, the Greek Melkite Patriarchate of Antioch, Patriarchate of Moscow, Armenian Catholicate-Patriarchate of Cilicia, the Metropolitan-Archbishops of Albania, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, and the non-jurring Anglicans.
- Church of the Antioch website: History