We are a limb of the one Christian church, the Mystical Body of Christ. We acknowledge the Christ as our founder, living head, and eternal high priest.
We are a Catholic church in the original, universal, sense of that word as well as in our form of sacramental worship. We are neither Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, nor Protestant, though our bishops and priests trace their Holy Orders, or “apostolic succession” (the tradition of bishops consecrating other bishops), through Roman Catholic and Orthodox lines. In this way we trace our roots as far back any other Catholic or Orthodox church. Our priests perform the liturgy and administer the seven sacraments.
We are a sacramental church. We hold that the sacraments are visible signs of a manifestation of divine grace, and are powerful aids to spiritual growth.
Holy Eucharist (Communion), Reconciliation (Penance), Holy Unction (healing of the sick), and Holy Matrimony are made available to all who seek them. Baptism is the rite of formal initiation into Christ’s church. Confirmation seals the commitment to a Christian way of life. Holy Orders is an initiation available to those who wish to serve as clergy.
We are a modern church. We maintain that eternal truth cloaks itself in garb appropriate to the age, and that the outward form of religion should keep pace with human development. We do not shrink from new knowledge. Our form of Independent Catholicism embodies an ancient truth for a new age. We provide an intelligent alternative — traditional worship with the free exploration of new ideas and techniques. All seekers are encouraged to explore every relevant resource for spiritual development.
Our church is a spiritual fellowship of followers of the Spirit. We give ourselves and others encouragement to live the truth. To live the truth is to become ever more the Christ, the true Self of all and the source of real happiness and abiding fellowship.
We are a church of love. We accept Saint John’s testimony that God is Love For us, Christ’s ministry is the law of love: “Love the Lord, thy God, with thy whole heart, thy whole mind and thy whole strength; and love thy neighbor as thyself. This is the whole of the Law and the prophets.” Saint Augustine epitomized Christian ethics in the precept, “Love and do as you will.”
We maintain that the Holy Spirit acts through pure channels everywhere, regardless of age, sex, race, creed or culture. There is only one true God, however this God is known or worshipped; hence, there is eternally only one holy universal Church, regardless of the cultural form it happens to assume in a given time and place. We revere the saints, sages, and holy ones of all ages and places.
HONORS THE DIVINE FEMININE
We recognize that the one true God speaks with both feminine and masculine voices. We listen for it. We maintain that God touches us in many ways. We respond. The Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine manifest through and in us. We act. We seek not one or the other, but rather the co-mingling and integration of all that is God. Experienced inwardly and expressed outwardly, the Divine Presence moves us with Grace toward a stillpoint where we can abide in Peace, rest in God, and co-exist with all that is.
We are a mystical church, keeping in mind the Old Testament words, “Be still and know I AM – God.” We give a primary place to Christ’s saying, “The kingdom of heaven lies within you.” and acknowledge that the greatest advancement in spiritual truth is made by those who discover that divinity resides within. If God is Love, then it is through our love that we come to a real and abiding knowledge of God. For Christians, love is spiritual knowledge par excellence.
We seek to draw back the veil, first to discover the deeper intellectual import and then the experiential dimension, which is the true meaning of spiritual symbolism in scripture, ritual, liturgy and theology.
We hold that a chief purpose of the church is to perpetuate the historical sacramental tradition as instituted by Jesus Christ, and as preserved through apostolic succession. We maintain that the sacraments are channels of divine grace. Therefore, we make the sacraments easily available to all.
Since the Eucharist puts us in communion with the Christ, it is a channel of Grace without parallel. Therefore, at our altars all reverent persons are welcome to receive communion, whether members of the Church of Antioch or not.
OPEN HOLY ORDERS
Holy Orders are open to all, regardless of gender, marital status, or sexual orientation. While we value of the principle of the “priesthood of the laity,” we also recognize the importance of valid of Holy Orders for the administration of the sacraments. Our solution is to make orders available to all qualified candidates who wish to serve Christ through ordained ministry. Such candidates are required to have a level of academic achievement and prior life experience which demonstrates the potential for the successful completion of a program of formation and for the professional practice of ministry. This formation is supervised by the church’s seminary, Sophia Divinity School. All ministries must be self-supporting.
Do you want the freedom to read and investigate the best of modern thinkers and writers, at the same time keeping your roots in the beauty and form of the traditional church? Large numbers of clergy and lay members are leaving their traditional churches because they have realized that there was no longer a possibility of their using their intelligence to utilize the best thinking in this new age and yet remain in their churches.
The great tragedy is that these people are often the most intelligent and best educated church members! They have used their time and energy to keep up with the times and investigate the best thinking of our age and they have had the heartbreaking experience of having to leave the churches, which they still love and in which most of them were raised in, in order to respect what they have learned.
If you are such a person, it could be that you are spiritually ripe to join the Church of Antioch and perhaps do not even realize it. This is the church which sets no limits to your thinking but, to the contrary, encourages you to use your intelligence to find the deepest spiritual truths that you can. You are urged to read all you can on scriptural interpretation, comparative religion, mystical traditions, as well as the best works in psychology, psychiatry, philosophy, and anthropology. At the same time, you can share with your fellow seekers the experience of worshiping in the rich traditional beauty of Eucharistic fellowship.
‡ Herman Adrian Spruit
Our late founder and Patriarch