Metropolitan of Europe’s message at the beginning of the Conclave

Nota Bene

  • Old Roman Catholicism is the orthodox continuation of the ancient See of Utrecht that was detached from communion with Rome by Pope Blessed Pius IX in 1853; despite a canonical case that had been in process since effectively 1710 upon the death of Archbishop Petrus Codde, when the Cathedral Chapter of the See of Utrecht exerted its ancient privilege to fill the vacant See by Papal grant of Pope Eugene III in 1145. As had always been the custom, the Cathedral Chapter elected a candidate for consecration and notified the Holy See who refused to ratify the decision, insisting instead upon its own candidate irrespective of the historical privilege of the Chapter. An impasse was then created but throughout which and to this day, the Old Roman Catholic Church has continued to send notice of the election and consecration of her bishops to the Holy See.
  • Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew was forced to declare independence from the See of Utrecht for the preservation and continuance of orthodox Old Roman Catholicism in 1910 when the Protestantising influence of the German and Swiss “Old Catholics” became clear and certain liturgical and doctrinal reforms contrary to the spirit of Old Roman Catholicism were being promoted within the “Union of Utrecht”. Unable to reach an accommodation with the Holy See, Archbishop Mathew sought and achieved approbation from other Apostolic Patriarchates and in 1911 the Old Roman Catholic Church was granted autocephalous status and membership of the holy synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch, this was recognised in 1912 by Pope Photius of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
  • Reunion with the Holy See still remains a goal of the various Old Roman Catholic bishops conferences and the Metropolitan is here expressing that sentiment in his letter regarding the Conclave.
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