Catholic-Apostolic Church

In 2004-5 there was a now limboed thread on this church which left much unanswered. Earlier today I visited the sad remains of the CA church in Bridgnorth. The road frontage is altered but still recognisable from a 1940 photo I have seen, the terrace 'westwork' has be opened up in the middle but the minimal gothic windows each side survive as does the filled outline of the (liturgically) west window. A glimpse of the rear can be obtained from a (private) car park with only the bricked-up upper portions of the nave windows showing. As the door was open I went in as far as the hall (former nave) which looks just like any other small public hall.
In the earlier thread Amphibalus mentioned that he had seen a small chapel with its board describing it as CA somewhere in Shropshire, if that gent is reading this can give any clues as to where in the county it may be (have been) or was certainly not. A lot of work has been done identifying chapels in the county in the last year and this one has not surfaced (or not as CA). One odd item did get a CA label though no one seems to know why, a timber hut on Pontesbury Hill, built in 1926 has been suggested as CA. The date is surely too late and a photo exists from 1930 with the chapels board clearly visible and equally clearly calling it an Apostolic Chapel. Finally does anything ever happen at the Maida Avenue church?
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Comments

  • mr cheesymr cheesy Shipmate
    That's interesting. So was it still operating as a church?
  • I had heard that Maida Avenue ceased being used in 1987, and c2005, it still looks well maintained and I wonder if the litany is still said there, with its last priest only dying in 1971 there could well still be active church members.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Uh, what is "CA", please?
  • mr cheesymr cheesy Shipmate
    Catholic Apostolic as per the title, I guess.
  • I visited the Maida Vale church in the late 80s, at which time a service was indeed being held each Sunday (a Litany - very similar to the C of E version - with Bible readings and hymns.).

    The church was being cared for by a Doorkeeper (a minor order in the Catholic Apostolic Church), who had himself carried out a good deal of repair and conservation work, mostly on the vestries.

    My visit was arranged privately via the Catholic Apostolic Trustees, based at Gordon Square, though no doubt anyone could attend the Sunday service.

    I'd be interested to know if the church is still in use. It is a most splendid building, albeit quite austere within.

    (I think it was I who started the thread now in Limbo, BTW! How time flies when you're having Fun.....)
  • The Gordon Square building is being used by the "Euston Church", an offshoot of St. Helen's Bishopsgate. I guess it's pretty student oriented, giving the location.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited March 14
    O - quite a change of emphasis!

    And the 'English Chapel' at the east end of the church is used by Forward-in-Faith for a daily lunchtime Mass....
    :confused:

    I don't think there are services at the Maida Vale church any more, though I'd be happy to be proved wrong.
  • [Moved to from Heaven to Ecclesiantics]
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate

    The church was being cared for by a Doorkeeper (a minor order in the Catholic Apostolic Church), who had himself carried out a good deal of repair and conservation work, mostly on the vestries.

    My recollection is one of the minor orders to which all catholic priests are admitted as a pat of their proceeding to ordination as a deacon. It may have been possible for a married man to be admitted as such, or for a doorkeeper later to marry while remaining ordained. A doorkeeper was in holy orders though with all the benefits that brought in criminal law a half dozen and more centuries ago.
  • There is a Catholic Apostolic Church building at Albury in Surrey. I know that it ceased to be used for worship. Unless I am able to research, I am unable to give any information as to any present day usage of this building.
  • AlbertusAlbertus Shipmate
    The Trustees are not only still going, but appear to be pretty busy, making £250K-odd in grants to various churches in 2017-18 https://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?subid=0&regid=245250
  • The church at Albury was their HQ, known as the 'Apostles' Chapel'. It is well-maintained, but is not now used for worship, and AFAIK not readily available to visitors.

    Here it is:
    https://alburychurches.org/apostolic.html
  • venbedevenbede Shipmate
    Albertus wrote: »
    The Trustees are not only still going, but appear to be pretty busy, making £250K-odd in grants to various churches in 2017-18 https://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?subid=0&regid=245250

    Wow ! To whom are they making grants?

  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited March 19
    I can't say for certain, but, as the Catholic Apostolic Church declined, they recommended congregations left without ordained ministry to hie them to Anglican/Scottish Episcopal/Welsh churches (in the UK) or to episcopal Lutheran churches (in Europe).

    BTW, anyone who is really, really interested in the Catholic Apostolic Church may like to consult a Very Erudite Book on the subject, to wit:

    'Gathered Under Apostles - a Study of the Catholic Apostolic Church' by Father Columba Graham Flegg. It was published by Clarendon Press, Oxford, in 1992.

    Father Flegg was Orthodox Chaplain to Cambridge University 1988-1991, and died in 2015. I don't know if he ever published an update to 'Gathered Under Apostles', but it does bring the story of the Catholic Apostolic Church up to date as far as the early 90s are concerned.

    Caveat Emptor - the book is quite rare, and I had to resort to AbeBooks to get my copy (from a bookseller in The Netherlands). The price was not quite in three figures.......but it is a well-researched and enlightening book for those interested in such things....
  • .....following on from which, Father Flegg does record that, in 1991, there were at least a few extant Catholic Apostolic congregations in Germany, as their last Angel (or Bishop) Karl Schrey appointed a number of young underdeacons before his own death in 1960.

    Father Flegg himself worshipped with, and was ministered to by, the congregation in Karlsruhe in the mid-70s.

  • zoothornzoothorn Shipmate
    I went to a Sunday morning liturgy at Maida Vale in early 2016. There were about 25 people there of all ages. The doorman gave me a book of the liturgy and attempted to show me where they were in the service (I was a couple of minutes late). A 19th-century sermon was read which everyone except me had a copy of. The whole service took an hour and was conducted from a desk halfway down the nave. It was very cold. I had a look around, with permission, the church afterwards and then joined the congregation for refreshments. The congregation were friendly, some had taken earlier Anglican communion and some had a distinctly millennial outlook. However, I had a distinct impression that this is a church not seeking new members. The signboard outside advertised the 1030 service but was hidden behind a hedge and could only be read with effort.
  • How fascinating! Thank you.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Early on in the life of the Catholic Apostolic Church there was a schism in Germany which led to the foundation of the New Apostolic Church. They still have ordained clergy, though through time the community has taken on more of a Calvinist and Lutheran feel. There is ,or certainly was, a New Apostolic Church in Glasgow. There was a Catholic Apostolic Church in Edinburgh's, Broughton Street which was deconsecrated when a larger church was built a few hundred metres away. It is now a wedding/conference centre but retains the marvellous Phoebe Traquair religious paintings. The ornate baldacchino over the former High Altar is still in place, but the altar itself is now to be found in the nearby Roman Catholic cathedral of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh along with some other religious artefacts generously gifted by the remaining members of the Catholic Apostolic community.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 9
    When I visited in the late 80s, the signboard was indeed behind a hedge (I think they kept the hedge trimmed especially so as NOT to make it particularly visible!)

    Yes, there was a desk about half-way down the nave, and it was obvious that this was where the congregation gathered - hopefully in reasonable proximity, and not scattered about in ones and twos in Anglican fashion.

    @zoothorn, presumably you used the Liturgy book of 1880 (the final edition), but did you also sing hymns? I vaguely recall seeing a hymn-board with several numbers upon it when I was there. The Catholic Apostolics had their own book, possibly something of a rare find these days.....
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    I see there is a Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (http://www.cacina.org) but it seems to be a separate organization, if I read their website correctly. No parishes anywhere near me, but I see they have a presence in northern Virginia. Next time I go to visit my sister . . . .
  • I think you're right, Miss Amanda - this has nowt to do with the 19thC English movement, 'Gathered Under Apostles'.

    An MW Report would doubtless be seemly and edifying, nevertheless!
    :wink:
  • stonespringstonespring Shipmate
    edited April 9
    I see there is a Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (http://www.cacina.org) but it seems to be a separate organization, if I read their website correctly. No parishes anywhere near me, but I see they have a presence in northern Virginia. Next time I go to visit my sister . . . .

    They're basically episcopi vagantes ("wandering bishops" who claim legitimacy from their lines of apostolic succession which go back to offshoots from the RCC at different points in history) - but with a little more organization than most Independent Catholic (as they call themselves) groups, especially because they started as an offshoot of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (ICAB in Portuguese), which was started by a 20th Century real-deal RC bishop and has been treated by Rome at one point or another as having valid orders. The "Duarte-Costa" line of apostolic succession from ICAB, because it split from the RCC more recently than the Old Catholics, is highly in demand from priests and laypeople who want to become bishops and start their own Independent Catholic Church.

    Some Independent Catholic churches are conservative and some are liberal on Dead Horse issues. This one is liberal, which means that its relationship with ICAB (which is more conservative) has become strained.

    I am very close to someone who was pretty involved with the Independent Catholic churches within CACINA's orbit (I think their group was part of CACINA at one time). The CACINA parishes on its current website might indeed include some that are big and vibrant congregations, but my experience of Independent Catholic Churches has mostly been of very small congregations where the clergy often outnumber the laypeople and, among the clergy, a disproportionate amount of them are bishops or want to become one.

    LOTS of older gay men, including RC priests who left the RCC to be openly gay and have relationships. In the groups I was around it was not uncommon for clergy and laypeople to meet in gay bars and other establishments, sometimes pretty risqué ones. This would be less true in the more conservative Independent Catholic churches, although the number of closeted and semi-closeted gay men in those churches is not small (think of how much leeway a closeted bishop might give himself, regardless of what sexual morals he preaches publicly, if he is the boss of his own little church and does not have to answer to Rome or anyone else!).

    I'm too removed from all that now to do an MW report, unfortunately.
  • Thanks, @stonespring - that makes it much clearer. Still worth an MW Report, from anyone handy!

  • AlbertusAlbertus Shipmate
    Now I think of it, I had, years ago, an Irvingite prayer book, dating from I think the 1920s but no doubt compiled earlier. I recall it had quite a lot of forms for blessing various things- one of which was a 'chamber residence' which I take to be a bedsit, and perhaps says something about their demographic.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Albertus wrote: »
    Now I think of it, I had, years ago, an Irvingite prayer book, dating from I think the 1920s but no doubt compiled earlier. I recall it had quite a lot of forms for blessing various things- one of which was a 'chamber residence' which I take to be a bedsit, and perhaps says something about their demographic.
    I think you're right but the phrase sounds more like a cupboard to accommodate a chamber-pot.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 11
    It's 'Chamber-lodging', and follows on from 'Benediction of a House' - so presumably refers to a flat or apartment. The Catholic Apostolics seem to have been mostly of the upper, middle and professional classes, so bedsits may not have figured largely among their adherents!

    BTW, the term 'Irvingite' is strictly incorrect. Edward Irving (who died in 1834) had some considerable influence (especially with regard to charismatic gifts) in the early days, but he was never one of the twelve Apostles, who were not all fully called and 'separated' until 1835.

    The last, and definitive, edition of The Liturgy was published in 1880, but doubtless was reprinted subsequently, as required.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Chamber-lodging makes me think of the chambers occupied by academic professors in the older universities, or the chambers in the inns of court.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 11
    Well, the Apostle who devised many of the Catholic Apostolic services, John Bate Cardale (1802-1877) was a solicitor, and two others, Thomas Carlyle* (1803-1855), and Francis Valentine Woodhouse (1805-1901 - the last survivor of the twelve), were also lawyers.

    *not to be confused with the author Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)
  • AlbertusAlbertus Shipmate
    Chamber-lodging: that's right, thank you. yes, could be a mansion flat, I suppose, tho' I like the idea that it's the cupboard for the gozunder.
  • Doubtless the Mansion Flat was properly equipped with the said cupboard(s), anyway!
    :wink:
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Learn something new every day, I do.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 13
    O my Dear Boy, we aim to please here, so we do!

    Seriously, most of the info I have in my head regarding the Catholic Apostolic Church comes from Father Columba Flegg's book......just Euros75 from a nice bookseller in Delft.....
    :flushed:

    Fr Flegg (writing some 20+ years ago now) does seem to hint that some of the Catholic Apostolics may be looking for a further 'restored' Apostolate, not of the 'Twelve', but of the 'Seventy', referred to rather obliquely in the Gospels.

    Whether there's any sign of that happening, I couldn't say, but it's an intriguing (if somewhat obscure) thought.

    Meanwhile, and again SERIOUSLY, the Catholic Apostolic Church remains in the 'period of silence'......

  • zoothornzoothorn Shipmate

    @zoothorn, presumably you used the Liturgy book of 1880 (the final edition), but did you also sing hymns? I vaguely recall seeing a hymn-board with several numbers upon it when I was there. The Catholic Apostolics had their own book, possibly something of a rare find these days.....

    Yes to the Liturgy Book and there were hymns but I can't recall what now
  • Thanks.
    :smile:
  • Looking at a version of their liturgical book, would I be correct in guessing that the service was rather, lengthy? To be fair, morning and evening prayer and the "forenoon" service all pretty close to 1662 offices. But their Eucharist must have taken hours! The Eucharistic prayer manages to incorporate, amongst much else, portions of the solemn collects from the Good Friday liturgy, as well as goodly chunks of both the Roman Canon and the 1662 Eucharistic Prayer.
  • Yes, it was. Reports of Sunday services in the 1870s record that three hours was not uncommon.....
    :flushed:
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    groan
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited April 15
    Obviously possession of strong bladder control was an essential attribute of any clergy.

    More seriously, thanks to all who have thrown some light on this all but forgotten tradition.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 16
    Our pleasure. Further inquiries will be dealt with by My People, in correspondence with Your People.... :wink:

    Seriously, though, my warning above about the 'Period Of Silence' is apposite, inasmuch as I was entreated by the Trustees, as long ago as 1986, NOT to publish photographs, or to make public ANY information, regarding my then (purely private) enquiries into the Catholic Apostolic Church.

    It may be that I disobeyed those entreaties by starting, or contributing to, the thread on the Old Ship, but my personal research was, as it were, overtaken by the publication of Fr Flegg's book 'Gathered Under Apostles'.

    Just saying.

    The Catholic Apostolic Church still exists, at least in the form of Trustees, some buildings, and (I presume) some remaining believers, so discretion is called for, IMHO.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    More seriously, thanks to all who have thrown some light on this all but forgotten tradition.
    And a fascinating one!

  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 17
    Well, their teachings and liturgy pre-dated the Charismatic Renewal, and certain aspects of the Oxford Movement/Catholic Revival, by many years!

    Ahead of their time, certainly - but not afraid to admit that they were imperfect.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    It is interesting that C in a C says that the eucharistic celebration of the Catholic Apostolic church incorporated some of the (type of) prayers for all mankind from the RC Good Friday liturgy. The Good Friday liturgy in the Roman rite contains some of the oldest virtually unchanged forms of the liturgy.

    I may be wrong but I think that the Byzantine rite has near the beginning long prayers for all sorts of people and needs of which the Kyrie eleison in the Roman rite is all that remains in an abbreviated form.


    After Vatican 2 these general prayers which were until then one of the special features of the Good Friday liturgy were re-introduced in a much less formal way as the Universal Prayer, commonly called in English the bidding prayers, where mainly lay people after the Creed will lead the assembled faithful in prayers (sometimes composed by themselves) for the general needs of the parish and indeed all mankind.
  • Apostle Cardale (1802-1877) was the man largely responsible for the developed liturgies of the Catholic Apostolic body, and he was indeed greatly influenced by the liturgies of the Orthodox Churches (which, be it noted, were not much known or appreciated in mid-19thC England!).
  • The class background of Catholic Apostolic Church members has been discussed, but what other religious groups did they tend to come from? C of E? Nonconformist? Roman Catholic? Atheist or otherwise unchurched? Something else?

    What was the role of women in the Catholic Apostolic Church?
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Largely CofE I suspect, and some CofS. There would have been virtually no one in mid C19 England who came from a specifically atheist background. Those that did, scandalously, call themselves atheists would invariably have been rebelling against some sort of a Christian upbringing.

    Somebody else will need to answer the role of women question. I've no idea.
  • Certainly CofE and CofS, and I believe some other non-conformist groups, too. Very little input from the RCs, and nothing from the Orthodox churches AFAIK, though Apostle Cardale drew heavily on RC and Orthodox liturgies when compiling his own.

    As for the role of women, their teaching was distinctly conservative. Let the reader understand! Dead Horse territory...... :grimace:

    This continued into comparatively recent times, when members transferring to (say) their local Anglican church, following closure of the Catholic Apostolic building, would refuse to take part in a service where a woman - whether licensed or not - was officiating, leading prayers, or preaching. They might stay away from the service, if warned beforehand, or else leave the church during the service.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    A number of dissident Catholic and Lutheran groups joined the Catholic Apostolic Church in Germany, making it in a sense more 'catholic' (supra-national).When the top authorities in the Catholic Apostolic Church decided that the Spirit had stopped speaking and that there would be no more ordinations, the German branch did not agree and separated into the New Apostolic Church. In time this took on a much more Lutheran/Protestant aspect, given that by that time there was little input from the Catholics, most of whom had joined at the time of the disputes about papal infallibility.
  • Yes, that is so.

    The deaths of 3 Apostles in 1855, with others in the following years, resulted in the crisis @Forthview describes.

    The Schism in Germany resulted in the eventual excommunication of its members from the parent body in 1863, leading to the establishment of the still-extant New Apostolic Church (there's one - a converted house, I think - not far from where I live). Not much in the way of elaborate liturgy these days, AIUI.

    Between 1877 (the death of Cardale) and 1901, there was only one Apostle left (Woodhouse).
  • Bit of trivia: Gavin Maxwell, otter lover and author of Ring of Bright Water, was raised in the CA Church and refers in his autobiography The House of Elrig to lengthy services conducted by eldery men.
  • Elderly!
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