the Evangelical Catholic Church and the United States Old Catholic
Church, recognizing and accepting each other as validly consecrated
catholic and apostolic churches holding the essentials of the
Catholic Faith are hereby prepared to enter into a canonically
binding Concordat of Recognition to share and support our common
vocation of service to the People of God.
relationship, our jurisdictions shall remain autonomous until such
time that each body endeavors incardination with one another. We
jointly profess the establishment locally and nationally of
recognized organs of regular consultation and communication,
including Episcopal collegiality, to express and strengthen the
fellowship and enable common witness, life, and service. Diversity
is preserved, but this diversity is not static. Neither church seeks
to remake the other in its own image, but each is open to the gifts
of the other as it seeks to be faithful to Christ and his mission.
We are together committed to a visible unity in the church's mission
to proclaim the Word and administer the Sacraments.
Agreement in the Doctrine of the Faith
Our jurisdictions recognize in each other the essentials of the one
catholic and apostolic faith.
We accept the
Nicene-Constantinopolitan and Apostles' Creeds and confess the basic
Trinitarian and Christological Dogmas to which these creeds testify.
That is, we believe that Jesus of Nazareth is true God and true Man,
and that God is authentically identified as Father, Son, and Holy
use very similar orders of service for the Eucharist, for the Prayer
Offices, for the administration of Baptism, for the rites of
Marriage, Burial, and Confession and Absolution. We acknowledge in
the liturgy both a celebration of salvation through Christ and a
significant factor in forming the consensus fidelium. We have much in common.
We believe that
baptism with water in the name of the Triune God unites the one
baptized with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, initiates
into the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, and confers the
gracious gift of new life.
We believe that
the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, distributed, and
received under the forms of bread and wine in the Lord's Supper. We
also believe that the grace of divine forgiveness is offered in the
sacrament of Reconciliation.
We believe and
proclaim the gospel that in Jesus Christ God loves and redeems the
world. We share a common understanding of God's justifying grace,
i.e. that we are accounted righteous and are made righteous before
God only by grace through faith because of the merits of our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ, and not on account of our works or merit.
Both our traditions affirm that justification leads and must lead to
'good works'; authentic faith issues in love.
believe that the church is not the creation of individual believers,
but that it is constituted and sustained by the Triune God through
God's saving action in Word and Sacraments. We believe that the
church is sent into the world as sign, instrument, and foretaste of
the kingdom of God. But we also recognize that the church stands in
constant need of reform and renewal.
We believe that
all members of the church are unconditionally called to participate
in its apostolic mission. They are therefore given various
ministries by the Holy Spirit. Within the community of the church
the ordained ministry exists to serve the ministry of the whole
people of God. We hold the ordained ministry of Word and Sacrament
to be a gift of God to his church and therefore an office of divine
We believe that a
ministry of pastoral oversight by the bishops, exercised in
personal, collegial, and communal ways, is necessary to witness to
and safeguard the unity and apostolicity of the church.
We share a common hope in the final consummation of the
kingdom of God and believe that we are compelled to work for the
establishment of justice and peace. The obligations of the kingdom
are to govern our life in the church and our concern for the world.
The Christian faith is that God has made peace through Jesus 'by the
blood of his cross' (Colossians 1:20) so establishing the one valid
center for the unity of the whole human family."
The ministry of the whole people of God forms the context
for what is said here about all forms of ministry. We together
affirm that all members of Christ's church are commissioned for
ministry through baptism. All are called to represent Christ and his
church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; to carry on
Christ's work of reconciliation in the world; and to participate in
the life, worship, and governance of the church. Our
jurisdictions must remain vigilant to realize the ministry of the
baptized through discernment of gifts, education, equipping the
saints for ministry, and seeking and serving Christ in all persons.
We acknowledge that one another's ordained ministries are
and have been given by God to be instruments of God's grace in the
service of God's people, and possess not only the inward call of the
Spirit, but also Christ's commission through his body, the church.
We acknowledge that personal, collegial, and communal oversight is
embodied and exercised in both our churches in a diversity of forms,
in fidelity to the teaching and mission of the apostles. We agree
that ordained ministers are called and set apart for the one
ministry of Word and Sacrament, and that they do not cease thereby
to share in the priesthood of all believers. They fulfill their
particular ministries within the community of the faithful and not
apart from it. The concept of the priesthood of all believers
affirms the need for ordained ministry, while at the same time
setting ministry in proper relationship to the laity.
Since both jurisdictions shares a common view as to the
manner of formation necessary to prepare one for Orders and
Religious Profession and also the prescribed Rites to be used; we
profess our recognition of clergy and religious of both
jurisdictions. Both jurisdictions acknowledge that the diaconate,
including its place within the threefold ministerial office and its
relationship with all other ministries, is in need of continuing
exploration, renewal, and reform, which they pledge themselves to
undertake in consultation with one another.
The New Testament
describes the laying-on-of-hands to set persons apart for a variety
of ministries. In the history of the church, many and various terms
have been used to describe the rite by which a person becomes a
bishop. Both jurisdictions jointly agree on the term consecration.
succession" refers to a tradition which goes back to the ancient
church, in which bishops already in the succession install newly
elected bishops with prayer and the laying-on-of-hands. Both
jurisdictions have valid orders rooted in historical apostolic
succession and both jurisdictions are descendants of Bishop Jose
As a result of this agreement, both churches now make the following
commitment to share an Episcopal succession that is both evangelical
and historic. They promise to include regularly one or more bishops
of the other church to participate in the laying-on-of-hands at the
ordinations/installations of their own bishops as a sign, though not
a guarantee, of the unity and apostolic continuity of the whole
church. With the laying-on-of-hands by other bishops, such
ordinations/installations will involve prayer for the gift of the
Holy Spirit. Both churches value and maintain the ministry of
episcopacy as one of the ways, in the context of ordained ministries
and of the whole people of God, in which the apostolic succession of
the church is visibly expressed and personally symbolized in
fidelity to the gospel through the ages. By such a liturgical
statement the churches recognize that the bishop serves the diocese
or synod through ties of collegiality and consultation that
strengthen its links with the universal church
Catholic Church by this Concordat recognizes the ministers ordained
in the United States Old Catholic Church as fully authentic. The
Evangelical Catholic Church acknowledges that the deacons, priests
and bishops of the United States Old Catholic Church minister as
States Old Catholic Church by this Concordat recognizes the
ministers ordained in the Evangelical Catholic Church as fully
authentic. The United States Old Catholic Church acknowledges that
the deacons, priests and bishops of the Evangelical Catholic Church
minister as fully valid.
Interchangeability of Clergy:
Occasional Ministry, and Extended Service
this Concordat, our jurisdictions declare that each believes the
other to hold all the essentials of the Christian faith, although
this does not require from either church acceptance of all doctrinal
formulations of the other. Ordained ministers serving occasionally
or for an extended period in the ministry of the other church will
be expected to undergo the appropriate acceptance procedures of that
church respecting always the internal discipline of each church.
each other as churches in which the gospel is truly preached and the
holy sacraments duly administered, we receive with thanksgiving the
gift of unity which is already given in Christ.
He is the
image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in
him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible
and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers --
all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is
before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the
head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn
from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in
everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things,
whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of
his cross (Colossians 1:15-20).
Christians have echoed the scriptural confession that the unity of
the church is both Christ's own work and his call to us. It is
therefore our task as well as his gift. We must "make every effort
to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians
4:3). We pray that we may rely upon, and willingly receive from one
another, the gifts Christ gives through his Spirit "for building up
the body of Christ" in love (Ephesians 4:16).
We do not know
to where this Concordat will ultimately lead our churches, but we
give thanks to God for leading us to this point. We entrust
ourselves to that leading in the future, confident that our full
communion will be a witness to the gift and goal already present in
Christ, "so that God may be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28).
Entering full communion and thus removing limitations through mutual
recognition of faith, sacraments, and ministries will bring new
opportunities and levels of shared evangelism, witness, and service.
It is the gift of Christ that we are sent as he has been sent (John
17:17-26), that our unity will be received and perceived as we
participate together in the mission of the Son in obedience to the
Father through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
Now to him
who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly
far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the
church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.
Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21).
the canonical representatives of our two jurisdictions, we hereby
affix our signatures to this Concordat with faith and trust in the
Holy Spirit and renewed dedication to the People of God.