ST. MICHAEL OLD CATHOLIC CHURCH
The Most Reverend Steve Harris D.D., D.Min.
IOCC Bishop of Florida
Other IOCC Tampa Bay Parishes
Holy Apostles Church
1605 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin, Florida 34698
St. Joseph of Arimathea Mission Church
7107 Gibraltar Ave., New Port Richey, Florida 34653
IOCC Diocese of Florida
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A Brief History of the Independent Old Catholic Church
The Old Catholic churches are independent catholic, orthodox, and apostolic churches that trace their individual histories back to the Early Church and directly to the apostles themselves.
Old Catholics have their origins in the Roman Catholic Church of the Netherlands beginning in the seventh century. The Diocese of Utrecht became an Archiepiscopal See (under jurisdiction of a bishop) in 1145 when Pope Eugene III and the Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III gave it the right to elect its successors to the See. This meant that the Archbishop of Utrecht was free to consecrate bishops without permission or approval from the Bishop of Rome (the Pope).
Following the First Vatican Council in 1870, considerable dissent grew among Catholics, especially in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, over the newly-proclaimed dogma of papal infallibility. These dissenters could not accept the proposition that the Bishop of Rome was infallible. As a result, many formed independent communities that came to be known as Old Catholics because they sought to adhere to the beliefs and practices of the Early Church of the post-Apostolic era. The Old Catholic communities appealed to the Archbishop of Utrecht who consecrated the first bishops for these communities. Eventually, under the leadership of the Church of Holland, these Old Catholic communities joined together to form the Utrecht Union of Churches.
The Old Catholic Church in the United States has evolved from a centralized administration to a local and regional model of administration with self-governing dioceses. In 1908, Gerard Gul, Archbishop of Utrecht (who traces his apostolic succession back to St. Peter in the See of Rome), consecrated Arnold Harris Matthew as Old Catholic Bishop of Great Britain. Through his efforts the Old Catholic Church spread to United States and Canada.
In 1991, Bishop Maurice D. McCormick (who traces his apostolic succession back to Archbishop Arnold Harris Matthew) organized the Independent Old Catholic Church (IOCC). Today, the IOCC has clergy (deacons, priests and bishops) in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Cuba and Africa. The IOCC continues to grow and serve the Lord. It is presently led by Archbishop George H.W. LeMesurier of Ottawa, Canada.
The IOCC Statement of Beliefs
We believe that Jesus is the Christ and our personal Savior.
We believe in the Holy Trinity.
We believe in the inerrant and divine inspiration of Holy Scripture.
We believe in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
We believe in the three historic creeds: Nicene, Apostles and Athanasian.
We appreciate the wisdom and guidance of the doctrines of the Seven Early Church Ecumenical Councils.
We appreciate the wisdom and guidance of the Early Church Fathers.
We believe in the seven sacraments of the Church: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Anointing and Prayers for the Sick, Confession and Reconciliation, Marriage and Holy Orders.
We believe that the Bread and Wine become the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
We believe that the Eucharist is open to all Christian believers.
We believe that all Holy Orders are open to both men and women, married or single.
We believe celibacy of those in Holy Orders is a personal decision.
We hold valid Apostolic Succession.
We believe in the sanctity of marriage, however we believe that Jesus is merciful and those who have been divorced and/or remarried are offered the sacraments of the Church.
We believe that contraception is a personal decision.
We believe that abortion and euthanasia is the taking of human life, however we also are aware of the loving and forgiving nature of God.