The Western Orthodox Academy

The Chancellor

The Most Revd. Professor John Kersey (Mar Joannes Edmundus) (1972-) was educated at undergraduate and postgraduate level at the Royal College of Music, London, where he was subsequently a Junior Fellow, and pursued further graduate studies at Christ’s College, Cambridge. On his election as Presiding Bishop of the Apostolic Episcopal Church he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology honoris causa by the Apostolic Episcopal Church (under the degree-awarding powers granted to the Church by the State of New York in 1933) and the degree of Doctor of Letters jure dignitatis by the Western Orthodox University. His prior ministerial education culminated in the award of the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 2008 by St Ephrem’s Institute of Eastern Church Studies, Scandinavia, where he received a citation for “his outstanding works on Church history”. He is a Fellow of the Central School of Religion, USA/UK.

Following a number of school, college and university teaching posts in the UK and overseas, he is today Chancellor of the Western Orthodox University (Commonwealth of Dominica) and Principal of the Western Orthodox Academy (UK). He is also a Full Professor in the International Program of the Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica, and a Doctorate (PhD) in Humanities (predominantly Law and Business Administration) from the Universidad San Juan de la Cruz, Costa Rica. He additionally holds a Doctorate in Education with specialization in Higher Education from the former Universidad International in Panama and a further Doctorate in Humanities in History from the Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica, for which his thesis was on the British Old Catholic Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew (1852-1919).

Following twelve years of lay work within a number of Christian denominations, he was brought to an eventual realisation that his vocation lay specifically within those movements that had sought to preserve Traditional Catholicism and Western Orthodoxy, and consequently received Holy Orders from a Traditional Catholic bishop, the late Dom Phillip Robert Kemp, OSB(csr). In 2008, he was episcopally consecrated and enthroned for the Apostolic Episcopal Church by Archbishop Bertil Persson, Emeritus Primate of the Apostolic Episcopal Church and the Order of Corporate Reunion (acting on a mandate from the Primate of the Apostolic Episcopal Church), assisted by other bishops from the Orthodox and Continuing Anglican traditions. Since then he has served as a bishop in the Apostolic Episcopal Church (founded 1925), becoming that church’s fifth Primate (and also Catholicos of the West) in 2015, and as Bishop and Rector Pro-Provincial of Canterbury in the Order of Corporate Reunion (founded 1874).

Archbishop Kersey is 114th in Apostolic Succession from the Apostle St Thomas through the Chaldean Catholic (Uniate) succession and 137th in Apostolic Succession from the Apostle St Peter through the Syrian-Orthodox Antiochian succession (263rd through the Petrine succession via the Roman Catholic Church). He is also in succession from the Apostles St James the Less, St Mark the Evangelist and St Andrew.

In August 2011, he was elected by the Supreme Council of San Luigi as Archbishop and Prince-Abbot of San Luigi (as Edmond III) and Superior-General of the Order of Antioch. In 2012 he was appointed Prefect of Great Britain of the Confraternitas Oecumenica Sancti Sepulcri Hierosolymitani. In March 2015 he succeeded his adoptive father the late Prince-Archbishop Kermit William de Polanie-Patrikios as Ecclesiast of All Byelorussia and Prince of Miensk and Vilna, also inheriting numerous other titles of nobility.

His recent books, all of which are published by European-American University Press, include The University Outside State Control (2009), the first to address its controversial topic in depth, Arnold Harris Mathew and the Old Catholic Movement in England 1908-52 (2010), and Joseph-René Vilatte (1854-1929): Some Aspects of his Life, Work and Succession (2011). He is also an award-winning concert pianist, having recorded over one hundred CDs for his own record label Romantic Discoveries Recordings, including first recordings of works by Beethoven, Alkan, Mendelssohn and many others.

He is Grand Master of the Royal Belarusian Orders, of the San Luigi Orders (consisting of the Order of the Crown of Thorns, the Order of the Lion and the Black Cross, and the Grand Prix Humanitaire de France et des Colonies), and head of the Nicholson Orders, comprising the Valiant Order of St. John the Baptist, the Order of Ave Maria and the Order of S. Teresa – The Little Flower. He serves as Protector and Prelate – Knight Grand Cross of Justice of the Royal Byelorussian Protectorate of the Orthodox Order of St John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller. In the Royal Byelorussian Protectorate of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem he is Protector and Prelate Grand Cross of Justice. He is also Knight Commander of the International Knightly Order of St George and Knight of the Order of the Precious Blood. In the Royal Order of St Stanislaus he has received the Gold Cross of Merit and the Medal of the Wroclaw Commandery. He was awarded the Order of Merit of Leszek II in 2015 as well as an Honorary Datuship from the Sultanate of Baloi, Mindanao, Philippines, and the title of Datu Paduka from the Royal House of Maharaja Adinda Aranan, Mindanao, Philippines. He holds the highest rank of Perpetuum (Grand Cross) of the Ordinis Venerabilis Sodalicii Mariae Ss. Boni Consilii Mortis et Misericordiae, Città di Castello, Italy, which is probably the oldest religious brotherhood in continuous existence today.

He received the honorary rank of Colonel in the Hungarian National Guard (1956), together with its highest award, the Hungarian National Guard Grand Star (awarded with the support of the Hungarian Ministry of Defence) and the Medal of the Anniversary of the 1956 Revolution. He was admitted as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St George the Martyr (Hungary) in 2017 and in the same year was honoured by the Order of the Calamian Star of Peace (Coron Island, Philippines) with the title of Grand Commander. In 2012 he was awarded the Verdienstkreuz in Gold from the Confraternitas Oecumenica Sancti Sepulcri Hierosolymitani, Bavaria, Germany, of which he is also an Honorary Brother, in recognition of his achievements in Alternative Education, Music and Theology and his humanitarian efforts for Africa. Subsequently he has received the Medal “Pro Probitas” in gold (Class I), the highest award of the Collegium Heraldicum Concordiae, Poland, the Jerusalem Cross and Medal of the Regent of the Union of the Polish Monarchists Association, and the Grosses Verdienstkreuz in Silber of the Freundeskreis Hoch- und Deutschmeister, Mannheim/Baden, Germany. He has received honours from Polish military and veterans’ societies, including the Cross of Merit of the Polish Society of War Veterans and Former Political Prisoners, and the Badge of Honor – Cross of Merit for organization of soldiers of the Home Army Uprising Special Forces “Jerzyki” (“Swifts”). He serves as Royal Protector and Member of Sovereign Council of the Regency of Lomar, an international humanitarian organisation.

He has been honoured by the Governors of four States of the United States of America, being a Colonel of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, an Admiral of the Great State of Nebraska, Lieutenant Colonel Aide de Camp Governor’s Staff of the State of Georgia and an Honorary Texan. In 2014, he received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from President Obama in recognition of his commitment to volunteer service. He holds several honorary doctorates, and honorary fellowships from music colleges and societies of musicians. A Freeman of the City of London and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Royal Geographical Society and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. In 2016 he was appointed a Pontifical Academician, becoming an Honorary Academician of the Pontificia Accademia Tiberina in Rome, and in 2017 was elected an Academician of Honor of the Norman Academy, which is headquartered in Florida, USA, and recognized by the government of The Gambia. He has been awarded the distinction of Academic Knight of Verbano by the International Order “Greci-Marino” – Academic Order of Verbano, Italy.

His personal website at www.johnkersey.org gives further details of his publications and his work as a historian and musician.