As the Chancellor of the Western Orthodox University, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to the University’s website, and I hope you will find your visit interesting and productive.
The University is dedicated to a specific educational methodology – individualized, mentored study in which students have a high degree of autonomy in the design and execution of their programs. Sometimes characterized as the “Oxbridge tutorial method”, mentor-directed one-to-one or small group tuition is in fact the oldest model of education that has come down to us today, and predates the mass education that is prevalent in modern universities. A great strength of this is that students may start and end a programme at their own pace, and work when it suits them to accommodate professional and/or family commitments.
The University benefits from an established network of affiliated partner campuses, institutions and faculty around the world that are authorized to prepare students for its awards. Although the University makes use of a number of modern technologies to deliver its programs, the majority of its students still study face to face with their mentors, and some tuition is given in small groups in a classroom setting.
Specializing in the education of adults who are already established in their fields rather than in school-leavers, the University has significant expertise in the assessment of prior formal and informal learning for college credit. APEL and related methodologies, which are now widely used and accepted in the university sector, can significantly shorten the time needed to earn a degree.
The University is designed for the serious and motivated student. Among our alumni we count some highly distinguished people – members of Royal Houses, government ministers, judges, leaders in business and in the Church to name but a few. The University is an institution of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, a traditional or “continuing” Anglican denomination that was established in 1925 and formally recognized by the laws of the State of New York, USA, in 1932. With the exception of certain theology programs, however, it remains open to students regardless of their personal beliefs.
The University is structured as a social enterprise. It has no endowment and its only source of income is student fees and donations from those who support its work. While it must cover its costs and operate efficiently, the primary object of the University is not to make a profit, but to carry out its educational mission.
Founded in 1945, the University is among a relatively small number of international universities today that have been established under religious, rather than secular, authority. The University is not part of any national system of education but is international and fully independent. It is accredited by the Pontificia Accademia Tiberina, one of the Pontifical Academies, in Rome, as well as by the Anglican Association of Colleges and Schools. The University maintains its corporate registration in the Commonwealth of Dominica.
We at the Western Orthodox University are justifiably proud of our record in making a positive difference to the lives of our students, and I look forward to receiving your enquiries.
The Most Revd. Professor John Kersey, D.D., D.Litt., Ed.D.
Chancellor of the University
The merger of All Saints College, Dublin, with the Western Orthodox University has been announced. All Saints College was established by the Apostolic Episcopal Church and offered higher education programs in theology and other areas. As a consequence of the merger, the University will take on all responsibilities for students and alumni of the College, including alumni of the former European-American University. The merger has been approved by the Anglican Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredited both institutions.
Among the churches and related groups that trace their origins to historic roots in Old (Roman) Catholicism, the majority assert descent through either Arnold Harris Mathew (1852-1919) (pictured left), who was in 1908 consecrated as Old Catholic Regionary Bishop of Great Britain and Ireland by bishops of the Union of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Churches, or through Joseph René Vilatte (1854-1929), who was in 1892 consecrated as Archbishop Metropolitan of the Old Catholic Church of America by bishops of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate. The latter have already been dealt with by way of an organisational summary in the work “Joseph René Vilatte (1854-1929): Some Aspects of his Life, Work and Succession“.
The role of an organisational summary is important in tracing the jurisdictional authority of given churches. Both Archbishops Mathew and Vilatte believed in the regional or specialized church as an organized and hierarchical unit within the wider context of the undivided One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. They were not ecclesiastical anarchists, who believed in or condoned bishops embracing independence for its own sake. In the case of Vilatte, whose work was that of church planting on several continents, and the giving of Apostolic commission to missions that had been without a bishop of their own, it is clear that his intention was to establish structured and duly constituted communions of an Orthodox and Catholic character. Mathew’s intention was less widespread and more locally centred, and of necessity involved a much smaller group of adherents, but was nonetheless concerned with establishing a church that would offer an alternative home for those drawn to Western Orthodoxy and a Catholic viewpoint within the Anglican Communion.
Previous attempts to trace the jurisdictional ramifications of the missions established by these two forefathers have included Karl Pruter’s “Old Catholic Sourcebook” (Garland, 1983) and the various directories of American religious groups compiled by J. Gordon Melton which have included brief narrative histories. These publications have concentrated on the United States, and the present offering is the first to include a number of the British and Continental groups in question. Such a task is made complex by the repeated division of the communions in question through schism, and yet it is an important way to understand these groups. It has become modish to disregard the importance of jurisdiction and point only to Apostolic Succession, claiming either along the lines of the Society of Pius X that in the absence of explicit jurisdiction ecclesia supplet, or indeed that jurisdiction is an outdated concept altogether. These arguments would have been rejected outright not only by Mathew and Vilatte but also by several generations of bishops who succeeded them, who would have pointed out that to abandon jurisdiction is to abandon any claim to be Orthodox or Catholic. The erroneous assumption that the original missions established by these prelates are long since extinct has also been encountered. In fact, jurisdictional succession is one of the few aspects that provides a reliable basis for the study of the movement as a distinct response to the First Vatican Council and thereby part of Old Catholicism as a distinct phenomenon, rather than as part of the “new religious movements” categorisation, which is an unhappy fit with the predominantly conservative majority of Old Catholic churches outside the Utrecht Union.
None of this is to deny that individuals, whether or not they hold Holy Orders that can be traced back to any specific prelate, might not found new communions and declare them to be Old Catholic in practice. Indeed, such new churches may, in substance and mission, not only be the equal but the superior of those with valid jurisdictional claims to Old Catholicism. It does not appear that the Union of Utrecht requires as a condition of churches that enter discussion seeking affiliation that they should be able to prove jurisdictional continuity from a given Catholic or any other parent body. And of course it is possible for new groups to be validated jurisdictionally by established jurisdictions, which may extend them a charter or otherwise incorporate them. Where these matters are treated with indifference, however, it is clear that the mark of the authentic church is absent. And where proven jurisdictional descent is present, it not only indicates a valid claim to ecclesiastical authority but merits a greater degree of serious attention by the scholar since it will generally indicate the repository of both oral history and archival materials.
This work is not the last in this series, and it is hoped that others will follow at a later stage that will deal with the remaining groups of jurisdictions that trace their origins to a single bishop.
>>Organisational summary of groups descending from Arnold Harris Mathew, by John Kersey (pdf file)
Following the recent decision of the Commission on Accreditation of the Anglican Association of Colleges and Schools, the Western Orthodox University has been awarded the status of Accredited Member of the Association. The following is the agreed form of wording used to describe the University’s status:
The Western Orthodox University is an accredited member of the Anglican Association of Colleges and Schools. Accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of the Anglican Association of Colleges and Schools serves as a means of peer recognition among institutions providing Christian education within the United States and abroad, and confirms that an institution has met the Commission’s standards for effective operation.
Established in 2016, the Anglican Association of Colleges and Schools is the umbrella body for the educational institutions of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, the parent church of the University. The Apostolic Episcopal Church was founded in 1925 and has been recognized by the Statutes of the State of New York, USA, since 1932.
At St John’s Church, Gordon, Sydney, the Registrar and Dean of Degrees, Dr Michael Walsh, invested the newly appointed Orlando Gibbons Professor of Music, Dr William Clark, with his certificate of office.
On the evening of 27 September, a Convocation was held in London, UK, before an invited audience who dined in the Lady Violet Room of the National Liberal Club. Presented to the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor to receive the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy was Mrs Annette Rose, who has undertaken many years of original research into the history of the Marten family in Sussex and elsewhere. The Chancellor gave an introduction to our educational philosophy while the Vice-Chancellor gave an account of the work that Dr Rose had submitted and the nature of her research.
Dr Rose after her admission to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
With the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor
The graduation party and guests before dinner
European-American University (EAU) is one of the institutions that has now merged in the Western Orthodox University.
All degrees issued by European-American University remain legal and valid. They can be verified upon enquiry to the Western Orthodox University which is the custodian of European-American University’s academic records.
All contractual arrangements entered into by EAU under its incorporation in the Commonwealth of Dominica, including faculty appointments and campus arrangements, have been inherited by the Western Orthodox University as the legal successor to EAU.
Any person who graduated from EAU who would like to receive a reciprocal degree from the Western Orthodox University may do so on payment of a fee of US$50 to cover postage and administration.
The University has concluded a full reciprocal relationship of partnership, recognition and accreditation with the Pontificia Accademia Tiberina, Rome, Italy.
The Accademia Tiberina was founded in 1813 and received official recognition from the Sacred Congregation of Studies under Pope Leo XII in 1825. Already in 1816, the Papal States had granted the Accademia the right in perpetuity to display on its door the coat of arms of the Senate and the Roman people. In 1878 the Accademia was given permanent hospitality in the palazzo of the Cancelleria Apostolica by Pope Leo XIII.
The Accademia counts five popes among its distinguished past membership: Pius VIII, Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius XII, and numerous Cardinals of the Catholic Church. Among its many other distinguished members are the composers Liszt, Bellini, Rossini and Respighi, the inventor Marconi and the chemist Marie Curie.
In addition to the institutional agreement, three senior members of the Senate of the University have been made Honorary Academicians of the Accademia.
On the first of May 2016, the Senate of the Western Orthodox University conferred on the Revd. Canon Dr Arthur Mowle, OCR, OA, the degree of Doctor of Science (ScD). The degree was awarded after a careful review of Canon Mowle’s past work in the area of ‘applied’ Clinical Nutrition, especially his research into the benefits of high dose Vitamin C in illness prevention and his work as a psychotherapist with boys experiencing school learning and and behavioural problems. Canon Mowle was awarded a Doctor of Science (Health Science) degree in the United States back in 1982 and his thesis titled, ‘Man, Disease and Vitamin C’ is still on the shelves of Murdoch University. Ian Dettman, PhD (Monash), one of Canon Mowle’s examiners at the time, wrote in 1987:
‘Dr Arthur Mowle has contributed a considerable treatise to the annals of Nutrition. He has detailed with skill some of the underlying causes of disease. Dr Mowle has reviewed the literature concerning Vitamin C and its physiological role in protecting the human body from stress, as a prophylactic in coronary heart disease and as a pharmacological agent in treating a range of bacterial and viral diseases. he has tackled the complex relationship of Ascorbate (Vit C) and SIDS with a lot of clarity. The thesis is well documented. Many of the areas presented, challenge some of the more traditional views of Vitamin C, however, Dr Mowle backs up his assertions clearly and with considerable documentation. The structure of the thesis is sound. From the point of view of a biochemist, I would have preferred to have seen a chapter dedicated to the quite involved known chemistry of Vitamin C. I would recommend this thesis as an innovative, radical approach to the understanding of the role that Vitamin C has in human disease.’
On Friday 22nd January, a Ceremony was held at the International Music Examination Board Headquarters in Sydney, Australia. Dr Darrell Hines and Dr Tim Smith were presented with the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy by Dr William Clark who was representing the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor. A light luncheon followed the Ceremony.