The Western Orthodox Academy



the-chancellorThank you for your visit to our website. I hope you will find the information contained within interesting and productive.

The website describes distance learning external programmes provided by the Western Orthodox Academy (which does not grant degrees) in the United Kingdom and leading to overseas, non-United Kingdom degree awards made by the Western Orthodox University on the basis of its incorporation in the Commonwealth of Dominica. It also gives details of distance and blended learning programmes offered via affiliated campuses in Africa and Asia that lead to Western Orthodox University awards, and explains the history, research and archival work of the University.

The Western Orthodox 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 we make use of a number of modern technologies to deliver its programmes, many students still do some 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.

These programmes are 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 Western Orthodox Academy and the Western Orthodox University are institutions 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 programmes, however, the University remains open to students regardless of their personal beliefs.

Our institutions are structured as a social enterprise. They have no endowment and their only source of income is student fees and donations from those who support its work. While we must cover costs and operate efficiently, the primary object is not to make a profit, but to carry out an educational mission.

Founded in 1945, the University 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 Western Orthodox University is justifiably proud of its record in making a positive difference to the lives of our students. We look forward to receiving your enquiries.

The Most Revd. Professor John Kersey, D.D., D.Litt., Ed.D.
Chancellor of the Western Orthodox University

All Saints College merges with the Western Orthodox 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.

Organisational summary of groups descending from Arnold Harris Mathew

abp-mathewAmong 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)

Further accreditation for the Western Orthodox University


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.

Presentation in Australia

At St John’s Church, Gordon, Sydney, the Registrar and Dean of Degrees of the Western Orthodox University, Dr Michael Walsh, invested the newly appointed Orlando Gibbons Professor of Music, Dr William Clark, with his certificate of office.


Convocation in London

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

Information for graduates of European-American University

eaulogoEuropean-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 Academy 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.

Western Orthodox University enters agreement of reciprocal accreditation with Pontifical Academy

tiberina_WOUThe 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.

Ceremony in Sydney

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.

WOU Sydney ceremony

Ceremony in Sydney

WOU Lee ceremony 2

On 4 December, a ceremony of presentation was held at the Australian Performing Arts Grammar School in Sydney, Australia. Professor Kyunghee Lee received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University from Dr William Clark, who was representing the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor.

Dr Lee, who is originally from Korea, has given twenty five years service to Music Education at studio, Secondary and Tertiary levels. Having earned a first class Honours degree in Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong she pursued postgraduate studies leading to a Master of Music degree from Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, as well as at the American Conservatorium, USA. She has performed internationally as a concert pianist and often served on juries of international piano competitions and given masterclasses. She was President of the Australian International Conservatorium of Music before moving to her current position of President of the Australian Performing Arts Grammar School. She is also President of the Liszt Society of Australasia.

Following the Ceremony invited guests enjoyed a celebration afternoon tea.

WOU Lee ceremony 1