The Manifesto of the Libera Catholick Union
The Manifesto of the Libera Catholick Union (LCU)
We use the term “manifesto” in the common sense of “a public declaration of policy and aims” while also stressing it’s etymological meaning: MAN, relating to the Old English “mund” meaning “hand, protection, guardian”; INVEST, meaning “to attack”. We use the Old English spelling “Catholick” to emphasize that our union is set apart from the religious expressions commonly designated as Catholic through our charismatic reverence for the inexpressibly magickal Mysteries of faith found in our Christian roots, which include the ancient Hermetic traditions.
Our aid, our aim, our gain is the Infinite Holy Name.
Ground, Path & Fruit: Glory to God’s Name.
Father - Mother, Son & Daughter, Holy Spirit - Holy Soul,
bless LCU, each part, the whole.
Abwoon... libera nos a malo.
Our world is awash with confusion about faith. Faith could be said to be the dynamic that leads to salvation.
Jesus Comforts the Disciples:
“Let not your heart be troubled... [Y]ou know the way to the place I am going...
I am the way and the truth and the life.
The mission of the Libera Catholick Union is to receive, be, bear and share the Way of Our Lord Christ Jesus. This manifesto serves to clarify our means towards this end and to guide our union’s evolution. The motto of the Libera Catholick Union, inspired from 2 Thes 2:10, is “Love the Truth”. It is our hope that, in promoting love of the Truth, the LCU will be able to, in the words of Finley Peter Dunne,“Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.”
“‘Trinity unisubstantial and indivisible, unity trihypostatic and consubstantial’ — ... [T]his is the path to it [the Truth]”. (Pavel Florensky, The Pillar and Ground of The Truth, “Letter Three: Triunity”)
The LCU stands in solidarity with all Trinitarian traditions, most especially followers of Sophiological Trinitarianism. We confess that The Most Holy Trinity is the One True God. We in the LCU have become disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ through being Baptized & Chrismated in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We grow deeper in our intimacy with Him, becoming friends and brides of Christ, through journeying further into the Heart of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. We understand faith in the Triune God to subsist in Lord Jesus Christ being the Incarnate-Logos. Knowing Him as our personal and our Kosmic Redeemer divinizes our lives and empowers our ministries.
[We use the term Kosmic with a K as is the practice within integral theory to refer to all both material and non-material realms, whereas cosmos refers the merely material worlds.]
There is a fundamental difference between dynamic faith in a personal Triune God, on the one hand, and the wide spectrum of ultimately nihilistic ideologies found in either impersonalist-leaning or self-centered worldviews. Such destructive worldviews will bind and blind us inwardly and outwardly lead us to manifest symptoms of desperation and accept systems of domination. But where there is love of Truth, cradled as a coincidence of opposites, there the Divine Mediator (the Source of Creativity) reveals to us both Divine Transcendence (the Source of Freedom) and Divine Immanence (the Source of Community). Without a Triune focus which consistently, comprehensively, and universally honors God-for-us, God-with-us, and God-in-us (each and every one), we are left at best with the illusion of freedom, misdirected creativity, and corruption-riddled communities. And at worst we will fail to recognize and abide in the heavenly mansions of everlasting light, life and love eternally prepared for us.
The LCU declares the primacy of obedience to one’s own informed personal conscience. And LCU ministers are to make pastoral sensitivity a foremost concern. We affirm this strongly: in necessary things, unity; in undeterminable things liberty; in all things charity. We consider everything necessary for salvation to be have been revealed in books contained in the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Bible, which has the largest canon of Scriptures among all of the ancient Apostolic Catholic and Orthodox churches. We also realize that Nature Herself is Holy Scripture and ever creature a word of God. We avail ourselves of the Wesleyan Quatrilateral methodology of spiritual discernment, which we abbreviate as STER, as it means “star” in many languages: Scripture, Tradition, Experience, Reason. The LCU also embraces creation spirituality’s four ways of moving in the Lord and being Church: via negativa, via positiva, via creativa, and via transformativa. So too we recognize the need for integral ministry which addresses all of the quadrants, levels, lines, states and stages of integral theory.
Persons and groups often can and do disagree over faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. St. John Wesley summed up what he considered to be the two fundamental doctrines in this matter: “the new birth [in Christ], and justification by faith [in Christ]” (Sermon 53). We could re-phrase “justification” as “liberation”, so as to avoid any assumed requirement of penal substitutionary theory. To these we would add the Christological articulation of St. Cyril of Alexandria, that the nature of Jesus Christ is that of “the Incarnate-Logos”. That Christ Jesus is simultaneously true God and true creature is and ever shall remain a Mystery of faith.
The LCU is not dogmatick and we allow our communities to make use of creeds which their members consider unifying and edifying, or not make use of creeds at all. In the spirit of “Primitive Catholicism” The Old Roman Symbol and the baptismal confession of the Apostolic Traditions are deferred to in credal matters when necessary, for the larger union as a whole, being most ancient, fully orthodox & succinctly sufficient. Any 2 or 3 persons who gather together and declare that “Jesus Christ is Lord”, who are inspired by this Manifesto, and who agree to abide by the LCU’s 14 Polity Traditions (our union’s other foundational document which explains our specifics of organizational functioning) may form an LCU community.
It is Lord Jesus Christ alone that we worship, in unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit, as the One Triune God. We affirm that Jesus Christ is truly and fully present in a glorious, wonderful, and most mysterious way in His Holy Name (thus affirming Onomatodoxy, the teaching that God and God’s Name are non-different), and in the Holy Church of God (wherever 2 or 3 are gathered in His Holy Name), and in the Church’s Holy Sacraments (which are always to be offered free, without charge, in a pastorally sensitive manner).
Jesus Christ founded the one holy, catholic apostolic Church of God, of which the Libera Catholic Church is a part. The LCU is a visible and energetic instrument of salvation which subsists in the mercy of God. Lord Jesus Christ gave His Church a sacramental constitution that will remain eternally. Jesus is the Head and the members of the Libera Catholic Union are each small parts of the sacramental body, but, one and all are Royal Priests. We, who are members of this body, are one apophatic person. The Church is sacred, for the one Mediator, Jesus Christ, has designed and sustained its visible structure to subsist in Him. Through Jesus Christ, deliverance becomes present in time and space via the concelebration of the Holy Sacraments by its members, the Royal Priesthood. The LCU presents the Wisdom of Jesus Christ, which is the divine revelation preserved in Scripture, living in Tradition, known through Experience, and confirmed by Reason. We honor the many Church fathers, mothers, saints and martyrs, and also the worthy and prophetic Church reformers. We oppose the depravities which emerged and continue to emerge (too many to enumerate) within church structures, leaders, and theologies. These malignancies are, at root, the result of failing to magnify the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.
LCU is a sacramental fellowship where pastoral concern always trumps legalism, a solidarity which holds true to the values which we discover and deepen through our awe and reverence of The Most Holy Trinity. We aspire to unity in diversity, and consider the most appropriate theological stance to be maintain as regards Creator and creation and Divine essence and Divine energies to be that of inconceivable oneness and difference. The 3 letters LCU can be viewed as representative of the ideals of Liberty, Creativity and Unity, which we discover in Our Triune God. We hold that Jesus Christ Our Lord is the Creative-Word, eternally begotten through the freedom of the Father, and that from Our Father cometh unifying spiration of the the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying procession, for the Christification of the many, that all may be one.
This is what the LORD says: ... “My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations.” (Isaiah 56:1,7)
The LCU bases it’s 7 Primary Sacraments upon the Bible and upon the Sacramental tradition of the Assyrian Church of the East. Like the Orthodox Church we set no limit upon the number of Sacraments, but highlight 7. Unlike Protestant Churches which find only 2 Sacraments in the New Testament, we see 4 Sacramental commissions from Christ in Mark’s Gospel, the oldest of the 4 canonical Gospels. In the Vulgate version of Mark 3:13-15 Jesus gives his Apostles 4 imperatives: be with Him, preach the good news, heal sickness, and expel demons. And in Mark In the Church of the East, unlike other Apostolic churches, Baptism and Chrismation are considered to be one Sacrament and the Sign of the Life-giving Cross is also regarded as a Sacrament. Tradition teaches us that name and form are intimately connected. The name reveals the form and the form reveals the name. Mark 3:13-15 reads: “And he goeth up to the mountain, and doth call near whom he willed, and they went away to him; and he appointed twelve, that they may be with him, and that he may send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal the sicknesses, and to cast out the demons.” And Mark 16:15 states: “And He said to them: Go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature.“
Thus, the LCU considers these it’s 7 Primary Sacraments and offers them to all creatures:
To Be with Christ = 1) Baptism-Chrismation & 2) Holy Orders (diackon & prester)
LCU does not generally rebaptize or rechrismate, except in cases where the Sacrament was performed when the person was an under the age of reason or if a Trinitarian formula was not used. But conditional Baptisms and Chrismation should be offered to those in doubt about having received them validly and knowingly. Those having received only Baptism and not Chrismation may be given Chrismation alone. A sacramental rite may be used for receiving members already Baptized and Chrismated. As regards Holy Orders, according to thorough Biblical research we conclude that all Christians through their Baptism have become holy priests. We therefore affirm a priesthood of all believers and teach that any Baptized Christian can perform the Church’s Sacraments, even alone, apart from Holy Orders which is always a community Sacrament which requires 2 Baptized Christians or 1 Prester to conduct. They may perform the Rite at a distance however. The 2 forms of Church leadership found in the New Testament are diakonos (social ministry servants/deacons) and presbyteros-episkopos (elders-overseers/guardians; the two terms are used interchangeably). We choose the spelling diackon for diakonos, as in Latin it is a feminine gendered noun, which we modify by adding the letter K for magickal amplification. We choose the term prester for presbyteros as it is a masculine noun in Old French (prestre) and means priest or presbyter (as well as lightning storm or serpent in its Greek form), and was also used to refer to bishops, such as Prester John, in the Christian tradition. Thus we have a masculine-feminine polarity for our Church leadership model. Within the LCU the local congregation chooses and ordains its own ministers, or installs them via a sacramental rite if they have already been previously ordained into the office they are filling. Non-humans may be ordained as diackons, but only those deemed capable of pastoral oversight by the community may be ordained as presters. Other leadership roles, consecrated lifestyles, or special charisms of LCU members may be formally recognized and honored via sacramental rites by the community, but are technically not considered the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
To preach the good news = 3) The Word & 4) The Eucharist
The Eucharist is to be fully open in the widest sense, offered to any and all of God’s living creatures in attendance willing to receive it, Christian or not.
To heal sickness = 5) Reconciliation & 6) Annointing of the Sick
The New Testament states that more than one elder should perform Annointing of the Sick so we recognize this as the ideal. But in cases where this is not possible then as many Christians as are available may offer this Sacrament to one who is sick or dying.
To expel demons = 7) Exorcism
Exorcism may be of persons, places, or things. Prior to blessing any person, place or thing (which would be the Sacrament of the Word) an exorcism should ideally first be performed, even if just in a brief form.
All LCU Sacraments may be offered without any physical touch. And if any group Eucharist is being celebrated the sensitivities of all receiving Eucharist must be taken into account. For instance, if any person is under the legal drinking age or just prefers that non-alcoholic juice be used, then wine will not be used. And if any person receiving is gluten intolerant then wheat bread will not be used. Whole wheat bread (containing only wheat, water, and salt, with optional yeast) and kosher red grape juice or wine are preferred for their symbolism, but any solid and liquid food may be used for the Eucharistic elements. Members may annoint themselves if they are not comfortable being touched by others.
Each local LCU congregation is free to make use of and to adapt traditional Liturgical rites and practices and to create their own, so long as they accord with the essentials of the Gospel of Christ.
LCU Sacraments are open to any and all who are in need of or desire them and who are properly disposed to receive them (not according institutional worthiness narratives, but according to the inspired judgement and pastoral sensitivity of the LCU ministers). The Church subsists in the deliverance provided in Jesus Christ. This deliverance happens only when the truth revealed in Jesus Christ becomes the point of reference, rather than the opinions of a majority or the spirit of the times. Jesus Christ Himself is fully present in the Sacraments of the Church and the Holy Spirit is truly guarding and guiding the Church. The Holy Church is not an artificially created association, but an outflowing of divine grace acting in history. The mediation of faith is inextricably bound up with the authenticity of the Church’s messengers, who in some cases have abandoned and abused those entrusted to them. LCU holds its members and affiliated groups accountable to the each other in order to restore, defend, and enkindle the Christian faith wherever it may have dwindled.
LCU will make use of a adapted form of the 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous for its ecclesiastical structure and functioning, adding to these the 6 Free Methodist Freedoms and 4 Baptist Fragile Freedoms. [See our LCU Polity Traditions document.] We have a zero-tolerance policy for abuse within our congregations. In the deepest sense of the terms, LCU strives to keep our lineage Apostolic, our praxis Catholick, our polity Reformational, our charism Hermeticist, and our grounding Biblical.
Transcendent Father-for-us, in Your boundless light true freedom abides.
May Your perpetual light shine on us.
Mediating Son-with-us, Your creative life overcomes all corruption and death.
May we be resurrected to everlasting life though You, with You and in You.
Immanent Holy Spirit-in-us, Your love unites us in sacred community.
May You sanctify us and all of our relationships.
Triune One, Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, may we, your aspiring servants in the LCU, learn to dance in tune with Your perichoresis, in concert with Your consorts.
Through active participation in the Holy Eucharist may we be thoroughly taken, blessed, broken and given. Let us come to fully celebrate being chosen as beloved children of God. Knowing this with confidence, thus may we be enabled to carry our cross, placing our brokenness under God’s blessing so as to give ourselves to the world, as heralds of the Gospel to all of creation.
Lord God Most High, through the unfailing power of The Infinite Holy Name may we in the LCU be empowered to be worthy ministers to all those we encounter.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.
Glorious Trino-Sophia, Immaculata-Mediatrix-Theotokos,
beneath Thy Mantle place us. Never forsake us.
Mighty & Wonderous Angel Piliel, ever guard us well.
St. Hildegard of Bingen, fair patroness, do pray for us.
St. Giordano Bruno, patron dear to us, do plead for us.
We pray this all in the Name of the Father El Elyon, Yahushua the Son, and The Holy Spirit Adon.
Aum Ah Hum Hoh
The 14 Traditions
The 14 Traditions of LCU: Our Ecclesiastical Polity
1. LCU members and communities shall be free to and are encouraged to address all quadrants, all lines, all levels, all stages and all states in their ministry work (free to pursue Integral AQAL ministry). The health of any holon is integrally related to each holon’s creative connections within its holonic networks. Given that the life of both individuals and groups is always embedded within I, We and It contexts, our life as LCU ministers and communities must be free to be move beyond our comfortable domains and actively seek ways to promote the life-giving reign of our boundary-breaking God within this integral web of inter-being, to the best of our capacities.
2. The LCU as an entity is free from loyalty to everything and everyone except our one Ultimate Authority — the personal, loving Triune God as revealed in Holy Scripture, Tradition, Experience and Reason (used in the broad sense of all the cognitive faculties): Trinity revealed in the H-STER (as in the PIE root *h₂stḗr, masculine - Star).
3. LCU should remain forever free from professionalism. We do not employ staff but rather run entirely via the efforts of volunteers. LCU communities may of course pay persons and groups for products purchased and services rendered to assist in their ministry work. We define professionalism as an occupation for fees or hire. But we may employ LCU members where they are going to perform those services for which we may otherwise have to engage non-LCU members. Such special services may be well recompensed. But our usual ministerial work is never to be a professional occupation. LCU communities must remain free from ministers who seek to rule or to be paid for their services. All LCU ministers are free servants.
4. LCU membership is free and open to any who agree with our charism as expressed in this document and in our Manifesto and who choose to participate in the life of one of our faith communities or to form their own. Hence we may refuse membership to none who are deemed sincere by a local community in their expressed wish to join us and who are judged by them as remaining faithful to our charism. LCU membership never depends upon money or conformity, just a basic respect for freedom, creativity and community and a dedication to the Great Commission of Christ Jesus.
5. LCU must be free from bullies. We may and should exclude those who breach our zero-bullying policy. This policy defines bullying not just as forms of physical, emotional, or spiritual abusiveness, but also as expressions of abusive relationships within our communities such as speaking for or over others, lying, stealing, or cheating and also tolerance for the bullying of others. God’s children have been abused by religious leaders for too long. LCU sides with the abused and has zero-tolerance for abusers participating in our communion.
6. LCU communities are to be free from all other formal affiliations. Any two or three Christians gathered together in the Name of Lord Jesus Christ and who are aligned with the LCU ideals may call themselves an LCU community, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.
7. Each community within LCU shall be free to govern their own community autonomously, except in matters affecting other communities or the LCU as a whole. With respect to its own affairs, each LCU community should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience, as informed by H-STER. But when its plans also concern the welfare of neighboring LCU communities, those communities ought to be consulted. And no LCU community, committee, order or member should ever take any action that might greatly affect LCU as a whole without conferring with the LCU Roundtable. Our common welfare is to be regarded as paramount. The LCU Roundtable shall consist of any active LCU diackon or prester who volunteers to participate in and who is able to perform general LCU governance administrative work. Each member of the Roundtable has an equal voice in general governance decision making. In theological matters the voice the majority of presters shall be decisive, as they are the ministers appointed by their communities to safeguard sound and pastorally sensitive Trinitarian doctrine within the LCU.
8. Each LCU community shall be free from extraneous purposes and have but one primary purpose — to receive, bear and share, and thereby embody, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as integrally as possible. We acknowledge the 9 elements of interspirituality as effective lenses through which we can focus our ministry. Thus the LCU fully supports and seeks to promote: Ahimsa, Universal solidarity with all living beings, Morality, Prophetic voice, Insight (mature self-knowledge), Compassionate action, Daily spiritual disciplines, Simplicity of life, and Humility.
9. Every LCU community is to remain as free as possible from outside influences which would seek to effect its functioning. No LCU group ought ever endorse, finance, or lend the LCU name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of power, possessions, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose. Every LCU community ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. We think that each group should achieve this ideal immediately upon formation. Any public solicitation of funds using the name of LCU is highly dangerous. The acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. We also view with much concern those LCU treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated LCU purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority. LCU and its various communities shall likewise never endorse any specific politicians or political parties, although education and activism related to specific socio-political issues is central to the Gospel calling.
10. LCU communities and LCU as a whole ought to remain free from over-bureaucratization and clericalism. LCU and its communities may create service committees and religious orders directly responsible to those they serve. Every LCU community should agree that it needs the least possible organization. Each community may elect and appoint its own primary diackons (ministers of social service and social cohesion) and presters (ministers of sacramental leadership and theological oversight), although any LCU member may receive these Sacraments of Holy Orders simply via the a sincere request from Our Lord Jesus Christ and a simple rite. And any LCU community member may engage in both of these two formal ministerial roles for their respective communities on an as needed basis if and when such needs arise. Other sacramental service roles falling outside the bounds of these two forms of the Sacrament of Holy Orders are to be welcomed when LCU members express an interest in providing such services, and the LCU communities should offer rites of passage to honor these special vocational ministerial callings. All LCU ministers are to be guided in the spirit of service, for true leaders in LCU are but trusted and experienced servants. They derive no real authority from their titles; they do not govern. Universal respect is the key to their usefulness.
11. Our relations with the general public should be characterized by freedom from egotism, and thus we should all strive for personal anonymity in our external interactions. LCU communities ought to all be free from any and all sensational advertising. Our public relations should be guided by the principle of attraction rather than promotion. There is never need to praise ourselves in the media. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us. Humility reminds us that we are to place principles above personalities. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all. Providing bibliographic data for any sources used in LCU communities is to be considered responsible ministry praxis though, and not a violation of humility. Confidentiality, as part of our group’s morality, is to be considered the norm in any LCU interactions. If our community members are not trusted confidants to each other, how can they have confidence in the LCU? Confidentiality in no way minimizes transparency and accountability in matters of community governance. Except when confessed within the Sacrament of Reconciliation, abuse should be considered a matter of mandatory reporting.
12. LCU embraces the four fragile freedoms adapted from the Baptist tradition, which we call the 4 Ss:
1) Scriptural Freedom: Every member is free to study the Scriptures and to obey the Scriptures as they understand them.
2) Soul Freedom: Every member is free to deal with God without the imposition of Creed, the interference of Clergy, or the intervention of civil government, being obedient to their informed personal conscience, where the Voice of God is heard.
3) Social Freedom: All LCU communities are free, under the Lordship of Christ, to determine their membership and their leadership, to order their worship and their ministry work, to ordain or to commission those whom they perceive as gifted for certain callings, and to participate in the larger body of Christ, whose unity and mission the LCU strives to promote.
4) Spiritual Freedom: The LCU affirms freedom OF religion, freedom FOR religion, and freedom FROM religion, insisting that Caesar is not Christ and Christ is not Caesar.
13. The LCU affirms the 6 Free Methodist Freedoms: 1) The LCU advocates freedom from slavery, in all the multitudinous forms which slavery takes. 2) The LCU advocates freedom from bribery and simony, in all the forms these corruptions take. 3) The LCU advocates freedom for pastorally sensitive worship, rather than promoting domination to the formalities of ritualism or a hyper-sensitivity to legalism. 4) The LCU advocates freedom from secret non-transparent organizations. 5) The LCU advocates freedom from clericalism and the countless abuses associated with ecclesiastical hierarchies. 6) The LCU advocates for the freedom to experience thorough transformation in sanctification via the Holy Spirit which results from total consecration and ever deepening personal faith. We declare and hope to facilitate the real possibility of perfect theosis in this very life, viewing the various 'sin-management' theologies as grossly deficient.
14. The LCU is free to evolve, always keeping Jesus Christ, the Mediating 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ, the Incarnate-Logos, as its focal point.
On there being only deacons and elders in the primitive Christian Church [& thus only Diackons & Presters in the Holy Orders of LCU] and on no need for any laying on of hands for ordination, as shown by the Catholic Encyclopedia, NEW ADVENT:
At the Council of Benevento (A.D. 1091), Urban II says: "We call sacred orders the deaconship and priesthood, for we read that the primitive Church had only those orders" (Can. I).
Christ founded His Church as a supernatural society, the Kingdom [Reign] of God...
Christ possessed fullness of power in virtue of His priesthood--of His office as Redeemer and Mediator...
He gave His Apostles the power to offer the Sacrifice (Luke 22:19), and dispense the sacraments (Matthew 28:18; John 20:22, 23); thus making them priests. It is true that every Christian receives sanctifying grace which confers on him a priesthood... [T]he special and sacramental priesthood strengthens and perfects the universal priesthood (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:3, 6; Romans 15:16)...
The... cheirontonein, cheirotonia, which meant electing by show of hands, had acquired the technical meaning of ordination by imposition of hands before the middle of the third century...
The Council of Trent (Sess. XXIII, can. 3) defined that, besides the priesthood, there are in the Church other orders, both major and minor. Though nothing has been defined with regard to the number of orders it is usually given as seven: priests, deacons, subdeacons, acolytes, exorcists, readers, and doorkeepers. The priesthood is thus counted as including bishops; if the latter be numbered separately we have eight; and if we add first tonsure, which was at one time regarded as an order, we have nine. We meet with different numberings in different Churches, and it would seem that mystical reasons influenced them to some extent (Martène, "De antiq. eccl. rit.", I, viii, l, 1; Denzinger, "Rit. orient.", II, 155). The "Statuta ecclesiæ antiqua" enumerate nine orders, adding psalmists and counting bishops and priests separately. Others enumerate eight orders, thus, e.g. the author of "De divin. offic.", 33, and St. Dunstan's and the Jumièges pontificals (Martène, I, viii, 11), the latter not counting bishops, and adding cantor. Innocent III, "De sacro alt. minister.", I, i, counts six orders, as do also the Irish canons, where acolytes were unknown. Besides the psalmista or cantor, several other functionaries seem to have been recognized as holding orders, e.g., fossarii (fossores) grave diggers, hermeneutoe (interpreters), custodes martyrum etc. Some consider them to have been real orders (Morin, "Comm. de sacris eccl. ordin.", III, Ex. 11, 7); but it is more probable that they were merely offices, generally committed to clerics (Benedict XIV, "De syn. dioc.", VIII, ix, 7, 8. In the East there is considerable variety of tradition regarding the number of orders. The Greek Church acknowledges five, bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, and readers. The same number is found in St. John Damascene (Dial. contra manichæos, iii); in the ancient Greek Church acolytes, exorcists, and doorkeepers were probably considered only as offices (cf. Denzinger, "Rit. orient.", I, 116)...
In the Latin Church a distinction is made between major and minor orders. In the East the subdiaconate is regarded as a minor order, and it includes three of the other minor orders (porter, exorcist, acolyte). In the Latin Church the priesthood, diaconate, and subdiaconate are the major, or sacred, orders, so-called because they have immediate reference to what is consecrated (St. Thomas, Supplement 37.3). The hierarchical orders strictly so-called are of divine origin (Conc. Trid., Sess. XXIII, can. 6). We have seen that our Lord instituted a ministry in the persons of His Apostles, who received fullness of authority and power. One of the first exercises of this Apostolic power was the appointment of others to help and succeed them. The Apostles did not confine their labors to any particular Church, but, following the Divine command to make disciples of all men, they were the missionaries of the first generation. Others also are mentioned in Holy Scripture as exercising an itinerant ministry, such as those who are in a wider sense called Apostles (Romans 16:7), or prophets, teachers, and evangelists (Ephesians 4:11). Side by side with this itinerant ministry provision is made for the ordinary ministrations by the appointment of local ministers, to whom the duties of the ministry passed entirely when the itinerant ministers disappeared (see DEACON).
Besides deacons others were appointed to the ministry, who are called presbyteroi and episkopoi... We cannot argue from the difference of names to the difference of official position, because the names are to some extent interchangeable (Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:6-7). The New Testament does not clearly show the distinction between presbyters and bishops....
Furthermore, the Wiki entry for John Wesley explains:
When, in 1746, Wesley read Lord King's account of the primitive church, he became convinced that apostolic succession could be transmitted through not only bishops, but also priests. He wrote that he was "a scriptural episkopos as much as many men in England." Although he believed in apostolic succession, he also once called the idea of uninterrupted succession a "fable".
Many years later, Edward Stillingfleet's Irenicon led him to decide that ordination (and holy orders) could be valid when performed by a presbyter (priest) rather than a bishop.
Every member of LCU is a priest forever in the Order of Melchizedek, and as such can perform all sacraments. LCU shall not have hierarchies, but rather, as necessary or desirable, separate delegated roles. There are, and have always been, limitless numbers of charisms and gifts, many of which are named in Scripture and many more recognized within Christian traditions. LCU communities can and should recognize and sanctify the gifts of its members in the form of sacramental blessings and appointments. But the evidence of primitive Christianity is that the sacrament of Holy Orders knew only two types: deacons and presbyters. Any LCU member can administer any sacrament, but each LCU community can and should offer those deemed suitable by the community the opportunity to serve in the traditional roles of diackon and prester, the preferred but not exclusionary terms within LCU. Each person and each community may refer to these traditional roles by whatever terms they prefer. In Scripture the terms presbyteros is feminine and means elder. In Christianity the word and role of priest comes from this term. The term episkopos is masculine and means overseer. The term and role of bishop comes from this term. The two terms are used interchangeably in the New Testament, thus every priest is a bishop and every bishop a priest. The term diakonos is masculine in Greek and means servant. The Old English term diacon is feminine, and the duties of a deacon are motherly & feminine in nature, performing social caring works of charity and assisting in the administrative functioning of the local Christian household/community. Prester is complimentarily masculine and has fiery whirlwind serpent bite connotations to it as well as meaning priest, and priests liturgically enact the heroic salvific mysteries of the faith & pastor in a guarding fatherly manner their flock like a good shepherd. While the 7 primary Sacraments are elsewhere explained in the LCU Manifesto, it is noted here that the Orthodox Church never limited the number of sacraments and neither does the LCU.
Avoid the Perils of Power, Prestige & Possessions.
In Essentials, Unity; In Non-essentials, Liberty; In All Things, Charity.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
3 Reforms / Renewals: of individual souls, of the Church, of the whole creation
You are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. - Galatians 3:26-28
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. - Romans 15:5-7
John Wesley, co-founder of Methodism:
Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences. These remaining as they are, they may forward one another in love and in good works... If thine heart is as my heart, if thou lovest God and all mankind, I ask no more: give me thine hand. - Catholic Spirit, Sermon 39
There are many doctrines of a less essential nature... In these we may think and let think; we may 'agree to disagree.' These are the fundamental doctrines... summed up, as it were, in two words, -- the new birth, and justification by faith. - On The Death of The Rev. Mr. George Whitefield, Sermon 53
Condemn no man for not thinking as you think: Let every one enjoy the full and free liberty of thinking for himself: Let every man use his own judgment, since every man must give an account of himself to God. - Advice to a People Called Methodist
We hold that the essence of being Orthodox is following the teachings of Jesus Christ as found:
(a) In the traditions & proclamations of the pre-Nicene Church;
(b) Being organized in an ecclesial body in spiritual communion (whether formally or not) with all branches that have remained faithful to the Orthodox Christian way of life in both teaching and practice;
(c) In Church leaders holding Apostolic succession, meaning rooted in Apostolic tradition, not a mere independent laying on of hands.
Membership in a particular branch or Synod and/or claiming prestigious titles does not make one either Orthodox or “canonical”. Certain sectors of alleged Orthodoxy in various eras have changed the Orthodox understanding of canonical into a new version of papacy. Any definition of Orthodoxy which focuses on receiving external recognition, by the Patriarch of Constantinople for example (as if he were some sort of Byzantine pope), finds no support in the Orthodox Canon Law. Corrupted Latin ecclesiology which aims to make Sacramental legitimacy, licitness, or validity canonicity dependent upon recognition by a particular Patriarch or Pope is utterly rejected by the LCU, as it is contrary to centuries of tradition reaching back to Apostles times. Being in communion with a particular Orthodox sect is not what makes one Orthodox.
Seeking worldly recognition in a fallen world by stressing the Church entity’s legal politics, rather than the true unity of the faith community’s Orthopraxis, is sick and ridiculous. It id not Orthodoxy at all. The forming of elitist, exclusivistic organizations which mutual recognize each other for the goal of denouncing others or proclaiming themselves as the only legitimate Christian communities exemplifies the grave sin of condemning one’s brother and sister.
May we live and grow as sincere, compassionate, inclusive and welcoming Christians who love and share the Gospel, inviting others to join us. May those who are materially-minded, through God’s Good Grace, be transformed, coming to comprehend and enabled to live the essence of Orthodoxy. Where there is sincere faith and Christian praxis, there Orthodoxy prevails. The more compromises are made, the greater the absence of Orthodox will be felt, regardless of Apostolic legitimacy claims and priestly theatrical games.
Beware of False Prophets
Self-righteousness has nothing to do with seeking or finding God or with Him searching us out. Thr Book of Revelation, chapters 17 and 18, explain that it nothing more than being full of self-serving chatter.