What is the Church of Antioch?
We are a branch of the one Christian Church. We acknowledge Jesus the Christ as our Founder, Living Head and Eternal High Priest.
We are a Catholic Church. The Apostolic Succession of our Holy Orders is recognized universally throughout Christendom. Our clergy celebrate the liturgy and administer the seven sacraments in the traditional Christian way.
We are a sacramental church. We hold that the sacraments are visible signs of a manifestation of grace and serve as aids to spiritual growth. Baptism is the rite of formal initiation into the Church. Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Absolution, Holy Unction and Holy Matrimony are made available to all. Holy Orders is a higher initiation which is also made available to all members.
We are a modern church. We maintain that eternal truth cloaks itself in garb appropriate to the age and that the outward form of religion should keep pace with human development.
We are a liberal Church. We welcome to our altars all who reverently approach them. We erect no barriers of dogma or place binding requirements of belief on our members in order for them to participate in the life of the Church. We grant them the widest measure of intellectual liberty and freedom of conscience.
We acknowledge that freedom of conscience makes each person fully responsible for his or her own self-development. We recognize freedom of thought and expression as essential for self-discovery. While we admit the importance of tradition as a guide, we encourage free interpretation of the Scriptures, creeds, liturgy and theology in the brightest light of contemporary knowledge.
The Church of Antioch embodies an ancient truth for the modern world. We provide an intelligent alternative, traditional worship with the free exploration of new ideas and techniques. All seekers are encouraged to explore every relevant resource for spiritual development, regardless of its source.
Our Church is a spiritual fellowship of followers of the Spirit. We give ourselves and others encouragement to live the truth. To live the truth is to become ever more the Christ, the true Self of all and the source of real fellowship.
We are a Church of love. We accept Saint John’s testimony that God is love. For us, Christ’s ministry is the law of love: “Love the Lord, thy God, with thy whole heart, thy whole mind and thy whole strength; and love thy neighbor as thyself. This is the whole Law and the prophets.”
We maintain that the Holy Spirit acts through pure channels everywhere, regardless of age, race, sex, creed, culture or sexual orientation. There is only one true God, however known and worshipped; hence, there is only one holy universal Church, regardless of cultural form. We revere the saints of all ages and traditions.
We are a mystical church, keeping in mind the words of the Hebrew Scriptures, “Be still and know that I AM—God”. We give primary place to Christ’s teaching, “The kingdom of God lies within you”. We acknowledge that the greatest advancement in spiritual truth is made by those who discover that divinity resides within. If God is love, then it is through our love that we come to a real and abiding knowledge of God. For Christian, love is spiritual power par excellence.
We seek to draw back the veil, first to discover the deeper intellectual import and then the experiential dimension which scripture, ritual, liturgy and theology are meant to evoke.
We hold that the chief purpose of the Church is to perpetuate the historical sacramental tradition as instituted by the Christ and preserved through the Apostolic Succession. We maintain that the sacraments are channels for divine grace. Therefore, we make the sacraments easily available to all.
Since the Eucharist puts us in communion with the Christ, it is a channel of grace without parallel. Therefore, at our altars all reverent persons are welcome to receive Communion, whether members of the Church of Antioch or not.
OPEN HOLY ORDERS
Holy Orders are open to all members of the Church, regardless of sex, marital status or sexual orientation. While we sympathize with the Protestant concept of the priesthood of the laity, we also recognize the validity of the Apostolic Succession. Our solution is to make Holy Orders available to all those who wish to serve Christ in a special way.
AN INVITATION FROM OUR LATE PATRIARCH
Do you want the freedom to read and investigate the best of modern thinkers and writers, at the same time keeping your roots in the beauty and form of the traditional Church? Large numbers of clergy and lay members are leaving their traditional churches because they have realized that there was no longer a possibility of using their intelligence to utilize the best thinking in this new age and yet remain in their churches.
The great tragedy is that these people are often the most intelligent and the best educated church members! They have used their time and energy to keep up with the times and investigate the best thinking of our age and they have had the heart-breaking experience of having to leave the churches which they still love and in which most of them were raised in order to respect what they have learned.
If you are such a person, it could be that you are spiritually ripe to join the Church of Antioch and do not realize it. This is the church which sets no limits to your thinking but, to the contrary, encourages you to use your intelligence to find the deepest spiritual truths that you can. You are urged to read all that you can on scripture interpretation and comparative theology, as well as the best works in psychology, psychiatry and kabbalah. At the same time, you can share with your fellow seekers experiences of worshipping in the rich traditional beauty of Eucharistic Fellowship.
+Herman Adrian Spruit