History of the 
and the

Apostolic See of Sts. Stephen and Mark

  Released by St. George Seminary Press in 2023, Journey of Faith: The Apostolic See of Saints Stephen and Mark, by Rutherford I is a history of the present See and its people - those who went before us, laying the groundwork over the last decades and past centuries, and those who keep the faith today. 

The Apostolic See of Sts. Stephen and Mark (United Roman-Ruthenian Church) is an Apostolic church of ancient origins and Orthodox and Catholic heritage.  The Church, today an ethno-religious minority, is rooted in the ancient Apostolic Churches of Rome, Constantinople, Syria, Russia, Alexandria, and Armenia and represents a rare convergence of Apostolic faith and tradition that is both Orthodox and Catholic, both Western and Eastern. Though the Church stands on its own, it has received confirmation of its autocephalous and canonical status from various ecclesiastical and secular authorities over the years. (See also the legacy of the Independent Catholic Church International, Anglican Diocese of the Southwest, and multinational Orthodoxy.)  


The United Roman-Ruthenian Church is among those few churches in the world that are privileged to branch in Apostolic succession from the Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Old Catholic, Melkite Catholic, Syrian Antiochian Orthodox, Syrian Malankara, Armenian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Uniate, Melkite (Greek) Catholic, and Chaldean (Babylonian/Iraqi) Catholic Churches. The most recent Patriarchs of ancient geographical Churches from which we descend are both from the 20th century: Sergei, Patriarch of Moscow (Russian Orthodox) and Yousef VI, Patriarch of Babylon (Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq). Part of our Roman succession is held in common with 95% the modern Vatican Church (Roman Communion) today, but the United Roman-Ruthenian Church also has much older lines as well, including the famous lines of Medici, Barberini, and Borghese.  As a Church of united Apostolic heritage spanning East and West, it evokes memories of the Church before the Great Schism one thousand years ago and points to a Christian unity that often seems today like an elusive goal.  

See also the Yugoslavian legacy of the Church.

Find out more here.

The Holy Fathers of the Apostolic See
Left: Pope St. Leo X (Roman Catholic)
Right: Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh (Russian Orthodox)


H.H. the Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia at the Basilica of St. Stephen I, King of Hungary in Budapest.


Its modern history began with the restoration of the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest in 2008. The diocese was originally a part of the "continuing Anglican" movement, but joined the orthodox and old catholic Apostolic tradition as part of the Apostolic Communion of Anglican Churches. The diocese is therefore considered the historic First Chair of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church. Though of Roman-Syrian-Byzantine origins, the Apostolic See steadfastly keeps to the idea that all are welcome in Christ, whether Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, or any believer in Christ. 

Historic throne of the First Chair of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church, located in the ex-cathedral and bearing the diocesan coat of arms of the former Anglican Diocese of the Southwest, which later was renamed the See of St. Stephen and Coadjutorship of Rome and subsequently formed part of the Apostolic See of Sts. Stephen and Mark.

The active expression of our Roman heritage of Old Catholicism was brought to the forefront in 2011, and the Anglican Patriarchate was formally established and recognised the same year. In 2019, the Apostolic See of Saints Stephen and Mark was established through the joining of the See of St. Stephen (Coadjutorship of Rome) and the Anglo-Roman Metropolitan See of Aquileia, part of the Holy Roman Empire patrimony of the Church. Also in 2019, the United Roman-Ruthenian Church (under the name of its foundation at the time, the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, Inc.) was admitted to special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. 

Msgr. Douglas as Pontifical Chamberlain and Master of the Chamber

Bishop Rutherford Johnson visiting the Cathedral of St. Chad in San Antonio, Texas, USA as a guest of church clergy and staff. The church of St. Chad houses the throne that is recognised as the historic First Chair of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church (see above). It is also the cathedral of his predecessor, Bishop Edwin Caudill, as Bishop of the Southwest, later renamed the See of St. Stephen and subsequently became the Diocese of Rome-Ruthenia.

Finally, the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox heritage of our identity was brought into the forefront starting in 2020 with Byzantine Roman customs, in 2021 with the re-establishment of the Gallican Rite (a tradition in France and Spain with origins in Greece and Antioch now centred in Argentina and affiliated with the Merovingian Dynasty), and finally with the newly-compiled Gallo-Russo-Byzantine and Anglican-Byzantine Rites the following year. In 2022, the unification of our ethno-religious heritage was complete, and the dream had been realised, keeping with the wish of Our Lord Ut unum sint – that all may be one. Over the years, the Apostolic See of Sts. Stephen and Mark and its various jurisdictions and organisations around the world established religious orders, built parishes and religious communities, grew chaplaincies servings the poor and vulnerable, expanded vocations, built service organisations to facilitate and promote humanitarian work, carried out significant historical preservation work, engaged in extensive diplomatic work, and published an substantial collection of liturgical, theological, and historical books. In the words of Bishop Rutherford I, "Our mission is the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. Our method is to empower people to build on their strengths, achieve their full potential, and do good in the world." 

See more here.

H.H. the Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia, then as Cardinal Patriarch of St. Stephen.

The United Roman-Ruthenian Church's principle lines of heritage and authority are: 

Nikon, Patriarch of Moscow;
 Evdokim, Archbishop of Nizhny Novgorod
and the Aleutians; Makariy, Metropolitan of Moscow

Russian Orthodox (from Nikon, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus'; Sergius Starogrodsky, Metropolitan of Nizhni-Novgorod, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus'); and Saint Archbishop Abdullah Aftimios Ofiesh

Gerardus Gul, Archbishop of Utrecht (Old Catholic)

Syrian Antiochene (from Mar Ignatius III, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch)

Mar Ignatius Peter III, Patriarch of Antioch

Syrian Malabarese (from Mar Ignatius Peter III, Patriarch of Antioch)

Mar Julius

Syrian Gallican (from Mar Julius, Metropolitan of Goa; Mar Athanasius,
Metropolitan of Angamaly; and Mar Gregorios, Metropolitan of Niranam)

Greek Orthodox (from Damian I, Patriarch of Jerusalem)

Damian I, Patriarch of Jerusalem
(Greek Orthodox)

Coptic Orthodox (via Cyril VI, Pope of Alexandria)

Cyril VI, Pope of Alexandria

Syro Chaldean (from Mar Shimum XVIII, Patriarch of Seleucia-Ctesiphon and Catholicos of the East; Mar Abdese-Antonios, Metropolitan of Malabar; and Mar Basileus, Metropolitan of India, Ceylon, Mylapore, Socotra, and Messina)

Sergei, Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus'

Chaldean Uniate (from Mar Emmanuel Thomas II, Patriarch of Babylon)

Armenian Uniate (from Archbishop Charchorunian, consecreated under the reign of Patriarch Antonios Peter IX)

Mar Athanasius

Greek Melkite Uniate (from Athanasius Sawoya, Greek Melkite Archbishop
of Beyrouth and Gebeil in Syria)

 Antoine Joseph Aneed, Exarch of the Greek Melkite Rite
in the
  United States of America,
Patriarch of the Byzantine Catholic and
Orthodox Church of the Americas

Russo-Syriac (from Archbishop Evdokim, Archbishop of Nizhny Novgorod
and Archbishop of the Aleutians)

American Orthodox Catholic Church (from Saint Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh, Prince-Abbots Edmond I (Edmund Basile Walker-Baxter), and Edmond II (George Arvid Edmond Lyman) of San Luigi).

Edmond I, Prince-Abbot of San Luigi

African Orthodox Church (from Metropolitan Alexander I)

Metropolitan Alexander I of the African Orthodox Church

Cardinal Barberini

Archbishop Henry Carmel Carfora,
Primate of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church

In addition, the United Roman-Ruthenian Church's Roman Catholic and Anglican lines of succession may be seen at this page.

The temporal succession of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church may be seen at this page.

Joaquim Cardinal Arcoverde de
  Albuquerque-Calvacanti, Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

See also the heritage of the Independent Catholic Church International, Anglican Communion, Old Catholic See of Utrecht, Anglican Diocese of the Southwest,
and historic agreements with the Orthodox Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria.

Canonical Married Bishops and Clergy





























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