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Arian Catholic Sacramental Lore

Ecumenical & Ecclesiastical Law, Folklore & Philosophy
pertaining to the Sacraments of the Church

King James' Bible with Apocrypha

This page provides details of policies, traditions and beliefs of the Arian church. This is in respect to Society, Religion, Humanism and Environment.

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The Seven Holy Sacraments and Sacramentals

The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church recognises the following seven sacraments comprising three obligatory Sacraments and four Sacramentals, there are also additional services, offering services for these by appointment:

The first four of these are the obligatory Holy Sacraments:

Counselling Dedication of a Baby or Child, Jesus was presented to the Temple as an infant and we therefore recognise this as the first sacrament. As we are only permitted one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins we follow Jesus’ example present Babies and Children to the Church giving them the opportunity to be Baptised when they come of age. The feast of the presentation of Christ is celebrated on Candlemass (2nd February). 

Baptism Baptism, this can be performed at any age although while many people choose to baptise their children in infancy, others prefer to let their children decide whether they want to be baptised and at which church. NB We are permitted only one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and Jesus Christ was not baptised until after he returned to Israel as an adult, the feast of the baptism of Christ is celebrated on the first Sunday after Epiphany (6th January). However Jesus was presented to the Church as an infant We therefore offer a service for the Dedication of a Baby or Child.

Confessional Confession (Penance), the sacrament of Penance can be performed by appointment or at pre arranged meetings. In addition to the holy sacrament of penance a Counselling service is also available.

Eucharist Holy Eucharist, this service cleanses our souls of sin through the Body and Blood of Christ represented symbolically using Bread (or Rice Paper) and Wine (Red Wine and Holy Water). This service is provided in the form of Holy Communion and can also be served on a one to one basis by appointment.

The next three of these are the Holy Sacramentals:

Marriage Marriage (Holy Matrimony), the sacrament of marriage can be performed at locations that have been registered and providing that the couple can produce a Notice of Intent to Marry issued by their local Registry Office and proof of Identity is provided. Banns of Marriage must also be posted on our Website and read at Sunday Services for three consecutive Sundays. The Arian Catholic Church also advises couples intending to marry to seriously consider making their marriage vows a legally binding contract. For many reasons people may find that they wish to renew their marriage vows or they may have been married at a state ceremony or at a different Church and wish to affirm their marriage vows before God in a blessing ceremony. We therefore offer services for Affirmation of Marriage Blessings and Renewal of Marriage Vows.

Ordination Ordination, this sacrament is Apostolic as it requires the laying on of hands by either three Bishops or a Bishop, Priest and a Deacon, in order to pass on the gift of the Holy Spirit, which has been passed on from clergy to clergy since Christ’s Apostles. The minimum age for ordination is twenty-three years. NB The Arian Catholic Church Ordains women as Deaconesses in accordance with the early church and welcomes clergy who are married or single. People who have already been ordained by another church tradition (e.g. Anglican, Roman Catholic, Unitarian etc) will Generally need to have their Ordination Regularised although the Arian Catholic church will usually recognise Ordinations from the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Anglican Catholic churches, those whose Apostolic Ordination may be in question or who have been Consecrated Pro Ordination will be required to be “Ordained Sub Conditione” to confirm their Apostolic Ordination upon being received into the Arian Catholic Church. Depending on individual circumstances, background and experience candidates may be required to complete a suitable bridging course. The Arian Catholic Church also offers a Service of Consecration for Church workers, and a service of Oblation for Nuns and Monks (see below).

Amen! NB: “Confirmation” (Chrismation). Although Confirmation is seen as a Sacrament by some churches, it is not specifically referred to or required in the scriptures nor was it even known to the early Church. Confirmation is not recognised as a sacrament by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is derived from the Sacrament of Ordination, it is usually performed from the age of thirteen (and up to any age) and traditionally confirms that the person is a follower of the faith and has a basic understanding of Christianity, the Liturgy and the Sacraments. Confirmation traditionally involves the laying on of hands of a Bishop during the ceremony, this passes on the gift of the Holy Spirit and is a form of Ordination; in Arian Catholicism it is used as a ceremony of “Consecration Pro Ordination” for the Laity and for the Novitiate beginning their training to be Oblates or Clergy where formal Ordination (or Ordination Sub Conditione) as a Deacon can be completed later. Confirmation (Chrismation) in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church serves the same traditional purpose but is not regarded as a sacrament and can be performed by a Priest or Deacon.

Funerals Extreme Unction (Last Rites), the last rites are said for the terminally ill who are near death; this also includes the anointing of the sick and exorcism for people tormented by demons.
Following death we also offer a funeral service which may also involve the consecration of the ground chosen for burial and counselling those in mourning in addition to committing the body to the ground and commending to soul into heaven.

Additional services are also available including exorcism and blessing of places (to cast out evil from wherever its influences are suspected), blessing of Marriage, ceremonies for Buildings and the dedication of parsonage or Christian home, prayers for healing etc. Further information is provided on the Worship and Prayer page.  Top of Page

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Marriage and Divorce

The policy of the Arian Catholic Church is quite clear, marriage before God is for life. Same-sex/homosexual marriage is not permitted nor recognised by the Church. A couple living together as man and wife who are not married before God are not united in spirit. A marriage involving someone who is already married before God, and not widowed, is committing Adultery, even if that person is divorced. A marriage involving a Widow or Widower is permitted as is a marriage between divorcees who were not previously married before God; this is considered a matter for the couple’s own consciences. The bond between a husband and wife is special, not least because Marriage is sacred.

According to the scriptures some of the Apostles of Christ were married and had children of their own. The Arian Catholic Church sees this as a clear signal that if a Clergyman or Deaconess wishes to marry then there is no reason why they shouldn’t. Similarly the Arian Catholic Church has no objection to married men and women taking Holy Orders (being ordained).  Top of Page

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Ordination of Women

The Arian Catholic Church is happy to acknowledge Women Deaconesses, Nuns, Oblates (See also Arian Benedictine Oblates & Lay Oblates) and Lay Preachers, as in the rules of the early Christian Church; but reluctantly has to oppose the ordination of Women Priests (Presbyters) without the sanction of the Archbishop Primus Inter Pares under exceptional circumstances. Moreover the Primus Inter Pares reserves the right to ordain a woman as a Priestess if it is deemed that God wishes it to happen!

Women were accepted by the Early Church as Deaconesses with good reason, and the scriptures tell us that Mary Magdalene was not only a devoted disciple but also served a ministry as an Apostle to the Apostles (Mark 16:1-10). In addition, the writings of Origen and Epiphanius, and the non-canonical texts such as the Gospel of Philip, Pistis Sophia, and the Gospel of Mary speak of Mary Magdalene’s ministry in the Church.

Epiphanius of Salamis (Against Heresies 78:13 [AD 377]) wrote: “It is true that in the Church there is an order of deaconesses, but not for being a priestess, nor for any kind of work of administration, but for the sake of the dignity of the female sex, either at the time of baptism or of examining the sick or suffering, so that the naked body of a female may not be seen by men administering sacred rites, but by the deaconess.”

The Apostolic Constitutions 3:16 [AD 400] tell us: “Appoint, [O Bishop], a deaconess, faithful and holy, for the ministering of women. For sometimes, it is not possible to send a deacon into certain houses of women, because of unbelievers. Send a deaconess, because of the thoughts of the petty. A deaconess is of use to us also in many other situations. First of all, in the baptizing of women, a deacon will touch only their forehead with the holy oil, and afterwards the female deacon herself anoints them.”

The role of Priests includes that of Counsellor and Confident; hard decisions often have to be made and an impartial and objective approach is required when faced with difficult situations that may, at any point in a clergyman’s career, include the unpleasant, the repulsive, the horrifying, the aggressive and the pure evil. One may be called to give communion and last rights to a cancer sufferer, a leper or an AIDS victim or give last rights in the middle of a battlefield, take up arms against an aggressor in self defence that does not respect the Geneva Convention, provide a funeral service after a battle or a massacre and give support to friends and relatives, provide Holy Communion in a top security prison, take confession from a child murderer and serial rapist, perform an exorcism and confront evil face to face. The Arian Catholic Church considers that such roles may not be suitable for most women.

In contrast one may be called to take confessions from, give Spiritual guidance to or give advice on sensitive issues that require confidence and objectiveness to other clergy, which may not be appropriate for clergy of the opposite sex. 

Another point is from the scriptures of Genesis 3:1 - 13 - 24 known as “the Temptation and the Fall.” This is where the serpent tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge and then Eve tempts Adam to do likewise. We must of course regard the book of Genesis with caution as it cannot be taken literally as much of this book is written in metaphors, however there is an underlying logic to Genesis which is relevant. Given this point, if women are vulnerable to seduction, and are either intentionally or inadvertently the temptresses of men, then it is inappropriate for women to take on the rolls of Priestesses and Bishops.

When the Church of England voted to allow the ordination of women Priests York Minster (St Peter’s Cathedral) was struck by lightning and caught fire. Many said at the time that this was a sign from God that the Church of England had taken the wrong path (again!) when voting in the General Synod. Then after the General Synod of the Anglican Church voted to allow the consecration of women Bishops there was another fire at Windsor Castle, the residence of the Supreme head of the Anglican Church, the Queen! People began to ask: “How many signs do Christians need?”

Officially Christ’s Apostles were all men, this was in a time and culture when women were regarded with lower status than men, although Christ was renowned for breaking with tradition and doing what was right, therefore perhaps it was God’s will that women were not included among the Apostles. NB the term “Apostle” was introduced after Christ died as He himself referred to the Apostles as “The Twelve” disciples. It is also worth noting that several people changed places at the time of Christ’s death and several disciples took up their positions in the inner Twelve. However, there is currently debate over whether Mary Magdalene (a disciple of Christ) was actually an Apostle of Christ after all (see “The Apostles of Christ and Mary Magdalene”), and the telling of the account of her life was given little coverage in the bible, again due to the stigma of traditional beliefs in the minds of those who wrote the scriptures. It is quite clear in the Apocryphal book of The Gospel of Mary that Mary Magdalene was among “The Twelve” Apostles. If Mary Magdalene was recognised as an Apostle of Christ then this would give testimony to the right of women to be ordained as Priests. The early church accepted women as Deaconesses (which was ended at the Council of Laodacia in 364 AD) which would suggest that there was a very good reason for this, especially at a time in history when women were rarely allowed to take up positions of prominence in society not least at a time when positions of social prominence often meant almost certain death.  Top of Page

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Worship and Prayer

Language of Prayer
Prayers in the Arian Catholic Church can be in Latin and the native language of the congregation. However, where Latin or a foreign language is used every effort should be made to provide a transcript of the prayer and a translation into the congregation’s native language.

Private Prayer
The Arian Church encourages private prayer, The Book of Matthew 6:5..6 teaches us: 

King James’ Authorised Version:

6:5 “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” 
6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Net-Bible modern English version:

6:5 “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward.” 
6:6 “But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.”

Worship is normally conducted either in a church or at home or otherwise privately. We do not advocate public open-air worship, except for certain ceremonies such as remembrance day at the cenotaph and the laying of foundation stones for buildings etc, or unless there is nowhere else to go, in which case privacy must still be maintained so that the service of worship or prayer does not become a public spectacle.

Many Christian prayers, hymns and sacraments are suitable for use by the Arian Christian faith, however Arians must always be mindful of the beliefs of the Arian faith and to avoid texts that have been written or re-written by pro-Nicaeans to include references to the unity of the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the deification of the Saints or references to ideologies not compatible with the logic and reason adhered to by modern Arianism. Please refer to our Worship page.  Top of Page

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 © 2005-6 Rev. Dr. B.B.M.J. Mackenzie-Hanson, B.A. (Hons), D.D., M.I.O.P., a.c.O.S.B.

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