The United Roman-Ruthenian Church:
Where Ancient Traditions Unite in Harmony 

  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. 

Find out by following this link!

The United Roman-Ruthenian Church: A Symbol of Unity and Tradition

Where Ancient Traditions Unite in Harmony

The United Roman-Ruthenian Church is a unique and diverse autocephalous (independent) religious institution that brings together two distinct Christian traditions – Orthodoxy and Catholicism. This unification has not only fostered a sense of Christian brotherhood among its followers but has also created an environment where ancient traditions and cultures coexist harmoniously.

The origins of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church can be traced back to the very beginning of Christianity; to Rome, to Byzantium, Syria, and India, and to Eastern Europe. The result today is a distinct branch of Christianity that is both Eastern and Latin, Orthodox and Catholic. 

St. Peter the Apostle vested as a Gallo-Russo-Byzantine Bishop.

One of the notable aspects of this union is the preservation of both traditions within the liturgy. The United Roman-Ruthenian Church incorporates elements from Latin, Byzantine, and Syrian spirituality, ensuring that followers can engage with their faith in a way that is meaningful to them. The Eucharistic celebration, for example, includes elements such as incense, icons, and chant, which are essential components of Byzantine worship. By embracing elements from both traditions, this church offers a vibrant worship experience that resonates with people from diverse backgrounds.

What makes the United Roman-Ruthenian Church truly remarkable is that it allows for cultural diversity within its congregations, fostering a sense of belonging among its followers while acknowledging their distinct cultural backgrounds. By bringing together two different Christian traditions, the United Roman-Ruthenian Church promotes dialogue and understanding between various branches of Christianity. It serves as an example of how different traditions can come together in pursuit of a common goal - traditional worship and the timeless faith of the Holy Gospels.

The Church's commitment to unity extends beyond its services. It actively promotes interfaith dialogue, fostering understanding and respect among different religions. Through this outreach, the United Roman-Ruthenian Church has become a symbol of hope for those seeking peace and harmony in their communities.

Furthermore, the Church plays an integral role in preserving cultural heritage. Its designs, traditions, and customs showcase stunning blends of Western European Gothic and Baroque influences with intricate Byzantine and Russian designs, creating awe-inspiring experiences. The Church's traditional art tells stories passed down through generations, connecting present-day worshippers with their ancestors' rich cultural tapestry.

His Holiness Bishop Rutherford I at the celebration of the Paschal (Easter) liturgy
according to the Gallo-Russo-Byzantine Rite of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church.

The United Roman-Ruthenian Church stands as a testament to unity with diversity in an era of division. Through its incorporation of Latin, Byzantine, Eastern European, and Syrian traditions, it provides a space where followers can engage with their faith in a meaningful way. This union not only preserves the rich cultural heritage of its congregations but also promotes dialogue and understanding among different Christian traditions.With its rich history and unwavering commitment to faith, this church serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring countless individuals across generations.

For those who seek solace in times of hardship or seek guidance on their spiritual journey, the United Roman-Ruthenian Church offers steadfast support. (Who are the people of the Church? Find out here!) The members of its clergy are known for their compassion, wisdom, and dedication to helping others navigate life's challenges. The United Roman-Ruthenian Church's ability to bridge religious divides, preserve cultural heritage, and provide spiritual guidance makes it a cherished institution.

Want to get involved? Email us here.

Or visit How to Join the Church.

Modern Civil States with Ancient Heritage Perpetuated by the Pontifical Imperial State

Albania Algeria Andorra Armenia
Austria Azerbaijan Belarus Belgium
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus
Egypt France Georgia Germany
Great Britain Greece Hungary Iran
Iraq Israel Italy Jordan
Lebanon Libya Lichtenstein Lithuania
Luxembourg Macedonia Moldova Montenegro
Morocco Netherlands Palestine Poland
Portugal Romania Russia Saudi Arabia
Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain
Switzerland Syria Ukraine Tunisia

Would you like more detailed history?
We invite you to keep reading below!


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 church's historical temporal wing, the Pontifical Imperial State of Rome-Ruthenia, is in hereditary descent from Rome and Russia and, like the United Roman-Ruthenian Church, in Apostolic Succession from Saints Peter, Andrew, Thomas, Thaddeus, and Bartholomew. It is ecclesial heir to the Roman Empire and Old Russian State. Through the Pontifical and Imperial Household and through the Merovingian Dynasty, protectors of the Gallican Rite of the Church, it descends from King David of Israel and King Solomon, ancestors of the Incarnate Jesus Christ. Today the United Roman-Ruthenian Church and Pontifical Imperial State constitute an ethno-religious nation without political territory and a state unto itself, representing people across multiple modern political countries. 


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.

Roman Principate & Pontifical Roman State

Pontifical Kingdom of Ruthenia

Pontifical Kingdom of Italy

Roman-Ruthenian Nobility Association

Pontifical Encyclopedia

Find out more here.

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



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.A.H. the Prince-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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