HISTORY OF THE
(formerly the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest)
Known as the See of St. Stephen since 2011
Diocese of Rome-Ruthenia
(Apostolic See of Sts. Stephen and Mark)
The Apostolic See of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church.
FIRST CHAIR OF ROME-RUTHENIA
NOW ORTHODOX AND CATHOLIC, MULTI-RITUAL, MULTI-ETHNIC
THIS WEB PAGE REPLACES OUR FORMER URL, WWW.SOUTHWESTDIOCESE.ORG
The Diocese of the Southwest was originally part of the "continuing Anglican" movement off of the Episcopal Church of the USA, though now it has long ago left that movement and professes Orthodox Old Catholicism. In 2011, it was renamed the See of St. Stephen, and in 2022, merging with the Anglo-Roman Metropolitan See of Aquileia, became the Apostolic See of Sts. Stephen and Mark since 2023, the Apostolic See of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church.
The first Bishop of the Diocese of the Southwest was the Right Reverend Robert C. Harvey. The diocese left the Anglican Catholic Church in 1982 and was incorporated as a separate entity in 1983. (That corporation was dissolved in 1989, and a new corporation was formed in 2008.) They first went to the American Episopal Church, which was separate from the Episcopal Church of the USA, but predated the "St. Louis movement continuing Anglicans." Saint Edwin Caudill (Rt. Rev. Howard Edwin Caudill, canonised in 2023) succeeded Bishop Harvey as the Bishop Ordinary. In the late 1980s, Saint Edwin withdrew his diocese from the American Episcopal Church into the Anglican Church, Inc. In 1993, Bishop Caudill was consecrated sub-conditione by Macario Ga, Supreme Pontiff of the Philippine Independent Catholic Church in diverse Orthodox and Catholic apostolic succession, thereby beginning the convergence of apostolic heritage and tradition that the Imperial Roman Catholic Church maintains today. (It is for this reason that Saint Edwin, even though he was the second bishop of the diocese, is the Apostolic Founder of the Apostolic See of Saint Stephen and Mark.) This apostolic succession included, among many others, Damian I, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Pope Cyril VI, Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria.
Damian I, Patriarch of Jerusalem
Cyril VI, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria
Historically the Diocese of the Southwest comprised the greater part of Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Despite the best efforts of Saint Edwin and others, the diocese went into a schism in the 1990s. The remnants of the Diocese soon became part of the Apostolic Communion of Anglican Churches in 2008. This included the Very Rev. Dean John Mark Vornholt, who returned in 2009, recognizing it as the authentic continuation of the Diocese of the Southwest in which he had previously served under Bishop Caudill. The new Bishop of the Southwest was the Vicar-General of the Apostolic Communion of Anglican Churches. He was subsequently succeeded by the Harvard-educated H.H. Bishop Rutherford I (Johnson) of Rome-Ruthenia (then-Archbishop Rutherford Johnson), at which point it was named a Metropolitan See. Archbishop Johnson was confirmed in the Roman Catholic (Vatican) Church before taking Holy Orders in the Diocese of the Southwest.
Bishop Rutherford I then as Bishop of the Southwest
after officiating at a liturgy at the Cathedral of St. Philip
The seminary of the Diocese of the Southwest, St. George Theological Seminary (now Pontifical Georgian College), which had been led by Bishop Caudill, was also re-activated during that time. And, from this time forward, the diocese was no longer part of the "continuing Anglican" movement. It was principally orthodox and catholic, merely using the Romanized Anglican liturgical rite as a matter of history.
Diploma for a Master of Arts degree in religion issued by St. George School of Theology/St. George Theological Seminary (now Pontifical Georgian College) jointly with Wolsey Hall at Oxford, signed by Saint Edwin Caudill, Bishop of the Southwest, and Bishop Francis Benning (American Episcopal Church).
Ink Seal of then-Archbishop Rutherford Johnson
as Bishop and later Metropolitan of the Southwest
Very Rev. Dean John Mark Vornholt
From 2008 under the leadership of then-Archbishop Johnson, the Archdiocese of the Southwest became an international jurisdiction, with presence, affiliation, and collaboration not only in North America, but also in South America, Europe, and Asia. This global Apostolic work continued, with Archbishop Johnson also representing the Archdiocese at the G20 meeting in 2010. This period also saw a massive publications programme, with the archdiocese publishing virtually all of its own liturgical books. Theological and other books were published as well.
Bishop Rutherford I (then-Archbishop Johnson) representing
the Archdiocese at the G20 Seoul Summit, 2010.
then-Archbishop Johnson visiting the Demilitarised Zone
between North and South Korea.
L-R: Bishop Rutherford I, journalist Dan Rather, and Explorers' Club President
Daniel Bennett at the annual Explorer's Club Dinner
at the Waldorf Astoria, New York.
The Archdiocese of the Southwest was renamed after its patron, Saint Stephen the Apostle and Archdeacon. The See of St. Stephen was then a Patriarchal See and recognised as the Coadjutorship of Rome. It was also known as the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church and the Imperial Patriarchate (based on its spiritual and temporal patrimony from the Roman Empire and Holy Roman Empire). This global autocephalous church was accredited to the United Nations Economic and Social Council as an organisation in special consultative status in 2019 under the name of its foundation, the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, Inc.
Bishop Rutherford (then-Archbishop Johnson) meets
with Cardinal You, Vatican Prefect of the Dicastery
for the Clergy (then Bishop of Daejeon) in 2010
Bishop Rutherford with the Rt. Rev. Philip Duncan,
Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast (Episcopal Church of the USA)
During a liturgy according to the Anglo-Roman Rite, Bishop Rutherford is
assisted by a priest of the former Cathedral of the Diocese of
the Southwest, First Chair of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church
In 2022, the Gallo-Russo-Byzantine Catholicate was formally established, following the restoration of the Gallican Rite of the Catholic Church under the authority of the Merovingian dynasty. The Catholicate became the principal jurisdiction of the church and primarily represented the Eastern-based rites and heritage of the church. (The Gallican Rite, though associated with Spain and France, in fact had its origins in the Greek church. The Anglican Rite is a derivative of both the Gallican and Roman Rites.) In recognition of the multiple rites of the heritage now being fully represented, the various jurisdictions of the church merged and became known as the United Roman-Ruthenian Church in 2023. Thus the old Diocese of the Southwest of Saint Edwin Caudill evolved over the course of over 40 years into an autocephalous Apostolic See that represents several historic rites and is the temporal successor to St. Peter the Apostle. Indeed, the Apostolic See is the single and sole continuation of the original Diocese of the Southwest of Saint Edwin Caudill, and the records of the old Diocese of the Southwest are maintained in the Stephenian Archives. The coat of arms of Bishop Caudill's See, the Diocese of the Southwest, later also became the coat of arms of the Most Holy Patriarchal Basilica of Santa Maria Antiqua in Rome.
ORIGINAL CONSTITUTION AND CANONS OF THE
"An Episcopal Primer," a book written by Saint Edwin Caudill while serving as a priest
with the Episcopal Church of the USA. The book covered basic catechism and was intended
for a wide audience. The copy of the book photographed above is held in the Stephenian Archives
From the Stephenian Archives (the archives of the Apostolic See of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church) and the Pontifical Apostolic Library, several important documents pertaining to Bishop Caudill and the Diocese of the Southwest are shared below in the interest of preservation of history and legacy.
The Stephenian Archives and Pontifical Apostolic Library maintain extensive records pertaining to the history of the former Anglican Diocese of the Southwest, the Philippine Independent Catholic Church, and the Independent Catholic Church International and their relationship to the modern United Roman-Ruthenian Church.
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