Catholic Apostolic Church
The Catholic Apostolic Church was a religious movement which originated in England around 1831 and later spread to Germany and the United States. While often referred to as Irvingism, it was neither actually founded nor anticipated by Edward Irving
Edward Irving
*For Edward Irving, the Canadian geologist, see Edward A. Irving.Edward Irving was a Scottish clergyman, generally regarded as the main figure behind the foundation of the Catholic Apostolic Church.-Youth:...

. The Catholic Apostolic Church was organised in 1835 under the lead of apostles. The last apostle died in 1901 after which the membership gradually declined.

The term Catholic Apostolic Church belongs to the entire community of Christians who follow the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

. It has, however, also become specifically applied to the movement. The title was never assumed by the members, except insofar as it applied to the whole community of Christians as described above. This misapprehension results from later external analysis, which assumed that the results of the ecumenical prayer movement in the early 19th century, accompanied by what were regarded as outpourings of spiritual gifts in Great Britain (and elsewhere, though swiftly repressed by the local church authorities in other countries), was the genesis of yet another Christian sect.

Early history

The impulse to the prayer movement in the 1820s was given (among others) by the Anglican priest James Haldane Stewart
James Haldane Stewart
James Haldane Stewart , was rector of Limpsfield, Surrey, where he lies buried.He was the third son of Duncan Stewart of Ardsheal , 10th Chief of Clan Appin who married Anne Erving of Boston. Anne Erving was the daughter of Hon...

. He made an appeal to this by means of more than half a million pamphlets which were spread throughout Great Britain, the United States and Europe. They longed for renewed spiritual power, as had been visible in the first century after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

 in the young church. This movement was by no means restricted to the British Isles, with similar investigations and prayers being offered in France, Germany and elsewhere. In the same period, the Presbyterian John McLeod Campbell
John McLeod Campbell
John McLeod Campbell was a nineteenth century Scottish minister who has also been called Scotland's most creative Reformed theologian of the same century...

 preached in Scotland that Christ died, in principle, for all believers and not only for a small group of the elect
Predestination, in theology is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others...


In 1830, prophetic utterances were recorded in Port Glasgow, Scotland, among dissenter
The term dissenter , labels one who disagrees in matters of opinion, belief, etc. In the social and religious history of England and Wales, however, it refers particularly to a member of a religious body who has, for one reason or another, separated from the Established Church.Originally, the term...

s and Karlshuld, Bavaria, among Roman Catholics. These took the form of prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

, speaking in tongues and miraculous healing
Faith healing
Faith healing is healing through spiritual means. The healing of a person is brought about by religious faith through prayer and/or rituals that, according to adherents, stimulate a divine presence and power toward correcting disease and disability. Belief in divine intervention in illness or...

. They were regarded as the answer to the prayers many had prayed. These occurrences spread in Scotland and England where certain ministers allowed their practice, although they were not approved of by existing church authorities. However, they died out in Bavaria under the opposition of the responsible clergy.

Edward Irving

Edward Irving
Edward Irving
*For Edward Irving, the Canadian geologist, see Edward A. Irving.Edward Irving was a Scottish clergyman, generally regarded as the main figure behind the foundation of the Catholic Apostolic Church.-Youth:...

, also a minister in the Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

 and supporter of Campbell, preached in his church at Regent Square in London on the speedy return of Jesus Christ and the real substance of his human nature. He attracted thousands of listeners, even from the highest circles, and during his summer tours in Scotland (1827, 1828) believers came to listen to him with tens of thousands in attendance.

Irving's relationship to this community was, according to its members, somewhat similar to that of John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 to the early Christian Church
Christian Church
The Christian Church is the assembly or association of followers of Jesus Christ. The Greek term ἐκκλησία that in its appearances in the New Testament is usually translated as "church" basically means "assembly"...

. He was hailed by his followers as the forerunner of a coming dispensation, not the founder of a new sect. Around him, as well as around other congregations of different origins, coalesced persons who had been driven out of other churches, wanting to "exercise their spiritual gifts". Shortly after Irving's trial and deposition (1831), he restarted meetings in a hired hall in London, and much of his original congregation followed him. These, over the course of the next two years, accepting the presence of restored "apostles" and guided by claimed words of prophecy, saw Edward Irving officially installed as their bishop. This congregation became known as the "Central Church", one of seven that were defined in London as forming a pattern of the whole Christian Church.

Separation of the Apostles and their "Testimony"

Within the congregations mentioned, over the course of a little time, six persons were designated as apostles by certain others who claimed prophetic gifts. In the year 1835, six months after Irving's death, six others were similarly designated as called to complete the number of the twelve. Since all those so designated were acting to one degree or another in local congregations, they were then formally separated from these duties, by the bishops of the seven congregations, to occupy their higher office in the universal church on July 14, 1835.

The names of those considered new apostles were: John Bate Cardale
John Bate Cardale
John Bate Cardale was the first apostle of the Catholic Apostolic Church.J. B. Cardale was born in London on 7 November 1802, as the eldest of five children. In 1815 he entered Rugby School and in 1818 joined his father's law firm, though he would have preferred to take holy orders...

, Henry Drummond
Henry Drummond (1786-1860)
Henry Drummond , English banker, politician and writer, best known as one of the founders of the Catholic Apostolic or Irvingite Church, was born at The Grange, near Northington, Hampshire....

, Henry King-Church, Spencer Perceval, Nicholas Armstrong, Francis Woodhouse (Francis Valentine Woodhouse), Henry Dalton, John Tudor (John O. Tudor), Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle (Scottish lawyer)
Thomas Carlyle was born in King's Grange near Dumfries in Scotland.He studied and finished law at University of Edinburgh. In 1824 he was registered as lawyer at the Scottish bar...

, Francis Sitwell, William Dow, and Duncan Mackenzie. The following account has been given of their antecedents by one who knew them personally:
These, together with the seven congregations in London, the coadjutors of the Apostles, formed what was known as the Universal Church. The seat of the Apostolic College was at Albury
Albury, Surrey
Albury is a village and civil parish in the borough of Guildford in Surrey, England, about south-east of Guildford town centre. The village is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Site of Special Scientific Interest....

, near Guildford
Guildford is the county town of Surrey. England, as well as the seat for the borough of Guildford and the administrative headquarters of the South East England region...

. They retired there immediately after their separation to set in order the worship and prepare a "Testimony" of their work. This was presented to the spiritual and temporal rulers in various parts of Christendom in 1836, beginning with an appeal to the bishops of the Church of England, then in a more comprehensive form to the Pope and other leaders in Christendom, including the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, the Tsar of Russia, the Kings of France, Prussia, Denmark, and Sweden, as well as King William IV of England. The Apostles declared that the Church was the body of all that had been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, thus laying aside all divisions between nominal Christians, and that the Apostolate had been restored for setting the whole body of Christianity in order to be ready for the Second Coming of Christ; therefore, they called upon all the clergy and lay authorities to recognise this and submit to their self-appointment as "apostles".


The apostles were the conveyors of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

, the declarers of the mysteries of God
God in Christianity
In Christianity, God is the eternal being that created and preserves the universe. God is believed by most Christians to be immanent , while others believe the plan of redemption show he will be immanent later...

, and the authoritative interpreters of prophetic utterance; acting in concert they were the source of doctrine and the demonstrators of the mind of Christ. Their teaching was brought to the people by the evangelists
Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. The term is often used in reference to Christianity....

 and pastor
The word pastor usually refers to an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. When used as an ecclesiastical styling or title, this role may be abbreviated to "Pr." or often "Ps"....

s, and by the ministers of the local churches for those who accepted their ministry.

Each apostle would have one coadjutor, who was used to travel through areas of his responsibility and represent the apostle in conferences.

Grades of ministry and ordination

The ministry was exclusively male, on the grounds of the headship of the man over the woman as laid down by God in Genesis. All ministers had to be called by the word of prophecy to their place; this was still elective, in that frequent opportunity was given to present oneself as willing to take on a role in the ministry, and also that any direct call could be refused, though in practice this was extremely rare. All ministers had to be ordained by the apostles or their delegates; after they had been called and responded faithfully, a date would be set for their ordination.

Three grades of ordained ministry were recognised: Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

, Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

, and Deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

. Ministers could be reassigned from one congregation to another by word of prophecy, except for inducted bishops who were considered to be "married" to the congregation of which they had charge. Each rank had different vestments to differentiate their function. It also occurred that people would be called to an office (say, that of priest) but would fulfil a lower rank (say, that of deacon) until it became clear where they would serve. This clarification was either prophetic or practical in character—if a priest was needed somewhere such a person might be asked to take up the role, or a special mission might be accorded.

All grades were allowed to preach sermons and homilies
A homily is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture. In Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox Churches, a homily is usually given during Mass at the end of the Liturgy of the Word...

. All sermons were referred to the apostles in order to ensure that the teachings were in accordance with the Bible, revealed truth, and the apostles' doctrine. The Catholic Apostolic Church had among its clergy many clerics of the Roman Catholic, Anglican and other churches. The orders of those ordained by Greek, Roman, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Anglican bishops were recognized by the simple confirmation of their ordination through an apostolic act.


A bishop was in charge of only one congregation, though others might be under his care until they too could be put under the care of their own bishop. A bishop was titled "angel" (following the passage in Revelations chapters 2 and 3), defined as "a bishop who has been ordained by an Apostle". All local ministers were subject to him, and he was responsible for the welfare of the congregations committed to his charge. While the angels had full authority within their congregations, it was expected that, having received the apostles, they would acknowledge the apostles' oversight, doctrine and forms of worship. Each angel could have one "help" or "coadjutor" who would also be of the rank of angel.

If an angel had been sent to take charge of a congregation, he could not be inducted until that congregation had accepted him. If the congregation outgrew itself, subsidiary local congregations could be formed each with their angel and ministries. These were limited to four in number (only the church in Berlin had the full complement of four). The angels of the subsidiary congregations were under the charge of the angel of the mother church.

Certain angels were designated as "archangels". There were two classes of archangels: the metropolitan archangels, of which there were supposed to be six in each tribe (this was never fully implemented throughout the tribes); and the universal archangels, who were called by word of prophecy to the post without being in charge of a "metropolitan congregation"; these last were at the disposition of the apostles for missions within the Church at large. All angels received a (small) salary and were "separated"—that is, they had no other work to support them.


The priesthood was fully developed in many congregations. At least six priests were to be found to help the angel in the services, among them each of the four ministries was to be found. There were frequently many more priests than six, and each would have the oversight of particular members or areas. The six priests might also have helpers who were also of the rank of priest. The six priests (known as elders
Elder (Christianity)
An elder in Christianity is a person valued for his wisdom who accordingly holds a particular position of responsibility in a Christian group. In some Christian traditions an elder is a clergy person who usually serves a local church or churches and who has been ordained to a ministry of Word,...

) were separated and received stipends, others might or might not receive stipends.


The deaconship was particularly set up to look after the monetary affairs of the congregation, help the laity with regular visits and advice, and take part in evangelism. Seven were set up in each full congregation for this end, and there would be one helper who was also a deacon. Other deacons not of this seven would aid in looking after the congregation.

The deacons were not separated and each had in general his own source of income outside of the Church. Deacons were not identified by word of prophecy but elected by the congregations. Certain names would be put forward, and each family would have one preference vote.

Fourfold ministry

The hierarchy of angels, priests and deacons was not considered sufficient to perfect the saints, but the spiritual ministries taken from Ephesians 4:11 were developed for this end. These were defined to be four in number (as against the interpretation of a fivefold ministry): (Apostle or) Elder, Prophet, Evangelist, and Pastor (or Teacher). These were referred to as the "border" or "colour" of the ministry and were discerned by prophecy. Since these ministries were supposed to indicate something about the fundamental character of the minister personally, the border could not be changed once defined.

Because the fourfold ministry was necessary to perform the full services of the liturgy, four priests, one of each border, had to be present along with the bishop. The border could be defined for any person or minister; thus, there were combinations of rank and border in any manner. For instance, there were angel-prophets, angel-evangelists, and priest-prophets as well as priest-elders, deacon-pastors, deacon-prophets, and so on. Certain of these combinations often implied particular roles. For example, the angel-evangelists were particularly responsible for evangelism within their geographical region or tribe while angel-prophets were automatically at the disposal of the apostles in Albury.

The elder was generally in charge of organisation and declaring doctrine. The function of the prophets was to explain Scripture, minister the word of prophecy, and exhort to holiness, as well as to identify spiritual influences and borders (though this last function had to be done in special meetings call for that purpose and not at any time that pleased the prophet). The evangelist was used to declare the Gospel and explain the Bible teachings. The pastor was used for the teaching of truth, the provision of spiritual counsel, and comfort to the laity. Once a congregation had an angel and the fourfold ministry from local people (not including ministers who had transferred from other congregations), the full services could be held. This was announced by the hanging of seven lamps across the chancel
In church architecture, the chancel is the space around the altar in the sanctuary at the liturgical east end of a traditional Christian church building...


Unordained officers

There would be under-deacons who would help out in the church services (keeping doors, handing out liturgies, and so on) and also work with the deacons in visiting the congregation. They received a blessing from the local angel but were not ordained. They could take certain minor services with license from the presiding minister of the congregation.

Two acolytes accompanied the angel during the celebration of the services and others would help robe the ministers beforehand but would not accompany the service. Deaconess
Deaconess is a non-clerical order in some Christian denominations which sees to the care of women in the community. That word comes from a Greek word diakonos as well as deacon, which means a servant or helper and occurs frequently in the Christian New Testament of the Bible. Deaconesses trace...

es received blessing from the angel but were unordained. They mainly helped the deacons in their care for the congregations, particularly towards the women. Lay-assistants were also blessed for various reasons related to church work. All unordained officers would wear a cassock
The cassock, an item of clerical clothing, is an ankle-length robe worn by clerics of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Anglican Church, Lutheran Church and some ministers and ordained officers of Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Ankle-length garment is the meaning of the...

 in church, though they would usually sit with the congregation.

Two under-deacons or lay-assistants would be designated as "scribes" in order to record any words of prophecy and also write down the sermons and homilies as they were preached. After comparing their accounts, the copy would be sent to the apostles so that they could understand the spiritual state of the congregations. They would also note any prophetic utterances and submit them to the angel.


The congregations were expected to be at least as spiritually endowed as the clergy, and prophetic utterances from the laity were common. Each family or person living alone was under the care of a deacon, deaconess, and priest to whom they could resort if in need of advice or help, temporal as well as spiritual. Members also had access to monetary relief if in need. Access to ministers was encouraged.

Twelve Tribes

For ecclesiastical purposes, the church universal was divided into twelve tribes because Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

 was considered to be divided into twelve portions or tribes, defined according to the prevailing spiritual character of the country and only secondarily geographically. It is interesting to note that nineteenth-century political geography was not followed, notably in the recognition of Poland (which at that time did not exist as a separate country) as a tribe in its own right. Certain countries outside Europe were designated as "suburbs" of a tribe.

Each tribe was under the special charge of an apostle and his co-ministers. The apostles always held the supreme authority, though, as their number dwindled, their coadjutors inherited their responsibilities as long as they lived and assisted the survivors in the functions of the apostolate. The last apostle, Francis Valentine Woodhouse, died on February 3, 1901.

The central episcopacy of forty-eight was regarded as indicated by prophecy, being foreshown in the forty-eight boards of the Mosaic tabernacle
The Tabernacle , according to the Hebrew Torah/Old Testament, was the portable dwelling place for the divine presence from the time of the Exodus from Egypt through the conquering of the land of Canaan. Built to specifications revealed by God to Moses at Mount Sinai, it accompanied the Israelites...

. All of the functions, ordinances, vestments and symbols were thus taken from the Bible and were said to be the fulfilment of how the primitive church was originally set up under the first Apostles. All members were expected to be spiritual, there was no limitation of spiritual manifestations to the clergy, and contacts on spiritual matters between the clergy and the laity were encouraged, though only ordained ministers were allowed to preach or take services.

Structure of the local church

Each fully endowed congregation was presided over by its angel or bishop; under him were twenty-four priests, divided variously into the four ministries of elders, prophets, evangelists, and pastors. Six priests were further designated "elders" and aided the bishop in the rule of the local church. With these were the deacons, seven of whom regulated the temporal affairs of the local church, though there could be up to 60 according to the number of people in the congregation. Moreover, there were also underdeacons, deaconesses, acolytes, singers, and doorkeepers, though none of these were ordained.

The understanding was that each elder, with his co-presbyter
Presbyter in the New Testament refers to a leader in local Christian congregations, then a synonym of episkopos...

s and deacons, should have charge of 500 adult communicants in his district, making one church have 3000 members, corresponding to the number of converts at the first preaching of the Gospel in Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

. This could be only partially carried into practice.

Layout of churches

Churches were to be built by the means of the local congregation and to their approved designs, though the organisation and layout of the church had to follow the apostles' prescriptions. The church building had to be freehold and the title deeds given over to the apostles for their perpetual use; there was usually a set of trustees in each country for legal reasons.

The church was to be laid out in three distinct parts, corresponding to the three divisions of the tabernacle or the Temple
Jewish temple
Jewish temple:*Jewish temple or The Jewish Temple, may refer to the original two ancient Jewish Temples in Jerusalem.**The First Temple was destroyed by the ancient Babylonians in 586 BCE.**The Second Temple was destroyed by Rome in 70 CE....

 in Jerusalem. The nave
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting...

 would be for the congregation, then slightly elevated by a step or two the chancel for the priests and deacons (deacons sitting in cross benches at the entrance and priests along the sides). The third part, slightly elevated again with regard to the chancel and separated from it by a low barrier with a gate, was the sanctuary
A sanctuary is any place of safety. They may be categorized into human and non-human .- Religious sanctuary :A religious sanctuary can be a sacred place , or a consecrated area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar.- Sanctuary as a sacred place :#Sanctuary as a sacred place:#:In...

. Communion would be distributed to the faithful kneeling at this barrier, the ministrant being inside the sanctuary. The sanctuary contained the altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

, placed centrally against the wall or dividing partition, and usually elevated on a pedestal.


The decoration and style varied considerably according to the means of each congregation and the local preferences. The altar was usually ornate, with a receptacle (referred to as the "tabernacle") for storage of the eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 on top. Either side of the altar would be a lamp, lit during high services. Hanging centrally over the sanctuary would be another lamp, lit when the eucharist was stored in the "tabernacle". If the congregation had the fourfold ministry, the seven lamps, reminiscent of the seven-branched candlestick of the Jewish rituals, would hang over the chancel near the sanctuary. These would be lit in the morning and put out after the evening service. All lamps were oil lamps with wicks and only pure olive oil was used.

There would be a special chair or "throne" for the angel at the end of the chancel on the left; in the middle of the chancel at the same level would be a special kneeler used by the angel during the intercession part of the service; a censer
Censers are any type of vessels made for burning incense. These vessels vary greatly in size, form, and material of construction. They may consist of simple earthenware bowls or fire pots to intricately carved silver or gold vessels, small table top objects a few centimetres tall to as many as...

 stand stood next to it. Over on the right side of the chancel stood a table of prothesis
Prothesis (altar)
The Prothesis is the place in the sanctuary in which the Liturgy of Preparation takes place in the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches....

 used for the to-be-consecrated bread and wine for the communion, as well as other offerings as the service demanded. A lectern was provided in the chancel on the right side for the Scripture readings; while at the front of the chancel two further lecterns, on the left and on the right, were used for the Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 and Epistle
Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

 readings in the eucharist service. A pulpit on the left side (as looking towards the altar) would be provided for preaching: sometimes this would be placed adjoining the chancel, sometimes in the nave among the congregation. At the back of the nave near an entrance a font
Baptismal font
A baptismal font is an article of church furniture or a fixture used for the baptism of children and adults.-Aspersion and affusion fonts:...

 with a cover would be placed for baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...


Tithes and offerings

The ministry was supported by tithe
A tithe is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory tax to government. Today, tithes are normally voluntary and paid in cash, cheques, or stocks, whereas historically tithes were required and paid in kind, such as agricultural products...

s in addition to the free-will offerings for the support of the place of worship and for the relief of distress. Each local church sent a tithe of its tithes to the apostles, by which the ministers of the Universal Church were supported and its administrative expenses defrayed; by these offerings, too, the needs of poorer churches were supplied.

There was no collection during the service, but a trunk with various compartments for the different types of offerings was placed at the entrance to the church. They were generally divided into tithes, general offerings, thank-offerings, offerings for the upkeep of the church, the poor, and support for the universal ministry. Uniquely this trunk was left untouched until the presentation of the offerings during the Eucharist on Sundays, when it would be emptied and counted in a vestry by two deacons during part of the service, before a prayer of dedication to the purposes outlined would be pronounced. Distribution of money to the poor, not just members, was regularly practised.

Liturgy and forms of worship

For the service of the church a comprehensive book of liturgies and offices was provided by the apostles. The first impression dates from 1842 and includes elements from the Anglican, Roman, and Greek liturgies as well as original work. Lights, incense, vestments, holy water
Holy water
Holy water is water that, in Catholicism, Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Oriental Orthodoxy, and some other churches, has been sanctified by a priest for the purpose of baptism, the blessing of persons, places, and objects; or as a means of repelling evil.The use for baptism and...

, chrism
Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

, and other adjuncts of worship were in constant use. The complete ceremony could be seen in their Central Church
Church of Christ the King, Bloomsbury
The Church of Christ the King is a church belonging to the Catholic Apostolic Church which is situated in Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London, beside Dr Williams's Library and near University College London. The church is currently used by the Anglican organisation Forward in Faith...

 (now leased to Forward in Faith
Forward in Faith
Forward in Faith is a movement operating in a number of provinces of the Anglican Communion. It represents a traditionalist strand of Anglo-Catholicism and is characterised by its opposition to the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate and, more recently, to more liberal Anglican...

 and known as Christ the King, Gordon Square) and elsewhere.

The daily worship consisted of matins with proposition (or exposition) of the sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

 at 6 AM, prayers at 9 AM and 3 PM, and vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

 at 5 PM. On all Sundays and holy days there was a solemn celebration of the Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 at the high altar; on Sundays this was at 11 AM. On other days low celebrations were held, in the side-chapels if the building had them, which with the chancel in all churches correctly built after apostolic directions were separated or marked off from the nave by open screens with gates. The community laid great stress on symbolism, and in the Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, while rejecting both transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

 and consubstantiation
Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that attempts to describe the nature of the Christian Eucharist in concrete metaphysical terms. It holds that during the sacrament, the fundamental "substance" of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine,...

, held strongly to a real (mystical) presence. It emphasized also the phenomena of Christian experience and deemed miracle and mystery to be of the essence in a spirit-filled church.

Sources of forms of worship

After the Testimony, the apostles were directed to travel through Christendom, to visit all parts of Christianity and Christian worship, and search for the correct forms; the form and content of worship was not to be the result of arbitrary choice but defined by interpreting the Bible. Particular emphasis was laid on the relationship between the rites under the Jewish law as laid down in Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

 and the liturgy of the church. The apostles brought these back after one or two years to Albury and the worship was set in order as a result. The forms of worship and the liturgy developed until the 1860s as special services were added.

Following the more or less complete rejection of their Testimony, the apostles were led to set up congregations to look after those who had accepted them and had been excluded from their habitual places of worship and to install in them the forms of worship that they had been led to identify. In the 1850s, the clergy of the Church of England were invited to come and see what had been set up, but this too remained fruitless. The services were published as The Liturgy and other Divine Offices of the Church. Although many forms and prayers were taken over from different parts of the Church, many had to be written by the apostles since they did not exist elsewhere; about two thirds of the liturgy was original. Apostle Cardale
John Bate Cardale
John Bate Cardale was the first apostle of the Catholic Apostolic Church.J. B. Cardale was born in London on 7 November 1802, as the eldest of five children. In 1815 he entered Rugby School and in 1818 joined his father's law firm, though he would have preferred to take holy orders...

 put together two large volumes of writings about the liturgy, with references to its history and the reasons for operating in the ways defined, which was published under the title Readings on the Liturgy.

Main services

The Eucharist, being the memorial sacrifice of Christ, was the central service. The Apostles rejected transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

 as well as consubstantiation
Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that attempts to describe the nature of the Christian Eucharist in concrete metaphysical terms. It holds that during the sacrament, the fundamental "substance" of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine,...

 while insisting on the real spiritual presence of the Body and Blood of Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 in the sacrament. Communion was taken in both kinds. Children were also admitted to communion from time to time, and more frequently until admitted to full communion, which generally occurred between the ages of 18 and 20. Communion would be distributed each day after morning prayer, though no consecration would be performed.

Each day morning and evening services were held at 6 am and 5 pm. These, together with the Eucharist (11 am on Sundays) and the Forenoon service which immediately preceded it, were considered services of obligation, to be attended as often as other duties allowed. Afternoon services were also instituted. The apostles did not limit the services to these hours and other services could be held with the angel's permission.

There existed full and shorter forms. The full form could only be offered in a church under an inducted angel, where the four ministries had been provided by members of the congregation (rather than ministers co-opted from other congregations).

Each service in the full form started with an act of confession, followed by absolution, reading of the scriptures, anthems, psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

 and the recital of the creed
A creed is a statement of belief—usually a statement of faith that describes the beliefs shared by a religious community—and is often recited as part of a religious service. When the statement of faith is longer and polemical, as well as didactic, it is not called a creed but a Confession of faith...

. The fourfold ministry would then offer the four Pauline
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

 divisions of prayer - supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks, with the addition of collects for the seasons and with the Lord's prayer
Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke, which records Jesus being approached by "one of his...

 placed in the centre. Following this, the angel would offer a prayer of universal intercession, at which time also incense would be offered. The service would close with an anthem and a universal blessing from the angel. Shorter forms followed almost the same course but without the four divisions of prayer, without incense and in a less elaborate form.

Special services

Holy days required special services, in particular the feasts of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost; with other major celebrations at All Saint's day, Good Friday and the eve of Pentecost. Among other feasts were Circumcision, Presentation, Ascension, All Angels, and Advent, as well as the anniversary of the separation of the apostles. Each major feast was followed by an octave of special prayers.

Comprehensive special services were also provided for many other occasions, both public and private, including ordinations, special days of humiliation or rejoicing, blessings for work and visiting the sick. For more information see the liturgy.

Prophecy and spiritual gifts

Prophetic utterances in any church were the responsibility of the angel who would note what had been said and in turn submit words that were found important to the apostles. They would in turn use these words to direct their actions, and some would be circulated to the angels to be read to their congregations. These last were referred to as "words of record". No-one was expected to act immediately upon any word but to wait for it to be ministered to them in the right way.

Numerous examples of miracles as well as the spiritual gifts described in the Pauline Epistles were recorded. As therein described, the existence of a spiritual gift does not convey any superiority of the person involved but a benefit for the whole church; and each person may exhibit a gift as the Holy Ghost so moves them.

Spiritual development

Baptism was not considered the end of spiritual endeavour but the reaching of maturity through the laying on of the apostles hands (known as "sealing"), after acceptance to full communion and the renewal of baptismal vows, was considered necessary to the full development of every person whether woman or man, lay or clergy. Classes were held for younger people and new members, a catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

 was written, and regular contacts with the ministers having the care of the family or person was instituted and encouraged.

Infant baptism was practised on the grounds that it was the only gate to eternal life, and it seemed wrong to deny this to anyone. The child would receive first communion shortly afterwards and then again after the age of five about once per year. With the agreement of the responsible minister this would be increased to three times per year at the feasts of Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

, Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

, and Pentecost
Pentecost is a prominent feast in the calendar of Ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai, and also later in the Christian liturgical year commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ after the Resurrection of Jesus...

 as the child grew up, with communion once per month after the age of fourteen or so. Full communion was entered into in a formal service not long before the laying on of the apostle's hands was to be arranged.

Number of congregations and members

The existence of apparently separate congregations is understood by the community not as in any sense being a schism
Schism (religion)
A schism , from Greek σχίσμα, skhísma , is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization or movement religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a break of communion between two sections of Christianity that were previously a single body, or to a division within...

 or separation from the one Catholic Church, but a separation to a special work of restoration, blessing and intercession on behalf of it on the one hand, and the results of the rejection of the Testimony on the other. In the early days those who accepted the Apostles were told to remain in their congregations and explain their adherence to their ministers. As the nuclei of the first congregations sprang out of the rejection of certain ministers by the churches to which they belonged, so many churches were set up to take care of those who were similarly cast out. Such congregations were established as patterns of the restored worship.

Indeed, sectarianism is wholly rejected: the basic principle is that all who are baptized in the name of the Trinity are Christian and form part of one church. The name was taken directly from the Apostles' Creed as belonging to all Christians and not designating something new.

Inspired by outbreaks of agalliasis (manifestations of the Spirit), and miraculous healing, the numbers of those who accepted the Apostles throughout the world grew at an amazing rate. The majority, after the rejection of the Apostles by the other churches, were cared for in separated congregations with ordained ministries. However, when the last apostle died in 1901 without an appearance of the 'Light of the World', the Catholic Apostolic Church declined; since ordination was only possible with Apostolic consent, no further consecrations to the ministry could be made. External evangelism, common since the beginning in 1835, ceased at the same time, and all services were reduced to a shorter form, even in congregations where the full Ministry was operating.

Estimated membership at the beginning of the 20th century was 200,000, in almost 1000 congregations worldwide, spread as follows: England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

: 315, Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 28, Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

: 6, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

: 348, Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

: 17, Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

: 8, Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

: 41, Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

: 10, Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

: 15, Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

: 59, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and the Baltic States
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

: 18, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

: 7, Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

: 3, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

: 2, USA: 29, Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

: 13, Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

: 15, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

: 5, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

: 1.

The last Angel died in 1960 in Siegen, Germany; the last Priest in 1971 in London, England; the last Deacon in 1972 in Melbourne, Australia.

New Apostolic schism

After the death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

 of three apostles in 1855 the apostolate declared that there was no reason to call new apostles. Two callings of substitutes ("Jesus calleth thee Apostolic Messenger. He would use thee Coadjutor for him whom He hath gathered to Himself.") were explained by the apostolate in 1860 as Coadjutors to the remaining apostles. After this event another apostle was called in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 in 1862 by the prophet Heinrich Geyer. The Apostles did not agree with this calling, and therefore the larger part of the Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 congregation who followed their 'angel' F.W. Schwartz in this schism were excommunicated
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

. Out of this sprang the Allgemeine Christliche Apostolische Mission (ACAM) in 1863 and the Dutch branch of the Restored Apostolic Mission Church
Restored Apostolic Mission Church
The Restored Apostolic Mission Church was a bible-believing, chiliastic church society in the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa and Australia. It came forth from the Catholic Apostolic Congregation at Hamburg that separated itself from the mother-church in 1863...

 (at first known as Apostolische Zending, since 1893 officially registered as Hersteld Apostolische Zendingkerk (HAZK)). This later became the New Apostolic Church
New Apostolic Church
The New Apostolic Church is a chiliastic church, converted to Protestantism as a free church from the Catholic Apostolic Church. The church has existed since 1879 in Germany and since 1897 in the Netherlands...

. The person called to be an apostle later recanted and was accepted back into his original rank.

Notable members

Aside from Irving, notable members include Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle (Scottish lawyer)
Thomas Carlyle was born in King's Grange near Dumfries in Scotland.He studied and finished law at University of Edinburgh. In 1824 he was registered as lawyer at the Scottish bar...

, Baron Carlyle of Torthorwald (1803–1855), who was given responsibility for northern Germany. (This is not Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher during the Victorian era.He called economics "the dismal science", wrote articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, and became a controversial social commentator.Coming from a strict Calvinist family, Carlyle was...

the essayist (1795–1881), although Irving knew both men.)

Adventist theology

The immediate Second Coming of Christ was the central aim of the congregations; the restoration of perfect institutions by the Apostles was deemed necessary to preparation of the whole church for this event. The doctrines of achievable personal holiness, attainable universal salvation, the true spiritual unity of all baptized persons, living and dead, in the 'Body of Christ', the possibility of rapture without dying, and the necessity of the fourfold ministry directed by Apostles for perfecting the Church as a whole, formed the cornerstones of the theology.

John S. Davenport explained their theology by saying that the changes which attend the Coming of the Lord will not be such as will attract the attention or the gaze of men.

The pending judgments, such as are announced by the seven trumpets of the Apocalypse - the political, ecclesiastical, and social changes which they involve, will seem to come about as ordinary events in human history, produced by the changes that were working in society.

The rising up of the Antichrist and his full revelation will appear as the outcome of changes of opinion that have been going on for a long time, and will be upon men before they are aware of it.

It is only they who are looking for the Lord's appearing, who have received with faith and reverence the warnings of the great event, who will recognize its tokens and not be taken by surprise.

Further reading

  • G.C. Flegg: Gathered Under Apostles; A Study of the Catholic Apostolic Church; Oxford, 1992. - ISBN 0-19-826335-X
  • Edward Miller: The History and Doctrines of Irvingism or of the so-called Catholic Apostolic Church in two vols. - Vol. I & II; (C. Kegan Paul & Co.) London, 1878; reprinted by Elibron in 2004. - ISBN 1-4021-1652-7 (paperback - Vol. I) or ISBN 1-4021-1651-9 (hardcover - Vol. I) & ISBN 1-4021-1654-3 (paperback Vol. II) or ISBN 1-4021-1653-5 (hardcover Vol. II).
  • A.L. Drummond: Edward Irving and his Circle; London, 1934.
  • P.E. Shaw: The Catholic Apostolic Church, sometimes called Irvingite (A Historical Study); New York, 1946.
  • Rowland A. Davenport: Albury Apostles; London, 1973; translated as Albury Apostel; (Oculi Verlag) Hannover, 2004. – .
  • J.A. Schröter: Die katholisch-apostolischen Gemeinden in Deutschland und der Fall Geyer / The Catholic-Apostolic Church in Germany and the "Geyer" case; 2. edition, Marburg, 1998 - ISBN 3-8288-9014-8
  • Johannes Albrecht Schröter: Bilder zur Geschichte der Katholisch-apostolischen Gemeinden / Images Of The History Of The Catholic Apostolic Church; (Glaux Verlag Christine Jäger KG) Jena, 2001. - ISBN 3-931743-42-X
  • Grayson Carter, Anglican Evangelicals. Protestant Secessions From the via media, c.1800-1850. Oxford, OUP, 2001. ISPN: 0-19-827008-9


  • Robert Norton: Restoration of Apostles and Prophets, (Bosworth) London.
  • John Bate Cardale Readings on the Liturgy,The Church and Tabernacle
  • Francis Sitwell The Purpose of God in Creation and Redemption (6th ed., 1888)
  • L Albrecht The work of Apostles in the time of the end (2nd ed., 1955)

External links

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