Anglican Orthodox Church

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The Anglican Orthodox Church (AOC) is the oldest conservative Anglican denomination (the Reformed Episcopal Church being the oldest, founded in 1873), formed in the last century, in the United States and internationally, that is not in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury of the Church of England due to the perceived abandonment of Reformation doctrine by that church.

History[edit]

The Anglican Orthodox Church was founded in 1963 by Bishop James Parker Dees. The church was re-incorporated as an international church in 2001 to allow for inclusion of its international churches abroad to be legally included as entities of the Anglican Orthodox Church.[1] Bishop James Parker Dees left the Episcopal Church due to what he believed were its immoral policies and doctrinal errors. In so doing, he acted about a decade and a half before a larger number of conservative Episcopalians separated from the Episcopal Church following the decision of its general convention to approve the ordination of women priests. The AOC today claims national church affiliates in 22 countries around the world. In 2000 a separation occurred between those who had been close to Bishop Dees and the current Presiding Bishop, Robert Godfrey. The more conservative group who were loyal to her founding principles, by legal settlement, retained the sole right to the exclusive name of the Anglican Orthodox Church. The other group was forced to change their name to avoid confusion with the AOC. The Anglican Orthodox Church is the oldest Anglican church to remove from the ECUSA in the last century.

Beliefs and structure[edit]

The Anglican Orthodox Church today firmly holds to the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, the Homilies, and the King James Version of the Bible. The Bible is believed by the AOC to be the divinely inspired word of God and to contain all that is necessary for salvation. Additionally, the church preaches the importance of biblical morality both in an individual's life and as public policy.

The AOC strongly identifies itself as being in the Anglican Low Church tradition and rejects the use of the title "Father" for its clergy, many of the priestly vestments commonly used in other Anglican jurisdictions, and any veneration of the saints. The church has been led by the Most Reverend Jerry L. Ogles of Enterprise, Alabama since 22 October 2000. He is the Presiding Bishop of the United States and the Metropolitan of the Anglican Orthodox Church's worldwide communion.

In 2008, the AOC reported fourteen parishes in the USA and Canada, plus bishops and churches in other countries. These include Canada, India, Liberia, Madagascar, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Central African Republic, Haiti, the Philippines, Fiji, Peru, Argentina, Nigeria, and the Solomon Islands. In September 2011, the presiding bishop of the Traditional Protestant Episcopal Church, along with several priests and two congregations, were received into the AOC as the Diocese of the Advent following a split in their church.

The church holds a biennial convention at St. Peter's Anglican Orthodox Church in even-numbered calendar years. The headquarters of the Anglican Orthodox Church remain in the church's traditional facilities in Statesville, North Carolina along with Bishop Dees' home parish, St. Peter's Anglican Orthodox Church.

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