Order of Corporate Reunion
The Order of Corporate Reunion (OCR) is an ecumenical association of clergy and laity of Anglican origin. The order was founded in London in 1874 by Frederick George Lee, Thomas Mossman and Joseph Seccombe. It is an Anglo-Papalist society, founded to continue the work of the Association for the Promotion of the Unity of Christendom (APUC) and to restore an apostolic succession recognised by the Roman Catholic Church through reordinations as a means for reunion. The order affirms and supports what is Catholic in Anglicanism and in other Christian churches. It encourages work and prayer for Christian unity, especially the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity celebrated from January 18 to 25.
The three founders each claimed to have been consecrated a bishop by an existing bishop standing in a recognised apostolic succession from the original apostles of the first century of the Christian era. However, they did not state in public the names of the bishops who had consecrated them. Now, nearly 150 years afterwards, there are claims on the Internet as to who the original consecrating bishops were. However, the veracity of these claims are disputed.
The Order of Corporate Reunion regards valid apostolic succession as an essential aspect of the church Catholic. It preserves and protects its own apostolic succession.
Following the deaths of its three founders, the order fell dormant. The episcopal succession, however, had been maintained, and in 1912 the order was revived.
The holy orders of the Church of England and of the other Anglican Communion churches had been declared by the Roman Catholic Church to be "absolutely null and utterly void". Some other scholars and commentators also questioned the validity of Anglican orders. During the first half of the 20th century, numerous serving Anglican clergy therefore sought and obtained ordination by OCR bishops as a conditional ordination (reordination), with the aim of receiving holy orders which they could regard as valid, or that others would regard as valid, or of in some way bolstering or improving their claim to be validly ordained. Most of these OCR ordinations took place in secret, though information about some of them became public. It is claimed[who?] that some who became very prominent leaders within the Church of England received OCR ordination in addition to their Anglican ordination.
The revived Order of Corporate Reunion continues to exist today, or claims to continue, though there have been (and perhaps there still are) rival claims as to which manifestation of the OCR is the genuine and authentic successor to the organisation founded by Lee, Mossman and Seccombe. One of the bodies claiming to be the authentic OCR has Peter Paul Brennan as its primate, Bishop Brennan serving in succession to Bertil Persson who retired.
In the United Kingdom, the OCR led by Bp Peter Paul Brennan is represented by Archbishop John Kersey, leader (from 2015) of the Apostolic Episcopal Church.
- APUC was formed in 1857. Among its original leaders were Anglicans such as Frederick George Lee and Roman Catholics such as Ambrose de Lisle. Orthodox Christians later became involved in the association. Source: Thomas E. Fitzgerald The Ecumenical Movement - An Introductory History, Praeger, Westport, CT 2004.
- Henry R. T. Brandreth, Dr Lee of Lambeth: A Chapter in Parenthesis in the History of the Oxford Movement, London, 1951.
- For example the website of the Apostolic Episcopal Church https://www.apostolicepiscopalchurch.org reports who it considers the consecrators of Lee, Mossman and Seccombe were. Click on "Intercommunion" and then on "The Order of Corporate Reunion". Retrieved 22 November 2015.
- Revival of the Order of Corporate Reunion was reported in The Torch on 19 June 1912.
- Papal Bull Apostolicae Curae issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1896.
- "The Order of Corporate Reunion" incorporated 2010 in the State of Missouri has Bp Peter Paul Brennan as its leader (and Bp Bertil Persson as its former leader) and is linked to the Apostolic Episcopal Church; see website https://www.apostolicepiscopalchurch.org and then click on "Intercommunion" and then on "The Order of Corporate Reunion". See also https://orgsites.com/ny/corporatereunion/, Retrieved 22 November 2015. The "Apostolic Episcopal Church - Order of Corporate Reunion" incorporated in the State of New York 1995 claims to be a single body being a merger of the Apostolic Episcopal Church and the Order of Corporate Reunion and to have adopted the Celtic Gallican Christian tradition; see website https://celticsynod.org/, Retrieved 22 November 2015.