Clergy Roles & Functions in the Church
Classical Clergy Structure of the Ancient Catholic Church

Clergy Positions & Titles in the Ancient Catholic Church

 

'Christ in Majesty' illumination in 'Evangelistar von Speyer' Manuscript (1220 AD), in Badische Landesbibliothek, Karlsruhe Germany

‘Christ in Majesty’ illumination in ‘Evangelistar von Speyer’ Manuscript (1220 AD), in Badische Landesbibliothek, Karlsruhe Germany

T (Gold Fill)The 12th century Ancient Catholic Church properly uses the full Roman Catholic system for levels of Clergy, because it holds Pontifical authority for the 1st century denomination of Ancient Catholicism, based on the original Egyptian titles which directly established all Vatican ranks of Clergy.

In Ancient Catholicism, the classical Catholic titles are used as primary indications, and English translations or transliterations of the original Egyptian titles are optional as secondary indications. All Ancient Catholic Clergy titles also have feminine grammatical forms, for equal use by women at all levels, as this is found in the hieroglyphic words from the original Ancient Priesthood in Egypt. (This founding structure of genuine Catholic Clergy titles is confirmed by the authoritative codified system of hieroglyphs in academia, as established by the British Egyptologist Sir Alan Gardiner.) [1]

The Ancient Catholic Clergy structure only slightly differs from the 17th century Roman Catholic practice of appointing “Monsignors” as an honourary title of office – instead restoring it as an original separate level of initiatory training in the Priesthood. It also differs from the later 19th century Old Catholic Movement, which omits the level of Monsignor, and has administrative appointment of “Metropolitan Archbishops”, instead restoring the latter as initiatory elevation to the level of Cardinal.

The Ancient Catholic levels and titles of Clergy, which are authentically earned in a sequential progression of initiatory and doctrinal studies and practical training, are as follows:

Acolyte – “Apprentice” Level – (Initiate: Immy Sitaa) – by Confirmation and Communion, recognizing engagement in a path of seminary and practical training to enter the canonical Clergy. This title is gender-neutral. (Ancient Catholic Acolytes use only the honourary prefix of address “Brother” or “Sister”.) The recommended age for Confirmation (in connection with becoming an Acolyte) is traditionally the 17th year of age (Canon 891).

Deacon – 1st Level – (Lector Priest: Khry Hebit) – by Ordination. Deacons serve by reading most parts of a Liturgy or Mass, assisting Priests to perform Sacraments, and generally performing Pastoral Ministry as a Chaplain. Deacons can also perform Baptism and Holy Matrimony, preach Homily (sermons) and lead Prayer services including Liturgical Vespers. Women may optionally use the gender denomination of “Deaconess”. (All Catholic Deacons use the style of address “Reverend” followed by the title itself as the prefix of “Deacon” or “Deaconess”.) The minimum age for ordination as a Deacon is traditionally the “23rd year” of age (Canon 1031, §1), with an earlier exception possible by a Pontifical dispensation (Canon 1031, §4).

Priest – 2nd Level – (Priest of Purity: Hem Wab) – by Ordination. Priests must complete seminary studies, and can interpret and teach the Gospel and Scriptures, perform full Liturgical services including the Mass, administer all Sacraments, and hear Confessions. Women may optionally use the gender denomination of “Priestess”. (All Catholic Priests use the style of address “Reverend” followed by the prefix “Father” or “Mother”.) The minimum age for ordination as a Priest is traditionally the “25th year of age [with] sufficient maturity” (Canon 1031, §1), with an earlier exception possible by a Pontifical dispensation (Canon 1031, §4).

Monsignore – 3rd Level – (Priest of God: Hem Neter) – by Elevation. Monsignors are Priests who directly support and represent the functions and authorities of the Pontificate of the Church (analogous to “crown officers”). The title “Monsignore” is the French ‘Mon’ plus Italian ‘Signore’ (Latin ‘Dominus‘), such that the correct feminine grammatical form is the French ‘Ma’ plus Italian ‘Signora’ (Latin: ‘Dominae‘). Women can thus properly use the direct equivalent title or form of address “Masignora”. (Ancient Catholic Monsignores properly use the style of address “Right Reverend” followed by the title itself as the prefix of “Monsignore” or “Masignora”.)

Doctor of Divinity – 4th Level – (Scribe of the Word of God: Sesh Mediw Neter) – by Elevation. Doctors of Divinity are Priests who achieve a level of advanced ecclesiastical scholarship, primarily as a qualifying prerequisite to becoming a Bishop. This title is gender-neutral. (Ancient Catholic Doctors of Divinity properly use the style of address “Right Reverend Doctor”, which must be correctly indicated as either “Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa”: “D.D.(h.c.)” for ecclesiastical studies by merit with a written research thesis, or “Doctor of Divinity, honoris”: “D.D.(hon.)” for honourary elevation only in connection with a pending Episcopal consecration.)

Bishop – 5th Level – (High Priest: Sem Tery) – by Consecration. Bishops are primarily responsible for preserving and continuing the traditions of Apostolic Succession with canonical initiatory and doctrinal authenticity. Bishops can ordain Deacons and Priests independently, can consecrate other Bishops by Pontifical authority, and generally represent and uphold the Pontificate of the Church and its denomination of Christianity. This title is gender-neutral. (All Catholic Bishops use the style of address “His Excellency” followed by the prefix “Most Reverend”.) The minimum age for consecration as a Bishop is traditionally the 27th year of age [2], with an earlier exception possible by a Pontifical dispensation (Canon 1031, §4).

Archbishop – 6th Level – (Arch High Priest: Meti N Sa) – by Elevation. Archbishops are Bishops who are traditionally responsible for other Bishops of a large geographic territory, or a high level of scholarship, educational publishing and promoting religious teaching, supporting and inspiring large groups or regions of Clergy and Followers internationally. This title is gender-neutral. (All Catholic Archbishops use the style of address “His Excellency” followed by the prefix “Most Reverend”, the same as for Bishops.)

Cardinal – 7th Level – (Master High Priest: Miter Sem Tery) – by Elevation. Cardinals are Bishops who are primarily responsible for preserving and continuing the canonical authenticity and original sacred doctrines of the Church. Cardinals thus essentially serve as “Canons”, directly supporting the Pontificate in maintaining and developing the policies and millennial directions of the Church. This title is gender-neutral. (All Catholic Cardinals use the style of address “His Eminence” followed by the title itself as the prefix of “Cardinal”.)

Pontiff – “Institution” Level – (First Master-Teacher of God: Miter Neter Tepi) – by Anointing, for a consecrated and elevated Cardinal who is canonical successor as Sovereign Pontiff (Princeps Pontifex) for the statehood of the Church as Coadjutor Pontiff (Coadjutoris Pontifex), or is canonically elected by the College of Bishops as Supreme Pontiff (Summus Pontifex) over all ecclesiastical matters of the religious life of the Church.  This title is gender-neutral.

Only a canonical Pontificate can elevate Clergy to the ranks of Monsignore, Doctor of Divinity, Archbishop and Cardinal, grant Co-communion or Full Communion to participating Churches in membership, decree excommunications, and issue absolutions or indulgences. (All Pontiffs who are head of an original classical denomination of 1st century Christianity having canonical Pontifical authority use the style of address “His Holiness”.)

 

Incardination of Career Clergy

 

Validly ordained Clergy and consecrated Bishops from other legitimate Churches (or equivalent canonical historical Priesthoods) are automatically recognized at the level of their current Christian Clergy title (as the corresponding Roman Catholic equivalent), and accepted by the process of canonical Incardination into the Ancient Catholic Church by the Pontificate:

After supplemental seminary studies in the ancient heritage and origins of Christianity, Incardinated Clergy can then receive additional Priestly ordination or Episcopal consecration, with the Ancient Catholic Apostolic lines conveyed as “Sub-conditional” (Latin: ‘Sub Condicione’), to ensure full and proper canonical succession. Through further studies and practice of the sacred arts of working with the Holy Spirit, all Clergy can then be Elevated to the next levels by the Pontifical authority of the Ancient Catholic Church.

 

Suggested Topics Related to this Information

 

Click for facts about Women in Classical Clergy of Ancient Catholicism.

Click to learn about the Ancient Catholic Church as a Pontifical institution.

Click for details of the Apostolic Succession Lines within Ancient Catholicism.

Click for a full report on the Ancient Catholic Denomination of the Templars.

Academic Source References for this Topic

 

[1] Sir Alan G. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar: The Study of Hieroglyphs, Ashmolean Museum of Oxford University, Griffith Institute, Oxford (1927), “List of Hieroglyphic Signs (pp.438 et seq.), “Egyptian-English Vocabulary” (pp.549 et seq.), “English-Egyptian Vocabulary” (pp.605 et seq.).

[2] Tim Dowley, Introduction to the History of Christianity, University of Manchester, Fortress Press (2013), Chapter 6, “Catholicism of Countenances”, p.9:  The Council of Trent of 1563 AD established the age requirements for Deacon at 23 years and Priest at 25 years, and the Concordat of Bologna of 1516 AD established the age for a Bishop at 27 years.