The Catholic Apostolic Church

The political, social and economic turmoil of the early 19th century were all taken as signs that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent. The Catholic Apostolic Church (CAC) was formed in 1835 to prepare for the event although the members referred to themselves not as Catholic Apostolics but as “congregations gathered under apostles”. Twelve new apostles were appointed who were then able to ordain the angels (bishops), priests and deacons under them.

Due to a number of wealthy converts who donated money, as well as the congregation tithing, the CAC were able to build some extraordinarily beautiful buildings of which the Mansfield Place church is one. An elaborate and beautiful liturgy was devised, derived mainly from the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches. It involved music, processions, rich vestments, incense and candles.

Ordinations in the church ceased in 1901 when the last Apostle died. The last priest of the Edinburgh congregation died in 1958 and the congregation moved out, ending Catholic Apostolic worship in the building. The last priest of the CAC died in London in 1971 and all sacramental ministrations then ceased, although a breakaway group in Germany still exists as “the New Apostolic Church”.

Clarendon Press, Oxford 1992

The Catholic Apostolic Church

Cherubim from the chancel arch