Welcome to Sophian Perspectives,
a site devoted to the activities of Sophia Ministries in Edgefield SC.
I am Reverend Dr. Mary Altalo, M.Div and I am an ordained Independent Catholic priest in the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch and licensed spiritual practitioner with the Centers for Spiritual Living. Yes, I know, "there are NO women Catholic priests". Well that is true for the Roman Catholic jurisdiction. Actually there are many "denominations" of Catholics. Some of the most well known are the Old Catholic Church, The Liberal Catholic Church, The American Catholic Church etc. Due to our inclusivity of all , we are not in communion with our Roman Brothers and Sisters at this time. To read more about The Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch and Independent Catholicism in general click here. To view our latest newsletter of our participation at the Parliament of World Religions, please click here .
The Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch, is a free and independent sacramental Church in the Catholic tradition and consider the distribution of the sacraments as a primary duty. As a branch of the one Christian Church, we acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Founder, Living Head and Eternal High Priest. Although hierarchical in structure, we honor and maintain the value of primacy of conscience and freedom of thought and expression in theological and spiritual matters as expressed in our spiritual principles. We consider them to be essential qualities for an authentic response to the presence of God in our lives. We acknowledge that freedom of conscience makes each person fully responsible for his or her own spiritual development.
We hold to an unbroken line of apostolic succession and trace our "lineage" back to Cardinal Scipione Rebiba, 1566, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Troia. More than 95% of all living Catholic bishops trace their episcopal lineage back to him. Our founder was Patriarch Herman Adrian Spruit in the mid 20th century and our Seminary is Sophia Divinity School which was established in 1958 and was one of the first to ordain women of any Christian tradition.
The Catholic Church of Antioch embodies an ancient truth for the modern world. We provide an intelligent alternative; traditional worship and teaching with the freedom to interpret the tradition in the light of modern research and scholarship. We affirm the value of a balanced spiritual life, including study of both ancient wisdom and modern knowledge, unfoldment of the Inner Light through meditation, participation in liturgical and sacramental worship, and creative self-expression in service to others. We hold that it is the will of God that all people be at peace and to be guided by the Holy Spirit into wholeness of life, health, happiness and harmony. We further hold that we are asked to know God through love as Love.
We are an ecumenical Church with a Mystical Tradition and our communion table is open to all who reverently approach it, regardless of denominational affiliation, race, marital status, sexual orientation or economic status. Holy orders are also open to all regardless of gender, race, marital status, sexual orientation or economic status. Following the example of Jesus and faithful to the principle of catholicity, that principle of "wholemaking", we look for ways to include instead of ways to exclude. In this way, we see ourselves as part of "Integral Christianity". In addition, we consider ourselves part of the Progressive Christianity Movement, and work closely and participate with other spiritual organizations such as Centers for Action and Contemplation and Living School of Fr. Richard Rohr, and withSpirit-education of the Centers for Spiritual Living.
Many consider us to be a ministry for heartbroken Christians who are restricted from fully participating in their parent church. But we are more than that. We express or practice our Catholicism in an alternate way. We consider new findings from the sciences, from theology, and from philosophy. We explore "scripture" from many traditions. We are a community which supports all on their Spiritual path and in their practices. We are inclusive of all, not just some . We encourage the questions and "companion" the seeker as they discover a higher consciousness of living in the Spirit. We are loving witnesses to the journey.