Who are we?
A Historical Perspective
After the Great Schism, the Roman Catholic Church continued to develop in Western Europe. For the next 450 years, during the Middle Ages, the Popes consolidated their power and extended their influence over the Church and society. With the dawn of the 16th century, the Roman Catholic Church was overloaded with moral and political corruption. Many concerned religious leaders made efforts to reform the Church.
These efforts at reform became known collectively as the Reformation. Two very different reformations resulted from these tensions. One became known as the independent communities that became Old Catholic. They were called Old Catholics of Utrecht because they sought to turn the clock back and adhere to the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church prior to the various schisms. The second was called Roman Catholics.
Some of the Independent Catholic communities, like our National Church, the Worldwide Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ derive their Apostolic Succession through the Old Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht. The Archbishop of Utrecht traces his Apostolic Succession back to the Holy Apostles. The Ecumenical and Old Catholics, therefore, have a valid line of succession, a valid priesthood, and episcopate with valid sacraments.