Universalist Orthodox Church
Our small jurisdiction started out in June of 2016 as an informal group that met in the evenings for Vespers service. We had no priests, no structure to speak of, and were in the very beginning stages of finding the right words to use in our services to open up the theology being expressed and to welcome people in more fully. At that time we were dipping our toes back into the pond of the Church world, and were somewhat hopeful in finding a pre-existing Church structure that would welcome us with open arms. We quickly found out that was not going to happen.
For those with liberal theologies who are accustomed to contemporary services, there are many places to go. For those who are progressive and love Western styled traditional liturgy, such as former Roman Catholics or Lutherans, there may not be many places to go, but there are still options. For those whose hearts are rooted in Eastern traditions, and/or do not really have an affinity with contemporary or Western liturgies, there seemed to be no where to go.
Soon enough we realized that what we were looking for didn’t quite exist, or at least we didn’t know where to find it. This left only one option: We had to make the church we were searching for. In doing so, not just providing a spiritual haven for ourselves, but for others as well.
After a short period of time we found help and support from clergy in the Independent Sacramental Movement (ISM). The ISM is made up of various self-sustaining church communities, who are historically outside of the jurisdiction of the traditional mainstream church organizations for various reasons, but still retain the apostolic succession found in many older mainstream traditional churches. The mainstream churches as a whole do not typically recognize the validity of these ordinations, doing so would go against their foundation hierarchical systems, but that does not change the fact that the list of succession does indeed go back to the very same apostles who built the foundations of the earliest church communities.
We eventually found our way to Her Grace, Bishop Michelina, of the Free Church of Antioch. We established a relationship, she read through our liturgies, and after having her here with us, she ordained one of our own to the priesthood on October 1st, and shortly thereafter enabled then priest, Rev. Mother Maeve Leroux, who had lived in a monastery and was tonsured herself years previous, to tonsure others as monastics.
The consecration of Her Beatitude, Metropolitan Olga, Archbishop of the Great Lakes and All America, Prelate of the Autocephalous Universalist Orthodox Church to the office of the Holy Episcopate was conferred by The Most Reverend Kristina, Archbishop and Primate of the American Apostolic Old Catholic Church on June 30th, 2018.