Catholic Apostolic Church

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Catholic Apostolic Church

Catholic Apostolic Church, religious community originating in England c.1831 and extending later to Germany and the United States (1848). It was founded under the influence of Edward Irving; its members are sometimes called Irvingites. Because of their prophetic gifts, 12 apostles (including Henry Drummond) were in 1835 set aside as officers. They were expected to survive until the Second Coming of Jesus, but the last of them died in 1901. When the apostles began to die, a schism took place in Germany over the appointing of successors. This led to the formation (1863) of the New Apostolic Church, the formal name of the present-day organization. An angel, or bishop, presides over each congregation; he is assisted by pastors, teachers, and others. Symbolism and mystery of worship characterize the elaborate liturgy, which has borrowed much from the Roman Catholic Church, including devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Much emphasis is given to the Second Coming of Jesus. The membership is about 8 million worldwide (1994).

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