Welcome to the website of the Western Orthodox University.
Originally founded on 1 August 1945, the Western Orthodox University is an educational and research institution that has since 6 August 1977 been formally united with the Apostolic Episcopal Church, a worldwide Continuing Anglican jurisdiction founded in 1925 and recognized by the Statutes of the State of New York, USA, since 1932.
The Western Orthodox University is a 501(c)(3) organization and a public charity under IRS Code section 509(a)(1), and is defined as an integrated auxiliary of the Apostolic Episcopal Church. Its primary purpose is as the seminary of the Apostolic Episcopal Church and the means by which its clergy and lay officers may be trained to pursue religious vocations within the Church, including the ordained ministry, the lay pastorate and lay readership. It offers religious degree programs in theology and ministry (including lay readership and church music) from an initial postsecondary level through to research and practice-based doctorates. These programs are offered on a mentored basis and are free of any central tuition or examination fees, with candidates instead asked to donate a voluntary honorarium directly to their mentors according to their means. Enrolment for all programs is restricted to members of the Apostolic Episcopal Church solely.
The original basis for the grant of degrees by the Western Orthodox University, after the model of both the historic Western and Eastern churches, was described on its diplomas as “the inherent authority issuing from the Supreme Head of the University”. This remains the case today. The University’s degrees and certificates are issued by the Primate and Presiding Bishop of the Apostolic Episcopal Church in his capacity as a Corporation Sole duly registered in the State of Hawaii, USA, and are the subject of a religious exemption under statute.
As a fully independent religious institution, the University greatly values its status as a private body controlled by a Church which has since its inception presented a distinctively Western Orthodox viewpoint and a determinedly ecumenical conservative Christian witness. Today, the Western Orthodox University has a full relationship of reciprocal partnership, recognition and accreditation with the historic Pontificia Accademia Tiberina in Rome, Italy, founded in 1813 and recognized by the Sacred Congregation of Studies under Pope Leo XII in 1825. The Western Orthodox University is also accredited by the Anglican Association of Colleges and Schools, the umbrella body for the educational institutions of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, and holds a number of other recognitions and validation agreements. The University is not accredited by an accrediting association recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
The activities of the Western Orthodox University today include significant responsibilities for archival preservation and dissemination. The University has an overall mission to collect information and resources concerned with the smaller Catholic, Orthodox and Continuing Anglican churches during the post-1866 period. This embraces a general scholarly interest in the modern independent sacramental movement both historically and in terms of theology and practice, and an ongoing programme of research. The European-American University Press provides the main means for the book publication of its research output while the Orthodox Catholic Review serves as its occasional journal.
The Western Orthodox University incorporates the Western Orthodox Academy (also founded in 1945) and several specialized research centres. It works closely with its sister institution European-American University, Panama, with which it shares faculty and resources. It also has dual degree agreements with several universities in Costa Rica and elsewhere in Central America which have agreed to accept its degrees as fulfilling their requirements. These agreements make it possible for graduates of the Western Orthodox University to go on to obtain a reciprocal degree from a university accredited by governmental authority without further academic requirements.