According to the Bible, the city of Antioch, founded by Antiochias, was where the Nazarites were first called Christians (Chresteons.) At that time, Antioch was the capitol of Syria in the area which is now Turkey. This first church was established by the apostles Peter and Thomas 325 years before the Roman Catholic Church was established by the emperor Constantine. The apostle St. Thomas was a Gnostic by education and carried the early church teaching into India and established a school at Malabar. This school of Esoteric and Gnostic teaching was attended by Jews, Hindus and Christians alike.
Thomas believed that the true church was carried in the heart and his students, ordained in the Malabar Rite, traveled throughout the middle-east spreading the teachings they had received rather than establishing churches. Being Gnostics, steeped in the ancient wisdom teachings, they proliferated the knowledge of symbolism, mysticism, alchemy and other arcane subjects that were later taken up by the Rosicrucians, Masons, and other secret societies until the 1500s, when the Malabar priests settled in Holland. All of these teachings were given in secret because the Roman Catholic Church had banned them and threatened with death anyone possessing such teachings. It was at this junction in history that the Alexandrian Library was burned to the ground, having been the repository of the world's most elevated ancient since history, as we know it, began. teachings
The present day Free Church of Antioch is a Christ oriented church, legally incorporated and established in Santa Barbara, California by Bishop Warren Watters in 1992. Bishop Warren was a Bishop in the Church of Antioch, which is an off-shoot of the Liberal Catholic Church of Antioch. The Liberal Catholic Church of Antioch, the Greek Orthodox and the Russian Orthodox churches, the Egyptian Coptic Church, the Celtic Church in England and the American Orthodox Catholic Church are all lumped together as "the Orthodox Church" by the Vatican. They are recognized by Roman Catholicism as being legitimate because of their Apostolic Succession. The Church of Antioch, Malabar Rite, can verify its lineage back to St. Peter and St. Thomas through eleven verifiable lines. There are five more known lines but these are not certifiable due to a missing signature, death certificate or other incomplete detail.
The church in North America ordains men and women equally and in many cases teaches co-masonry to both, although that is not an official part of the priest's training. In Europe only men are ordained. Here in the United States the church has spread widely under many different names. Many of these are lead by women bishops and archbishops but these are not recognized by Rome. If the church truly is carried in the heart, where everyone may be, then the Apostolic Succession is irrelevant, for the Bible states, " All true believers are priests unto God." Nevertheless, one who has been touched by the rod of apostolic empowerment will never believe it to be irrelevant.
The goal of Archbishop Warren Watters was to Ordain Women into the lines of Apostolic Succession...as he believed they were meant to be in the first place. At his death at age 102, his wife Bishop Ellen Watters succeeded him as the head of the church. At the passing of Archbishop Ellen, Bishop Michelina T Foster was nominated by the Board to take the 'reins of the church'. This she has succeeded in doing: expanding the church, its membership, and the members of the clergy. Priests ordained by Bishop Michelina, Bishop Warren, and other Bishops of the Free Church are located in many states around the United States and in Hawaii.
The Free Church of Antioch is centered in Warner Robins, Georgia as the Lighted Way Chapel of Antioch. The Spiritual Work is ongoing, and from Georgia, the website and newsletters are generated. The church teachings blend basic and esoteric Christianity, New Age Thought and the Arcane Wisdom. It is a church of the heart and is open to interested seekers from all walks of Life. Meditation for humanity and the planet are incorporated into a more modernized Mass and augmentation of the Seven Rituals of the Church. The Angelic Kingdom is recognized as are the major principles of the Great World Religions of all time. Humanity is believed to be on its journey toward Divinity... and the Free Church of Antioch is here to hold the energy of Spirituality to assist this process toward the Light, and Love and Power of the Ages until all is restored in God's Plan on Earth.
THE GREAT INVOCATION
From the point of Light within the Mind of God
Let light stream forth into the minds of men.
Let Light descend on Earth.
From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into the hearts of men.
May Christ return to Earth.
From the center where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide the little wills of men -
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.
From the center which we call the race of men
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.
Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on
"The above Invocation or Prayer does not belong to any person or group but to all humanity. The beauty and the strength of this Invocation lies in its simplicity, and in its expression of certain central truths which all men, innately and normally, accept - the truth of the existence of a basic Intelligence to Whom we vaguely give the name of God; the truth that behind all outer seeming, the motivating power of the universe is Love; the truth that a great Individuality came to earth, called by Christians, the Christ, and embodied that love so that we could understand; the truth that both love and intelligence are effects of what is called the Will of God; and finally the self-evident truth that only through humanity itself can the Divine Plan work out."
For more contact information, see: Meet the Clergy page for e-mails and websites