The vignettes on the life and times of Wallace David de
Ortega Maxey, a historic figure in the evolution of
Independent Catholicism in North America, which appear
below, were written by Bishop Donald Pierce Weeks, of the
Holy Angels Christian Community in Oakland, California. They
are reproduced here with the permission of Bishop Weeks. You
may contact Bishop Weeks directly at the following
- Bishop Donald Pierce Weeks
- Holy Angels Christian Community
- 9424 International Boulevard
- Oakland, CA 94603
- Telephone: (510) 553-0900
WALLACE DAVID DEORTEGA MAXEY (RIP)
- I received several requests about Archbishop Wallace
David deOrtega Maxey. Maxey was a personal friend of
mine. He started his ecclesiastical carrier as a priest
of the American Catholic Church, ordained by Archbishop
Joseph René Vilatte. He told me, at my residence
in San Francisco, in 1975, that he was that "boy servant"
mentioned - that accompanied Vilatte to retirement in
France. Of course, I have no way of proving this, but as
a friend, I knew Maxey to be truthful and if he says that
he was the "boy servant" then I believe it.
- I first found out about Maxey through Bishop Karl
Pruter, one of those directories. Maxey lived on Grant
Street in Fresno, California (1975). I went to his house
and we talked for hours. There is a box in the back of
his bedroom were all of his documents, signed by various
prelates of honor, from the beginning of his priesthood
in 1923 to the days just prior to his resignation in
- We visited often. He would take the Greyhound Bus
from Fresno to San Francisco and stay a few days at my
home. There we talked and he related the early history of
the Old Catholic and Independent Catholic Movement in the
United States. I saw and at one time was in possession of
"Maxey Documents" signed by Vilatte, Brown, Brooks,
Newman and others. They hung on my wall, until I was
foolish enough to allow a southern Californian borrow
them to make copies. Now they are hidden away in his
closet, damaged by trying to forge his name in the place
of Maxey. The old prelates of the "movement" suffered
because of wandering clergy with a good story. Maxey was
- In his latter years, Maxey became an alcoholic. Most
people do not like for me to mention this part of his
life. Men would show-up in Fresno with bottle of wine and
return with some fancy ecclesiastical title. I talked
with his sister-in-law just after his death and she
mentioned how several prelates would visit and get "the
old man drunk - then produce documents for him to
- Maxey had a great ecclesiastical life. He attended
seminary, was an author, published a newspaper and was
active in the political arena.
- Below is a page about Maxey from 'Independent
Bishops; An International Directory' followed by a piece
from an article he wrote, the Ancient Christian
Fellowship Review, and some of his personal
- Wallace David deOrtega Maxey was born on February 22,
1902. His parents worked on a commercial ship and
eventually settled in Los Angeles, California. He became
a Benedictine in Saint Dunstin's Abbey, Waukeegan,
Illinois and from there he met Archbishop Joseph
René Vilatte, who ordained him to the priesthood
in 1923, for the American Catholic Church. On January 2,
1927, he was consecrated to the Bishopric by Bishop
William Montgomery Brown, the resigned Protestant
Episcopal Bishop of Arkansas, who at that time was
serving as an auxiliary bishop for the Old Catholic
Church in America.
- ( Editor's Note: Maxey says that he went to France
with Vilatte, as a priest, however there is a
consecration certificate signed by William Montgomery
Brown. It could be that the event took place in 1929
rather then 1927).
- On March 24, 1927 (or 29) Maxey was consecrated
sub-conditione by Archbishop William Henry Francis
Brothers, assisted by Bishop Jozef Zielonka of the Old
Catholic Church in America. The reason for the
sub-conditione consecration was: Bishop Brown had
espoused communism and was deposed by the Protestant
- Maxey was ordained and consecrated sub-conditione
again on February 29, by Bishop George A. Newmark of the
American Old Catholic Church, assisted by Bishop Edwin W.
Hunter of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church.
He was again consecrated by Bishop Hunter on march 24,
1929, assisted by Gregory Lines and Francis Walker.
- In 1930, Maxey returned to California. There he
attended the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. He
received a Master of Sacred Theology and in 1934 he was
ordained an Episcopal priest by Bishop Edward L. Parsons.
In 1936, he left the Episcopal Church and established The
Ancient Christian Fellowship, Old Catholic Church in
America, in Los Angeles. This Church was officially
incorporated in the State of California in 1944.
- On August 23, 1945, he exchanged consecrations with
Antoine J. Aneed, Charles Hampton, Joseph Kleefish and
Lowell Paul Wadle.
- He was consecrated in the Abbey Church of Christ the
King in New Barnet, England on June 6, 1946, by
Archbishop Hugh G. de Willmot Newman of the Catholic
Apostolic Church and Catholicate of the West, assisted by
Bishops, John S. Ward; Richard K. Hurgon; John Seyer;
Charles L. Saul; and Frank Langhelt. He was given the
title of Mar David, Patriarch of Malaga, Apostolic
Primate of the Iberians, and Supreme Hierarch of the
Catholicate of the Americas.
- After this multi exchange of consecrations, Maxey
returned to the United States and visited Archbishop
Arthur W. Brooks of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, who
once again sub-conditione consecrated Maxey on July 13,
1946. The following day he enthroned Maxey as the
Archbishop of The Province of the West.
- When Brooks died on July 7, 1948, Maxey became the
head of The Apostolic Episcopal Church, but resigned on
August 23, 1949 from that Church and the Catholicate of
The West. He was succeeded briefly by Bishop Matthew N.
Nelson and then Bishop Lowell Paul Wadle.
- In was in 1949, that Maxey left Independent
Catholicism and joined with Universalism. In 1954 he
moved from Los Angeles to Fresno, CA. There he pastored
the Liberal Universalist Church until 1957. What he did
from 1957 to 1970 is not well known. He lived in Fresno,
- In 1970, he resumed his Episcopal role and founded
the Catholic Christian Church along with Bishop Alan S.
Stanford. A few years later he reestablished his role
with the Apostolic Episcopal Church. His last known
consecration was of Bishop Bernard Alioto, the founder of
the Ancient Tridentine Catholic Church. Maxey died in
Clovis, CA in 1992.
- (Editor's Note: Most of the above material was taken
from "Independent Bishops: An International
- There isn't a great deal of written information in
books or newspaper articles about Archbishop Wallace
David de Ortega Maxey. However he was a great man and an
important figure in the history of the Old Catholic and
Independent Catholic Churches in America. Most of his
ministry was spent in the Los Angeles area and his
headquarters were at 4205 West Third Street, Los Angeles,
California. There he had a small chapel, The Cathedral
Chapel of the Holy Spirit. He was assisted at the
Cathedral by Rev. Matthew N. Nelson, Archpriest and
Deaconess Erie C. Hall. Other clergy of the Province of
The West were: Revs. Clarence Powell; Hamilton Kutch;
Patrick Amick, OSB; Irving Bocckler; George Boeckler;
George Armenko, MD; George Manion; Jean Rincon; Raymond
F. Bartholomew; R. Reid (Corporate Treasurer); Bishop
Frederick Pyman; Garth Hughs.
- Prior to any association with The Apostolic Episcopal
Church, Maxey, in 1933, founded in Los Angeles, The
Ancient Christian Fellowship/Old Catholic Church in
America. On January 1, 1946, Maxey began the short term
publication of The Ancient Christian Fellowship Review.
Here is a place where we can learn a part of the history
of the Old and Independent Catholic movement in the
United States. These are articles written by Old Catholic
prelates and priests and not by Roman or Episcopal
Catholics wanting to disprove the Old Catholics Churches
in the United States.
- The following section is an article written by
Archbishop de Ortega Maxey. Articles such as this tell of
the thinking, polity, policy and other thoughts of some
of the outstanding prelates of the mid 1940's.
- THE ANCIENT CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
- by Wallace David de Ortega
The Ancient Christian Fellowship does not represent a
new religious organization, much less a new church. Prior
to the Protestant Reformation, there existed an the
continent of Europe a body of people whose limbs
stretched into almost all of the countries, who were
greatly concerned about the departures from the True
Faith certain persons within the Universal Church were
making. This body was generally known as Northern
Catholics in contrast to their fellow members now
generally termed Latin Catholics.
- The primary interest and concern of the Northern
minded group was the flagrancy with which certain Latins
were changing not only the teachings of the One, Holy,
Universal and Apostolic Church, but the flexibility of
their interpretations of the True Faith to meet their own
ends. It was easily discernible that the Latin hierarchy
was fast becoming a new organization, getting further and
further from the True teachings as given by the founder
of the Christian Ecclesiam its Master, Jesus the
- Contrary to the first Council of Jerusalem and the
succeeding Oecumenical Councils, these very councils were
no longer being held. Dogmaas were being in an erroneous
light, and even at times complete new doctrines of
controversial nature in faith and morals were being
issued by the Bishop of Rome.
- The Northern Universal Christians accepted the
teachings and ecclesiastical procedure arrived at in the
gradual development following and interventing the Seven
Oecumenical Councils, namely: The First of Nicaea AD 325;
The First Council of Constantinople AD 381; that of
Ephesus AD 431; Chalcedon AD 451; the Second of
Constantinople AD 680, the Second of Nicaea AD 787.
- The First Apostolic Council in Jerusalem had served
as a prologue to the following councils. We can hardly
fail to be struck by the confident language of this first
council in which the Apostolic Church claims for its
decisions the full weight of Divine Authority. Though it
differed from the later Universal Councils in that it was
presided over by Saint James, the first Bishop of
Jerusalem, and inspired men, yet we may well believe that
to those general councils which really deserved the name,
the Holy Spirit vouchsafed such a special measure of its
guiding power as might suffice to preserve their
decisions from error, and enable them to handed down
unblemished the deposit of Truth which the master, Jesus
the Christ left with His Church.
- This Northern body within the undivided church
withstood the revolutionary methods of reform, initiated
by the leaders of the Reformation, especially those
closely allied with martin Luther best expressed in the
writings of Erasmus, the scholarly and inspired mind of
this particular period of ecclesiastical chaos and
confusion. However the constant strain of witnessing the
subordination of the undivided church to Jesuitical
casuistry and its final and schismatic pronouncement of
the infallibility of the Bishop of Rome as a "new dogma"
of faith in 1870 brought unavoidable action.
- This dogma was decidedly an innovation, as the only
Voice of Infallibility within the Church is the Holy
Spirit. It being present through invisible, guides her
bishops gathered together in General Council, into the
way and the Truth as it did in the first Councils.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of mentally tired and
spiritually cooled members of the Church accepted the
decree with considerably little objection.
- This was not true for those who were spiritually and
mentally alert, not those who were not befogged by the
excitement of the new adventures and exploration of
science, and the success of the system of capitalism,
just outgrowing its infants clothes. The True Word was
again spoken and those who were able to hear met in
conference assembled at Munich in 1871, three hundred
delegates being present. These delegates decided to
identify their rejection of the "new Catholicism" under
the general term of Old Catholic, holding the ancient
Faith and Truth . They affirmed that they were not
leaving the One, Holy, Universal and Apostolic
- Space will not allow for a complete history of the
whole succeeding movement and its many conferences which
met at Cologne in 1872 and elected Joseph Reinkens
Bishop. Consecration was sought from Bishop Heycamp in
Rotterdam, he being the Bishop of Deventer. Bishop
Heycamp's Apostolic line of succession was traceable in a
holy manner to Archbishop Barbarini, nephew of Urban XIV,
who was Archbishop of Reims. As an outgrow of this
concerted action, churches of the whole catholic
persuasion are located in Holland, Germany,
Austria,Czechoslovakia,Yugoslavia, Mexico, Switzerland,
Poland, South America, as well as in the Antipodes, India
Asia Minor(near east) and North America.
- In England, Dr. Arnold Harris Mathew Sought
Consecration from Gerardus Gul. Archbishop of Utrecht, in
1908. The same was granted Bishop Mathew representing and
shepherding The Ancient Celtic Church which was
established in the first century of Glastonberry
Somersett. The church had been Gallican in its origin
rather that Roman. With the Foundation of this ancient
church are the associated names St. Joseph of Arimathea.
St. Paul and Simon Zelotes and St. Aristobulous, first
Bishop of the Britons. This group withstood all kinds of
methods of persecution and finally emerged as the Old
Catholic Orthodox Church of Great Briton and Northern
Ireland. It is not to be confused with the Church of
- For Jurisdictional reasons and matter of policy, the
British church severed itself from that of Holland in
1910. Dr., Mathew was elected Archbishop and Metropolitan
and in 1912 was received into union with the Most
Reverend Gerassimos Massara, Syrian Archbishop of Beruit,
at the patriarch of Antioch on August 5th 1911. Patriarch
Photios of Alexandria acknowledge and recognized by an
official Communiqué February 26, 1912 thus
restoring the unity of the eastern and western Ecclesia.
The Anglican Communion holds The Mathew Line of Holy
Orders are invalid. They gave us the reason filled with
conditional intentions. Of course this is their own
verdict. In an article referred to me bye a prominent
Catholic Authority, one of the Co-Consecrators of Mathew
disagrees with these Anglican divinities. He holds the
Old Catholic Church does not approve of consecrating a
man who has no pastoral charge. This argument would never
had been upheld by the undivided Oecumenical church.
Practically all the missionary Bishops sent to convert
Europe had no charge at the time of their consecration .
St. Patrick is a very good example. However Mathew did
ordain some four hundred Anglican Priest, and consecrated
seven Bishops. Perhaps this would not be fair to suggest
that this might have stirred the Anglican
- Another Catholic body and one of English speaking
constituents would naturally not be cherished by The
Church of England. To many Anglicans have been and are
today seeking valid orders from Rome and submitting to
that jurisdiction. Archbishop Mathew performed a great
service for the English speaking world, and because he
was so successful, many of his line have been unfairly
treated. We of the movement in Europe and America are
aware of this fact. It was the Protestant Episcopal
Church Authorities who denies the Validity of the time of
Holy Order of another great soul Archbishop Vilatte who
was also looked on as a menace when he returned to
consecrate Bishop in the Syrian Jacobite line from Goa,
India to finish the Great work he had started in
- Those bodies in America who possess this valid claim
line of Holy Orders derive the same through Archbishop
Matthew's Delegate to the United States. The most
Reverend Rudolph E. E. de Landes Burges et de Roche. The
latter was invited to participate in the Co-consecration
of Bishop Huse , Episcopal Bishop of Havana Cuba.
- For reasons various and barely explainable , several
separate bodies have come into existence in the United
States, each maintaining complete Autonomy. It is to be
hoped that someday in the near future these true ancient
and oecumenical groups can be united. There can be no
doubt in the mind of the earnest inquirer as to the
validity of the Old Catholic line of Holy Orders. Even
the schismatic Latin Churches admits the Validity orders
may be passed down for generations by some sects not in
communion (Rome) with the ordainers in good conscience
and providing the proper matter, form and intention are
present and those sects have kept the valid orders. The
Holy Orders are Valid through irregular to those who are
of another jurisdiction.
- The Ancient Christian Fellowship is a direst and
continuation of this Branch of the Universal Church.
Differing in ritual, ceremonial, and customs but not in
any essential sense departing from the one Holy,
Universal and Apostolic Ecclesia as it was formed in the
gradual decisions handed down at the Oecumenical
Councils. It has received and perpetuates in succession
the first Apostle the three Major Orders of Bishop.
Priest and Deacon as does the Eastern Churches. These
constitute the divinity inspired and instituted
- Women are not admitted into the Order of Priest or
Deacon but may become ordained Deaconesses and as such
are delegated to perform the duties of minister. These
include carrying of the reserved sacrament to the sick
and infirm, Baptizing, blessing marriages: teaching and
provide divine healing, also counseling and providing
guidance to people in need of spiritual help.
- The Ancient Christian Fellowship feels that its
members can consistently wear the badge of The Peace of
Christ and at the same time bear arms with the intention
of killing their fellowman. We champion the cause of
religious bodies which forswear that war is politically
unnecessary, morally and spiritually abhorrent.
- Special emphasis is laid on the ancient functions of
the Apostolic order. The art of preaching and teaching is
stressed and above all else the gift of divine healing
thought we do not at any time oppose medical science.
Neither is the true prophetic office lost sight but
rendered effective through the sacramental interpretation
and modern wisdom -science and psychiatry.
- The Holy Eucharist is the central service of the
Fellowship given proper place however for the divine
offices and administration of the whole sacramental
- Great emphasis is laid upon the the study of the
works of the Early Church Fathers . Full Respect is laid
for the sanctity of the bible but equal respect is
maintained for the students intellectual integrity. In as
much as no single bible is accepted Christendom
universally is felt all versions of apocryphal books must
be studied examined and accepted in the clear light of
higher criticism scientific inquiry and under the divine
guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- Its priest and Deacons as well as Deaconesses may
marry. we have no objections to persons taking the
monastic vows should they have their Bishops approval and
truly show by their life and work such procedure will
benefit themselves and the church as a whole.
- The Ancient Christian Fellowship has its own Liturgy.
Men and women of other denominations may become members
of the Fellowship. Ministers of other denominations which
are not of Apostolic succession may receive the same from
the fellowship in order that they may celebrate a valid
Eucharist, provided they have the proper training and
education as well as letters of consent from their
superior or their congregation. It is the intention of
the Ancient Christian Fellowship to bind not to separate
Christ's fold universal on Earth.
- Notes of Bishop Weeks:
- From 1933 to 1976, Archbishop Maxey held in tact the
California State Non Profit Corporation, The Ancient
Christian Fellowship/Old Catholic Church in America.
While he retired from The Apostolic Episcopal Church, he
managed to keep this corporation going. On October 26,
1976, at Saint Adan's Episcopal Church, San Francisco,
CA, Archbishop Maxey turned this corporation over to
Bishop Donald Pierce Weeks. At the present time, The
Ancient Christian Fellowship operates the Holy Angels
Housing Program in Oakland, CA for men and women who are
in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.