Sovereign Pontifical

Pontifical Government of the Church:

Structure and Leadership of the Pontificate and Government


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As a non-territorial ecclesiastical state possessing inherent Pontifical authority under Canon law (Canon 215; Canon 129, §1) [1] [2] [3], the 12th century Ancient Apostolic Church holds the status of a “sovereign subject of international law” [4] [5], based upon its authentic substance [6]. As the state representing the cultural “nationality” of the 1st century denomination of Ancient Catholicism in world affairs, it can also be properly referred to as a “nation-state”.


Pontifical authority with independent statehood as a sovereign subject of international law in official diplomatic relations backed by 5+ Vatican Papal Bulls

As a historical canonical Pontificate possessing statehood under customary international law, the Ancient Apostolic Church lawfully has a legitimate Government, with official capacity to exercise all functions of statehood and diplomacy in international relations.


The following is only a partial list of the leading Officers and Clergy of the Pontifical Government who currently have the most visible public functions:


(Note: Some members of the Pontifical Curia or College or Bishops may separately hold additional royal, nobiliary or secular titles, which may be of higher profile than the present ecclesiastical titles and forms of address used in the Government of the Church, and thus may use such titles privately as they deem appropriate.)


Pontifical Curia – College of Cardinals


T (Gold Fill)The medieval Latin word ‘Curia’ means the nobiliary “Court” of the sovereign Pontiff. The Pontifical Curia constitutes the supreme body of the Government of the Church (Canon 360), which conducts the sovereign and diplomatic affairs of the Catholicate as a sovereign subject of international law. It primarily consists of the senior Clergy under the personal prelature of the Supreme Pontiff (Canon 266, §1; Canon 268, §2), mostly comprised of Cardinals. In the Ancient Apostolic Church, the Pontifical Curia also serves as the College of Cardinals (Canon 349).


Supreme Pontiff – Cardinal Khern S. Oliver, M.Th., D.Div., J.C.L.


pontiff-khern-cardinal-web-accHis Holiness (H.H.) Pontiff Khern Oliver has over 18 years of ecclesiastical experience in classical Churches of various canonical denominations of Catholicism.


He began his ecclesiastical career in the Brotherhood of Saint Francis of Assisi (BSFA) of the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican mission of the Franciscan Order from 1212 AD (recognized by the Bishop of Salisbury in communion with the Church of England in 1931 AD). As a Vatican Franciscan he was ordained into minor orders (1997), and as a Deacon and Priest (1998) in Derby England. He was initiated into the Sacred Order of Benedictine Brothers (2004), specializing in investigations of energy manifestations and exorcisms. With additional seminary studies in the Essene Orthodox Church, he completed a Master of Theology (M.Th.) in Catholic Mysticism from the Wedgewood Seminary of the Order of Saint Thomas (2009), and was elevated to Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa, for earned merit) in Classical Old Catholicism by the Chivalric Order of Saint Daniel (2010).


Khern was consecrated as a Bishop by the Old Roman Catholic Church in Lutterworth, England (2010), and elevated to Archbishop by Corpus Christi Ecumenical Fellowship (2011). He completed a Licentiate of Canon Law (J.C.L.) in Canonical Old Catholicism under an externship of Ignita Veritas University (2014), and was elevated to Cardinal of the Ancient Apostolic Church (2014).


Canonically incardinated exclusively into the Ancient Apostolic Church, Khern is not subject to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of any other external Church, although by Canon law many Clergy and Bishops of his former Churches remain under Khern’s Episcopal jurisdiction as their ordinator and consecrator.


Cardinal Khern was strategically vested with multiple lines of Apostolic Succession by the 12th century Independent Church Movement, the derivative 19th century Old Catholic Movement, and the resulting 20th century Liberal and Reformed Catholic Movement, as a figurehead to reunite all of these movements, which are recognized by the Vatican. This led to his founding the Independent Rite of Catholic Churches (2010), culminating in the full restoration of the 12th century Ancient Apostolic Church (2015).


After primary service and ministry in the Vatican Franciscan Brotherhood (1997-2004), he practiced active Episcopal ministry in Corpus Christi Ecumenical Fellowship (2004-2014), and the Celtic Church of the Good Shepherd (2008-2014).


Cardinal Khern continued the Brotherhood of Saint Francis from Reverend Father Superior Thomas Aquinas (from 2004), becoming the lineal canonical successor as the last remaining survivor of that Franciscan Order (since ca. 2010). The juridical patrimony of the Brotherhood of Saint Francis thus became canonically vested in the Ancient Apostolic Church through Pontiff Khern (from 2015).


Cardinal Khern Oliver now serves as the Supreme Pontiff (Pontifex Summus) of the 1st century denomination of Ancient Catholicism, as Pontifical Prelate of the Curia and College of Bishops of the 12th century Ancient Apostolic Church. He thus serves as Head of State for the Church as a sovereign subject of international law.


Coadjutor Pontiff – Cardinal Prince Judge Matthew, J.C.D.


His Holiness (H.H.) Cardinal Prince Judge Matthew of Thebes is a linguist with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Foreign Languages (1993) from Union College (terms abroad at University of Rennes France), translating medieval Old French and Latin documents, and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic scrolls, for restoration of ecclesiastical and chivalric historical institutions. He holds a Master of Science (M.S.) in Electrical Engineering (1996) from the Pontifical Academy of Sacred Sciences (externship at Moscow State Technical University), specializing in electrofield physics applied to electro-neurobiology.


He is a Professor of Law holding a Juris Doctor (J.D.) in International Law (1997) from Dickinson School of Law, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in International Affairs (2001) from the Crown Institute of Geopolitics and Diplomacy (externship at Russian Academy of Natural Sciences), and “Professorship” Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.) (2008) from the Crown Institute of Law and Justice (externship at Tver State University Russia). He was vetted and established as a government accredited International Judge for Courts of Justice worldwide (2013), registered with a national Ministry of Justice, specializing in human rights.


He is a Professor of Ancient and Medieval History holding a “Professorship” Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in Archaeology and Egyptology (2012) from the Pontifical Academy of History and Culture (externship at Cairo University), a historian and archaeologist for various Royal Houses and inter-governmental institutions, and a Mission Director of Archaeology for cooperating universities.


He is officially a Prince under Canon law as customary international law, as the elected and installed Grand Master of the restored Order of the Temple of Solomon (2013), the historical institution of the Knights Templar. The Order was granted independent sovereignty of statehood as a non-territorial Principality, on the basis of its own ecclesiastical authority of the Priesthood of Solomon, by the Vatican Papal Bull “Omne Datum Optimum” of 1139 AD. As Prince Grand Master, he led the restoration of the Ancient Apostolic Church, vesting in it the original denomination of Ancient Catholicism as preserved by the Templar Order.


Throughout over 30 years of active ecclesiastical experience, he completed 7 years of direct priestly initiation in the ancient Biblical Magi Priesthood of Melchizedek, within the 12th century Independent Church Movement, with intensive training in London, Paris, Rennes and Luxor.


Supported by Independent Bishops of the Celtic Rite of the 19th century Old Catholic Movement, with Vatican Apostolic lines, he was ordained as a Priest in Paris, France (1988), admitted to a Benedictine Order of Exorcists in New York (1991), consecrated as Bishop by an Italian consecrator with canonical laying on of hands in New York (1992), elevated to Archbishop in Rennes, France (1993), and elevated to Cardinal in Paris, France (2013).


He was canonically incardinated into the Ancient Apostolic Church (2015), consecrated sub-conditione with additional lines of Apostolic Succession, and received inauguration in Karnak Temple (Luxor) as Coadjutor Pontiff (Coadiutoris Pontifex) of the 1st century denomination of Ancient Catholicism, and as Chief High Priest (Miter Neter Tepi) of the Magi Priesthood of Melchizedek, thereby installed as the Bishop of Thebes (May 2015).


He completed his Juris Canonici Doctor (J.C.D.) in Canon Law (2016) from the Crown Institute of Law and Justice (externship at Vatican-Anglican Franciscan Brotherhood), producing the “Handbook of Canon Law” (265 pages) as his doctoral dissertation, the first historic landmark work fully restoring Canon law in its practical applications within the Independent Church Movement and Old Catholic Movement.


Cardinal Prince Judge Matthew serves as the Coadjutor Pontiff of the restored 12th century Ancient Apostolic Church, also serving on its Pontifical Curia as Secretary of State, representing the Church as a sovereign subject of international law in diplomatic relations.


Cardinal Cecil Wayne Thorn, D.Div.(H.C.)


wayne-thorn-cardinal-webHis Eminence (H.E.) Cardinal Wayne Thorn has over 41 years of experience in Christian ministry, including 35 years of ecclesiastical experience as career Clergy, and 20 years of Church leadership and religious teaching experience. This is enhanced by his characteristic passion for ecclesiastical research and scholarship, and providing education in the spiritual doctrines and sacraments of the Christian Faith.


His ecclesiastical career is supported by relevant skills from 22 years of professional experience in information technology and services (1990-2012), which involved research and development of network systems, training and supervising teams of staff and support technicians, managing “help desk” user support services, and writing monthly newsletters.


For 27 years (1975-2002) he worked in Youth Ministry with Royal Rangers International, the Pentecostal “Boy Scouts” type youth program of Assemblies of God World Missions, providing Christian character formation and leadership development mostly for boys, with some programs also for girls.


Wayne studied a one-year seminary program at Beulah Heights Bible College & University (accredited) in Georgia, formally beginning his Clergy career with the equivalent of Deacon (1981). He was ordained as Minister and Pastor by Mansfield First Church of the Independent Pentecostal denomination, equivalent to Priest (1991).


He conducted active ministry as Pentecostal Clergy during a fifteen-year period (1981-1996), including serving with the Mansfield Assembly of God (Ohio), Cavalry Assembly of God (California), and Pleasant Grove Assembly of God (Georgia).


Wayne was further ordained as Senior Pastor by the non-denominational “Hiding Place Ministry” Church in Florida (1996), and elected by the Board of Directors to serve as its Presiding Prelate. He co-founded the online non-denominational ecclesiastical community for Hiding Place Ministry (1996), which represents a membership of approx. 500 Clergy servicing their respective local communities and international networks of an estimated 10,000 parishioners.


Wayne earned a two-year academic Doctor of Divinity (D.Div.) in Religious Studies (Honoris Causa, for earned merit) at Tabernacle Bible College and Seminary (accredited) in Florida (2009), with a dissertation on the “Journey to Modern Evangelism”.


He converted to Liberal Rite Old Catholicism, and was incardinated as a Monsignor into an Episcopal Prelature of the 12th century Independent Church Movement from England (2010).


He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity (D.Div.Hon.) by the Wedgewood Seminary of the Order of Saint Thomas, and received canonical Episcopal consecration as a Bishop, with succession from Apostolic lines of the 19th century Old Catholic Movement, in Lutterworth England (May 2015). He was elevated to Cardinal in the Ancient Apostolic Church (2016).


Cardinal Wayne Thorn was incardinated into the Ancient Apostolic Church (2016) of the 1st century denomination of Ancient Catholicism, and serves on the Pontifical Curia of the 12th century Church.


Cardinal John Wilton Stansell, D.Min., Ph.D.


john-stansell-in-bristoll-cathedral-england-web-500His Eminence (H.E.) Cardinal John Stansell has more than 36 years of ecclesiastical experience as career Clergy, including ministry as a Pastor, seminary teacher, radio minister, prison missionary, evangelist, and exorcist, as well as Episcopal stewardship of ancient and Celtic heritage of the Apostolic Church.


He holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Theology from Christian Bible College (1985), another B.A. in Sacred Literature from American Bible College (1996), Master of Arts (M.A.) in Christian Education and Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) from Tripp Bible Institute (1999), and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Theological Studies from Saint Philip Neri Theological Seminary (2014).


John began his ecclesiastical career with three years of seminary studies with the Assemblies of God school of Berean University, and was ordained as a Protestant Minister in the 19th century Wesleyan Church (1980), also serving in the Baptist Church and Pentecostal churches.


He converted to Catholicism and was canonically ordained subcondicione as Deacon and Priest (2003) by the Archbishop of Saint Philip Neri Archdiocese. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity (D.Div.Hon.) by the Church of Interfaith Christians (2003), and was consecrated as a Bishop with Old Catholic lines of Apostolic succession (2005) by Saint Philip Neri Archdiocese, where he was elevated to Archbishop (2006). He was elevated to Cardinal in the Ancient Apostolic Church (2016).


He is the Founder and President of the nationwide ministry non-profit Gospel Lighthouse Prison Evangelism (USA), which also works with abused and at-risk children (since 1998). In recognition of accomplishments in this active ministry work, he was awarded an Honourary Doctor of Divinity (D.Div.Hon.) by Holy Wisdom Interfaith Seminary (2006). He later became Prelate of the Saint Benedict Liberty Catholic Church (2016), which emphasizes the Essenes and ancient origins of Catholicism.


John is a Certified Exorcist by Lutherbrook School of Divinity (since 2005), and Certified Demonologist by the Archdiocese of Saint Michael the Archangel (since 2014), with experience as a paranormal investigator, and author of “Stansell’s Manual for Spiritual Warfare” (472 pages).


He is a pioneer in interfaith movements supporting Christian unity, and author of “Stansell’s Manual for Interfaith Ministers” (298 pages), among 30 other seminary books. Much of his interfaith ministry work concentrates on esoteric and mystic traditions within the framework of Liberal Rite Old Catholicism.


As part of his ecumenical work restoring ancient spirituality to classical Christianity, he is also a member of the House of Bishops of Universal Gnostic Church, a Bishop with Coven of Christ Ministries, a Convening Bishop with the Priestly Society of the Inner Circle and Light, and a scholar of the Theosophical Society.


In the early Apostolic tradition of Clergy leading a family supporting the Church (I Timothy 3:12, 3:2-5; Titus 1:5-9), he serves the Christian communities together with his wife Janet, herself a consecrated Bishop of the Liberal Catholic Rite, and his son Daniel, also a consecrated Bishop of the Old Catholic Movement.


Cardinal John Stansell was incardinated into the Ancient Apostolic Church (2016) of the 1st century denomination of Ancient Catholicism, and serves on the Pontifical Curia of the 12th century Church.


College of Bishops – Ecumenical Council


T (Gold Fill)The College of Bishops supports the Pontifical Curia as the advisory body for overseeing and supporting the Clergy of the Church, and is primarily responsible for maintaining canonical Episcopal succession from the Apostles (Canon 336) [7], preserving the original 1st century denomination of Ancient Catholicism within the 12th century Ancient Apostolic Church. The College of Bishops also serves as the Ecumenical Council (Canon 337).


The College of Bishops is equivalent to a “lower house” of parliament dedicated to ecclesiastical affairs, while sovereign affairs are reserved to the Pontifical Curia as the “upper house” of the government. It is generally comprised of Archbishops who are directly in communion with the Supreme Pontiff, nominated and elected by the Pontifical Curia.


Apostolic Synod – Advisory Council


The Apostolic Synod supports the College of Bishops as the advisory body for the preservation of faith and morals within the Church, and for the promotion of ecclesiastical discipline among the Clergy (Canon 342).


Members of the Apostolic Synod must be consecrated Bishops, nominated and elected by the Pontifical Curia. The Synod is generally comprised of Bishops who are also the equivalent of a “crown officer” of a sovereign principality, such as those appointed as an Episcopal Chancellor (Cancellarius Episcopus), Apostolic Administrator (Administrator Apostolicus), Apostolic Delegate (Delegatus Apostolicus) or Special Envoy (Legatus Missus).


Legal Notices Regarding Government Officials


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Official Flag of the Ancient Catholic Church as an ecclesiastical non-territorial Principality and sovereign subject of international law

Official Flag of the Ancient Apostolic Church as an ecclesiastical non-territorial Principality and sovereign subject of international law

All government officials, as Pontifical Officers of the Ancient Apostolic Church, are protected as consular officials (UN Consular Relations, Articles 3, 1(d), 17.1), holding the relevant status, authorities, privileges and immunities of Diplomats of the Church under customary international law.


International law recognizes the “status of diplomatic agents” from all forms of nation states “since ancient times”, including historical sovereign entities of “differing constitutional and social systems” (UN Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Preamble; UN Convention of Consular Relations, Preamble.) International law specifically requires that countries “shall not discriminate” against a historical form of nation state (UN Convention on Consular Relations, Article 47.1). Status as a sovereign “subject of international law” is binding upon all countries regardless of recognition (UN Law of Treaties, Articles 3, 38), with inherent diplomatic and consular relations (UN Consular, Articles 3, 1(d), 17.1) as a non-territorial state (UN Diplomatic, Articles 1(i), 3.1(a)).


acc-government-official-badge-sampleDiplomatic status is invoked with all privileges and immunities by presenting “Diplomatic Credentials” as issued (UN Diplomatic Relations, Article 13), exempt from accreditation or embassy registration (UN Diplomatic, Articles 1(i), 3.1(a)), without requirement of a consular post (UN Consular Relations, Articles 3, 1(d), 17.1), regardless of recognition (UN Law of Treaties, Articles 3, 38). Pontifical Officers do not engage in commerce, retaining full immunities (UN Consular, Article 57). Immunities fully apply by the fact of sovereignty alone (UN Diplomatic, Articles 22-36; UN Consular, Articles 40-57). High Officials and Parliament hold absolute immunity regardless of scope of functions (ICJ Congo v. Belgium, Articles 51-55).


Academic Source References for this Topic


[1] The Vatican, The Code of Canon Law: Apostolic Constitution, Second Ecumenical Council (“Vatican II”), Enacted (1965), Amended and ratified by Holy See of Rome (1983).

[2] Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), Authority in the Church I (Articles 21-23); Authority in the Church II (Article 19, Article 21); Published in: Authority in the Church: The Final Report, Windsor (1981), London (1982), Reprinted in: C. Hill & E.J. Yarnold, Anglicans and Roman Catholics: The Search for Unity, London (1994)

[3] Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), The Gift of Authority: Authority in the Church III (Article 1, Articles 14-18), Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, London (1999); Reprinted in: M. Tanner, The Gift of Authority: A Commentary, Anglican World (1999), pp.33-36.

[4] Rebecca Wallace, International Law: A Student Introduction, 2nd Edition, Sweet & Maxwell (1986).

[5] United Nations, Convention on the Law of Treaties, Registry Vol. 1155, No.18232, Vienna (1969), Article 3.

[6] Vatican, Tribunal e Cardinalizi o Constituito con Pontifico Chirografo (10 December 1951), Acta Apostolicae Sedis (24 January 1953), XLV (15): 765-767.

[7] The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th Edition: “Macropaedia”, Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational, United Kingdom (1983), Volume 1, p.989, “Curia”.


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