Historical Bishops

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Right Rev. Merrill W. B. Adamson

Ordination Info

Biographical Info

Merrill W. B. Adamson was a Traditionalist Catholic bishop California.

He was ordained priest in 1990 by Thaddeus Alioto in San Francisco, California and consecrated bishop on September 4, 1999 by Jose Urbina in Sonoma, California.

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Photo of Right Rev. Gregorio Labayan Aglipay
Right Rev. Gregorio Labayan Aglipay
Bishop, Philippine Independent Church

Ordination Info

Biographical Info

Gregorio Aglipay Cruz y Labayan (Latin: Gregorius Aglipay; Filipino: Gregorio Labayan Aglipay Cruz; 5 May 1860 – 1 September 1940) was a former Catholic priest who became the first head of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, an independent Catholic Church in the form of a national church in the Philippines.

Known for inciting patriotic rebellion among the Filipino clergy, he was also a political activist who became acquainted with Isabelo de los Reyes, who would start an Independent Christian Filipino Church named after Aglipay in 1902.

Aglipay was previously excommunicated by Archbishop Bernardino Norzaleda y Villa of Manila in May 1899, upon the expressed permission of Pope Leo XIII. Aglipay later joined Freemasonry in May 1918. Aglipay later married Pilar Jamias y Ver from Sarrat, Ilocos Norte in 1939 and then died one year later. Followers of Aglipay through the church colloquially sometimes refer to their membership as Aglipayans.

Early life

Born in Batac City, Ilocos Norte, Aglipay was an orphan who grew up in the tobacco fields in the last volatile decades of the Spanish occupation of the Philippines. He bore deep grievances against the colonial Spanish government of the islands, stemming from abuses within the agricultural system. Arrested at fourteen when a tobacco-picking worker for not meeting his tobacco quota, he later moved to the capital of Manila to study law under the private tutelage of Julian Carpio.[1]

After two years of study under Carpio, Aglipay continued his studies at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran and at the University of Santo Tomas. After obtaining his degree, he then entered the seminary in Ilocos Sur in 1883 and was ordained to the priesthoodseven years later. He began a career as an assistant priest in various parishes around the main northern island of Luzon. While in Victoria, Tarlac, Aglipay gave aid to the revolutionaries and employed thirty carpenters who in reality were revolutionists in touch with the Katipunan group. Despite being a priest, Aglipay, like other revolutionaries, joined Freemasonry.[2]


In 1898, the Katipunan was led by the Supremo, Andrés Bonifacio. Archbishop Bernardino Nozaleda asked Aglipay to confront the revolutionary leaders, offering them a level of autonomy in the future for the Philippines if they would end the rebellion. Emilio Aguinaldo, in turn, sent Colonel Luciano San Miguel to Aglipay with the intention of getting him to join the rebellion. In the course of Aglipay’s journey north, the Philippine–American War started.

When Aglipay returned to Manila and discovered that the Americans had attacked, he joined the revolution. On 20 October 1898, Gen. Aguinaldo appointed Aglipay Military Vicar General of the revolutionaries. Aglipay interpreted this as making him Ecclesiastical Superior to all Filipino priests who, as such, should all be appointed Military Chaplains for the duration of the war.[3] Fighting which broke out between the U.S. and Filipino forces on February 4, 1899 prompted Aglipay to withdraw to Ilocos Norte to organize an armed resistance. On 29 April 1899, Aglipay was excommunicated for “usurpation of ecclesiastical jurisdiction.[4]

Following the end of the war in 1902, Isabelo de los Reyes was working towards the formation of a national church, that is independent of Rome. On 3 August he suggested that Aglipay be its first bishop. Aglipay, a devout Catholic at the time, was reluctant, but accepted de los Reyes’ offer to establish an independent church. On 18 January 1903, Aglipay was appointed Supreme Bishop of the “Philippine Independent Church”. As Supreme Bishop he allied himself with the nationalist and most radical political parties during his time like the Sakdalistas and later on even with the Socialist and Communist Parties.[4]

During the theological discussions while visiting other churches while travelling abroad, Aglipay rejected the belief in the Trinity, becoming theologically accepting of the main Unitarian belief however, his own church refused to accept his amended theology. Aglipay’s unitarian and progressive theological ideas were evident in his “novena”, “Pagsisiyam sa Birhen sa Balintawak”, 1925[5] and its English translation, “Novenary of the Motherland”, 1926.[6]

Later life

Aglipay ran for elections as President of the Commonwealth along with the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas Norberto Nabong in a joined Republican-Communist Party ticket in 1935,[4] but lost to Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmeña of the Nacionalista Party. He marriedD. Pilar Jamias y Ver in 1939 since his church permits married clergy, but Aglipay died the following year on 1 September 1940.


Aglipay is honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church in the United States on 5 September.


  1. University, Princeton. “The Catholic Historical Review, Volume 4”. American Catholic Historical Association, 1919, p. 320.
  2. “Famous Filipino Mason – Bishop G. Aglipay”. Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines. Archived from the original on October 14, 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
  3. “The First Obispo Maximo, Monsignor Gregorio L. Aglipay”, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, note 16
  4. Iglesia Filipina Independiente
  5. Aglipay, Gregorio, Pagsisiyam sa Birhen sa Balintawak, 1925
  6. Aglipay, Gregorio, Novenary of the Motherland, 1926


  • Halili, Christine N. (2004) Philippine History, pp 192–93. ISBN 9712339343.

External links

Gregorio Aglipay. (2017, May 24). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:48, July 5, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gregorio_Aglipay&oldid=782098376

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Photo of Most Rev. Veron Addison Ashe
Most Rev. Veron Addison Ashe
Presiding Archbishop of the Mar Thoma Orthodox Church
Deceased: 18 January 2014 Website: Mar Thoma Orthodox Church

Ordination Info

Bishop Consecration: 25 January 1997 by Mar Narsai and Mar Melchizedek

Biographical Info

Veron Addison Ashe (Metropolitan Archbishop Mar Enoch)

It is with great sorrow that we convey the news that Archbishop Veron Ashe (Mar Enoch) passed away at 7:16pm on January 18th, 2014. He died peacefully with close friends in San Francisco, CA after many months of battling lymphoma cancer. It was Bishop Veron Ashe’s desire to enter into his rest without public ceremony. His family, caretakers, and clergy are currently arranging a private burial. We will soon announce the future date of a memorial service celebrating the life of our beloved Bishop, mentor, friend, and spiritual pioneer. This event will be an open to the public, and we are compiling a contact list for those who are interested in attending. The memorial service will be held in California with location to be announced.

On behalf of Veron Ashe, we would like to extend our deepest gratitude for the heartfelt prayers, intentions, and support during this difficult time of transition. We believe in the divine power of reconciliation and miraculous love. Even in the passing of our Bishop and friend we have witnessed a tremendous outpouring of divine favor which in his last months came to us in transformative wisdom that he shared with us. Veron remained filled with that divine fire that we all knew so well until his last breath. We are eternally grateful for his presence in our lives.

In the coming days, we will be sharing some of Bishop’s parting wisdom and vision for all those who knew him, as well as those who will learn of his life and mission. It is with gratitude and great humility that we bring these teachings forth. May The Lord of all Creation and sanctified of all souls grant each one of us peace and confidence as we mourn the departure of His Grace Veron Ashe.

In Christ’s Holy Name,
+ Bishop Avi Penhollow (Mar Abraham)
January 19th, 2014
San Francisco, California

On January 25th, 1997 he was consecrated as Bishop Mar Enoch into the Thomasine lineage by Mar Narsai with co-consecrator Mar Melchizedek (Greek Orthodox). Mar Enoch immediately began working to strengthen his congregations into the orthodox faith, and he was very zealous to appropriate the Syriac tradition, specifically that of the Malankara Orthodox tradition of India. He was befriended by the late Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios and Chorepiscopa Fr. K.C. Mathew (Malankara Orthodox Church) both of whom instructed Mar Enoch in the Syriac liturgy and history. Mar Makarios, was the Senior Metropolitan of America and Metropolitan of Canada and Europe for the Indian Orthodox Church.

Mar Makarios brought Mar Enoch to Kerala, India in 1997 to meet with H.H. Baselios Mar Thoma II, Catholicose for the Malankara Orthodox Church. During this same trip, Mar Enoch traveled to Thozhiyur where he met H.E. Joseph Mar Koorilose of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church. Mar Enoch was received warmly by the Indian Churches and recognized as a serious ecumenical representative of the Independent Thomasine church of America. Despite many cultural differences, a new relationship was growing between the Mar Thoma Orthodox Church and the Mother Church of India.

After returning to the United States, Mar Enoch organized ecumenical conferences at St. Mary of Magdala Orthodox Cathedral in Fresno, CA. Among the guest lecturers were Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios and Joseph Mar Koorilose, who instructed the clergy on Oriental Orthodox spirituality.

Many of Mar Enoch’s congregations came from a Protestant background, so there were great pastoral challenges he had to consider as he led the flock into a new tradition. With the counsel of Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios, he instituted an English translation of the Holy Qurbana, according to the rites and customs of the West Syrian tradition. The Malankara representatives frequently visited and observed the transitions implemented by Mar Enoch. Mar Makarios and Fr. K.C. Mathew both celebrated Holy Qurbana at St. Mary’s and complimented the work of the Mar Thoma Orthodox Church.

In 2003, H.E. Mar Koorilose (Thozhiyur Sabha) was the distinguished guest at St. Mary’s and established an ecumenical center with Mar Enoch. He was attended to by Bishop Avi Mar Abraham Penhollow (then Deacon Severus) and Dr. Jacob Mar Mathew Olasael of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church. Mar Koorilose lectured on the Syrian tradition and exhorted the people to continue in establishing positive relations with the Indian Churches. At the same time, the Archbishop acknowledged that there would be many cultural challenges on both sides as the two churches worked toward full communion.


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