The North American Old Roman Catholic Church is the original, historic and canonical Old Roman Catholic jurisdiction in the Western hemisphere. It came to the United States on November 7, 1914 when the Prince-Bishop Rudolph de Landas Berghes arrived here from Great Britain.
Bishop Berghes had been consecrated by the Old Roman Catholic Archbishop, Arnold Harris Mathew in London on June 29, 1912. He emigrated to the United States due to the political climate in Europe during the early years of the First World War. Bishop Berghes was a subject of the Austro-Hungarian empire with whom much of Europe was at war; he was related to most of the royal houses of Europe, including the Royal Family of England; and it would have been a great embarrassment to the Royal Family and to the government of Great Britain, to have interned a family member of the aristocracy as a resident enemy alien. Thus with the assistance of the Royal Family, the British government, the government of the United States and the direct cooperation of the Church of England and the Episcopal Church, Bishop Berghes left England and took up residence in the United States. He settled first in New York City, later in Waukegan, Illinois, later still in Chicago, Illinois and finally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he died in 1920.
Bishop Berghes straightway began a mission of the Old Roman Catholic Church here in the USA and on October 4, 1916 consecrated as a Bishop, The Most Reverend Carmel Henry Carfora, a former Roman Catholic Franciscan Friar, to serve as his associate and colleague. Together they laid the firm foundation in the Catholic Faith, with an indisputably valid lineage of Apostolic Succession of Holy Orders, descended from Rome and currently held in common by the greater part of the Roman Catholic hierarchy throughout the world, on which The North American Old Roman Catholic Church firmly rests today. Bishop Berghes was elected as the First Primate of The North American Old Roman Catholic Church in 1916 and served in that capacity until December 22, 1919 when he returned to the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church, entering the Augustinian Friars in Villanova, Pennsylvania where he died on November 17, 1920.
|1||1541 March 16th + Scipione, Cardinal Rebiba. Auxiliary Bishop, Chieti|
|2||1566 March 12th + Giulio Antonio, Cardinal Santorio, Archbishop, Santa Severina|
|3||1586 September 7th + Girolamo, Cardinal Berneri OP, Bishop, Albano|
|4||1604 April 4th + Galeazzo Santivale, Archbishop, Bari|
|5||1621 May 2nd + Ludovico, Cardinal Ludovisi, Camerlengo|
|6||1622 June 12th + Luigi Cardinal Caetani, Tit. Patriarch of Antioch|
|7||1630 October 6th + Giovanni Battista Scannaroli, Bishop, Tyre and Sidon|
|8||1665 October 24th + Antonio, Cardinal Barberini, Archbishop, Reims|
|9||1668 November 12th + Charles Maurice Le Tellier, Archbishop, Reims|
|10||1670 September 21st + Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, Bishop, Meaux|
|11||1693 October 24th + Jacques Goyon de Matignon, Bishop, Condom|
|12||1719 February 12th + Dominique Marie Varlet, Bishop, Ascalon|
|13||1739 October 17th + Petrus Johannes Meindaarts, Archbishop, Utrecht|
|14||1745 July 11th + Johannes van Stiphout, Bishop, Haarlem|
|15||1763 February 7th + Gualtherus van Niewenhuisen, Archbishop, Utrecht|
|16||1778 June 21st + Johannes Adrian Broekman, Bishop, Haarlem|
|17||1797 July 5th + Johannes Jacobus van Rhijn, Archbishop, Utrecht|
|18||1805 November 7th + Gilbertus Cornelius de Jong, Bishop, Deventer|
|19||1814 April 24th + Willibrordus van Os, Archbishop, Utrecht|
|20||1819 April 12th + Johannes Bon, Bishop, Haarlem|
|21||1825 June 14th + Johannes van Santen, Archbishop, Utrecht|
|22||1853 July 17th + Hermanus Heijkamp, Bishop, Deventer|
|23||1873 August 11th + Gaspard Johannes Rinkel, Bishop, Haarlem|
|24||1892 May 11th + Gerardus Gul, Archbishop, Utrecht|
|25||1908 April 28th + Arnold Harris Mathew, Archbishop, London|
|26||1912 June 29th + Rudolphe de Landes Berges, Bishop, Scotland|
Rudolph Landas de Berghes was born in Naples, Italy on November 1, 1873 and was of the royal house of the Prince de Rache of the house of de Berghes, a Grandee of Spain, and a member of the royal line of Brittanty. He was, in fact, a blood relative of practically every royal house of Europe. He was reared as a member of the Protestant Low Church of England. In his youth, Rudolph deBerghes received an extensive education at Eton, and the Universities of Cambridge, Paris and Brussels. He successfully completed courses in law, theology and military tactics. Later he served for 10 years as a Staff Officer Captain in the British Army and took part in the Egyptian Sudan Campaign under Lord Kitchener. He retired from the army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
He joined the High Church of England in which he received Anglican Orders, and in 1910, he joined the “Old Catholic”, Church, and functioned as Bishop of that group in England. He immigrated to America on November 7, 1914, and continued to serve this group as Metropolitan Archbishop. He had two bishops, 50 priests and 120,00 souls under his jurisdiction. On December 22, 1919, at the age of 46, he made his submissions to Cardinal Hayes in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, New York.
Rudolph deBerghes entered the Augustinian novitiate at Villanova on March 13, 1920. He died there about eight months later on November 17 at the age of 47. He is buried in the Community Cemetery at Villanova.