The PNCC Timeline below depicts events that shaped the formation of the church and is not meant to be an all inclusive history lesson. For more information on our history, please contact us via our Contact Form.
PNCC Timeline of Events
|1866||April 1 - Francis Hodur born in Zarki, Austrian-ruled Poland|
|1870||Vatican Council 1 - Dogma of Papal Infallibility
Old Catholic Churches organize in Germany and Switzerland,
linking with Dutch Old Catholics
|1889||Declaration of the Union of Utrecht published|
|1890's||Independent parishes and movements in Polish
American Catholic Communities: (Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland,
Detroit and Scranton)
|1893||Seminarian Francis Hodur comes to the United
States, is ordained a priest at St.Peter's Roman Catholic
Cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania and assigned as assistant
priest at Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary Parish in Scranton's
|1894||Fr. Hodur first pastor of Holy Trinity Roman
Catholic Parish in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania.
|1895||Founding of All Saints Independent (Old
Catholic) Parish under Bp. Anthony Kozlowski who is consecrated
by Old Catholics in 1897 in Chicago
Founding of Holy Mother of the Rosary Parish under Bp.
Stephen Kaminski in Buffalo. He is consecrated by independent
Abp. Joseph Rene Villate.
|1896||Rioting by Sacred Hearts Parish parishioners,
following a dispute over cemetery funds, parishioners want
a say on parish property and funds
of St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr
Parish in Scranton, March 14; March 21 first Mass celebrated
by Fr. Hodur
Fr. Hodur's "Kosciol Narodowy" (National Church) program
announced; Calling for:
1. Legal ownership of church properties
2. Parish government in secular matters by parish committees
elected by the parishioners
3. Appointment to pastorates of priests approved by parishioners
4. Appointment of Polish Bishops in America by Rome with
input by clergy and laity.
Weekly Straz (The Guard) is the quasi-organ of the program
|1898|| Fr. Hodur excommunicated ( He burns the
excommunication document and throws its ashes in a nearby
In Straz Fr. Hodur challenged several Roman Catholic Church
teachings including papal infallibility and supremacy
a December 16, meeting a decision is made by Fr. Hodur
and his parishioners not to return to
the Roman Catholic Church ( by then "Polish National" parishes
had been organized in the later Priceburg (Dickson City),
Plymouth, Duryea and Wilkes-Barre, all in Pennsylvania.
|1901|| First Mass celebrated in Polish on Christmas
First General Synod of the Polish National
|1905||The Polish National Catholic Church's Seminary
is founded; (It is later named Savonarola Theological Seminary)
|1906||Continuation and conclusion of the First
Synod - Two feast days instituted: Feast of Brotherly Love
(Second Sunday in September) and Feast of the Humble Shepherds
(First Sunday after Christmas)
|1907||September 29th, Fr. Hodur is consecrated
Bishop by Dutch Old Catholic Bishops in Utrecht, Holland
(the Polish National Catholic Church has unquestionable
orders and Apostolic Succession)
The Chicago - based independent movement in Chicago joins
the Polish National Catholic Church after Bishop Kozlowski's
Polish National Union of America (Spójnia)
fraternal insurance organization is founded by members
of the Church
|1908||saw the first Roman Catholic Polish Bishop
in the United States (one year after Bp Hodur was consecrated)
General Synod - The Word of God heard and preached is
recognized as a sacrament. "Polish National
Catholic Church of America" is underscored as its legal
|1911|| Death of Bishop Kaminski (leader of the
Buffalo-based independence movement) Many of its parishes
join the Polish National Catholic Church
Provincial Synods held (Wilkes-Barre, PA; Chicopee, MA;
Passiac, NJ) to discuss the church's "Confession
of Faith" written by Bp. Hodur
General Synod of Polish National Catholic Church is held
in Chicago. It adopts the "Confession of
Faith" and institutes three new Feast Days: Feast of the
Institution of the Polish National Catholic Church (2nd
Sunday of March), Feast of the Fatherland (2nd Sunday in
May), and the Feast of the Christian Family (2nd Sunday
|1921|| Fourth General Synod of Polish National
Catholic Church. It approves missionary activity to begin
in Poland upon its regaining independence.
Symbol of Polish National Catholic Church adopted
-"Tyle lat" (Through the Years) adopted as church anthem
General Confession adopted churchwide with same validity
as aural (private) confession
Mandatory clerical celibacy abolished
Fr. Francis Bónczak begins mission to Poland
|1923||December - Rola Boza (God's Field) newspaper
becomes the Church organ
|1924||Fifth General Synod of Polish National Catholic
Three Dioceses formed: Eastern, Central and Polish.
Four Bishops elected and consecrated: (Valentine Gawrychowski,
Francis Bonczak, Leon Grochowski, and John Gritenas) (
Bp Gritenas heads Lithuanian National Catholic and Bp Grochowski
later heads the Western Diocese)
Bp Francis Hodur is Prime Bishop
|1926||Great Church Council created the Western
|1928||A Provincial Synod creates the Buffalo-Pittsburgh
Diocese and elects Fr. John Z Jasinski as its Bishop
First Synod of the Polish Diocese in Warsaw elects Fr.
Wladyslaw Faron its bishop.
|1930||Bishop Hodur wrote his Apocalypse - June
Bp. Faron consecrated in Scranton for the Polish Diocese.
|1931||Sixth General Synod - Buffalo, Bishop Hodur
laments the spiritual decline of the church feeling many
saw the Polish National Catholic Church as just a copy
of the Roman Catholic Church - He offers to step down as
Prime Bishop. It affirms Polish National Catholic belief
The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
The role of the priest
as minister of the sacrament of marriage (not as its witness as in Roman
Mass facing the people is instituted in Scranton by Bp. Hodur Altar of
|1935|| Special Synod - Fr. John Misiaszek elected
Bishop and consecrated. (He was to head the Central Diocese)
the administrative rank of Senior Priest is implemented.
Second Polish Synod is held in Warsaw. Fr. Joseph Padewski
|1935||Bishops Misiaszek and Padewski are consecrated|
|1936|| Bp. Joseph Lesniak consecrated to head
the Eastern Diocese by a Diocesan Synod
force the Polish Diocese to break with the Polish National
Catholic Church and call itself "Old
Catholic Church of the Union of Utrecht in the general
Padewski is in turn then returned to the United States
via a 1944 internee exchange.
|1946||Seventh General Synod - Intercommunion is
established with the Episcopal Church
|1947|| Eighth General Synod
Prime Bishop Grochowski is elected to be second Prime Bishop
|1951|| Fr. Sr. Joseph Soltysiak elected Bishop
of the Eastern Diocese by a Diocesan Synod - Bishop Soltysiak
is consecrated and Manchester becomes its See.
Bp. Padewski dies while held in communist prison for trial.
Polish Diocese breaks from the Polish National Catholic
Church and is renamed Polish Catholic Church.
|1953||Prime Bishop Francis Hodur dies on February
General Synod of Polish National Catholic Church - heated
discussion about Mass in English
Fr. Srs. Thaddeus Zielinski and Joseph Kardas elected bishops
and consecrated ( Bp. Zielinski for the Buffalo-Pittsburgh
Diocese, Bp. Kardas for the Western Diocese )
|1958||Tenth General Synod
English language Mass is approved
Bishop Francis Rowinski elected and consecrated to head
the Western Diocese after the death of Bp. Kardas
|1963|| Eleventh General Synod
The election of Fr. Senior Eugene Magyar by the Czech and Slovak National
Catholic Parishes. Meeting is accepted and he is consecrated.
First National Youth Convocation held in Buffalo, NY
|1967||Twelfth General Synod creates the Canadian
Diocese with See in Toronto.
Fr. Seniors Anthony Rysz, Walter Slowakiewicz and Joseph Nieminski elected
bishops and they are consecrated in 1968.
|1969|| Bishop Leon Grochowski dies while visiting
|1971|| Thirteenth General Synod: Bishop Zielinski
elected third Prime Bishop
Contemporary issues paper (abortion, birth control, war and drugs) discussed
Fr. Sr. Daniel Cyganowski elected Bishop and consecrated
|1975||Fourteenth General Synod|
|1976|| Intercommunion suspended with the Episcopal
Church over issue of latter's ordaining women.
|1978|| Fifteenth General Synod
Bishop Francis Rowinski elected 4th Prime Bishop
Fr. Seniors Thomas Gnat, John Swantek and Joseph Zawistowski elected Bishops
Intercommunion with Episcopal Church terminated.
|1982||Sixteenth General Synod|
|1984||Polish National Catholic Church begins dialogue
with the Roman Catholic Church - hopes to end animosity
between the two Churches and live in harmony with mutual
respect for each others traditions, teachings and practices.
|1985||Seventeenth General Synod
Bishop Swantek elected 5th Prime Bishop
|1990||Eighteenth General Synod
Fr. Seniors Robert Nemkovich, Thaddeus Peplowski and Joseph
Tomczyk elected Bishops
Bishop Peplowski consecrated.
Journeying together In Christ: A Report of the Polish National
Catholic Church-Roman Catholic Dialogue is published.
|1993||Bishops Nemkovich and Tomczyk are consecrated
Limited Sacramental Sharing agreement with Roman Catholic Church under Canon 844.3 and its application to the P.N.C.C. (Sacraments of Anointing, Eucharist and Penance)
|1994||Nineteenth General Synod|
|1995||May - 100th Anniversary of All Saints Cathedral
Parish in Chicago, IL celebrated.
October - 100th Anniversary of Holy Mother of the Rosary
Cathedral in Buffalo, NY celebrated
Anniversary of St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr
Parish of the Polish National Catholic Church
Special Masses of Thanksgiving celebrated in all Polish
National Catholic Church dioceses.
|1998||Twentieth General held in Chicago, ILSynod|
|1999||Special Polish National Catholic Church
Synod in Scranton, PA elects Very Rev. Casimir Grotnik and Very Rev. Jan Dawidziuk
candidates for Bishop. They are consecrated later that
|2002||Twenty-First General Synod held in Mt. Pocono, PA
Bishop Robert M. Nemkovich elected as 6th Prime Bishop
of the Polish National Catholic Church
|2003||Journeying Together in Christ: the Journey Continues – The Report of the Polish National Catholic - Roman Catholic Dialogue 1989-2002 is published.
November - PNCC voted out of the International Bishop Conference of the Union of Utrecht because the PNCC remained faithful to the Catholic Faith as well as the Declaration of Utrecht.
|2005||Prime Bishop Nemkovich attends the funeral of Pope John Paul II at St. Peter’s
Basilica in Vatican City. He is greeted by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and
Cardinal Walter Kasper while in Rome.
|2006||Twenty-Second General Synod held in Manchester, NH
Frs. Sylvester Bigaj, Anthony Kopka, John Mack and Anthony Mikovsky elected candidates for bishop.
The Solemnity of the Fatherland was changed to Heritage Sunday.
November 30, 2006 – consecration of Bishops Sylvester Bigaj, Anthony Kopka, John Mack and Anthony Mikovsky.
|2008||Declaration of Scranton promulgated by all active bishops of the Polish National Catholic Church
|2010||Twenty-Third General Synod held in Niagara Falls, Canada
Bishop Anthony A. Mikovsky elected as 7th Prime Bishop.
Fr. Sr. Paul Sobiechowski elected candidate for bishop.
Union of Scranton documents ratified.
|2011||In keeping with the statues of the Union of Scranton, the Polish National Catholic Church accepts the
Nordic Catholic Church as a member church of the Union of Scranton.
July 25, 2011 - Very Rev. Roald N. Flemestad consecrated to the Holy Office of Bishop for the
Nordic Catholic Church by the Most Rev. Anthony A. Mikovsky, Prime Bishop of the Polish National
Catholic Church at St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
July 26, 2011 - Inaugural meeting of the International Catholic Bishops Conference (ICBC) held at the
National Church Center of the Polish National Catholic Church, Scranton, PA.
October 18, 2011 – Consecration of Bp. Paul Sobiechowski.
Held in Scranton, Pennsylvania on June 22
Rev. Stanley Bilinski and Rev. Bernard Nowicki are elected candidates for Bishop
September 14 – Consecration of Rt. Rev. Stanley Bilinski and Rt. Rev. Bernard Nowicki
National School of Christian Living Commission publishes abridged history of the P.N.C.C.
|2014||Twenty-Fourth General Synod held in Erie, PA