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Our History

The P.N.C.C. 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.

P.N.C.C. Timeline of Events

P.N.C.C. Historical Timeline                 Cronologia P.N.C.C. (en españo)

Year Event
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
South Side.
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
1897 Organization
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
1900 At
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
Catholic Church held in September in Scranton. Its actions

1. A decisive break with the Roman Catholic Church

2. Election of Fr. Hodur as Bishop

3. Straz as official organ/newspaper

4. Election of a Great Church Council of clergy and laity

5. Adoption of a Church Constitution for the Church is
adopted providing for Synods and a Great Church Council

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
1908 The
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)
1909 Second
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
denominational name.
1911 Death of Bishop Kaminski (leader of the
Buffalo-based independence movement) Many of its parishes
join the Polish National Catholic Church
1913 Three
Provincial Synods held (Wilkes-Barre, PA; Chicopee, MA;
Passiac, NJ) to discuss the church's "Confession
of Faith" written by Bp. Hodur
1914 Third
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
in October).
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
30, 1930

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
Catholic Church).

Mass facing the people is instituted in Scranton by Bp. Hodur Altar of
Sacrifice introduced.
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
elected Bishop.
1935 Bishops Misiaszek and Padewski are consecrated
1936 Bp. Joseph Lesniak consecrated to head
the Eastern Diocese by a Diocesan Synod
1939 Nazis
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
Government." Bp.
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
1949 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
1954 Ninth
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
and consecrated.

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
1997 100th
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.
2012Special Synod
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.
2014Twenty-Fourth General Synod held in Erie, PA
2018Twenty-Fifth General Synod held in Belleville, IL
2019Special Synod
Held in Scranton, Pennsylvania on October 25
Very Rev. Jaroslaw Rafalko is elected candidate for Bishop
2020September 14 – Consecration of Rt. Rev. Jaroslaw Rafalko

Our Address

1006 Pittston Avenue, Scranton, PA 18505
Phone: (570) 346-9131
Website: http://www.pncc.org
Email: info@pncc.org