Towards the end of 1927, a suspended Roman Catholic priest, Adam Anthony Oraczewski (1883‒1973) published a 60-page pamphlet in Kansas City, Missouri. It has a bold title, All in One True Faith and the front page features the author dressed in the papal white, declaring that since August 7, he was Adam II, Pope of the Holy Catholic Church.
Among the modern alternative popes, Polish-American Adam II is certainly among the least known and one of the earliest. He lived until he was 90, but we have relatively few sources to his life and even less on his papacy. However, thanks to the two booklets, a few newspaper articles, and some official records, it is possible to write a brief biography. Still, many lacunae and uncertainties remain. Therefore, any further information on Adam Anthony Oraczewski is most welcome.
The preliminary version of the biography is found here
A religious group known as the Palmarian Church plays a quite prominent role in Dan Brown’s most recent book Origin (2017.) Though Dan Brown’s Origin is a work of fiction, as in earlier works in the Robert Langdon series, he claims that the book is based on thorough research. Based on my long-time research into all things Palmarian, I have written an evaluation of the factual claims that Dan Brown makes about the Palmarian Church.
In the text, I first give a very short introduction to the history and teachings of the Palmarian Church to know what we are talking about. Then, I will say something about what “research” is or can be before I turn to my appraisal of Dan Brown’s assertions. There are statements that, indeed, are correct, while there are many claims that are wrong, half-wrong or at least very questionable. My conclusion is that there is nothing that indicates that Brown has done any individual research on the matter, let alone any thorough investigation, and has misunderstood several things in even the most easily available online sources.
Here you can read my text “Dan Brown and the Palmarian Church. Or What is this Thing Called Research”
Three years ago, I wrote a group profile on the Palmarian Church for the World Religions and Spirituality Project (WRSP), led by Professor David Bromley. The project website is a very useful resource for those who are looking for good and reliable information about a large number of religious groups, both big and small. It includes a growing number of “group profiles”, but also many other resources.
As readers of this website will know, there has been dramatic changes in the Palmarian Church in the last three years. Among many other things, Pope Gregory XVIII left the papacy and the church. He married and now he and his wife are in prison accused of attempted armed robbery. In short, it was necessary to write an updated profile.
You find the new text here.
In the recent 25th-anniversary issue of Immobilien Zeitschrift, a German magazine dedicated to the real estate business, there is an excellent article on the Palmarian Church, written by Friedhelm Feldhaus. You may think that a real estate magazine is not the most obvious place for such an article, but to some extent, it is focused on the construction of the huge basilica in El Palmar de Troya.
Friedhelm Feldhaus has done excellent research. He read much of the recent texts on the church, but he also went to El Palmar, entered the basilica and interviewed a number of people in the town and elsewhere. In short, the article provides the reader with an unusually good introduction to the history and current status of the Palmarians.
So if you read German, I really recommend the piece, and even if you don’t, look at the images. I have never seen a better picture of the whole church compound from above.
The full text is found here
On June 20, 2018, the Spanish journal El Confidencial published an extensive article on the Palmarian church, the development throughout the decades and the current situation: “Miedo y asco en el Palmar de Troya: el milenarismo va a llegar” . The article is written by Carlos Prieto and to a large extent built on my research and it includes an interview with me, too.
On June 10, 2018, began a new, bizarre chapter in the history of the Palmarian Catholic Church. The Palmarian ex-pope Ginés Jesús Hernández (earlier known as Gregory XVIII) and his wife, Nieves Triviño climbed over the high walls of the church compound at Palmar de Troya.
They were masked and armed, apparently planning to rob the cathedral, but were discovered by a Palmarian bishop who was outside the basilica. According to testimonies, Hernández threatened Bishop S with a knife. However, in the subsequent fight, Hernández was severely injured, while S and Nieves Triviño got less serious physical injuries.
It was on April 22, 2016, Gregory XVIII (sed. 2011-2016) resigned from the Palmarian papacy. He later claimed that he had lost the faith and that the whole church was a hoax. He left to live with Nieves Triviño, whom he later married. For details, see my book A Pope of Their Own, pp. 168‒177.
Here is a description of the events from June 10, 2018, onwards.
Continue reading “Ex-Pope and Wife Attempted to Rob Basilica (with links to articles)”
Giuseppe Maria Abbate (1886‒1963) was one of the many Italians who immigrated to the United States in the early twentieth century. However, his career in the new country would become quite unusual. Not only did he found a new religious group, the New Jerusalem Catholic Church in Chicago (1917), but he also claimed that he was a divinely elected Celestial Messenger and even the Celestial Father, God incarnate. Though a few authors have mentioned Abbate in passing, this is the first detailed investigation about him and his religious movement.
In the book Giuseppe Maria Abbate: The Italian-American Celestial Messenger (2018), Professor Magnus Lundberg (Uppsala) and Fr. James W. Craig (Chicago) present aspects of Giuseppe Maria Abbate’s biography, his religious claims, and mission as well as the history of the New Jerusalem Catholic Church, which he founded. The outline is chronological mainly, following Abbate from his birth in 1886 until his death in 1963, but with a clear focus on the period from the late-1910s onwards, when he appeared as a religious leader. It also includes an investigation of the congregation’s development after the founder’s death and the legacy of the Celestial Messenger.
The book is part of the Uppsala Studies in Church History e-book series that is published in the Department of Theology, Uppsala University. The full-text is available here
For a photo reportage on the Celestial Messenger in La Settimana INCOM Illustrata from 1950.