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Saint Hildegard's Church

Address: 414 N. Fillmore St., Arlington.

Faith: Old Catholic: St. Hildegard's Church is a parish community of the Apostolic Catholic Orthodox Church (ACOC). The ACOC is an autonomous — self-ruling — church that is in communion with other autonomous Catholic churches of the Old Catholic Church, which has its origins in the Catholic Church of The Netherlands, founded by St. Willibrord in the Seventh Century.

Through the centuries, the Church in the Netherlands enjoyed relative autonomy from Rome. The Cathedral Chapter in Utrecht had formally been granted authority to elect its own bishops in 1145 A.D., with freedom to conduct its own affairs confirmed by Rome in 1215 and again in 1520. In 1723, however, a definitive break with Rome took place over the imposition of a bishop from Rome as well as challenges to freedom of inquiry and conscience, highly valued by the Dutch Church.

The Old Catholic independent church movement came to the United States as early as the 1880s through the work of missionaries from both England and Europe, as well as from autonomous eastern churches.

The ACOC draws together both Eastern and Western lines of Apostolic Succession. The foundation of the ACOC is the sacred scriptures that culminate in the ministry, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the indwelling on the Holy Spirit, who teaches the church through time.

The central form of worship is the Mass — or Eucharistic liturgy. The sacraments of the Christian Church are practiced, including baptism, confirmation, reconciliation, marriage, anointing of the sick and holy orders.

Pastor: The Rev. Stanley A. Dubowski.

Mission: "We are a Christian community who encourage and promote spiritually based, courageous, and compassionate ministry to personal, local, and global needs. We firmly believe that ongoing spiritual growth must be nourished in community, through sacred study, and prayer focused on building a relationship with God."

History: St. Hildegard’s is a new church. The first gathering of the parish took place on Dec. 9, 2001. It is an open parish with each member free to interpret scripture, the creeds and ACOC tradition in light of wisdom gained through reading scripture, meditation on Christian teaching and personal experience.

Saint Hildegard's Church is the first parish church community of the Apostolic Catholic Orthodox Church in the Washington area, according to Rev. Dubowski.

Worship: Mass is celebrated at 10 a.m. on Sundays; holy days and festivals as announced.

Phone: 703-528-1825.

E-mail: sdubowski@hotmail.com.