Richard Cleaver to be ordained

God willing, as made known by the consent of the people present, on Saturday, August 30, 2003, at 12:00 noon, Richard Cleaver will be ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ for the Orthodox Catholic Church of America (OCCA). The service will take place during the Divine Liturgy in Herrick Chapel at Grinnell College. All are welcome, and, in keeping with OCCA tradition, all ordained people in attendance are invited to participate in the laying on of hands during the ceremony. There will be a party at Richard's afterwards.

Richard Cleaver

Richard, who was ordained deacon in Angola, Indiana, last March, lived at the Des Moines Catholic Worker in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and founded the short-lived St. Birgitta's CW Farm near Lacona, Iowa. During his time at the DMCW he was editor of the via pacis. He now lives in Grinnell, where he grew up, and works as a writer for Grinnell College. He will begin holding services at his house (under the patronage of Saint Ephrem and Saint Macrina) this summer; contact him for the schedule or visit the website at

The OCCA is an Orthodox Christian jurisdiction originally organized in Wisconsin in 1892 as an English-speaking alternative to ethnic Orthodox churches. Its first communities were Belgian immigrants who had no French-speaking clergy and did not accept the dogma of papal infallibility as defined at the First Vatican Council in 1870. The first Archbishop, Rene Vilatte, was consecrated in Colombo by three bishops of the Syrian Orthodox Malankara Church of India. (Our own Brian Terrell was baptized in one of the churches Archbishop Vilatte founded, near Green Bay; it is now a Roman Catholic parish.)There are both Western-rite and Eastern-rite congregations. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church or other Orthodox jurisdictions, the OCCA ordains women and celebrates the union of same-sex couples. Its clergy are unpaid and most parishes own no church buildings of their own, instead worshiping in homes or borrowed premises.

Herrick Chapel, where the ordination will be celebrated, is located on the campus of Grinnell College, at Park Street and 7th Avenue in Grinnell, IA. For those coming via Interstate 80, take the Grinnell exit into the middle of town; go one block beyond the large intersection with US 6/Sixth Avenue (look for three gas stations and a Subway) and turn right at the next corner. (You will only be able to turn right.) You will see Herrick Chapel at the end of 7th, directly ahead of you. On-street parking is available but limited; carpooling is strongly encouraged.

If you are planning to come, it would be helpful to know in advance for cooking purposes. It would also be useful to know beforehand how many guest clergy plan to participate (vested if that suits your tradition). You can contact Richard at with questions, or to get directions from other routes.