top of page of arms.jpg

The Primatial See of Nova-Terra


Just as the term "The Holy See" does not refer to an actual Diocesan structure within the Roman Catholic Church, so too the Primatial See of Nova-Terra is not an actual Diocese.


It has been the custom in the Catholic Church to give all bishops the title of a diocese even if they are not the Bishop-Ordinary of a particular diocese. Most times these titles were the names of former but now defunct dioceses and the Church kept alive the memory of those dioceses and their faithful Christians by giving them to Auxiliary Bishops and others. On occasion, the title given was a newly created title to designate a specific area or territory. In all such cases these titles were called Titular Sees.


For many years, the North American Old Roman Catholic Church conferred the status of a Titular See upon the Primate, but used the terminology of "The Metropolitan See of_____." The Primate retained his own Diocesan title and administration, but bore also the Metropolitan Title as well. Throughout the years the specific designation changed as circumstances changed.


In 2006, the College of Bishops decided to correct this practice and to provide a future stability of title and end the practice of constant change. They decided to formally create a new Titular Title for the Metropolitan See. The name was to be designated as "The Primatial See of Nova-Terra". The Metropolitan See did not has been constant since 1917... only the title was to change.


Nova-Terra is Latin for "new earth" or "new world". Since our jurisdiction is located in North America which was historically referred to for centuries as "The New World", the title was both appropriate and decriptively correct.


Thus since 2006 and for future years, the Primate of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church will retain his own Diocesan Title and administration, and will simultaneously bear the Title of the Primatial See of Nova-Terra.


The Primatial See of Nova Terra



The North American Old Roman Catholic Church is an integral part of the Catholic Church. Its governmental structure, while independent of the Vatican, is based upon a similar, yet different and simpler structure.




The Roman Catholic Church's structure centers around the Papal Office at the Vatican. The senior cleric in the Roman Catholic Church is His Holiness, the Pope. His jurisdiction, The Holy See, is universal throughout the world, though in practice the Pope exercises his Diocesan jurisdiction (as a Bishop) solely in Rome. His Metropolitical  jurisdiction (as an Archbishop) is throughout the Roman Province and the Suburbicarian Dioceses. His Primatial jurisdiction (as a Primate) extends to the entire country of Italy, and his Patriarchial jurisdiction (as Patriarch of the West) is exercised over the entire Western or Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. His Universal  jurisdiction (as Supreme Pontiff) extends throughout the entire Catholic Church the whole world over, in all Rites, Patriarchates, Archdioceses and Dioceses. Thus the structure of the Roman Catholic Church appears as follows:



  • College of Cardinals (advisors to the Pope)

  • Patriarchs (Patriarchates and Rites) 

  • Primates  (Primatial Sees)

  • Metropolitans  (Archdioceses)

  • Bishops  (Dioceses)

  • Priests  (Parishes)




The North American Old Roman Catholic Church is organized on a similar pattern but simpler and with fewer layers of bureaucracy.


While we acknowledge the Holy Fathers's role as the visible center of Catholic Unity, and respect his jurisdictional authority as Primate and Patriarch of the West (one of his traditional titles), we also realize that such Primatial and Patriarchal authority was initially on a more limited scope, and did not cover parts of the western world that had not yet been discovered or civilized. Thus many parts of Europe and all of North, South and Central America did not originally fall under the Pope's jurisdiction according to those two titles.


Also the status of his universal jurisdiction over the entire Church has been a matter of debate for centuries....most especially between the Eastern and Western Churches and Patriarchates. The Eastern Churches (and we with them) recognize the Holy Father as the Patriarch of the West and as the First-Among-Equals. They do not recognize or acknowledge his universal jurisdiction over the entire Church both East and West.


Our Primate's own Primatial jurisdiction in the See of Nova-Terra is universal throughout all of the Provinces, Archdioceses and Dioceses of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church wherever they are located. His Metropolitical jurisdiction is exercised within the Province of North America. His Diocesan jurisdiction is exercised solely within his own Diocese. Thus the structure of our jurisdiction appears as follows:



  • Metropolitans  (Provinces and Archdioceses)

  • Bishops  (Dioceses)

  • Priests  (Parishes)


bottom of page