Old-Catholic Church of Switzerland
(Christkatholische Kirche der Schweiz)
(Eglise catholique-chrétienne de Suisse)
The Vatican council of 1870 was followed by a revolt in Switzerland. Whereas the revolt in Germany was led by theological professors, the Swiss revolt was led by laymen. It resulted in 1871-1876 in the organization of a Catholic Church outside the jurisdiction of the pope. Important moments were the first session of the national synod of the Old-Catholic Church of Switzerland at Olten in 1875 which declared the constitution drawn up in 1874 to be in force, as well as the second session again at Olten in 1876 which elected the first bishop, who was consecrated three months later by the German Old-Catholic bishop at Rheinfelden. The second session also adopted a policy statement obliging the church to follow the ancient undivided church in matters of faith and order. The church formed the Union of Utrecht together with the Old-Catholic churches in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.
In several Swiss cantons the OCCS is officially recognized by the state authorities. The Old-Catholic Faculty of Theology at the University of Bern (since 2001 department for Old-Catholic Theology) also serves foreign students from other Old-Catholic churches and from Orthodox churches. Women have been admitted to holy orders since 1985 (diaconate) and 1999 (priesthood). Present concerns of the OCCS are: renewal of spiritual life, a more intensive training of lay people, the improvement of the church press service, the coordination of youth work throughout the whole bishopric, and the amelioration of pastoral service to the parishes and to the diaspora.