Ignatius (Nichols) of Washington

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Ignatius (Nichols) of Washington was an Orthodox bishop during the second quarter of the twentieth century who served with the "American Orthodox Catholic Church" as one of the three bishops consecrated by Aftimios Ofiesh. After the breakup of the American Orthodox Catholic Church following the marriage of Aftimios, Ignatius became the source of numerous lines of succession of episcopi vagantes.


William Albert Nicholas was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on December 4, 1877. He received his graduate education at Boston University in Boston and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Having grown up in the Episcopal Church, William received a theological education at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. On May 15, 1908, he was ordained a deacon while serving in Arkansas. Two years later, on December 21, 1910, he was ordained a priest while serving in Colorado. Having received training as a chaplain and journalist, Fr. William also worked as a religion editor at a number of newspapers during his career, including the New York Sun, Brooklyn Standard Union, and New York World-Telegram.

In 1929, William decided to leave the Episcopal Church and was consecrated a bishop in the so-called "American Catholic Church". However, in 1930, after finding out that his religious orders were invalid, he was again ordained a priest and then consecrated a bishop of the "Apostolic Christian Church".

During the following two years, he became interested in Orthodox Christianity and was received into the American Orthodox Catholic Church. On September 27, 1932, he was consecrated Bishop of Washington by Abp. Aftimios as an auxiliary bishop, with the name Ignatius, to evangelize "Americans" in the English language using a Western Rite. He, thus, became the first convert Orthodox bishop in America. During this time he was also involved in the establishment of the Society of Clerks Secular of St. Basil as the vehicle for evangelization through the Western Rite.

After the marriage of Abp. Aftimios, Bp. Ignatius, with Bp. Joseph Zuk, met as a council and declared Abp. Aftimios retired. Yet, Bp. Ignatius soon followed his mentor and married in June 1933, after which Bp. Sophronios declared Ignatius as deposed.

Bp. Ignatius continued ecclesiastical activities, variously, under the name "American Orthodox Catholic Church (Western Rite) supported by the Clerks Secular, joining with a multitude of episcopi vagantes, and also briefly entering communion with John Kedrovsky and the Soviet sponsored "Living Church".

On February 6, 1947, Abp. Ignatius (Nichols) reposed.