IN OFFICIO SECRETO MAGISTERII DEI
The Most Revd. Prof. MICHAEL B. SIMMONS,
B.A., M.Div., S.T.M., J.W.F., O.A.C., O.S.F., Ph.D.
THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF THE AMERICAS
The lineage of The Most Revd. Prof. Michael B. Simmons, B.A., M.Div., S.T.M., J.W.F., O.A.C., O.S.F., Ph.D., is the Rebiban (Vatican) Sucession from Cardinal Rabiba (c. A.D. 1566) and via the apostolic lineage of The Most Revd. Carlos Duarte-Costa (b. July 21, 1888; d. March 26, 1961), Archbishop of Brazil. This lineage is held by 93% of Roman Catholic bishops.
Archbishop Michael B. Simmons was born in Raleigh, North Carolina (USA) and grew up in Key West, Florida and Mobile, Alabama. He earned his B.A. from the University of South Alabama (1976), where he regularly was on the Dean’s and President’s Lists for his academic achievements, and graduated with a double-major in Spanish Language and Literature and (Latin American) History. During his studies for the B.A. at South Alabama he was a student pastor of various churches in the Mobile County area. He was the recipient of the award for the graduating senior with the highest GPA in Spanish, having also excelled in German (his minor) and French (and later, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Romanian).
He then studied at the Divinity School of Duke University, where he received the M.Div. (1980) and concentrated his studies in Comparative Semitics (Hebrew, Aramaic, Ethiopic, Ugaritic, and his all-time favorite, Syriac; and since then, Classical Arabic) under Professor Orville Wintermute, who studied under Professor William Foxwell Albright of Johns Hopkins University. While at Duke he was the student pastor of a church in North Carolina. He then earned the S.T.M. degree at Yale University (1982) under the Rev. Prof. Rowan A. Greer, III, Professor of Anglican Studies and Patristics, graduating as an honors student. Professor Greer stated in his evaluation of Archbishop Simmons’ master’s thesis that it was the best he had ever read in his fifteen years as a Yale professor. He has done postgraduate studies (research) at the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Yale University, Duke University, Emory University, and the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and Edinburgh.
In 1982 Archbishop Michael was one of five recipients of the John Wesley Fellow award and also the recipient of a Studentship granted by the Committee of Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors of the universities of the United Kingdom, both of which enabled him to earn his Ph.D. in Early Church History at New College, the University of Edinburgh (1985). During his studies in Scotland he met regularly with the Revd. Professor W. H. C. Frend, one of the most prominent Church Historians of the twentieth century; and he also consulted Professor Marcel Leglay, of Paris, France, one of the most prestigious specialists in the religious culture of Roman North Africa.
He served as a Supply Pastor for the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Methodist Conference during his three years in Scotland (1982-85). His supervisor was Prof. David Wright of New College, a specialist in the Early Church and in Reformation studies. His external examiner was the Revd. Sir Henry Chadwick, Professor Emeritus of Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and the Dean of Patristic Studies worldwide. Prof. Chadwick suggested three times during the exam that he seriously consider publishing the dissertation. It was published in the Oxford Early Christian Studies series through Oxford University Press under the title, Arnobius of Sicca. Conflict and Competition in the Age of Diocletian (1996). Prof. Chadwick was one of the editors of the series.
Archbishop Michael was converted to Christ in 1971 and called into the ministry in the same year. He has served churches full-time since December 1972 with the exception of his time spent at Yale (1980-82) and Edinburgh (1983-85). He was consecrated Bishop at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church, Marietta, Georgia (U.S.A.) on July 21, 2000, and unanimously elected Archbishop by the House of Bishops of the Anglican Province of Christ the Good Shepherd on February 18, 2007. His Archiepiscopal Installation Mass occurred on March 26, 2008. He is the Primate of the Anglican Church of the Americas, an Orthodox Anglican Communion which has churches, ministries, and dioceses in the United States of America, Spain, the Caribbean, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and Peru. He is married to the former Maria Antonieta Ruiz of Nicaragua, who was partly reared in a Roman Catholic Convent and had seriously planned at one time on becoming a nun. She and Archbishop Michael have two daughters, Tania Luisa, who is a Registered Nurse in Columbus, Ohio; and Alexandra Maria, who is a university student in Alabama. Their grandchildren are Hannah, Levi, Austin Michael, and Ava Grace.
Archbishop Michael is an accomplished scholar who holds the prestigious honor of being a recipient of the Distinguished Research Professor award, which was granted by Auburn University Montgomery (2004) where he is currently an Associate Professor of History. He became a full-time, tenured assistant professor at AUM in 1998 and, in addition to his first book, has published essays, articles, and critical reviews in the Harvard Theological Review, Studia Patristica, Classica & Mediaevalia, the Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Studies, the Journal of Early Christian Studies through (e.g.) Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, the University of Notre Dame Press, Johns Hopkins University Press, Routledge, Peeters (Leuven, Belgium), MuseumTusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Melbourne, Australia. His present projects include an English translation of the Adversus nationes of Arnobius of Sicca, along with introduction and notes; a monograph on the competing soteriologies of Porphyry of Tyre and Eusebius of Caesarea; an article on various Syriac theological terms in the Theophany of Eusebius of Caesarea; and, long-term, a monograph on Eusebian Universalism.
Archbishop Simmons enjoys family time with his wife Maria Antonieta, their children, and grandchildren; traveling; watching documentaries on the History Channel; studying the games of the great chess masters; walking; old movies; gourmet cooking (favorite dish: Boeuf en Croute); swimming; and gardening; and playing Blues music on his red, American-made Fender Stratocaster (with a white maple neck) and Marshall amp (favorite Blues guitarist: Jimi Hendrix; favorite Blues song: "Red House"). He also enjoys watching his beloved Alabama Crimson Tide football team which has won 13 NCAA National Championships.
THE MEANING OF THE ARCHBISHOP'S SEAL AND MOTTO
The seal of Archbishop Simmons contains much Christian symbolism:
TOP LEFT: The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, the Alpha and Omega, which is a title that both Christ and God the Father possess in the Book of Revelation. It refers to the fact that God and Christ are the beginning and the end of all things and emphasizes the sovereign lordship of Christ over history, the world, and the universe. The crown represents the biblical truth that Christ is the King of Kings.
TOP RIGHT: The dove symbolizes the third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit, along with His gifts, power, and presence in the life of believers in Christ.
BOTTOM LEFT: The first two letters of the name Christ in Greek(Christos), the Chi and the Rho, thus symbolizing the second person of the Holy Trinity, the savior of the world, and the only way to salvation and eternal life for all humanity. Jesus Christ said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man can come to the Father but by me." (The Gospel of John 14:6)
BOTTOM RIGHT: The panther was an early Christian symbol for the resurrection of Christ due to the fact that the panther would go to its lair for three days after killing its prey (a symbol of the devil) and sleep, after which time it would wake up reinvigorated and refreshed. The panther also represented divine protection and power because it was notorious for fiercely defending its cubs.
The Archbishop's motto:
The motto is in Latin, the language of the Roman Empire and the Church in the West: "In officio secreto magisterii Dei." In English it says: "On His Majesty's Secret Service" and denotes the sacred mysteries which a priest of Christ handles and the divine revelation and power required to fulfill Christ's great commission to go into all the world and make disciples (Mt. 28).
Alpha & Omega Theological Colleges
Glimpses of Archbishop Simmon's Church in Luverne, Alabama