Archbishop Alfred Louis Lankenau, retired Primate of the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America, died on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He had suffered a lengthy struggle with cancer.
Lankenau was born in 1930 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of the late Cecelia and Alfred Lankenau. He was educated in the New York City Public Schools; St. Mary's Seminary and held a Ph.D. from New York University. He served in the U.S Army in the 1950s.
Lankenau was ordained a priest in 1956 by Roman Catholic bishop James McNulty of the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey. Lankenau was the founding pastor of Holy Eucharist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, which developed a ministry with the gay and lesbian community. In June 1980, Fr. Lankenau was consecrated bishop by Bishop George Augustine Hyde of the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America, assisted by Bishop Joseph Raffaele. He was then named the first bishop of the Diocese of Indianapolis and Chicago. In 1983 he was elected to the position of Presiding Bishop with the title of Archbishop of Washington and Indianapolis as well as Metropolitan of the Church.
He was the first Canonical Orthodox Bishop to authorize the ordination of women, in 1994. Lankenau was an outspoken supporter of the GLBT Community and favored legalizing same sex unions with full benefits. In 2000 he retired as Presiding Bishop and was given the title of Patriarch of Honor. During his lifetime, he encouraged the growth of the Church and at his death there were congregations in 20 States with priests also serving Mexico and Australia. Always hospitable, he was recognized as a friend of priests and served many as their spiritual director and confessor.
In secular life, Lankenau was employed by the American Legion National Headquarters as Director of their National Emblem Sales Catalog Division. He was considered an authority in Direct Marketing and had taught the subject for several semesters at Purdue University in Indianapolis.
Lankenau was buried in the Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. He was survived by his sister, Ann Lankenau Hodgkiss of Middletown, New Jersey; and three cousins, Deborah Lankenau of Atlanta, Georgia, John Lankenau of New York, New York; and Cindy Lankenau of Jacksonville, Florida, and the Reverend Dan Bair.
(This biographical statement taken from the obituary prepared by the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America and published in the Asbury Park Press on March 7, 2010 with additional information from the OCCA web site.)