Professor John Kersey, DD, DLitt, EdD, PhD, FRSA, FRGS, FSA Scot., Honorary Academician of the Pontificia Accademia Tiberina, Rome, is a British educationalist, musician and clergyman known for his radical traditionalist, paleolibertarian views. He holds academic and administrative positions at several universities, consults on matters concerning international credentials for law firms in the United States, has made the first recordings of numerous piano works of the nineteenth-century, and is Presiding Bishop of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, a Continuing Anglican denomination.
Born in Enfield, North London, the son of a chartered surveyor and a local government administrator, Professor Kersey attended The Latymer School, Edmonton (at that time the top co-educational grammar school in the country), where he was a Latymer Foundation Music Scholar and eleven times school prizewinner. Aged fourteen, he won a Local Authority Junior Exhibition Award to the Royal College of Music, London (RCM), where he studied piano with Yu Chun-Yee. Here, he graduated with First Class Honours in the Bachelor of Music degree as the top pianist of his year and was the winner of twelve prizes and awards. After graduate study at the RCM (where his research into performance practice in recordings of the pupils of Liszt and irrational rhythm in the music of Alkan resulted in the degree of Master of Music in Performance Studies: Applied Research) and Christ’s College, Cambridge (Bachelor of Arts status, subsequently Master of Arts status), he was elected to a Junior Fellowship at the RCM, and as a result was presented to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. During these years he developed specialist interests in unjustly neglected piano repertoire, particularly of the Romantic era, and in the piano performance history of the first decades of the twentieth-century. This work has led directly to his subsequent musical research and recording projects.
Between 1997 and 2005 he taught a wide range of subjects and held administrative and management positions in independent further education colleges, as well as helping to start a new joint honours Bachelor of Arts field in Music at Morley College and London South Bank University and examining for A level Music and music grade and diploma examinations.
He traces the most important aspects of his intellectual development to his short but formative period of postgraduate research at Cambridge, which served to reinforce his commitment to Traditionalism and to the authentic expression of Catholicism, developing from lay work as a musician in a number of Christian denominations to an eventual realisation that he had a specific vocation within those movements that had sought to preserve traditional Catholicism and Western Orthodoxy through the path of Continuing Anglicanism. At this point, he established the basis of his position as a committed traditional conservative critic of the post-1945 intellectual consensus and an open opponent of postmodernism and moral relativism. The related discovery of the writings of Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Sean Gabb served to develop his awareness of a paleolibertarian counter-establishment with which he came to identify closely; he has also been strongly influenced by Erich Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Carl Gustav Jung and Julius Evola.
These currents, combined with the narrow specialism, bureaucracy and political correctness prevalent in much of contemporary academia, compelled him to acknowledge his essential polymathy and reactionary, Romanticist outlook, and consequently to pursue a high degree of autonomy in his academic work. As a radical traditionalist, he believes in the small-scale organization of human society through neo-feudalism and in the dominant influence of landscape, indigenous cultures and natural hierarchies. Two key essays summarize his ideas. In “Preserving the substance of a nation: the role of a traditional conservative counter-establishment” (from a speech given to the Traditional Britain Group Conference in 2013) he explores the need for traditionalists to build their own institutions that enshrine their culture and beliefs. In his 2014 essay “Can aristocracy and its feudal roots offer a prospect and model for secessionist solutions to the present crisis in Britain?” he advances a neo-feudalist view of the future.
Further studies have been in theology (particularly the reactionary Catholic and Western Orthodox traditions and their alignment both with Anglicanism and with the revival of Western esotericism), philosophy, psychology, business, education and history. He has participated in a number of distance learning degree programmes internationally, both for ideological reasons and as part of his ongoing applied research into distance learning and assessment methodologies, and has held teaching and consulting professorships at several institutions. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica, and a Doctorate (PhD) in Humanities (predominantly Law and Business Administration) from the Universidad San Juan de la Cruz, Costa Rica. He additionally holds a Doctorate in Education with specialization in Higher Education from the former Universidad International in Panama and a further Doctorate in Humanities in History from the Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica, for which his thesis was on the British Old Catholic Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew (1852-1919). In 2008 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity by St Ephrem’s Institute, Sweden, in recognition of “his outstanding works on Church History”. He has received several honorary degrees, including an Honorary Doctor of Byzantine Studies from the Constantinople Orthodox Institute, West Virginia, USA.
Since 2005, his work has been concentrated in the three main areas of music, the Church and education.
As a musician, he established and runs his own recording label, Romantic Discoveries Recordings, for which he has made over 100 CD recordings consisting of world premieres of piano music of the Romantic era.
In the Church, he is an ordained non-stipendiary clergyman and since 2015 has been Presiding Bishop of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, a Continuing Anglican denomination. He is regularly consulted on matters concerning the history and canonicity of the smaller churches descending from Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox roots, and curates one of the principal archives of manuscript papers, private publications and artefacts in this area. On his election as Presiding Bishop of the Apostolic Episcopal Church he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology honoris causa by the Apostolic Episcopal Church (under the degree-awarding powers granted to the Church by the State of New York in 1933) and the degree of Doctor of Letters by the Western Orthodox University, which is a division of the Apostolic Episcopal Church accredited by the Pontificia Accademia Tiberina, Rome.
As an educationalist, he is Chancellor of the Western Orthodox University (Commonwealth of Dominica) and Master of the Western Orthodox Academy (UK), both educational institutions of the Apostolic Episcopal Church dedicated to individualized, mentored learning. In addition, he has for over a decade worked as a senior consultant on international credentials for Career Consulting International, a leading foreign credential evaluator in Florida, USA. He holds a full professorship in the International Program of the Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica, an associate professorship in Music from the Ruggero II University in The Gambia, an honorary visiting professorship in Music from the Parthasarathy International Cultural Academy, Madras, India, and two emeritus professorships: in Music and Education from the A.S.A.M. University and in Sacred Music from the J.S. Bach Academy, both based in Rome, Italy.
His books, all published by European-American University Press, include a collection of talks and essays, The Radical Traditionalist Today (2015), The University Outside State Control (2009), the first to address its controversial topic in depth, Arnold Harris Mathew and the Old Catholic Movement in England 1908-52 (2010), and Joseph-René Vilatte (1854-1929): Some Aspects of his Life, Work and Succession (2011). For twelve years he also worked as a music critic for a number of journals, including Hi-Fi News and Record Review, Tempo and International Piano, and contributed twenty articles on music and literature to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Contemporary Italian Culture.
His extensive interest in phaleristics, nobility, chivalry (and cognate matters of law and custom), dates from childhood, and work in these areas formed a part of his doctoral studies. He is a member of several chivalric and fraternal orders, and an Honorary Datu of the Sultanate of Baloi, Philippines. He received the Medal “Pro Probitas”, the highest award of the Collegium Heraldicum Concordiae, Poland, in recognition of his support of monarchism. In 2011, he was elected the eighth Prince-Abbot of San Luigi (with the regnal name H.S.H. Edmond III) and became Grand Master of the San Luigi Orders. In 2016, by which time his natural parents were both dead, Professor Kersey was adopted as son and heir by Prince Kermit William Poling de Polanie-Patrikios of West Virginia, a descendant of the Byzantine Emperor Leo V Patrikios and of Rurik, ruler of Novgorod, and (as Prince of Miensk) the head of the monarchist movement in exile of Belarus. Professor Kersey succeeded his adoptive father in his various nobiliary distinctions on Prince Kermit’s death later that year.
Professor Kersey is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Royal Geographical Society and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He is a Freeman of the City of London, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and a Member of the Royal Society of Musicians. He has been honoured by the Governors of four states in the United States of America, being an Honorary Texan, Kentucky Colonel, Nebraska Admiral and Georgia Lieutenant-Colonel Aide-de-Camp. In 2014, he received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for voluntary service from President Barack Obama. In 2016 he was appointed a Pontifical Academician, becoming an Honorary Academician of the Pontificia Accademia Tiberina in Rome, and in 2017 was elected an Academician of Honor of the Norman Academy. He has been awarded the distinction of Academic Knight of Verbano by the International Order “Greci-Marino” – Academic Order of Verbano, Italy.
Professor Kersey is a Vice-President of the Traditional Britain Group. His home is an unusual Victorian house in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, dating from 1837 and including in its grounds its own private chapel.
For more information concerning his work, see the following pages: