The Rev. Matthew S. C. Olver, PhD

A headshot of Matthew S. C. Olver

The Rev. Matthew S. C. Olver, PhD

Affiliate Professor of Liturgics and Pastoral Theology | (262) 646-6502

PhD in Theology, Marquette University
MDiv, Duke University Divinity School
BA in English Literature, Wheaton College

Curriculum Vitae

Get to Know Fr. Olver

Fr. Olver has served as Executive Director and Publisher of The Living Church Foundation since September 2023.

Prior to his role at The Living Church, he served on the faculty at Nashotah House, teaching courses in the history of Christian worship, practical liturgics, early Christian liturgy, ecclesiology and ecumenism, and pastoral theology. His research interests include sacramental theology, early liturgical development, the origin of the Roman Canon, and the development of Anglican liturgy. He has presented lectures and papers in the United States and around the world, published articles in numerous peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes, authored a number of the entries on liturgy in the fourth edition of The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (ed. Andrew Louth), and is a regular contributor to the Covenant blog of The Living Church.

Fr. Olver serves the church at both diocesan and local levels. In 2005, he was ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, which launched eight years of full-time pastoral ministry: first at St. John’s Episcopal Church and School (2005-06) and then as the assistant rector at Church of the Incarnation, Dallas (2006-2013). There, he oversaw adult formation as well as the parish’s renowned music and liturgy program, and also served the diocese as the Ecumenical Officer (2005-2010) and on the Executive Council (2008-2011). From 2006 to 2015, he was a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the U.S. (ARCUSA), the official dialogue between the Episcopal Church and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and from 2018-2021, he was a member the Task Force on Liturgical and Prayer Book Revision for the Episcopal Church and was a delegate at the 2022 General Convention in Baltimore.

During the 2022-23 academic year, Fr. Olver was the Alan Richardson Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University. He also is the co-recipient with Nathan G. Jennings (J. Milton Richardson Professor of Liturgics and Anglican Studies and Director of Community Worship, Seminary of the Southwest) of a 2022-23 William S. Conant Grant from the Episcopal Church, which awards grants to professors at Episcopal seminaries. Their project is an introduction to the English and American Books of Common Prayer for students.

Fr. Olver was raised in the Brethren in Christ tradition in southern Pennsylvania and sensed a call to a vocation in Christian ministry at a young age. A trained musician, he was introduced to Anglicanism as an undergraduate. Fr. Olver’s hobbies include running, rock climbing with his son, novels and films, and backyard chickens. He was married to Kristen in 2001, and they have two children. He is an assistant priest at Zion Episcopal Church in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, where he attends with his family.

Selected Publications

  • Articles and Book Chapters
    • “The “Missing” Oblation and the Problem of Sacrifice in Early Antiochene Anaphoras: A Reconsideration of John Fenwick and Stefano Parenti.” Harvard Theological Review, forthcoming.

    • “Reconfigured Relations: A New Perspective on the Relationship between Ambrose’s De Sacramentis and the Roman Canon Missae,” Journal of Early Christian Studies (2024), vol. 32, no. 3, forthcoming.

    • “Article X, Trial Use, and the History of Liturgical Authorization in the Episcopal Church,” Anglican Theological Review (2023), 105, no. 2, 167–93.

    • “Collects” in The Oxford Handbook of the Book of Common Prayer, Paul F. Bradshaw, Luiz Carlos Teixeira Coelho, Ruth A. Meyers, eds., (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

    • “The Epistle to the Hebrews in the Roman Canon Missae: Melchizedek and Other Features, part 2” Ecclesia Orans (2023), vol. 40, 101-23.

    • The Identity and Purpose of the Angel in the Roman Canon Missae: A Reconsideration in Light of Scripture and the Pseudepigrapha, Joint Liturgical Studies 95 (Norwich, UK: Hymns Ancient and Modern, 2023).

    • “The Epistle to the Hebrews in the Roman Canon Missae: Melchizedek and Other Features, part 1” Ecclesia Orans (2022), vol. 39, no. 2, 321-46.

    • “Divine Visitation: The 1662 Prayer Book’s Theology of Sickness and Plague,” Journal of Anglican Studies, (2022), vol. 20, no. 2, 198-215.

    • “The Pandemic’s Mass: An Anglo-Catholic Essay on Certain Eucharistic Issues Raised by COVID-19,” Anglican Theological Review, (Winter 2022), vol. 104, no. 1, 54-69. This article was solicited by the guest editor, James Farwell, for a special volume focused on liturgical issues raised by the pandemic.

    • “Offering for Change: The Logic of Consecration that Unites Early Christian Anaphoras,” Worship, (July 2022), vo. 96, 204-21.

    • Entries in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, fourth revised ed. Andrew Louth, ed., Oxford Univesrity Press, 2022.

    • “Connections between the Roman Canon Missae and the East Syrian Anaphora of Mar Theodore,” Questions Liturgiques, (2021), vo. 101, no. 3-4, 276-304.

    • “When Praying Does Not Shape Believing: Ambrose and Chrysostom as Test Cases for the Tension between Liturgy and Theology,” in Studia Patristica, Vol. CXXVIII: Papers Presented at the Eighteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies Held in Oxford 2019, ed. Markus Vinzent, vol. 25: The Second Half of the Fourth Century (Leuven: Peeters, 2021), 77–85.

    • “Jewish Roots of Christian Worship: Its Most Missed and Misunderstood Legacy,” in Understanding the Jewish Roots of Christianity: Biblical, Theological, and Historical Essays on the Relationship Between Christianity and Judaism (Studies in Scripture and Biblical Theology), ed. Gerald R. McDermott (Lexham Books, 2021), 69-103.

    • “Containing the Uncontainable: An Analysis of Expansive Liturgical Language in the Episcopal Church, 1987-2018,” Anglican Theological Review, (Winter 2021), vol. 102, no. 4, 27-43.

    • “Although We Be Unworthy: Anglicans, Eucharistic Sacrifice, and the Protestant Loss of Ritual,” in Matthew Levering and Emery A. de Gaál, eds., Joseph Ratzinger and the Healing of the Reformation-Era Divisions. (Emmaus Academic, 2019), 209-258.

    • “A Classification of a Liturgy’s Use of Scripture: A Proposal,” Studia Liturgica (2019), vol. 49, no. 2, 220-45.

    • “The Bavarian’s Surprise: Ratzinger’s Spirit of the Liturgy as the Spirit of the Council,” Nova et Vetera, (2017), vol. 15, no. 1, 185-218.

    • “The Eucharistic Materials in Enriching our Worship 1: A Consideration of its Trinitarian Theology,” Anglican Theological Review, (Fall 2016), vol. 98, no. 4, 661-680.

    • “A Note on the Silent Canon in the Missal of Paul VI and Cardinal Ratzinger,” Antiphon, (2016), vol. 20, no. 1, 40-51.

    • “Contraception’s Authority: An Anglican’s Liturgical and Synodical Thought Experiment in light of ARCUSA’s ‘Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment,’” Journal of Ecumenical Studies, (Summer 2015), vol. 50, no. 3, pp 417-451.