Orthodox Church of Great Britain

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Συντονιστής: πΣπυρίδων

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Εγγραφή: Κυρ Απρ 26, 2009 8:57 pm

Orthodox Church of Great Britain

Δημοσίευσηαπό periklis » Παρ Μαρ 09, 2012 10:18 am

Orthodox Church of Great Britain

Anglo-Saxon & Celtic Orthodoxy is about the Orthodoxy of The British Isles, Low Countries and parts of France, Scandinavia in the first millennium and how it might be developed now. "The Church in The British Isles will only begin to grow when She begins to again venerate Her own Saints" (Saint Arsenios of Paros †1877)
Serious overview of (only a few of) the indigenous Orthodox Saints and Martyrs of the Ancient Church - who lived and propagated the Faith in the British Isles,England, Ireland and other lands, during the first millennium of Christianity and prior to the Great Schism , in our desire to inform our readers who may not be aware of the significant history, the labours or the martyrdom of this cloud of Orthodox Saints of the original One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of our Lord.
Τελευταία επεξεργασία από periklis και Παρ Μαρ 09, 2012 10:42 am, έχει επεξεργασθεί 5 φορά/ες συνολικά

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Εγγραφή: Κυρ Απρ 26, 2009 8:57 pm

The Ecclesiastical Roots of the Norman Conquest.-Part 1

Δημοσίευσηαπό periklis » Παρ Μαρ 09, 2012 10:21 am

The Ecclesiastical Roots of the Norman Conquest.[/size]

The Beginning of the End

Now the Celtic Churches had had little to do with Rome – not out of antipathy, but because of distance and, especially, a long period in the fifth and sixth centuries during which the Celts had been cut off from the Church on the continent by the pagan invasions. In any case, Celtic Christianity owed as much to Eastern, Orthodox Christianity as it did to Rome.[1] By contrast, after the English were converted to Orthodoxy in the seventh century, they became perhaps the most fervent “Romanists” of all the peoples of Western Europe.
This devotion sprang from the fact that it was to Rome, and specifically to Pope St. Gregory the Great and his disciples, that the Angles, Saxons and Jutes of Southern England owed their conversion to the Faith in the late sixth and early seventh centuries. From that time English men and women of all classes and conditions poured across the Channel in a well-beaten path to the tombs of the Apostles in Rome[2], and a whole quarter of the city was called “Il Borgo Saxono” because of the large number of English pilgrims it accomodated.[3] English missionaries such as St. Boniface of Germany carried out their work as the legates of the Roman Popes. And the voluntary tax known as “Peter’s Pence” which the English offered to the Roman see was paid even in the difficult times of the Viking invasions, when it was the English themselves who were in need of alms.
However, the “Romanity” to which the English were so devoted was not the Franco-Latin, Roman Catholicism of the later Middle Ages. Rather, it was the Greco-Roman Romanitas or Rwmeiosunh of Orthodox Catholicism. And the spiritual and political capital of Romanitas until the middle of the fifteenth century was not Old Rome in Italy, but the New Rome of Constantinople.[4] Thus when King Ethelbert of Kent was baptized by St. Augustine in 597, “he had entered,” as Fr. Andrew Phillips writes, “‘Romanitas’, Romanity, the universe of Roman Christendom, becoming one of those numerous kings who owed allegiance, albeit formal, to the Emperor in New Rome…”[5] Indeed, as late as the tenth century the cultural links between England and Constantinople remained strong.
We may tentatively point to the murder of King Edward the Martyr in 979 as the beginning of the end of Orthodox England. “No worse deed for the English was ever done that this,” said the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle[6]. And while it was said that there was “great rejoicing” at the coronation of St. Edward’s half-brother, Ethelred “the Unready”, St. Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury, sorrowfully prophesied great woes for the nation in the coming reign.[7]
He was right; for not only were the English successively defeated by Danish pagan invaders and forced to pay ever larger sums in “Danegeld”, but the king himself, betrayed by his leading men and weighed down by his own personal failures, was forced to flee abroad in 1013. The next year he was recalled by the English leaders, both spiritual and lay, who declared that “no lord was dearer to them than their rightful lord, if only he would govern his kingdom more justly than he had done in the past.” [8]
But the revival was illusory; further defeats followed, and in 1017, after the deaths both of King Ethelred and of his son Edmund Ironside, the Danish Canute was made king of all the English. Canute converted to the faith of his new Christian subjects; and the period of the Danish kings (1017-1042) created less of a disruption in the nation’s spiritual life than might have been expected. Nevertheless, it must have seemed that God’s mercy had at last returned to His people when, in 1043, the Old English dynasty of Alfred the Great was restored in the person of King Ethelred’s son Edward, known to later generations as “the Confessor”.
It is with the life of King Edward that our narrative begins.
However, in order to understand the world of King Edward it is necessary briefly to review cultural and ecclesiastical developments on the continent of Europe, which began to influence England precisely in his reign. These included the rise of the heretical papacy and the growth of feudalism.

Vladimir Moss

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Εγγραφή: Παρ Σεπ 12, 2008 7:25 pm

The Orthodox Christianity in the British Isles

Δημοσίευσηαπό πΣπυρίδων » Τρί Μαρ 13, 2012 9:28 am

The Orthodox Christianity in the British Isles

Bede’s World: Early Christianity in the British Isles
Durham Cathedral.jpg
Durham Cathedral.jpg (16.83 KiB) 50048 προβολές

Durham Cathedral
Fr. John Nankivell, pastor of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Walsall, West Midlands, spent over thirty years teaching chemistry and religious studies before retiring as principal of Joseph Chamberlain College in Central Birmingham to take on a full-time ministry. His first book, Saint Wilfrid, on Wilfrid of York was published in 2002, and he has served as chaplain on a number of occasions to the annual Friends of Orthodoxy on Iona pilgrimage. In co-operation with other West Midlands parishes, the Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God houses the St. Theodore of Canterbury Study Centre, running theology courses that lead to University of Wales [Lampeter] qualifications.
RTE: Fr. John, you’ve written a fascinating book on St. Wilfrid and the world he lived in. While Venerable Bede portrays him as an able advocate of the seventh-century universal Church, modern accounts of “Celtic” versus “Roman” Christianity seem far more ready to cast him as a villain. Wouldn’t we be right, though, in saying that Wilfrid, in the eye of the storm, and Bede, our chief observer, are two pivotal figures in any discussion of early Christian Britain?
FR. JOHN: There are so many exceptional figures from the sixth and seventh centuries on these islands that it is difficult to isolate one or two of them. Without Bede, ‘the first scientific genius of the Germanic people,’ as R.W. Southern calls him, we would, of course, know very little about any of them.
His homilies on the Gospels stand beside those of St. Gregory the Great as a monument of patristic writing. He was a monk and a scholar. But his scholarship was the servant of his love for the truth and the Gospel. This is why his writings were of such value to the missionaries from these lands to Germany. And it is why they endure as devotional reading to this day.
St. Wilfrid left no writings. Like Bede, he was a devout monk, whose greatest joy was to pray continuously in his cell, singing the psalms. But his abilities and his times required of him a life of ceaseless activity as a bishop, an abbot, a missionary, and someone at the forefront in dealing with matters of Church order and organization. One physical monument he has left to our day is the crypt at Hexham. It gives us some idea of his great buildings at York and Ripon, which would have inspired generations of Christians. His foundation work as a missionary in Sussex and Frisia inspired his successors and lives on in their continuing Christianity. The great monasteries he founded in central and northern England were centres of the Christian life for generations. His Vita, the first Anglo-Saxon ‘biography,’ remains an inspiration to those modern Orthodox Christians who seek to establish and nurture the faith in our multi-ethnic, multi-faith and often hostile world. But there are so many gigantic figures from these times: Columba, Aidan, Theodore, Finan, Cuthbert….

Venerable Bede’s Tomb, Durham Cathedral.
RTE: Before we delve into the world of Venerable Bede and St. Wilfrid, perhaps we should begin at an earlier point. The notion of an Orthodox Celtic Christianity co-existing in pre-schism England alongside a more “continental” model has been embraced by quite a number of Orthodox believers over the past decades. Who were the original peoples we think of as Celts, and where did they live?
FR. JOHN: As I understand it, the term “Celtic” was first used in the eighteenth century to refer to language groups. In this linguistic sense, both the inhabitants of Ireland and the inhabitants of Britannia (the “British”) were people whom we now speak of as “Celtic” folk. They were bound together by similarities in language, in which there were two distinct strands: the Gaelic Goedelic branch, and the Brythonic. The Irish and the Scots (who are Irish in origin) use the Gaelic, and the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons (of Brittany in France) use the Brythonic form.
Many people know that it was the Celts of Asia Minor, the Galatians, for whom St. Paul wrote his Epistle. There were also Celts in Galicia in northwest Spain, which had connections with the British Church. There are still many place names referring to Celts in central and western Europe: Gaul itself, Gallia, and the Pays de Galles, the French name for Wales. The name Gall (Celtic) turns up all through Europe – even today the Turkish football team Galatasaray owes its name to the Galatians.
Dates are complicated though, as there were large movements of Celtic peoples before the Romanization of Britain. No one knows when they arrived on these islands, but it was a long time before the Christian period of Venerable Bede and St. Wilfrid. Here in England we had the native British, the Irish (the Scotti) both in Ireland (Hibernia) and in northern Britain, and the Picts further north. The term Scotti came eventually to refer only to the Irish settled in north Britain. When these Scots were eventually united with the Picts, the whole area became known as Scotland.
The Picts may or may not have been Celtic. We don’t know what their language was. About the Picts themselves, very little is known, and nearly every assertion made about them is open to challenge. Their lands were never part of the Roman Empire, and the great walls of Antoninus and Hadrian were built to keep them at bay.
So, when the Romans came here to Northumbria where Bede later lived, the peoples they found were these British peoples. Although the Romans obviously structured the local government around their own cities, they also accommodated these tribal areas and some of the British names were kept by the incoming Anglo-Saxons, such as Bernicia and Deira, the two parts of Northumbria.
Roman Britain

Crypt, Hexham Abbey.
RTE: Many of us have an idea of Roman and post-Roman Britain as being cut off from the rest of Europe, and rather wild.
FR. JOHN: This is a common idea, but it’s not true. From 63 BC to 410 AD the Roman roads were open and well-traveled, and Britain was solidly a part of the Empire. A couple of hundred years ago there was a view that once the Romans withdrew, society fell into shambles and chaos under Pictish invasions. In fact, there’s evidence for marauding Picts, and also marauding Germans. There is good evidence that the British invited the Germanic tribes to help them fight the Picts in the north, and that is one way in which they came. But, there is a lot of debate about this, and some speculation that Germanic peoples came not only as military mercenaries, but also as agricultural settlers, motivated by rising sea levels which forced them to look for new land.
Of course, the Roman troops themselves were multi-ethnic, and many of them would have retired here. They would have been pensioned off with land, and married local British women. Along Hadrian’s wall you have evidence of all the religious life that was current in Rome at that time, quite substantial Mithraic temple remains, as well as Christian elements.
RTE: When the Romans withdrew in 410, did Christianity leave with them, or was there a recognizable tradition left?
FR. JOHN: Not only were things left, but Christianity was well-established.
The Romans had been in Britain about 500 years. We don’t know when Christianity arrived here, but it was certainly aided by the fact that this was part of the Roman Empire, and there is no reason to believe that it was very different from any other part of the Roman Empire, or much further behind in its Church development. We simply don’t have the names of those very early Christians and missionaries; we can’t say that a certain person is the “Apostle to Britain.” Of course, by Orthodox tradition, Aristobulus, one of the seventy disciples of the Lord, is given that title in the Orthodox Menaion, but we don’t have British sources for this, nor does Bede refer to it. It is a Greek Orthodox tradition.

Hadrian's Wall (Steel Rigg)
RTE: Then St. Alban, the first martyr of Britain, would be one of our earliest known Christians?
FR. JOHN: Yes. Some date St. Alban as early third century, some as mid-third century, some as a victim of the early fourth-century Diocletian persecutions.
A case can be made for each of the three dates, as there was an early Christian persecution in the 220’s, then the 251 Decian persecutions centered in northern Africa, followed by Diocletian’s. The weight of scholarly opinion shifts back and forth over the most likely date of Alban’s martyrdom. Presently, the later date seems to be favoured.
We also have Julian and Aaron, the martyrs of Caerleon, in what is now south Wales, who are mentioned by Bede as being martyred in the same persecution as St. Alban. Some people take the fact of the name Aaron to suggest a Jewish presence here, saying that Christianity may have come through the Jewish communities, as it did in much of the rest of the Roman Empire, but the only evidence for this is the name.
The real archaeological and historical evidence for early Christianity begins in the third century, and there are important fourth-century finds. The archaeological work that has been done in the past fifty years has very much increased our knowledge.
What is certain is that by the time of the Council of Arles in 314 there were three British bishops. We don’t know where these bishops came from, although it is possible that one came from York. We can say, though, that by the early fourth century, shortly after Constantine embraced Christianity, there was probably a full ecclesiastical and diocesan structure here, most probably based on the twelve Roman provinces.
In Ireland things were more complex and unclear. In the fifth century Pope Celestine sent Palladius to be bishop of the Irish. He appears to have been active in the South. At the same time, the Briton, St. Patrick, carried out his work in the North. By the sixth century there was an extensive and vigorous series of monasteries, around which the Church was largely organized. According to Bede, the bishops were under the authority of the abbots, and this has led some to assert that Ireland had no diocesan structure.
There were probably differences across the country, and a full traditional structure came into being only over a long period.

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