Skip to comments.THE FALL OF ORTHODOX ENGLAND
Posted on 11/22/2002 10:22:39 PM PST by Destro
THE FALL OF ORTHODOX ENGLAND
It is true what I say: should the Christian faith weaken, the kingship will immediately totter.
Archbishop Wulfstan of York, The Institutes of Polity, 4 (1023).
INTRODUCTION: ENGLAND, ROME, CONSTANTINOPLE, NORMANDY
On October 14, 1066, at Hastings in southern England, the last Orthodox king of England, Harold II, died in battle against Duke William of Normandy. William had been blessed to invade England by the Roman Pope Alexander in order to bring the English Church into full communion with the reformed Papacy; for since 1052 the English archbishop had been banned and denounced as schismatic by Rome. The result of the Norman Conquest was that the English Church and people were integrated into the heretical Church of Western, Papist Christendom, which had just, in 1054, fallen away from communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, represented by the Eastern Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. Thus ended the nearly five-hundred-year history of the Anglo-Saxon Orthodox Church, which was followed by the demise of the still older Celtic Orthodox Churches in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
This small book is an account of how this came to pass.
The Beginning of the End
Now the English had been 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 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, and a whole quarter of the city was called Il Borgo Saxono because of the large number of English pilgrims it accomodated. 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 Peters 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 Romiosini 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. 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 Indeed, as late as the tenth century the cultural links between England and Constantinople remained strong, as we see, for example, in King Athelstans calling himself basileus and curagulus, titles ascribed to the Byzantine emperor.
We may tentatively point to the murder of King Edward the Martyr in 979 as the beginning of the end of Orthodox England. Only six years before, his father, King Edgar the Peaceable, had been anointed and crowned as head of the Anglo-Saxon empire in Bath Abbey, next to the still considerable remains of Imperial Rome. And in the same year he had been rowed on the River Dee at Chester by six or eight sub-kings, including five Welsh and Scottish rulers and one ruler of the Western Isles. But then the anti-monastic reaction of King Edwards reign was followed by the murder of the Lords anointed. No worse deed for the English was ever done that this, said the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; and while it was said that there was great rejoicing at the coronation of St. Edwards half-brother, Ethelred the Unready, St. Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury, sorrowfully prophesied great woes for the nation in the coming reign.
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. 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 nations spiritual life than might have been expected. Nevertheless, it must have seemed that Gods 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 Ethelreds son Edward, known to later generations as the Confessor.
It is with the life of King Edward that our narrative begins.
(Excerpt) Read more at romanitas.ru ...
And for the diehard romantics, there's always that legend about St. Joseph of Arimathea establishing the Church in Glastonbury just a few years after the Ascension...
Also check out the link to the revived Celtic Orthodox Church:
On a related note: I belong to an Anglo-Catholic American Episcopal church, and have noted that in the last couple of years, the liturgy and general tone have gotten increasingly "Orthodox," especially during Easter weekend. Wonder if we're due for a revival of the Sarum Rite?
I too belong to a fairly Anglo-Catholic ECUSA parish. The ECUSA has multiple litugical options, and it's up to the the pastor as to which one the parish uses. Although the pastor will keep the Vestry happy, if he or she is smart.
One thing major branches of religions never seem to tire of are turf wars.
Icons of St. Brendan the Navigator, Founder of Clonfert Abbey, Father of 3,000 Monks, Patron of Sailors
Icons of St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland
St. Augustine of Canterbury, Apostle of England