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
Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, and St. Andrew's Day is celebrated by Scots around the world on the 30th November. The flag of Scotland is the Cross of St. Andrew, and this is widely displayed as a symbol of national identity.
The "Order of Saint Andrew" or the "Most Ancient Order of the Thistle" is an order of Knighthood which is restricted to the King or Queen and sixteen others. It was established by James VII of Scotland in 1687.
Very little is really known about St. Andrew himself. He was thought to have been a fisherman in Galilee (now part of Israel), along with his elder brother Simon Peter (Saint Peter). Both became followers (apostles) of Jesus Christ, founder of the Christian religion.
St. Andrew is said to have been responsible for spreading the tenets of the Christian religion though Asia Minor and Greece. Tradition suggests that St. Andrew was put to death by the Romans in Patras, Southern Greece by being pinned to a cross (crucified). The diagonal shape of this cross is said to be the basis for the Cross of St. Andrew which appears on the Scottish Flag.
St. Andrews bones were entombed, and around 300 years later were moved by Emperor Constantine (the Great) to his new capital Constantinople (now Istambul in Turkey). Legend suggests that a Greek Monk (although others describe him as an Irish assistant of St. Columba) called St. Rule (or St. Regulus) was warned in a dream that St. Andrews remains were to be moved and was directed by an angel to take those of the remains which he could to the "ends of the earth" for safe-keeping. St. Rule dutifully followed these directions, removing a tooth, an arm bone, a kneecap and some fingers from St. Andrew's tomb and transporting these as far away as he could. Scotland was close to the extremities of the know world at that time and it was here that St. Rule was shipwrecked with his precious cargo.
St. Rule is said to have come ashore at a Pictish settlement on the East Coast of Scotland and this later became St. Andrews. Thus the association of St. Andrew with Scotland was said to have begun.
Perhaps more likely than the tale of St. Rule's journey is that Acca, the Bishop of Hexham, who was a reknown collector of relics, brought the relics of St. Andrew to St. Andrews in 733. There certainly seems to have been a religious centre at St. Andrews at that time, either founded by St. Rule in the 6th century or by a Pictish King, Ungus, who reigned from 731 - 761.
Whichever tale is true, the relics were placed in a specially constructed chapel. This chapel was replaced by the Cathedral of St. Andrews in 1160, and St. Andrews became the religious capital of Scotland and a great centre for Medieval pilgrims who came to view the relics.
There are other legends of how St. Andrew and his remains became associated with Scotland, but there is little evidence for any of these, including the legend of St. Rule. The names still exist in Scotland today, including St. Rules Tower, which remains today amongst the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral.
It is not known what happened to the relics of St. Andrew which were stored in St. Andrews Cathedral, although it is most likely that these were destroyed during the Scottish Reformation. The Protestant cause, propounded by Knox, Wishart and others, won out over Roman Catholism during the Reformation and the "idolatry of catholism", that is the Saints, relics, decoration of churches, were expunged during the process of converting the Roman Catholic churches of Scotland to the harsh simplicity of Knox's brand of Calvanism.
The place where these relics were kept within the Cathedral at St. Andrews is now marked by a plaque, amongst the ruins, for visitors to see.
The larger part of St. Andrew's remains were stolen from Constantinople in 1210 and are now to be found in Amalfi in Southern Italy. In 1879 the Archbishop of Amalfi sent a small piece of the Saint's shoulder blade to the re-established Roman Catholic community in Scotland.
In 1969, Gordon Gray, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland was in Rome to be appointed the first Scottish Cardinal since the Reformation. Pope Paul VI gave him further relics of St. Andrew with the words "Saint Peter gives you his brother". These are now displayed in a reliquary in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.
That is the "blessing" gesture, which is different from the form one would use to cross one's-self when praying or what have you. That gesture is the thumb, index finger, and middle finger held raised together (symbolizing the Trinity), with the ring finger and little finger folded down against the palm (symbolizing the dual nature of Christ, very God and very Man).
Yes, it mentions the Celtic Orthodox churches (centered on the monastic college of Iona between Ireland and Scotland, i.e. "Scotia Major" and "Scotia Minor"); but in simply calling these churches "Orthodox" the article does not give a complete picture of these Churches. To wit:
All of this is entirely true. But to what does all this add up? Well, it certainly adds up to a Church which was very "Eastern Orthodox" in form and style, albeit with a Gaelic vernacular and national flavor. But it overlooks an important area of analysis -- while very Greek in form and style, what did this "Celtic Orthodox" Church believe??
When one reads, in their own words or descriptions thereof, the actual beliefs of the Celtic Orthodox Church -- a VERY interesting picture emerges!!
BELIEFS of the Celtic Orthodox Church
Even their enemies have borne them this testimony, that they made the Bible the fountain-head of their theology. "For dwelling far without the habitable globe," says Bede, "and consequently beyond the reach of the decrees of synods, . . . they could learn only those thing contained in the writings of the Prophets, the Evangelists, and the Apostles." And speaking of Aidan, who was sent to Lindisfarne from Iona, he says, "he took care to omit nothing of all the things in the evangelical, apostolical, and prophetical writings which he knew ought to be done." And yet the venerable man cannot refrain from mildly bewailing the lot of these benighted men who had only the light of the Bible to guide them, when he says again, "They had a zeal for God, but not altogether according to knowledge." Had Bede lived in our day he might have seen reason to acknowledge that, as with the man who attempts to serve two masters, so with him who thinks to walk by two lights: if he would keep in the straight path he must put out one of the two and guide himself by the other. It was the light of the Bible, not of the Church, that shone on the Rock of Iona; and by this light did the elders walk.
And Claudius Scotus, in the ninth century, says: "God is the author of all that is good in man; that is to say, both of good-nature and goodwill, which, unless God do work in him, man cannot do, because this good-will is prepared by the Lord in man, that, by the gift of God he may do that which by himself he could not do of his own free-will."
The Reformation was in Iona before it was in Wittenberg and Geneva. The Scottish theology is not of recent times. Its sons have no reason to be ashamed of it as a novelty. It is older than the days of Knox. It flourished on the Rock of Iona a thousand years before the Reformer was born. It was waxing dim at Rome, but in proportion as the doctrine of justification by faith was being forgotten in the city where Paul had preached it in the first age, it was rising in our poor barbarous country, and after illuminating our northern land and the surrounding regions of Europe during some centuries, it lingered here all through the darkness that succeeded, and broke forth with fresh splendour in the morning of the sixteenth century.
Their views lacked neither depth nor breadth. The Christianity preached in the Scotland of that day was the same full-orbed system, the same galaxy of glorious truths, plain yet profound, simple yet surpassingly sublime, which constitutes the Christianity of this hour. Geneva shakes hand with Iona across the gulf of a thousand years. ~~ HISTORY OF THE SCOTTISH NATION, J.A. Wylie, as quoted in The Covenant Line: From Eden to Independence Hall
So what have we here?! A Church founded by Greek Orthodox, with a Greek Orthodox ecclesiology and liturgy, a Greek Orthodox-styled clergy and monastic tradition.... but their Theological Beliefs -- Sola Scriptura, Justification through Faith Alone, The Death of Free Will in the Fall, Absolute Double Predestination, Symbolic Baptism, Symbolic Eucharist -- these are not the sort of Theological Beliefs one generally associates with Greek Orthodoxy. Why, if one had to put a denominational label on them -- you could scarcely do better than "Calvinist Presbyterian".
So we have these Gaelic Churches... Greek Orthodox in their founding origin, ecclesiology, liturgy, clerical orders -- but Calvinist Presbyterian in their Theology of the Bible, of Salvation, of the Sacraments...
A Church which is at once ORTHODOX in heart...
And yet at the same time PRESBYTERIAN in mind...
Orthodox... and yet Presbyterian also....
Best Regards, Orthodox Presbyterian
Mans Vocation to Theosis
In the book of Genesis we read: And God said, Let us make man according to our image and likeness (Gen 1.26). The Church Fathers, since ancient times (e.g., St Irenæus of Lyons), have distinguished between the Divine image and likeness. Man was created in the image of God, but he had yet to attain His likeness, to become like God, to achieve full theosis. However, man fell. The first man, Adam, prior to his fall, possessed an internal unity through Gods Grace (charis, gratia). He was turned Godward in love. But when he sinned, he lost this special Grace which had protected and united him. The good order of his soul was corrupted, and an unnatural and sinful man came into existence. The passions that overcame man were not outside forces which entered from without and which must be uprooted. Rather, they are energies of the soul which have been distorted and need to be transformed. In the human soul, there are three faculties: the intelligent (logistikon), appetitive (epithymetikon), and the incensive (thymikon). These three faculties must be directed toward God. When they turn away from Him, they become sinful passions. A sinful passion is therefore a movement of the soul contrary to nature.
The first man did not carry out the task which lay before him, to cultivate and to keep (Gen 2.15), to strengthen himself in goodness and co-operate with Divine Grace to attain full deification and become god by Grace. Because of the fall, the Divine economy for man had to be adapted; however, the goal for which man was created did not change. St. Athanasios of Alexandria states that God became man so that man might become god (On the Incarnation). This teaching about theosis is to be found in the writings of the Church Fathers from the earliest times; it has Biblical origins.
The idea of personal and organic union between God and man God dwelling in us and we in Him is set forth in the Gospel according to St John and the Epistles of St Paul. The latter sees the Christian life mainly as a life in Christ. The same idea is expressed also in the Second Epistle of St Peter: According as His Divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness... that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature (II Pet 1.3-4). In Orthodox theology, mans salvation and redemption mean his deification. This teaching must always be understood in the light of the distinction between Gods Essence and His Energies. Union with God means union with the Divine Energies, not with the Divine Essence.
An early witness to this teaching about the distinction between the Divine Essence and Energies is provided by St. Basil the Great, one of the Cappadocian Fathers of the fourth century. In Letter 234, he writes: We know our God from His Energies, but we do not claim that we can draw near to His Essence. For His Energies come down to us, but His Essence remains unapproachable. This teaching was later developed by one of the greatest theologians of the Orthodox Church, St. Gregory Palamas. The union between God and man is a true union, in which man retains his full personal integrity and personal characteristics without ceasing to be human.
Deification involves the body also. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, wrote the Apostle Paul (I Cor 6.19). At the Resurrection, the bodies of the Saints will be transfigured by Divine Light, as the body of the Lord was transfigured on Mount Tabor. Even in this present life, some Saints have experienced the beginning of this visible and bodily glorification. In the Apophthegmata Patrum, a collection of sayings of the Desert Fathers, we read of Abba Pambo: Just as Moses received the image of the glory of Adam, when his face was glorified, so the face of Abba Pambo shone like lightning, and he was as a king seated on his throne. The body is sanctified and transfigured together with the soul. The Divine Grace present in the Saints bodies during their lifetime on earth remains active in their Relics after their death, which is the reason behind the veneration of holy Relics in the Church.
By His Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, and Founding of the Church, the Lord opened for His most precious creature, man, the path to his true goal, to theosis. In the Mysteries of Baptism and Chrismation, a person receives the fullness of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. But he must still make this Grace his own; he must go through the process of acquiring the Holy Spirit. St. Mark the Ascetic says that Christ as Perfect God gave to the Baptised the perfect Grace of the Holy Spirit, which is revealed and manifested insofar as a person lives the Divine commandments (Instructions for Hesychasts).
The call to sanctity and spiritual perfection is directed to all Christians and therefore all true Christians do everything that is in their power to acquire the Holy Spirit and to achieve inner unification and the healing of the passions. They discover that there are various steps of spiritual ascent to purification of the heart and illumination, when the intellect (nous) is united with the heart, in ceaseless prayer, to achieve theosis.
The process of spiritual advancement is not something mechanical or magical, however, as if by certain actions we can force Divine Grace to effect our internal transformation. Divine Grace brings about this internal change when the time is ripe. But it can also be said that it works in correspondence with a persons own struggle and efforts in repentance and humility. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? (Lk 11.13).The co-operation (synergy) of Divine Grace with a persons own free will is thus required.
Were the Celtic churches Protestant?
When the Protestants break with Rome in the sixteenth century, they consider the Celtic churches to be early examples of Protestantism, free of the errors of the Romish Church. That view is a mistaken one. All the central doctrines of the Celtic churches, above the role of the mass in worship, are those of Catholicism. If the Pope's presence does not loom large, it is not because the Celts feel themselves separated from the universal Church. It is rather because of geographical distance and the fact that papal claims to sovereignty are not yet fully developed.
Ahem... or, you could try reading the above quotations -- what the Celtic Orthodox Fathers themselves declared.
Here's the scoop, FL -- I'm not quoting what some Calvinist said about the Celtic Orthodox.
I'm quoting, in their very own words, the direct preaching of the Celtic Orthodox Fathers to their own flocks.
And there, you have it.
This is a Roman Catholic belief?
This is a Roman Catholic belief?
This is a Roman Catholic belief?
And these are Roman Catholic beliefs?
Then HURRAH! HUZZAH! HALLELUJAH!! For if Rome believes these Celtic Orthodox beliefs, Rome has coverted to Presbyterianism!!
For that is what these beliefs describe.
With all due respect, the Protestants are known to twist history to justify their new found creed. For example, many Protestants like historian Gibbon's praise of the heretical Paulicians because they saw in then an ealry Protestantisim.
Except that if you actually quote the Paulicians, they don't come off looking quite so Protestant (or orthodox Christian at all, for that matter).
But when you actually quote the Celtic Orthodox Fathers...
Well, look. READ my #31. Cross-reference with the full quotations given above.
Lemme illustrate -- Suppose that these Celtic Orthodox Father had taught:
Then you'd certainly be citing these as evidences of Eastern Orthodox Theology in the Celtic Church, wouldn't you? And you'd have an honest right to do so.
By the same token, then, Intellectual Honesty compels you to acknowledge what the Celtic Orthodox Fathers actually did teach:
For their own words testify, to the sermons they preached to their flocks.
This is true of the doctrine of Theosis (Sanctification) in any theology -- including the Calvinist. Once we are Made Alive in Christ, we do cooperate in Sanctification.
However, you're quoting an Article about the Celtic Orthodox. If we like, we can just read what the Celtic Orthodox Fathers themselves wrote... I've posted numerous citations above.
I. Yes, Ephesians is our Bible also.
II. This may contradict Trent, but I would need more context.
III. As Roman Catholic as it gets. In fact, the last sentence is an excellent summary of justification: heaven is a gift; hell is always earned.
IV. (a) I don't read this as saying what you claim it says; I read it as an exhortation for adult converts to repent before they receive baptism. Extremely Catholic.
Out of the five propositions you cite, three are perfectly acceptable Catholic doctrine. One may not be (but was within the pale of orthodoxy at the time it was penned!). One is heresy.
So I guess the Scots were 80% Roman Catholic.
Well, I suppose a case could be made that they're at least 80% Catholic of the Augustinian variety -- and that's if you can go along with the "free-will itself also was lost, for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he also brought into bondage" (quoted from Luther's "Bondage of the Will", or from the Celtic Orthodox? Yup, it's the latter!); I doubt many free-will Molinist Catholics would groove on such a declaration.
At any rate, however, their theology is still 100% Calvinist. ;-)
I believe you are correct.
Concerning Justification by Faith Alone, The Death of Free Will in the Fall, Absolute Double Predestination, and Baptism: HISTORY OF THE SCOTTISH NATION, Volume 2 Chapter 23, J.A. Wylie
Concerning the Eucharist: HISTORY OF THE SCOTTISH NATION, Volume 3 Chapter 7, J.A. Wylie
In Presbyterianism also, we believe that the Bread and Wine are Under the Blessing during the celebration of the Lord's Supper.
Yet they remain -- Bread and Wine:
With the Real Presence of Christ.
The Real Presence totally contradicts the statement "The Sacraments of the Altar are not the real Body and Blood of Christ, but only the commemoration of his Body and Blood."
If it is "only" a commemoration, there is no presence. It is bread and wine and nothing more. I guess the author and I agree as to what is on his altar table. ;-)
Yes, Wylie provides a proper footnote for every single quotation.
Correct attribution of cited materials.
Okay, so you're acknowledging that the Celtic Orthodox taught the Calvinist, not the Greek or Latin, view of the Eucharist.
Well, yes, that's exactly what I have been saying, isn't it?
No, I'm acknowledging that the author is attempting to wrongly portray that as so.
And I'm acknowledging that he allow his own beliefs to color his research. A tragic though not uncommon occurrence.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time on this forum has become very familiar with observing this practice. I've even seen folks "cherry-picking" quotes from Scripture to support the man-made tradition of Sola Scriptura.
And I note that many members of the British royal family fled to Kievan Rus' following 1066, where they undoubtedly found a familar faith being proclaimed.
Indeed, he can cite another Presbyterian author with whom he agrees! ;-)
And you'll have to excuse me, but that leaves me categorically unconvinced.
It is heartening to do a Google search on "Celtic Orthodoxy" however and see how many are re-connecting to their Eastern Orthodox roots.
Alright, well, let's ask a simple question:
Is this statement closer to:
If you mean that Wylie's (numerous) direct citations of Sedulius Scotus are "another Presbyterian author with whom he agrees"...
...You're largely right!! Sedulius Scotus WAS essentially Calvinist Presbyterian in his theology. Nice of you to admit it.