Good post. I, too, was a little surprised to see the rather Protestant sounding views on Roman involvement in the evangelisation of Britain. Augustine was not sent to 'bring Celtic bishops in to line' as someone wrote, but to convert pagan Saxons in south east England. Likewise, the Synod of Whitby was not a lording over of the Celtic church by Rome, but an attempt to bring Celtic practices back in line with those of the whole Church. Neither the Roman nor the Celtic churches were more Orthodox, they just had different customs. To argue otherwise would be like me arguing that the Romanian church is more Orthodox than the Russian - nonsense. The Roman and Celtic saints who evangelised the Anglo-Saxons were all Orthodox, as were the Anglo-Saxons they converted, at least until the 11th century. All such saints are worthy of veneration by Orthodox Christians and should be venerated by us in the west if by nobody else.
The sort of anti-Augustine, anti-Whitby arguments I usually see are indicative of 'romaphobia', to steal someone else's amusing term, - an irrational hatred of all things Roman. It really isn't until the period of the Papally blessed Norman invasion (until when the majority of the English church seems to have remained completely Orthodox), that you can start contrasting the the British and Roman churches in the way that is here applied to the time of Augustine, by some posters at least. It is true that as Rome and the East began to diverge, so did Rome and Britain and in that sense, the British church was 'eastern'. It is also true that the Normans replaced the native English church with a Roman Catholic one, and that many Saxon refugees fled to southern Russia and Constantinople. It's even true that when the Normans invaded Ireland they found them still commemorating the eastern Emperor, but it is a complete anachronism to transfer the antagonism between the British churches and Norman Roman Catholicism to an earlier time when Rome remained Orthodox and her Patriarch was no less than St. Gregory the Great!
Thank you for your post! I often wonder though whether things were going south in Britain before the Normans. I am just not sure if Lay Investiture had been abused or was as problematic as some professors would indicate though I do not like the idea of a Bishop carrying a sword and getting involved in temporal affairs. Then again I am not sure how widespread this was? Of course by the death of Anselm I think it is safe to say that Orthodox England was pretty much gone with some pockets of Orthodox spirituality surviving here and there. I am also still not sure how to feel about the English Medieval Mystics.
Augustine was not sent to 'bring Celtic bishops in to line' as someone wrote, but to convert pagan Saxons in south east England. Likewise, the Synod of Whitby was not a lording over of the Celtic church by Rome, but an attempt to bring Celtic practices back in line with those of the whole Church. Neither the Roman nor the Celtic churches were more Orthodox, they just had different customs.
I think this is a very good and succinct summary of what I was trying to get at. I think a lot of people are attracted to the customs
and understandably get the idea that they are more Orthodox or more 'Eastern.' I am also attracted to the Celtic customs very much particularly the images of Celtic Crosses, green fields, coastlines, the ocean around you, the clouds, the holy wells, beehive cells, etc. However these are customs that I would say are very compatible with a new flourishing of Orthodoxy in Ireland, though I do not expect that to happen. And I also would not say they are more Orthodox than what the Saxons did after they were converted.
no offense taken - yes I used WASP in sense of caucasian western European - French,German, Scotish, English (perhaps British - Northumbria on my father's side);
Check out the Road to Emmaus Journal www.roadtoemmaus.com; issue # 5 Spring 01 and issue # 15 Fall 03; there is alot of Russian Orthodox interest in the Celtic Church
There was obviously SOME difference between the Celtic and western church at the time of Augustine of C. and Gregory DID want to make the western church uniform under his liturgical reforms. At the very least the Celts looked more to the early desert fathers than to Rome and their organization was more monastic than ecclessial.
Also, although there was one Church and both were Orthodox, political pressures were beginning to isolate the western Church from the east and draw the popes into worldly affairs, if for no other reason than to prevent the slaughter of their people by barbarian invasion. East and West were closer in 300 than in 600 and closer in 600 than in 900 - the schism didn't happen in a vacuum.
The link you gave did not work but I found this to be helpful http://www.roadtoemmaus.net/articleextracts.html
It has two other good articles. I would also like to see the other articles you mentioned.
There was obviously SOME difference between the Celtic and western church at the time of Augustine of C. and Gregory DID want to make the western church uniform under his liturgical reforms.
I do not think that St.Augustine was unfair or brutal towards the Celts as seemed to be indicated by others. Also I think that the quote I give speaks for itself. St.Augustine was prepared to allow the Celts to keep their customs and practices if they would only agree to join together in certain practices with the Roman Patriarchate so that they could celebrate Pascha together and work together to convert the remaining Pagans on the island, and there were quite a few left at the time, which naturally explains why they needed to have the same Baptismal Rite.
At the very least the Celts looked more to the early desert fathers than to Rome and their organization was more monastic than ecclessial.
I do totally agree with you on this but I think the same can be said for many early churches. Look at France. Fr.Seraphims translation and Introduction to Vita Patrum
tells this excellently. However I do think the Irish connection to the Egyptian deserts needs further exploration. I recently found this interesting quote
In the Book of Kells, the portrait of the Madonna seems almost certainly modelled on Coptic original. There is strong literary evidence of links as well. In the life of John the Almsgiver, it speaks of a voyage to Cornwall. The Book of Leinster remembers the feast day of "the seven Egyptian monks buried at Disert Ullaigh". In addition, there are many inexplicable analogies: the style of the monks' cells, the crowns worn by bishops, the use of bells and of flabellum (fans). Moreover, the Book of Antiphons of the monastery of Bangor says quite clearly: "This house full of delights was built on rock, and on the true vine coming out of Egypt
Also when you look at the SEVERE asceticism practiced early on it is incredible. One sight I think you would be interested in seeing pictures of is Skellig Michael http://images.google.com/images?q=Skellig+Michael+photos&hl=en&lr=&sa=N&tab=ii&oi=imagest
I also think most monastics in Ireland referred to the Psalms as the 'Three Fifties' and often said the whole Psalter daily, usually having it all memorized like many Eastern Orthodox monastics today.
East and West were closer in 300 than in 600 and closer in 600 than in 900 - the schism didn't happen in a vacuum.
I would disagree with this. I would say that if not for Charlemagne and the rise of the Germans with the Holy Roman Empire there may have never been a Schism at all. There is a monograph published by St.Hilarions monastery about the Amalfion (the Western Rite monastery that was on Mt.Athos) I think you would be interested in that shows just how unified the Orthodox in Italy and Southern Europe were with the Eastern Patriarchates until those Normans, Franks, and Germans ruined everything. The article used to be online and hopefully will be again. Later this week I will cite some of its interesting facts. Right now I am at school.