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Author Topic: Orthodoxy's rightful claim to Britain?  (Read 1246 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 03, 2014, 02:53:04 PM »

What difference, if any, was there between the Christianity first introduced to the British Isles and the pre-schism church? If there was no difference at all, what caused the East to stand back after the schism and allow Britain to fall to Rome? From what I've read, between the schism and the Norman invasion, the Church in England was hardly "in line" with Rome, some kings were ex-communicated and such. Did the Orthodox do much to go to Britain and say "hey guys, we're your "ancestors", and while you disagree with Rome, maybe you'd see truth with us?"

Lastly, if not, why not? How different would the make up of the Christian faith be if we had been an Orthodox nation from medieval times? The impact on North America (and the growth of protestantism) could have been unfathomable.
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2014, 03:29:25 PM »

What difference, if any, was there between the Christianity first introduced to the British Isles and the pre-schism church? If there was no difference at all, what caused the East to stand back after the schism and allow Britain to fall to Rome? From what I've read, between the schism and the Norman invasion, the Church in England was hardly "in line" with Rome, some kings were ex-communicated and such. Did the Orthodox do much to go to Britain and say "hey guys, we're your "ancestors", and while you disagree with Rome, maybe you'd see truth with us?"

Lastly, if not, why not? How different would the make up of the Christian faith be if we had been an Orthodox nation from medieval times? The impact on North America (and the growth of protestantism) could have been unfathomable.

Some of the Anglo-Saxon Royalty were intertwined with Kyivan Rus.  Gytha of Wessex (d. 1098 or 1107), daughter of Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon King, married Volodymyr II Monomakh (1053-1125) the Orthodox Grand Prince of Kyiv

Between the Great Schism and the Conquest only 12 years had passed.  And it was not immediately evident that the schism was to be so enduring.  That took several hundred years to determine. 

This was the era of recovery from the Dark Ages in Western Europe.  The Pope had tried to revive the Western Roman Empire in a new form and sought to control puppet emperors.  The Investiture Controversy, over whether the pope or the King had power to appoint bishops, raged at this time.  The King of England gave up the right to name bishops in 1107. Reliance on the East was ever more strained and the decline of learning made communication very difficult.  By the 11th century it was dealing with the rise of the Turks and by the 13th century would be overrun in the crusades.  Rus fell to the Mongols in this same era. There was thus little chance to do anything.

The Norman monarchs were trying to maintain and hold their French lands and so both sides jockeyed back and forth for papal support.  A hundred years after the resolution of the investiture controversy in England, King Johns dispute with the Pope over who should be Archbishop of Canterbury led to England being placed under interdict for years and was a factor in the barons revolt and the signing of the Magna Carta.  Overtures to the Eastern Church would likely not have been permitted. 

The British Church had always charted its own course in terms of practice.  Before the 6th century the remnants of Celtic Christianity held to the quartodecinian calculation of Easter until brought under the present calculation by St. Augustine of Canterbury and his successors.  The English Church used a variant form of the Latin Mass called the Sarum Use.

After the Reformation a group of Scottish non-jurors sought union with Orthodoxy in the early 18th century.  These efforts failed due to political and theological disagreements and the death of the Tsar. 

In short, both regions were dealing with enormous political problems and by the time a possible union was even on the radar, there was too much cultural drift and estrangement to foster it. 
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2014, 03:34:59 PM »

Between the "schism" and the Norman invasion, there really wasn't a schism. (I assume you mean by "schism" the mutual excommunications of the Papal legates and Patriarch Michael)  The mutual excommunications were not seen as terribly significant at the time and the relations between the churches continued largely the same. Apart from that, Britain was fairly remote from any place where the Eastern church was predominant. Their primary interactions with the East were primarily a) trade, especially with Rus'; and b) guys occasionally joining the Varangian guard.
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2014, 04:04:45 PM »

Between the "schism" and the Norman invasion, there really wasn't a schism. (I assume you mean by "schism" the mutual excommunications of the Papal legates and Patriarch Michael)  The mutual excommunications were not seen as terribly significant at the time and the relations between the churches continued largely the same. Apart from that, Britain was fairly remote from any place where the Eastern church was predominant. Their primary interactions with the East were primarily a) trade, especially with Rus'; and b) guys occasionally joining the Varangian guard.

It depends kind of on when you're talking about. There may have been more contact than we think. I just finished reading From the Holy Mountain by William Dalrymple who points out striking similarities between illustrations in Celtic Gospel books and Byzantine iconography, even as far north as Iona.
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2014, 05:40:50 PM »

The changes were subtle and few at the time on the ground realized them. It didn't help that papal supremacy was part of a whole program of reform and restructuring. It's easier to see it in hindsight from our vantage point today than it was to see it happening as it was happening.
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2014, 05:45:38 PM »

I just finished reading From the Holy Mountain by William Dalrymple...

Ugh.  Tongue
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2014, 09:55:25 PM »

What difference, if any, was there between the Christianity first introduced to the British Isles and the pre-schism church? If there was no difference at all, what caused the East to stand back after the schism and allow Britain to fall to Rome? From what I've read, between the schism and the Norman invasion, the Church in England was hardly "in line" with Rome, some kings were ex-communicated and such. Did the Orthodox do much to go to Britain and say "hey guys, we're your "ancestors", and while you disagree with Rome, maybe you'd see truth with us?"

Lastly, if not, why not? How different would the make up of the Christian faith be if we had been an Orthodox nation from medieval times? The impact on North America (and the growth of protestantism) could have been unfathomable.

Some of the Anglo-Saxon Royalty were intertwined with Kyivan Rus.  Gytha of Wessex (d. 1098 or 1107), daughter of Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon King, married Volodymyr II Monomakh (1053-1125) the Orthodox Grand Prince of Kyiv

This is true, though the marriage took place after the death of Harald Godwinson and was arranged by the king of Denmark Swein Estrithson.  Some of her granddaughters then married nobles or royalty in Denmark and Norway.  Meanwhile it was common for the nobles and royalty of England to marry into families in Normandy or Flanders or Denmark or other western European locations.  It was more that marriages made with persons of similar rank and for alliances for some span of time that was the motivation, not religion. 

Quote
Between the Great Schism and the Conquest only 12 years had passed.  And it was not immediately evident that the schism was to be so enduring.  That took several hundred years to determine. 

This was the era of recovery from the Dark Ages in Western Europe.  The Pope had tried to revive the Western Roman Empire in a new form and sought to control puppet emperors.  The Investiture Controversy, over whether the pope or the King had power to appoint bishops, raged at this time.

Since it is recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for example that a number of bishops traveled to Rome (which was an arduous journey) to receive the pallium from the Pope, it can be understood in some way the idea that the hierarchy of the Church was not (theoretically) involved with secular rulers.  Then again, the situation in the years prior to 1066 in relation to who held the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury was rife with whose preferred candidate was installed with disagreements between the King and the House of Godwin. 

Other things that would make such an approach as the OP wrote about not really likely were the physical distances between England and Constantinople, the difficulty of traveling, the length of time that it took to get news from one place to another, that even with the estrangements with Rome, the Pope was the "Patriarch of the West" as it were.  The worship was in the western rites not the eastern.

Also, for many people the matter of survival, of just staying alive, was what they were concerned with, not the disagreements and politics of some highly placed persons in far away places.  Politically speaking, the kings and nobles were more concerned with keeping their lands and power, expanding them if possible, resisting being taken over when they could. 

That was a nice overview that you wrote. Thank you.  Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2014, 10:01:41 PM »

Between the "schism" and the Norman invasion, there really wasn't a schism. (I assume you mean by "schism" the mutual excommunications of the Papal legates and Patriarch Michael)  The mutual excommunications were not seen as terribly significant at the time and the relations between the churches continued largely the same. Apart from that, Britain was fairly remote from any place where the Eastern church was predominant. Their primary interactions with the East were primarily a) trade, especially with Rus'; and b) guys occasionally joining the Varangian guard.

Agreed, and has been in the accounts of various Norse sagas, those who traveled to join the Varangian Guard did so often because that was a place where they could be paid well and be part of a special force.  Younger sons who had no inheritance, some in search of making their fortune and then returning home with wealth were some of those who traveled there.  Many of the Norse were not Christian but when because that was where riches might be won. 
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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2014, 10:02:42 PM »

I just finished reading From the Holy Mountain by William Dalrymple...

Ugh.  Tongue

I haven't read this book. What can you tell us about it, Mor, if you're willing?
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2014, 10:04:16 PM »

What difference, if any, was there between the Christianity first introduced to the British Isles and the pre-schism church? If there was no difference at all, what caused the East to stand back after the schism and allow Britain to fall to Rome? From what I've read, between the schism and the Norman invasion, the Church in England was hardly "in line" with Rome, some kings were ex-communicated and such. Did the Orthodox do much to go to Britain and say "hey guys, we're your "ancestors", and while you disagree with Rome, maybe you'd see truth with us?"

Lastly, if not, why not? How different would the make up of the Christian faith be if we had been an Orthodox nation from medieval times? The impact on North America (and the growth of protestantism) could have been unfathomable.

May I ask what you have read on this, please?  and if you are interested in the time I can recommend some good works on the Anglo-Saxon through Norman time.   Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2014, 02:09:36 AM »

What difference, if any, was there between the Christianity first introduced to the British Isles and the pre-schism church? If there was no difference at all, what caused the East to stand back after the schism and allow Britain to fall to Rome? From what I've read, between the schism and the Norman invasion, the Church in England was hardly "in line" with Rome, some kings were ex-communicated and such. Did the Orthodox do much to go to Britain and say "hey guys, we're your "ancestors", and while you disagree with Rome, maybe you'd see truth with us?"

Lastly, if not, why not? How different would the make up of the Christian faith be if we had been an Orthodox nation from medieval times? The impact on North America (and the growth of protestantism) could have been unfathomable.

May I ask what you have read on this, please?  and if you are interested in the time I can recommend some good works on the Anglo-Saxon through Norman time.   Smiley

I'll be honest, I cannot remember the exact sources, which is why I don't take them as gospel.

ps. yes please. I'm no nationalist, but being "my" country I care dearly for the history of the faith it has and had.
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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2014, 11:26:33 PM »

The study of history doesn't make a person "nationalist" as a matter of course. 

First off, if you're interested, we do have some primary source materials from the Anglo-Saxon times and before.  Not huge amounts but there are some.  One of these is The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles which has been translated into modern English from "Old English"/Anglo-Saxon.  It lists events that happened in different years.  Anglo-Saxon England by Sir Frank Stenton is a good overview and should be fairly available.

Do you have any particular questions on this period (5th to 11th centuries for the Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Danish in England) or beyond?
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2014, 01:26:35 AM »

The study of history doesn't make a person "nationalist" as a matter of course. 

First off, if you're interested, we do have some primary source materials from the Anglo-Saxon times and before.  Not huge amounts but there are some.  One of these is The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles which has been translated into modern English from "Old English"/Anglo-Saxon.  It lists events that happened in different years.  Anglo-Saxon England by Sir Frank Stenton is a good overview and should be fairly available.

Do you have any particular questions on this period (5th to 11th centuries for the Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Danish in England) or beyond?

I know so little on the subject it's probably best to take your suggestions before asking easily answered questions and wasting people's time (I know how annoying that sort of thread is when Google will provide something) and although I had heard of the chronicles I didn't know the content.

I'll come back if and when I have particular questions, but I am interested in the early introduction and ongoing development of the faith in Britain, as I would like not to be that sort of convert who tries to 'be Greek' at my Greek Orthodox church when the Greek immigrants themselves are just Orthodox. If I understand how it grew in Britain I can understand a bit better what it means to be Orthodox without being gimmicky, so being a British Orthodox (not to be mistaken with the BOC mind!) because after all, Christianity is not a Greek religion, or a Russian religion, or a Levantine religion.
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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2014, 08:18:17 AM »

The study of history doesn't make a person "nationalist" as a matter of course.  

First off, if you're interested, we do have some primary source materials from the Anglo-Saxon times and before.  Not huge amounts but there are some.  One of these is The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles which has been translated into modern English from "Old English"/Anglo-Saxon.  It lists events that happened in different years.  Anglo-Saxon England by Sir Frank Stenton is a good overview and should be fairly available.

Do you have any particular questions on this period (5th to 11th centuries for the Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Danish in England) or beyond?

I know so little on the subject it's probably best to take your suggestions before asking easily answered questions and wasting people's time (I know how annoying that sort of thread is when Google will provide something) and although I had heard of the chronicles I didn't know the content.

I don't mind trying to answer questions that you have.  While Google can be useful, if a person is looking for information on a subject that is new to them it may be difficult to know which sites are good.  

Quote
I'll come back if and when I have particular questions, but I am interested in the early introduction and ongoing development of the faith in Britain, as I would like not to be that sort of convert who tries to 'be Greek' at my Greek Orthodox church when the Greek immigrants themselves are just Orthodox. If I understand how it grew in Britain I can understand a bit better what it means to be Orthodox without being gimmicky, so being a British Orthodox (not to be mistaken with the BOC mind!) because after all, Christianity is not a Greek religion, or a Russian religion, or a Levantine religion.

Well, a basic idea of the time line and peoples involved might be helpful.  Humans have been living in the British Isles for many thousands of years an there has been some fascinating archeological finds from the Neolithic through the Bronze Age to the Iron Age.   When the Romans came starting with Julius Caesar's attempt in 55 B.C. and succeeding with the legions sent by Claudius in 43 A.D. there were many different tribes/groups there.  Roman influence withdrew sometime in the early 5th century.  This is known by the dates on the coins that have been found.
Here's an overview: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/questions_01.shtml#two

The "Protomartyr" of Britain, that is the first Christian martyred there, is St. Alban who is mentioned in Bede's Ecclesiastical
History
Book 1, Chapter 7  http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/bede-book1.asp

The Angles, Saxons and Jutes came over some time after Rome had withdrawn.  But there were still Romano-British Christians there such as the family of St. Patrick.  

Please feel free to ask any questions.
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2014, 01:12:15 PM »

The study of history doesn't make a person "nationalist" as a matter of course.  

First off, if you're interested, we do have some primary source materials from the Anglo-Saxon times and before.  Not huge amounts but there are some.  One of these is The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles which has been translated into modern English from "Old English"/Anglo-Saxon.  It lists events that happened in different years.  Anglo-Saxon England by Sir Frank Stenton is a good overview and should be fairly available.

Do you have any particular questions on this period (5th to 11th centuries for the Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Danish in England) or beyond?

I know so little on the subject it's probably best to take your suggestions before asking easily answered questions and wasting people's time (I know how annoying that sort of thread is when Google will provide something) and although I had heard of the chronicles I didn't know the content.

I don't mind trying to answer questions that you have.  While Google can be useful, if a person is looking for information on a subject that is new to them it may be difficult to know which sites are good.  

Quote
I'll come back if and when I have particular questions, but I am interested in the early introduction and ongoing development of the faith in Britain, as I would like not to be that sort of convert who tries to 'be Greek' at my Greek Orthodox church when the Greek immigrants themselves are just Orthodox. If I understand how it grew in Britain I can understand a bit better what it means to be Orthodox without being gimmicky, so being a British Orthodox (not to be mistaken with the BOC mind!) because after all, Christianity is not a Greek religion, or a Russian religion, or a Levantine religion.

Well, a basic idea of the time line and peoples involved might be helpful.  Humans have been living in the British Isles for many thousands of years an there has been some fascinating archeological finds from the Neolithic through the Bronze Age to the Iron Age.   When the Romans came starting with Julius Caesar's attempt in 55 B.C. and succeeding with the legions sent by Claudius in 43 A.D. there were many different tribes/groups there.  Roman influence withdrew sometime in the early 5th century.  This is known by the dates on the coins that have been found.
Here's an overview: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/questions_01.shtml#two

The "Protomartyr" of Britain, that is the first Christian martyred there, is St. Alban who is mentioned in Bede's Ecclesiastical
History
Book 1, Chapter 7  http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/bede-book1.asp

The Angles, Saxons and Jutes came over some time after Rome had withdrawn.  But there were still Romano-British Christians there such as the family of St. Patrick.  

Please feel free to ask any questions.

Eurgh, can't stand the Romans, not as bad as the Normans, mind Tongue I'm aware of the pre-Roman history, as I am quite interested in the Iron Age and the megalithic sites which I am blessed to have litter my surrounding area for plenty of visiting (and we were doing quite well on our own without the Romans!) but the Roman era itself is not historically interesting (to me), rather I am interested in the introduction and spreading of Christianity, the early centuries, and how it was conducted in this country and how it differed from continental Christianity.
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2014, 07:16:23 PM »

Well, the first introduction of Christianity in Britain happened during the Roman centuries, so they can't really be ignored in the account of the times.  St. Alban was Roman-British according to the accounts.  He had hidden a priest and presented himself to soldiers who came looking for him.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Alban
Christianity spread through the populace over the decades and there were Romano-British families with priests and deacons.  St. Patrick was from such a family and after being kidnapped and taken to Ireland eventually escaped back to England. Constantine was Roman and in Britain up in what is now York when he was proclaimed Emperor.   Gildas writing in the 6th century was Christian. 
So without the Romans the spread of Christianity to northwestern Europe would possibly have been much more difficult and delayed.

It was during the early Anglo-Saxon time that Christian presence in England was at a low point.  But there were royal marriages of pagan and Christian that helped it to revive.

Can you perhaps explain your antipathy to the Romans, please?  It is part of history.  Yes, it was an invasion.  But then again the various tribes and groups that lived in the British Isles were not completely peaceful nor united. How do you mean that they were doing "quite well"? 

I agree that there are many fascinating neolithic sites in the British Isles and that it is a good thing that some of them have lasted or been preserved.

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« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2014, 07:29:38 PM »

Is this is one of those "Who came first?" kind of discussions. What does it matter? I've thought the key issue is who has the most correct doctrines instead of who came first.
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« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2014, 10:56:26 PM »

I don't think that it's that sort of thread.  I was using Romans in the historic Roman-empire-the-caesars-and-legions-for-several-centuries meaning.  Because I'm just going over some British Isles history.

JGHunter- are you thinking "Romans" as in "Roman Catholics"? 
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« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2014, 03:45:12 AM »

I don't think that it's that sort of thread.  I was using Romans in the historic Roman-empire-the-caesars-and-legions-for-several-centuries meaning.  Because I'm just going over some British Isles history.

JGHunter- are you thinking "Romans" as in "Roman Catholics"?  

You are correct, we were talking about Romans as an invading force before Christianity existed, hence we also talked about the Saxons and I mentioned the Normans (if I was talking about Roman Catholics, I couldn't hate the Normans more than the Romans, because the Normans would have been more "Roman Catholic" than the Romans if anything).

I don't mean to be rude, but I am not sure where Alpo got that idea from. This thread started about whether the Orthodoxy of today resembled the early Christianity that was introduced to Britain and my ignorance over the effects of the Great Schism and forgetting how much Orthodoxy was struggling to keep its throat from being cut for centuries to continue its missionary work. It was really about whether, without whatever held Orthodoxy back (justly so or otherwise) Britain could have become an "Orthodox country".

You're quite right, my antipathy towards the Romans isn't as harsh as it probably came across, they did bring a lot of good things (namely Christianity) to Britain, but there are the odd dotted claims to civilisation (such as constructed roads, as opposed to just worn out tracks) that Britain did already have long before the Roman Republic even existed. We weren't complete and utter barbarians and was a deliberate negative portrayal.
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« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2014, 05:55:12 AM »

^I got it from the thread's title. Claiming something plus talk about history seemed like "We were here first so UK is actually an Orthodox country". I've seen arguments something like that before.

Also, English is not my native language so I don't necessarily cath all the subtleties.

Anyway, I'm glad that I was wrong. Now back to regulargy scheduled business. Move along, there's nothing to see here. Tongue
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« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2014, 06:47:32 AM »

^I got it from the thread's title. Claiming something plus talk about history seemed like "We were here first so UK is actually an Orthodox country". I've seen arguments something like that before.

Also, English is not my native language so I don't necessarily cath all the subtleties.

Anyway, I'm glad that I was wrong. Now back to regulargy scheduled business. Move along, there's nothing to see here. Tongue

Forgive me if I sounded abrasive. My title wasn't really "anti-Catholic", more "pro-Orthodox", if you catch my drift. Clearly, the Uk isn't an Orthodox country, just whether or not it could have easily developed to become one. The title didn't intend to be a claim, rather a suggestion that it could be the case. If the early Christianity present in England was quite far removed from Orthodoxy, then the church would have had just as hard a time convincing the Brits to change their Christianity as they do today Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2014, 09:44:57 AM »

I don't think that it's that sort of thread.  I was using Romans in the historic Roman-empire-the-caesars-and-legions-for-several-centuries meaning.  Because I'm just going over some British Isles history.

JGHunter- are you thinking "Romans" as in "Roman Catholics"?  

You are correct, we were talking about Romans as an invading force before Christianity existed, hence we also talked about the Saxons and I mentioned the Normans (if I was talking about Roman Catholics, I couldn't hate the Normans more than the Romans, because the Normans would have been more "Roman Catholic" than the Romans if anything).

Thank you for explaining.  

Quote
I don't mean to be rude, but I am not sure where Alpo got that idea from. This thread started about whether the Orthodoxy of today resembled the early Christianity that was introduced to Britain and my ignorance over the effects of the Great Schism and forgetting how much Orthodoxy was struggling to keep its throat from being cut for centuries to continue its missionary work. It was really about whether, without whatever held Orthodoxy back (justly so or otherwise) Britain could have become an "Orthodox country".

Well, Alpo has answered and things are cleared up then.  Smiley  So to review, the first entry of Christianity to England came with the Romans in the 3rd century or so at least going by one date for St. Alban in the early 200s.  Romans and Britons intermarried for centuries and over time Christianity became part of the local culture, though it wasn't the only religion around.  There are records of clergy visiting Britain from Gaul in those years and Britons going to Gaul. St. Patrick was Romano-British and lived in the 5th century. St. Palladius was sent by Rome to Ireland and he then is reported as having gone to northern England to the Scots. Then St. Patrick went to Ireland. (This is generally 5th century).  Then there's Gildas (Christian) and his account from the 6th century on the coming of the Saxons (not Christian at that time).  That's another thing you might want to read, Gildas' On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain.  


Quote
You're quite right, my antipathy towards the Romans isn't as harsh as it probably came across, they did bring a lot of good things (namely Christianity) to Britain, but there are the odd dotted claims to civilisation (such as constructed roads, as opposed to just worn out tracks) that Britain did already have long before the Roman Republic even existed. We weren't complete and utter barbarians and was a deliberate negative portrayal.

Well, one thing is that the various British tribes weren't literate as far as has been found so they left no records, just artifacts some of which are quite wonderful, it's true. The Romans did leave written accounts and naturally they are from their point of view. But eventually with the mingling of the cultures writing became part of the British culture.  However, there's the point of documents actually surviving through the centuries (and we're lucky to have some at least.)  The old tracks that have been found such as the Ridgeway and the Icknield Way are significant, but they aren't on the same scale as the road system that was laid down across much of Europe.  And different tracks are from different times,

I don't think that anyone here is saying that the Brigantes or Iceni or other tribes were "total barbarians",  It is known that some British leaders or tribes took to various aspects of Roman culture readily and to some lavish extents.  The Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex is thought to have been built for a local British chief who was Pro-Roman and is quite amazing.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishbourne_Roman_Palace

Perhaps I still do not quite understand your views.
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« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2014, 10:22:37 AM »

Quote
You're quite right, my antipathy towards the Romans isn't as harsh as it probably came across, they did bring a lot of good things (namely Christianity) to Britain, but there are the odd dotted claims to civilisation (such as constructed roads, as opposed to just worn out tracks) that Britain did already have long before the Roman Republic even existed. We weren't complete and utter barbarians and was a deliberate negative portrayal.

Well, one thing is that the various British tribes weren't literate as far as has been found so they left no records, just artifacts some of which are quite wonderful, it's true. The Romans did leave written accounts and naturally they are from their point of view. But eventually with the mingling of the cultures writing became part of the British culture.  However, there's the point of documents actually surviving through the centuries (and we're lucky to have some at least.)  The old tracks that have been found such as the Ridgeway and the Icknield Way are significant, but they aren't on the same scale as the road system that was laid down across much of Europe.  And different tracks are from different times,

I don't think that anyone here is saying that the Brigantes or Iceni or other tribes were "total barbarians",  It is known that some British leaders or tribes took to various aspects of Roman culture readily and to some lavish extents.  The Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex is thought to have been built for a local British chief who was Pro-Roman and is quite amazing.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishbourne_Roman_Palace

Perhaps I still do not quite understand your views.


What about the Sweet Track, a wooden constructed causeway stretching over the Somerset wetlands (which were of course pretty untraversable without it), built in the 4th millenium BC, itself built on the Post Track which predates it by a few decades more? This was for a while the oldest causeway in Northern Europe, beaten only recently by a trackway discovered in - England again, where is now East London. Furthermore, surely coinage in pre-Roman Britain is evidence of a level of literacy? The currency had a level of writing which justifies greater investigation in the possible literacy of the pre-Roman Britons. Anything beyond this, such as the accounts of Caesar, are speculative and biased, we know Caesar wanted to conquer Britain so anything he writes about Britain could been seen as justifying it.
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« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2014, 12:40:00 PM »

Quote
You're quite right, my antipathy towards the Romans isn't as harsh as it probably came across, they did bring a lot of good things (namely Christianity) to Britain, but there are the odd dotted claims to civilisation (such as constructed roads, as opposed to just worn out tracks) that Britain did already have long before the Roman Republic even existed. We weren't complete and utter barbarians and was a deliberate negative portrayal.

Well, one thing is that the various British tribes weren't literate as far as has been found so they left no records, just artifacts some of which are quite wonderful, it's true. The Romans did leave written accounts and naturally they are from their point of view. But eventually with the mingling of the cultures writing became part of the British culture.  However, there's the point of documents actually surviving through the centuries (and we're lucky to have some at least.)  The old tracks that have been found such as the Ridgeway and the Icknield Way are significant, but they aren't on the same scale as the road system that was laid down across much of Europe.  And different tracks are from different times,

I don't think that anyone here is saying that the Brigantes or Iceni or other tribes were "total barbarians",  It is known that some British leaders or tribes took to various aspects of Roman culture readily and to some lavish extents.  The Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex is thought to have been built for a local British chief who was Pro-Roman and is quite amazing.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishbourne_Roman_Palace

Perhaps I still do not quite understand your views.


What about the Sweet Track, a wooden constructed causeway stretching over the Somerset wetlands (which were of course pretty untraversable without it), built in the 4th millenium BC, itself built on the Post Track which predates it by a few decades more? This was for a while the oldest causeway in Northern Europe, beaten only recently by a trackway discovered in - England again, where is now East London. Furthermore, surely coinage in pre-Roman Britain is evidence of a level of literacy? The currency had a level of writing which justifies greater investigation in the possible literacy of the pre-Roman Britons. Anything beyond this, such as the accounts of Caesar, are speculative and biased, we know Caesar wanted to conquer Britain so anything he writes about Britain could been seen as justifying it.

I know about the Sweet Track and the Post Track and Kennet Avenue and the Old Way and more. I just didn't list them, but used the two that I mentioned as examples.  There are also Neolithic sites such as Skara Brae and Bronze age ones like Flag Fen and earlier sites like at Star Carr.  But there are lots of wonderful sites all over Europe and the world: Knowth at Brú na Bóinne in Ireland, Carnac in Brittany and others in Italy and Greece and more.  I am not trying to go at this as some sort of put-down-the-British exercise not discount what may be a particular interest of yours.

As to the coins, I have not studied them deeply, but the only ones that I have seen with letters have Roman lettering.  There are coins and metal objects of great artistry.  But as far as I know, there are no documents. Yes, I know of what Julius Caesar wrote of his attempt to take over the British Isles.  But there are other accounts and readers must take into account the purposes of the authors and other information that may be available.  I submit that writing from ones own view or for particular reasons is a human thing and not limited to someone that one may not like. 

 Another book that you might find useful, if you have not read it, is Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles (1991) by Ronald Hutton of the University of Bristol.  He has a new one out in the past year that I haven't read yet, Pagan Britain which I will be looking for.

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« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2014, 12:57:46 PM »


 Another book that you might find useful, if you have not read it, is Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles (1991) by Ronald Hutton of the University of Bristol.  He has a new one out in the past year that I haven't read yet, Pagan Britain which I will be looking for.



Yes I have heard good things about Hutton. Have you seen that series Standing with Stones?
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« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2014, 01:34:10 PM »

What difference, if any, was there between the Christianity first introduced to the British Isles and the pre-schism church?

None. But the pre-schism Church was quite diverse. Different parts of the Church venerated different saints, had different feasts and had different liturgical practices. This was the case both in the Eastern and Western half of the Church. Alexandria didn't celebrate the Byzantine rite, nor did Canterbury celebrate the Roman rite.

If there was no difference at all, what caused the East to stand back after the schism and allow Britain to fall to Rome?

You assume that the Easterners knew or even cared about Britain.

From what I've read, between the schism and the Norman invasion, the Church in England was hardly "in line" with Rome, some kings were ex-communicated and such.

Same thing with the Holy Roman Empire and the Normans in Southern Italy. Quite often those excommunications had to do with the investiture controversy, politics or the maltreatment of the clergy. That kings were excommunicated by the Pope doesn't automatically mean that the churches in their domains weren't doctrinally in line with Rome.

Did the Orthodox do much to go to Britain and say "hey guys, we're your "ancestors", and while you disagree with Rome, maybe you'd see truth with us?"

No. Besides, they had other things to worry about, like the Turkish onslaught that followed a few years after the schism.

At the time the Byzantines thought they could bring the West back into the Church through an agreement with the Pope. Proselytising western nations probably didn't even cross their minds at the time. When the Byzantines found out at the Council of Florence in the 15th century that this approach wasn't going to work they were but a few decades away from being subjected to the Ottoman yoke. From that time onwards keeping their own people Orthodox and preventing them from apostisizing to Islam kept them too busy to even think about sending missionaries to the west.

Lastly, if not, why not? How different would the make up of the Christian faith be if we had been an Orthodox nation from medieval times?

There's no way that the Church of Britain would have been able to have kept communion with the Eastern patriarchates. The distance was too great. Then again, all of Britain's continental neighbours were Roman Catholic and the Archbishops of York and Canterbury traditionally received the pallium from the Roman Patriarch. I can't imagine medieval English kings being too concerned about the doctrinal differences between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism either.

The impact on North America (and the growth of protestantism) could have been unfathomable.

I don't know. The Orthodox nations had their fair share of heresies as well. Bogomilism, monothelitism, old believers, etc. We can't really know what would have happened with the Reformation if the schism wouldn't have happened or if England would have maintained communion with the East instead of with Rome.

The changes were subtle and few at the time on the ground realized them. It didn't help that papal supremacy was part of a whole program of reform and restructuring. It's easier to see it in hindsight from our vantage point today than it was to see it happening as it was happening.

The rise of Papal power might not have been a bad thing for the Western church. It rescued it from simony, despotism by feudal rulers and other nasty practices. That doesn't mean that forcing the issue of papal jurisdiction in the East was a good thing. Quite the contrary, in fact.
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« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2014, 01:44:52 PM »

Thank you Cyrillic, for your thorough explanation, and everyone else for that matter!

I was not aware that the East did not consider the schism to be as permanent as it was, nor did I realise just how close the schism was to their ongoing persecution. Their lack of foreign missionary work makes sense in the light of things! I am just glad that it wasn't out of complacency. Not that I ever believed they were complacent, but I can provide answers to those who ask, now. Again, thank you all!
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« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2014, 11:51:40 PM »

I have read with great interest the discussion here. However, there is something that was missing, that I have heard quite often from Anglicans that I know, and that is the tradition that St. Joseph of Arimathea, who was a tin merchant, visited the British Isles in 37 AD, and brought the Gospel to them. Some swear that this is fact, and have their "proofs", while others say there is no actual "proof" or clear evidence to back up this claim. I know a fellow who went to an Anglican Seminary, and wears a T-shirt that says "Anglican Church, founded 37 AD". Any comments regarding this issue will be read (by myself at least) with interest. Thank you all for the great discussion so far.
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« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2014, 12:46:12 AM »

Quote from: Chrismated link=topic=5766 r6.msg1135218#msg1135218 date=1402026700
I have read with great interest the discussion here. However, there is something that was missing, that I have heard quite often from Anglicans that I know, and that is the tradition that St. Joseph of Arimathea, who was a tin merchant, visited the British Isles in 37 AD, and brought the Gospel to them. Some swear that this is fact, and have their "proofs", while others say there is no actual "proof" or clear evidence to back up this claim. I know a fellow who went to an Anglican Seminary, and wears a T-shirt that says "Anglican Church, founded 37 AD". Any comments regarding this issue will be read (by myself at least) with interest. Thank you all for the great discussion so far.

From what I've read: St Aristobulus (recognised saint in Orthodoxy) came to Britain 37AD. The Orthodoxy of the British mission is attested to by St John Chrysostom. The Anglican church is complicated. As descendants of Rome should they be able to claim apostolic tradition? Yes. But they are so unorthodox lacking internal unity and communion they are unrecognisable from the Saxon church which held liturgies and had icons and no female priests or worship bands.
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« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2014, 10:16:33 AM »

I just finished reading From the Holy Mountain by William Dalrymple...

Ugh.  Tongue

I haven't read this book. What can you tell us about it, Mor, if you're willing?

It was long while ago, but I remember it being a very good book. Why the ugh?

His interview with one of the Syriac villagers in Turkey gave me chills. He did find the oddest Greek monks to interview but the more time I spend here the more I see where that comes from.
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« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2014, 11:02:38 AM »

Time out. This is a rather pointless discussion. Whether Christianity came first in 37 AD or through the Romans or whomever, it was firmly planted in Britain by the middle of the first millennium. Most of the western world (Graeco - Roman - including Byzantium) was united in the one true faith of the Fathers, which was as our Creed teaches us - one, holy ,catholic and apostolic. This parsing of words is a modernist thing. History is what history is, don't try to reinvent it suit your current fancies.
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« Reply #31 on: June 06, 2014, 11:55:13 AM »

Time out. This is a rather pointless discussion. Whether Christianity came first in 37 AD or through the Romans or whomever, it was firmly planted in Britain by the middle of the first millennium. Most of the western world (Graeco - Roman - including Byzantium) was united in the one true faith of the Fathers, which was as our Creed teaches us - one, holy ,catholic and apostolic. This parsing of words is a modernist thing. History is what history is, don't try to reinvent it suit your current fancies.


Wait...you are saying that people need to pay attention to actual facts?Huh


Here I thought the motto here was 'Never let facts get in the way of a good argument!'
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« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2014, 01:02:17 PM »

Besides that, if Orthodoxy is the Church, period, wouldn't it have a rightful claim to everywhere in the entire universe?   Wink
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« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2014, 01:31:33 PM »

This parsing of words is a modernist thing. History is what history is, don't try to reinvent it suit your current fancies.

Not really sure what you mean by this. I was just presenting history in the first half and the lack of claim by the C of E in the second half. Who is reinventing history?
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« Reply #34 on: June 14, 2014, 12:41:55 PM »

I have read with great interest the discussion here. However, there is something that was missing, that I have heard quite often from Anglicans that I know, and that is the tradition that St. Joseph of Arimathea, who was a tin merchant, visited the British Isles in 37 AD, and brought the Gospel to them. Some swear that this is fact, and have their "proofs", while others say there is no actual "proof" or clear evidence to back up this claim. I know a fellow who went to an Anglican Seminary, and wears a T-shirt that says "Anglican Church, founded 37 AD". Any comments regarding this issue will be read (by myself at least) with interest. Thank you all for the great discussion so far.

The visit by St. Joseph of Arimathea is certainly part of the legends of England and there are some medieval materials that have it.  On the other hand, William of Malmesbury wrote of  the Apostle Philip "if Philip, the Apostle, preached to the Gauls, as Freculphus relates in the fourth chapter of his second book, it may be believed that he also planted the word on this side of the channel also." (Chronicle of the Kings of England). 

There is archeological evidence of Christianity in Britain during the latter part of the Roman Centuries (ending circa 410 A.D.)  such as the  Lullingstone Roman Villa which wad built in several stages over the course of centuries and in the latter part of the period had a house church
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/lullingstone-roman-villa/history-and-research/history/
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/lullingstone-roman-villa/history-and-research/history/4-from-paganism-to-christianity/

There is the record of Romano-British Christians such as the family of St. Patrick.  So that history is known. One suspects that the t-shirt is meant in a droll way. 
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« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2014, 12:43:28 PM »

Quote from: Chrismated link=topic=5766 r6.msg1135218#msg1135218 date=1402026700
I have read with great interest the discussion here. However, there is something that was missing, that I have heard quite often from Anglicans that I know, and that is the tradition that St. Joseph of Arimathea, who was a tin merchant, visited the British Isles in 37 AD, and brought the Gospel to them. Some swear that this is fact, and have their "proofs", while others say there is no actual "proof" or clear evidence to back up this claim. I know a fellow who went to an Anglican Seminary, and wears a T-shirt that says "Anglican Church, founded 37 AD". Any comments regarding this issue will be read (by myself at least) with interest. Thank you all for the great discussion so far.

The Orthodoxy of the British mission is attested to by St John Chrysostom.

Do you recall the citation for this, please? 
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« Reply #36 on: June 14, 2014, 12:49:03 PM »

Time out. This is a rather pointless discussion. Whether Christianity came first in 37 AD or through the Romans or whomever, it was firmly planted in Britain by the middle of the first millennium.

This is so, as is written in Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People

Quote
Most of the western world (Graeco - Roman - including Byzantium) was united in the one true faith of the Fathers, which was as our Creed teaches us - one, holy ,catholic and apostolic. This parsing of words is a modernist thing. History is what history is, don't try to reinvent it suit your current fancies.

However, there were a variety of languages and practices and prayers and services across Christendom.  It was not all the same in that way. 
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« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2014, 02:28:27 PM »

Time out. This is a rather pointless discussion. Whether Christianity came first in 37 AD or through the Romans or whomever, it was firmly planted in Britain by the middle of the first millennium.

This is so, as is written in Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People

Quote
Most of the western world (Graeco - Roman - including Byzantium) was united in the one true faith of the Fathers, which was as our Creed teaches us - one, holy ,catholic and apostolic. This parsing of words is a modernist thing. History is what history is, don't try to reinvent it suit your current fancies.

However, there were a variety of languages and practices and prayers and services across Christendom.  It was not all the same in that way. 

True as well, and just as Rome standardized such things over time, we in the east more or less adopted the Constantinopolitan rubric over time.

I still don't get the point over the 'Orthodox Britain' argument.
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« Reply #38 on: June 14, 2014, 02:54:27 PM »

I have read with great interest the discussion here. However, there is something that was missing, that I have heard quite often from Anglicans that I know, and that is the tradition that St. Joseph of Arimathea, who was a tin merchant, visited the British Isles in 37 AD, and brought the Gospel to them. Some swear that this is fact, and have their "proofs", while others say there is no actual "proof" or clear evidence to back up this claim. I know a fellow who went to an Anglican Seminary, and wears a T-shirt that says "Anglican Church, founded 37 AD". Any comments regarding this issue will be read (by myself at least) with interest. Thank you all for the great discussion so far.

The Orthodoxy of the British mission is attested to by St John Chrysostom.

Do you recall the citation for this, please?  

Unfortunately no, I will have to add that I have lost this. I have found a website that claims this though and I will contact them and see if they know what it was I was thinking of.

However, St Hilary DOES congratulate the churches in the West for not buying into a heresy from Sirmium and says the East shared a common faith with them.

Quote
To ... the bishops of the provinces of Britain, Hilary the servant of Christ, eternal salvation in God our Lord.

...

I equally rejoiced that the impious and infidel creed which was sent straightway to you from Sirmium was not only not accepted by you, but condemned as soon as reported and notified. I felt that it was now binding on me as a religious duty to write sound and faithful words to you as my fellow-bishops, who communicate with me in Christ. I, who through fear of what might have been could at one time only rejoice with my own conscience that I was free from all these errors, was now bound to express delight at the purity of our common faith.

http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/0315-0367,_Hilarius_Pictaviensis,_Liber_de_Synodis_seu_de_Fide_Orientalium_[Schaff],_EN.pdf (page 6 -7)
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Ebor
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« Reply #39 on: June 21, 2014, 11:07:22 AM »

I have read with great interest the discussion here. However, there is something that was missing, that I have heard quite often from Anglicans that I know, and that is the tradition that St. Joseph of Arimathea, who was a tin merchant, visited the British Isles in 37 AD, and brought the Gospel to them. Some swear that this is fact, and have their "proofs", while others say there is no actual "proof" or clear evidence to back up this claim. I know a fellow who went to an Anglican Seminary, and wears a T-shirt that says "Anglican Church, founded 37 AD". Any comments regarding this issue will be read (by myself at least) with interest. Thank you all for the great discussion so far.

The Orthodoxy of the British mission is attested to by St John Chrysostom.

Do you recall the citation for this, please?  

Unfortunately no, I will have to add that I have lost this. I have found a website that claims this though and I will contact them and see if they know what it was I was thinking of.

If you ever come across it again, if you could give the reference here it would be appreciated.  


Quote
However, St Hilary DOES congratulate the churches in the West for not buying into a heresy from Sirmium and says the East shared a common faith with them.

Quote
To ... the bishops of the provinces of Britain, Hilary the servant of Christ, eternal salvation in God our Lord.

...

I equally rejoiced that the impious and infidel creed which was sent straightway to you from Sirmium was not only not accepted by you, but condemned as soon as reported and notified. I felt that it was now binding on me as a religious duty to write sound and faithful words to you as my fellow-bishops, who communicate with me in Christ. I, who through fear of what might have been could at one time only rejoice with my own conscience that I was free from all these errors, was now bound to express delight at the purity of our common faith.

http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/0315-0367,_Hilarius_Pictaviensis,_Liber_de_Synodis_seu_de_Fide_Orientalium_[Schaff],_EN.pdf (page 6 -7)

Just to give a couple of reference points the letter Liber de Synodis is dated 359 A.D.  and is addressed to more than just the bishops in Britain but to what looks like much of what is now France, Belgium and some of Germany with references also to some eastern bishops. It also refers to heresies from the east and section 63 has some rather umm dire remarks on some of the "Eastern Churches" and their clergy and the heresy.    So it is a more general letter and not focused on the British Isles.  The "Sirmian" heresy involves "ὁμοούσιον and ὁμοιούσιον" "one substance" and "similar substance" as they are translated in the letter and there is much discussion in the letter about it.  
 Here is a link that worked for me with both the text and some historic information.  It is a lengthy and not simple letter that addresses much more that the excerpt given.
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3301.htm

A further point for reference's sake is that this letter was written when the Roman empire and legions still were present in Britain.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 11:08:14 AM by Ebor » Logged

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« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2014, 02:54:26 PM »

If I can ask a related question for reference, what about Byzantine Christians in Italy in the 12th, 13th, etc centuries? Did Constantinople make much effort to hold on to them or just relinquish them to Rome without much of a fight?
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« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2014, 03:56:01 PM »

I have read with great interest the discussion here. However, there is something that was missing, that I have heard quite often from Anglicans that I know, and that is the tradition that St. Joseph of Arimathea, who was a tin merchant, visited the British Isles in 37 AD, and brought the Gospel to them. Some swear that this is fact, and have their "proofs", while others say there is no actual "proof" or clear evidence to back up this claim. I know a fellow who went to an Anglican Seminary, and wears a T-shirt that says "Anglican Church, founded 37 AD". Any comments regarding this issue will be read (by myself at least) with interest. Thank you all for the great discussion so far.

The Orthodoxy of the British mission is attested to by St John Chrysostom.

Do you recall the citation for this, please?  

Unfortunately no, I will have to add that I have lost this. I have found a website that claims this though and I will contact them and see if they know what it was I was thinking of.

If you ever come across it again, if you could give the reference here it would be appreciated.  


Quote
However, St Hilary DOES congratulate the churches in the West for not buying into a heresy from Sirmium and says the East shared a common faith with them.

Quote
To ... the bishops of the provinces of Britain, Hilary the servant of Christ, eternal salvation in God our Lord.

...

I equally rejoiced that the impious and infidel creed which was sent straightway to you from Sirmium was not only not accepted by you, but condemned as soon as reported and notified. I felt that it was now binding on me as a religious duty to write sound and faithful words to you as my fellow-bishops, who communicate with me in Christ. I, who through fear of what might have been could at one time only rejoice with my own conscience that I was free from all these errors, was now bound to express delight at the purity of our common faith.

http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/0315-0367,_Hilarius_Pictaviensis,_Liber_de_Synodis_seu_de_Fide_Orientalium_[Schaff],_EN.pdf (page 6 -7)

Just to give a couple of reference points the letter Liber de Synodis is dated 359 A.D.  and is addressed to more than just the bishops in Britain but to what looks like much of what is now France, Belgium and some of Germany with references also to some eastern bishops. It also refers to heresies from the east and section 63 has some rather umm dire remarks on some of the "Eastern Churches" and their clergy and the heresy.    So it is a more general letter and not focused on the British Isles.  The "Sirmian" heresy involves "ὁμοούσιον and ὁμοιούσιον" "one substance" and "similar substance" as they are translated in the letter and there is much discussion in the letter about it.  
 Here is a link that worked for me with both the text and some historic information.  It is a lengthy and not simple letter that addresses much more that the excerpt given.
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3301.htm

A further point for reference's sake is that this letter was written when the Roman empire and legions still were present in Britain.

I know it was not focused on the British Isles. That's why I wrote "However, St Hilary DOES congratulate the churches in the West" before bringing emphasis to the inclusion of the bishops of the British isles using the ellipsis.

Complicated or not, is the church in Britain or is the church in Britain not commended?
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Lord Deliver Us.

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