"British Orthodoxy"
#1
I keep seeing on various different places on the internet Orthodox Christians claiming that the Church in the British Isles was always "Eastern Orthodox;" especially during the so-called "Dark Ages" when Christianity was taking root among the various peoples of the British Isles. I know Eastern Christianity played a part in influencing Christianity in the British Isles, but I definitely don't see it as being strictly "Eastern Orthodox." I thought "Eastern Orthodoxy" was a term used to differentiate "the "Eastern Churches" from the "Western Church" after the Great Schism.

Although there were some minor differences in the way Catholicism and the liturgy-as well as the calendar-were "practiced" in the "Dark Age" British Isles, what people mistakenly call "Celtic Christianity" was not really all that different from the rest of Christianity at that time.

Is this just another wacky anti-western view espoused by Eastern Orthodox Christians on the internet or what?
#2
Well...there's a matter of timing, for one thing.  If one considers the "dark ages" to have been roughly from a.d. 500 to a.d. 1500, then up until the main act of the schism in a.d. 1054 ff., there were no distinctions like "Cathlolic" and "(Eastern) Orthodox", per se.  After that, well...like they say, the rest is history.  I think the "test", as it were, might be who, after the formal schism held allegiance to the pope and who didn't?  Those Christians not in communion with the pope at that time could be considered "Orthodox".
#3
It's a wacky view. Read St. Bede's history of the Church there (written well before the schism).  They weren't using the Dl of St. John Chrysostom, but rather their rites were developed by St. Augustine of Canterbury based primarily on the Roman Rite of St. Gregory with some elements of the Gallican (St. Gregory told St. Augustine to do this).  Their chief bishops also received the pall (or pallium) from the Bishop of Rome.  St. Gregory the Great was heavily involved with the establishment of the episcopate there.  They definitely fell within the Western or Roman tradition, not the Eastern or Greek.

Finally, like J Michael said, the "Dark Ages" were from the 500s to the 1500s.  For most of that, we agree with the Eastern Orthodox on what the one true Church was. So the only real controversy then is them claiming the Churches there were Eastern Orthodox after the Schism. I'm not aware of any evidence that the British bishops were not in communion with Rome during that time.On the other hand, the Pope seemed pretty involved in English political and ecclesiastical life during that period.  In fact, Adrian IV, a British Pope, is from the century right after the schism. The English bishops participated also in the Fourth Lateran Council and enacted its decrees in their territories, etc., etc.
#4
There is a "British Orthodox" church which is in communion with the Oriental Orthodox.  I think the line of thinking is that some of early British Christianity shows connections to Coptic Christianity of the time.
#5
(03-03-2016, 04:52 PM)Melkite Wrote: There is a "British Orthodox" church which is in communion with the Oriental Orthodox.  I think the line of thinking is that some of early British Christianity shows connections to Coptic Christianity of the time.

They must be different because I don't think they claim to go all the way back.  They started in the 1860s when an ex-Catholic was ordained a bishop for the Syriac Orthodox Church for the very purpose of introducing what we call "Oriental Orthodoxy" in the West, not to presumably keep it going.
#6
There was no such understanding of " Eastern Orthodox Church" back than! The style of monasticism in some parts of the Isles was definitely influenced by the desert fathers, and of course in reading stuff like Bede and the lives of the saints of that era you'll notice that many of the things common to later eras of Roman Catholicism ( indulgences, scholastic philosophy etc, just to name a few)were nowhere in evidence, but it's also a stretch to say that the British  Christianity of that time was somehow the same thing as the modern post Nikonian Eastern Orthodox.

One cannot read either Nikonian Orthodoxy or modern Roman Catholicism into that era. The Church back than was undivided. We get glimpses of it from stuff like the Bedes Ecclesiastical History, Gregory of Tours " History of the Franks", the Rule of St. Columba or some ofthe other hagiographies of that time.

I would agree that the monastic spirit of that time and place seems more like the desert fathers than that of the modernish idea of religious " orders".

Both modern Roman Catholicism ( from the 13th century to now) and modern Orthodoxy ( with it's obsessive Palamism, ethnocentricism, below the belt polemics etc. ) have nothing to do with that era.

I do think that St. Bede, Cuthbert or Columba would be more at home amongst the Copts in some Egyptian Skete, or in some Northern Russian or Athonite hermitage than they would in a modern Roman Catholic or city Orthodox monastery though.

#7
(03-03-2016, 05:13 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: There was no such understanding of " Eastern Orthodox Church" back than! The style of monasticism in some parts of the Isles was definitely influenced by the desert fathers, and of course in reading stuff like Bede and the lives of the saints of that era you'll notice that many of the things common to later eras of Roman Catholicism ( indulgences, scholastic philosophy etc, just to name a few)were nowhere in evidence, but it's also a stretch to say that the British  Christianity of that time was somehow the same thing as the modern post Nikonian Eastern Orthodox.

One cannot read either Nikonian Orthodoxy or modern Roman Catholicism into that era. The Church back than was undivided. We get glimpses of it from stuff like the Bedes Ecclesiastical History, Gregory of Tours " History of the Franks", the Rule of St. Columba or some ofthe other hagiographies of that time.

I would agree that the monastic spirit of that time and place seems more like the desert fathers than that of the modernish idea of religious " orders".

Both modern Roman Catholicism ( from the 13th century to now) and modern Orthodoxy ( with it's obsessive Palamism, ethnocentricism, below the belt polemics etc. ) have nothing to do with that era.

I do think that St. Bede, Cuthbert or Columba would be more at home amongst the Copts in some Egyptian Skete, or in some Northern Russian or Athonite hermitage than they would in a modern Roman Catholic or city Orthodox monastery though.

You make a good point about ancient practices, but the Churches there did not remain as such but developed along the lines of the Western tradition.  In the time period at issue here Benedictines, Carthusians, Cistercians, Cluniacs, Augustinians and others were active in the British Churches.
#8
(03-03-2016, 04:04 PM)Sequentia Wrote: I keep seeing on various different places on the internet Orthodox Christians claiming that the Church in the British Isles was always "Eastern Orthodox;" especially during the so-called "Dark Ages" when Christianity was taking root among the various peoples of the British Isles. I know Eastern Christianity played a part in influencing Christianity in the British Isles, but I definitely don't see it as being strictly "Eastern Orthodox." I thought "Eastern Orthodoxy" was a term used to differentiate "the "Eastern Churches" from the "Western Church" after the Great Schism.

England was very Catholic at one time.  Christianity came to the British Isles centuries before there was a distinction between Catholic and Orthodox.  There are western branches of Orthodoxy, but they're new and mostly populated with Catholics who are angry at the Church (meaning they're mostly just a bunch of hot air).  Certain toxic trads go Orthodox in order to avoid bad liturgy and bad theological teaching that modernists are promoting heavily in the Church.  Satan won't win, but that doesn't mean he won't try or appear to come very close.  Maybe a few also go Orthodox because there are certain moral issues on which Orthodoxy isn't necessarily as strict, or at least doesn't talk about very much.

(03-03-2016, 04:04 PM)Sequentia Wrote: Is this just another wacky anti-western view espoused by Eastern Orthodox Christians on the internet

England was Catholic.  In fact, they were once a very strong Catholic country.  They were referred to as Our Lady's Dowry.  One of the titles the current monarch uses is Defender of the Faith- a title bestowed on Henry VIII by the pope for his defense of the Church against Protestantism that he gave before he let his passions get the better of him.

"Another wacky anti-western view" is exactly right.  We Latins have our "toxic trads."  My guess is that some of those "toxic trads" go Orthodox instead of going (or after going) to some breakaway Latin group.  Also, Eastern Orthodoxy has a number of converts who are anti-Catholic protestant fundamentalists.  They have come to believe in the Sacraments, the importance of the liturgy, and of apostolic succession, but they just can't stomach the Church's teachings on the Papacy.  I guess I can't blame them for that though- a lot of people are so upset by the current state of things in the Church would be less so if they understood what the Papacy is and what it isn't.
#9
I still don't think most people ( including bishops) at the time of Bede had any sense of being " Roman Catholic" the way we think of the term today. Most laity, priests and monks were probably unaware of who the Pope was or whether he was important at all. Much of the theology and customs of the time was more folksy and mystical than that of later centuries. It was also probably way less polemical.

Today many Orthodox and Catholics define themselves by what they are against, many Christians of that era--- especially run of the mill priests and laity--- probably did not.

The western church of the British isles during Bedes era was way different than the western Church during the time Robert Southwell and Thomas Cranmer. Rome as this giant beauracratic institution that even one thought about and defined themselves as for or against was probably not much in evidence. The papacy of the high Middle Ages through today and people's obsession with it did not exist. The pope was a real figure,and most of the western church was in some communion with him, but there was certainly not the same sense of the Papacy that we see today.

The same applies to Nikonian Orthodoxy. It's every bit a pipe dream and a fantasy to read modern Russian Orthodoxy into the church of St. Bede as it would be to read in an SSPX chapel.  I don't think Bede would recognize either a patriarchal liturgy with ROCOR or a Roman High Mass as the same thing.


I second what what said about the anti Catholic protestant convert thing amongst the Orthodox! Many modern Orthodox writers are either academics ( most of them converts) or what some refer to as " bubbadox"-- hardcore southern evangelicals--- who turn East and all of a sudden they are experts.
#10
(03-03-2016, 04:45 PM)SaintSebastian Wrote: It's a wacky view. Read St. Bede's history of the Church there (written well before the schism).  They weren't using the Dl of St. John Chrysostom, but rather their rites were developed by St. Augustine of Canterbury based primarily on the Roman Rite of St. Gregory with some elements of the Gallican (St. Gregory told St. Augustine to do this).  Their chief bishops also received the pall (or pallium) from the Bishop of Rome.  St. Gregory the Great was heavily involved with the establishment of the episcopate there.  They definitely fell within the Western or Roman tradition, not the Eastern or Greek.

Finally, like J Michael said, the "Dark Ages" were from the 500s to the 1500s.  For most of that, we agree with the Eastern Orthodox on what the one true Church was. So the only real controversy then is them claiming the Churches there were Eastern Orthodox after the Schism. I'm not aware of any evidence that the British bishops were not in communion with Rome during that time.On the other hand, the Pope seemed pretty involved in English political and ecclesiastical life during that period.  In fact, Adrian IV, a British Pope, is from the century right after the schism. The English bishops participated also in the Fourth Lateran Council and enacted its decrees in their territories, etc., etc.
Your history focuses on the issue of liturgical rites with St. John Chrysostom being "Orthodox". But that's not what is being referred to by "British Orthodoxy". This would be what would be being discussed.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Rite_Orthodoxy




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