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Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Celtic Orthodox Church

Are they actually in communion with anybody apart from themselves?

I mean nobody any offence, but this looks a little dubious. The fact that I have never heard of them, I admit, means little, but although they claim to be 'a communion within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ', this is open to a rather broad interpretation, and none of the links on their website are to anything that I recognise, but only to similar churches in France and Switzerland.

Are they real? If so, who are they?

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

From reading around on the Internet, I am sorry to say I feel fairly sure that "Celtic Orthodox" is probably not very reliably Orthodox, and probably not terribly Celtic either.

However, in the Orthodox Church, it is perfectly acceptable to revere and imitate the Celtic saints who =were= Orthodox, such as Patrick, Columba, Aidan, David, Alban, to name just a few.

Leetle M.

Michael said...

It appears that you are correct, Leetle M. I have had it confirmed that the monastery is, in fact, the garage of the bishop, and their prized possession is the toenail of S. Anne.

Well it all brought a smile to my face, if nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Well, look at it this way: there are so many who pretend to be Orthodox that they're living proof that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Me, I'd rather have the real thing. :)

Leetle M.

Aristibule said...

The Greek Orthodox Archbishop Gregorios there for Thyateira and Great Britain had put out a warning about that group.

They are indeed not in communion with any Orthodox Church. Their origins lay with an odd occurrence in the mid-19th c. where the Jacobites ordained a French priest as 'Mar Julius of Iona'. His group barely survived, and a portion of it is now with the Copts (ie, non-Chalcedonian.) Said group is one of the best known 'families' in the vagante community: the 'Ferrette Sucession'.

As far as being 'Celtic' or 'Anglican' and Orthodox the only thing legitimately like that is the Western Rite Orthodox at present under Antioch (in USA, AUS, NZ), ROCOR (USA, AUS), and Serbia (France) - as well as small works in other countries under Poland, Moscow, ROCOR, and Romania. What is 'Celtic' is basically what is truly 'Anglican' - the orthodox apostolic catholic faith (what some call "Mass and Office Catholicism") but in our local Western cultures (most often Anglo, sometimes French or Latin, sometimes Celtic even if Anglo-Celtic.)

Red Pool Scuba said...

I'm sorry, but do you mean the church of Columcille and Patrick or someone else? I know there was a celtic church during the middle ages that sent out a bunch of missionaries and saved culture during that dark time but I don't know if we are talking about the same church. Fact is, information and source material from any of that stuff is really scanty. I've been trying to research that for quite some time. Let me know if I am not totally off base here!

Anonymous said...

I believe the way the Orthodox see things is that Patrick, Columcille and other "Celtic" saints were actually Orthodox saints, because they were Christians in the undivided Church (before the schism of 1054). There was, indeed, another set of =customs= in use in the churches of Britain, Scotland, Ireland and the various Isles before the arrival of Augustine of Canterbury, Hilda and Hugh. Those =customs= might properly be called "Celtic", and in England at least, as I understand it, the "Celtic" customs were suppressed in favor of Roman customs (no doubt in the interest of uniformity), but we can't be sure what really happened, especially since as you say, red pool scuba, the information is extremely scanty.

The important point is that saints of the Undivided Church are saints of the Whole Church. We need not re-divide the Church by cobbling together what we may call a "Celtic" Church nowadays, in my humble opinion. But it is good to find out all we can about the saints and leading theologians of the Undivided Church, since they are nearer to the Early Church Fathers and we can learn from them.

Leetle M.

Aristibule said...

More information and source material has survived than you might know about. Enough for it to be a major field of inquiry (check out the Centre for the Study of Religion in Celtic Society at the University of Wales, Lampeter at .) The point being that there was continuity with the Church from Brittania, to post-Roman Britain, through to the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons, up into Norman times, etc. So, within Orthodoxy the only true inheritors of that continuity are the Western Rite Orthodox (being either Anglo-Catholic or Roman Catholic in customs.)

There is a direct line of liturgical continuity from Roman Britain through the 'Celtic' period, into the Anglo-Saxon churches, and by Sherbourne Abbey and elsewise, into the Medieval period with the uses of Sarum, York, Bangor, Hereford, etc. The 1549 BCP was basically a simplified translation of the Sarum with a few additions, the 1662 and 1928 BCPs being derivative of the same: and following the Ornaments Rubric (ie, English customs of which Dearmer was the extreme example) means one has a liturgical continuity from the beginnings of the Church in Britain. (The same way the Orthodox of the Roman rite have continuity with the church of Rome, being Old Catholic/Tridentine in origin.)

Michael said...

Many thanks, everyone.

Daniyel, the particular church in question is the one linked to in the title of this post, although it seems your question has sparked off further discussion, which I am rather ionterested by.

My spirituality lies very much in the Sarum tradition, and so I am interested to learn about the availability of information about Celtic traditions.

Aristibule said...

The 'BE-COC' used a 'Neo-Gallican rite' in the past. When the greater part joined the Copts, and switched to Greek St. James liturgy, Coptic hours (but a Western calendar), the group that remained separate from the Copts also switched to the same Eastern use! They also dress as Byzantine clergy (rather than as Celtic or English clergy used to, or modern Western Orthodox clergy, or even Coptic clergy) - I've seen Fr. John Ives walking the dog around Glastonbury Abbey in Greek style Kamilavka, Ryassa, and Anteri, as well as a large Russian style pectoral cross.

I'd have to agree Michael - it was the Celtic, Saxon, and English (Sarum, York) traditions that first drew me to Orthodoxy. Particularly the Western Rite folk who witnessed to me, though Byzantine was all I had nearby at the time. I had planned to emigrate to the UK back some years ago, but lack of English speaking WRO parish has kept me back. At this point I'd be loathe to have to move outside of the USA/AUS/NZ for that same reason.

Anonymous said...

Aristibule, thanks for that link! I find all this utterly fascinating!

I once attended an [Antiochian] parish in the northeastern region of the US where they started out with Western Rite (pastor was a former protestant) and happened to have a Lutheran book for Vespers, but used the English (Knott) Missal (with the revisions with which Michael is already familiar). They had some adventures with a few hymns such as the Tantum Ergo (where the last line "who, from both, with both is One" had a hidden "filioque" in it)! However, they changed to the usual Byzantine use (in English, mostly) of the Antiochians because the western-rite liturgy did not appeal to the majority of their members as the parish grew.

Maybe this is as good a place as any to correct any wrong impression I might have given by using the euphemism "national boundaries" when talking of the cross depicted earlier. I think I meant "cultural preferences of various groups". Sorry!

I agree that we cannot make ourselves into other nationalities or cultures when we become Orthodox. It's all right, because God loves us "in whatsoever state [we are]". I am content to be a Scottish-American; when I went to the Antiochian Church, I saw several ordinary Americans try to become Arabs and it didn't work.

In my present parish there are mostly Russian-Americans, but nobody tries to convert me into a Russian. I enjoy learning more about the different cultures, and I've managed to learn to make the responses correctly when the liturgy is in a language other than English, but the great thing is, more and more of the liturgies wherever I go are using English.

Leetle M.

Aristibule said...

Yes, the Northeast is generally still growing with immigration from the East. Usually a mission there will have to be Byzantine, and most likely with some Arabic or Slavic languages, as most outreach is still towards those from the 90's Russian immigration, and the present 'escape' from Israel/PA and Lebanon. I think that WR/ER mission you mentioned had more issues going on (I know the story), but nothing that would be edifying to air. Met. PHILIP and the Synod have basically said that there will be no more ritual switching: and at present there is again missionary attempt in at least New York (see ) the difference being that Western Rite is pretty much a pure missionary endeavour, while much (if not most still) of the Eastern rite is a chaplaincy to the diaspora, visitors, and Eastern 'colonies' - that practices receptionism at the most with regards to Westerners, rather than any overt or covert evangelism. The Western Rite does have a broad appeal, of course: one is more likely to see East Asians, South Asians, Africans, Hispanics, and Native Americans in Western Rite parishes than most Eastern rite parishes (not to mention those of pretty much every Western, Northern, and Southern European origins - and some Eastern European/Middle Eastern origins). Exceptions apply in the case of some Byzantine parishes, of course.

Anonymous said...

Well, growing pains, you know....

I often go to the Greek Orthodox church too. Everyone there is quite friendly, even those who don't speak English, and fortunately I studied a bit of Greek in college so I can understand what's going on in the liturgy, anyhow. That's where I go to church when I can't afford the petrol to get to my favorite Russian church. :)

You all are a real joy to "talk" to! Thanks for all the great info!

Leetle M.

Aristibule said...

I feel the same - I'm glad to see this blog, and find other Sarum-lovers especially in the 'Old Country'. :) Even better in that Michael is one of those with hands-on experience in York rite (quite similar to Sarum.)

Side note: on that first page of the NY mission, that's Subdeacon Benjamin of the Occidentalis blog to the far right.

Other side note: in New England proper, the only WRO work I know of is Christminster (Christ the Savior Monastery) ROCOR in Providence, Rhode Island. It is a Benedictine institution. The Abbott teaches courses on C. S. Lewis at Brown University. Their temporary webpage I have up here: The Byzantine parish I attend for Liturgy has a Reader who is also an Oblate of Christminster's, and the 'MC' inside the altar.

Both would be good places to visit for anyone living in the North East (that, and Our Lady of Grace - which was on Long Island.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Aristibule!