Saturday, 21 January 2012

Harold II the last Orthodox king of England.

On October 14, 1066, at Hastings in southern England, the last Orthodox king of England, Harold II, died in battle against Duke William of Normandy. William had been blessed to invade England by the Roman Pope Alexander in order to bring the English Church into full communion with the “reformed Papacy”; for since 1052 the English archbishop had been banned and denounced as schismatic by Rome. The result of the Norman Conquest was that the English Church and people were integrated into the heretical “Church” of Western, Papist Christendom, which had just, in 1054, fallen away from communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, represented by the Eastern Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. Thus ended the nearly five-hundred-year history of the Anglo-Saxon Orthodox Church, which was followed by the demise of the still older Celtic Orthodox Churches in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Saint Maughold (Macaille, Maccaldus, Machalus, Machaoi, Machella, Maghor, Mawgan, Maccul, Macc Cuill) of Man

Saint Maughold (Macaille, Maccaldus, Machalus, Machaoi, Machella, Maghor, Mawgan, Maccul, Macc Cuill) of Man (died ca. 488 AD) is venerated as the patron saint of the Isle of Man. Tradition states that he was an Irish prince and captain of a band of thieves who was converted to Christianity by Saint Patrick.
He retired to the Isle of Man after traveling by sea, either to avoid worldly temptation, or because Patrick had punished him by placing him in a coracle without oars.
One local legend about what made Patrick punish Maughold relates how Maughold tried to make a fool out of Patrick. Maughold had, according to this story, placed a living man in a shroud. He then called for Patrick to try to revive the allegedly dead man. Patrick came, placed a hand on the shroud, and left. When Maughold and his friends opened the shroud, they found the man had died in the interim. One of Maughold's friends, a fellow named Connor, went over to Patrick's camp and apologized to him.
Patrick returned and baptized all of the men assembled. He then blessed the man who had died, who immediately returned to life, and was also baptized.
Patrick then criticized Maughold, saying he should have been helping his men into leading good lives, and told him he must make up for his evil.
Maughold drifted to this isle, where two of Patrick's disciples, Romulus and Conindrus (Romuil and Conindri), were already established.
He is said to have been chosen as bishop, succeeding Romuil and Conindri, by the Manx people after he had spent time on the island as a hermit.
He is today best remembered on the Isle of Man for his kind disposition toward the Manx natives. Several places on the island, including, Maughold parish, Maughold Head, and St. Maughold's Wellare named after him.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Holy Protomartyr Alban (†304)

first approach to the indigenous Orthodox Saints and Martyrs of the Ancient Church who lived and who propagated the Faith in the British Isles and Ireland during the first millennium of Christianity and prior to the Great Schism is being attempted in our website in our desire to inform our readers, who may not be aware of the history, the labours or the martyrdom of this host of Orthodox Saints of the original One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of our Lord.

"The Church in The British Isles will only begin to grow when she begins to venerate her own Saints" (Saint Arsenios of Paros †1877)

SAINT ALBAN was the first martyr in the British Isles; he was put to death at Verulamium (now called Saint Albans after him), perhaps during the persecution under the emperor Diocletian in the year 303 or 304, although some say that he gave his life in the reign of the emperor Septimus Severus, around 209.

According to the story told by St Bede the Venerable, St Alban sheltered in his house a priest who was fleeing from his persecutors. He was so impressed by the goodness of his guest that he eagerly received his teaching and received Baptism. In a few days it was known that the priest lay concealed in St Alban’s house, and soldiers were sent to seize him. Thereupon the St Alban put on the priest's clothes and gave himself up in his stead to be tried.

The judge asked St Alban, ‘Of what family are you?’

The saint answered, ‘That is a matter of no concern to you. I would have you know that I am a Christian.’

The judge persisted, and the saint said, ‘I was called Alban by my parents, and I worship the living and true God, the creator of all things.’

Then the judge said, ‘If you wish to enjoy eternal life, sacrifice to the great gods at once!’

The saint replied, ‘You sacrifice to demons, who can bring no help or answer to the desires of the heart. The reward of such sacrifices is the endless punishment of Hell.’

The judge was angered at the priest’s escape and threatened the saint with death if he persisted in forsaking the gods of Rome. He replied firmly that he was a Christian, and would not burn incense to the pagan gods. He was condemned to be beaten and then beheaded.

As he was led to the place of execution (the hill on which Saint Albans abbey church now stands) it is said that, by the martyr’s prayers, the crowd who accompanied him to his place of execution were enabled to cross the river Coln dry-shod. This miracle so touched the heart of the executioner that he flung down his sword, threw himself at St Alban's feet, avowing himself a Christian, and begged to suffer either for him or with him. Another soldier picked up the sword, and in the words of Bede, ‘the valiant martyr's head was stricken off, and he received the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.’

A spring of water gushed forth from the place of the martyr’s execution, and it is said that, at the moment at which the saint’s head fell to the ground, the eyes of his executioner fell out of their sockets. Before this spectacle, the governor ordered that the persecution of Christians cease, and that due honour be paid to the glorious martyrs of Christ. From that time, many sick people found healing through the numerous miracles wrought at St Alban’s tomb, and his veneration spread throughout England and also in Europe.

The shrine of St Alban had lain empty since the destruction of the English monasteries by King Henry VIII, but in 2002 a portion of the martyr’s relics was taken there from the church of St Panteleimon in Cologne, Germany, where they had been preserved for many centuries. These relics now lie once more at the place of the saint’s martyrdom.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Orthodoxy and the Conversion of England

By the Rev’d Derwas J. Chitty

A paper read at the Conference of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius, on 31st July, 1947, and subsequently revised, by the Rev. Derwas J. Chitty.

† In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Almighty.

I have entitled this paper Orthodoxy and the Conversion of England. First, I would ask you to keep in mind throughout that there is no conversion save to the utter simplicity of the Christ—in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. But this is no plea for false simplification—a simpliste solution—in the true simplicity, all the intricate details of all universes can find the reason of their being.

Two days ago, my brother-in-law, Mr. Kitson Clark, ended his paper on the note of the Daphni Pantokrator (image below).

I would begin with another ikon akin to it—that ivory relief in the Cabinet des Medailles in Paris (image below) which shows the Emperor and Empress, Romanus and Eudocia, in all the jewelled trappings of Byzantine Royalty: between and above them stands the Lord Jesus of Nazareth, the King of All, in the meek robes of His humanity, with no splendour save that of the Uncreated Light: His hands are upon their heads in blessing.

To be converted is not just to gaze upon Him, or to imitate Him as from outside, but to have our life taken into His Sonship, by the Spirit of Adoption whereby we cry Abba, Father.

Is it necessary to press the urgency of the need, for the world, for this country, and for ourselves? What I do urge is that we have no time to-day for things that are inessential. If we have not, in that which has brought us here, the key to the treasure which is above all treasures, let us go away at once and seek for it elsewhere. If we can get on without each other, let us do so. But I say we cannot. Beware lest the Lord’s words thunder against us—Woe unto you, for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and those that were entering in ye hindered.

Perhaps this is, in the first instance, a challenge to the Church of England Council of Foreign Relations, which may seem to be concerned mainly with diplomatic relations with foreign Churches. Surely what is required of it is an all-out drive to give to world-wide Christendom, as already in being, at least as important a place in the mind of the ordinary Englishman as is occupied to-day by the foreign missions of our own Church. Too long we of the Church of England have been concerned, in an ominously self-conscious manner, with asserting that our Church is all that any other Church is. And, in consequence, the habit has grown on us of thinking and acting as if we could afford to stand alone. Problems of India are thought of in terms of England, and it does not appear to us incongruous that the Cingalese or the South-Sea-Islander should be expected to find their spiritual home in Canterbury.

So long as we are confined to a West-European view of History, this is inevitable. Within this view, we must either submit to Rome or claim that we are as good as she is. And within this view, Rome is historically the centre. Those who cannot stomach this at any price are left without any true centre, perhaps without any faith at all in history since Christ. I suppose the Church of England has tried to hold a balance, neither accepting nor rejecting Rome completely. I would like to suggest that herein she has given evidence of her vocation—her appeal is to history: but she has been awaiting a world-view of History for which she has not hitherto been ready.

Actually, the only heart of the Church on Earth, the only heart of the world and of all History, is neither Canterbury nor Rome—nor Constantinople or Moscow—but Jerusalem. When that is properly understood, the seat or seats of government of the Church become of secondary importance.

This is the context in which I believe we are to see the great vocation of our Fellowship.

For several generations now there have been men whose names we honour, working for friendship between our Churches. But in that friendship, while I know not how much we have wished the Orthodox to learn from us, it has been too commonly assumed that all we have to gain from Russian or Greek, apart from support for our determination to be Catholic without being Papist, was in the nature of caviare or rose-petal jam—a spiritual luxury delightful in its place, and even salutary, but not to be indulged in to excess—for we must remain Western—and not indispensable. Even Birkbeck seems to miss the point of Khomiakoff’s reply to the Magdalen tractarian’s question how to arrest the pernicious effects of Protestantism—Shake off your Roman Catholicism. And for a more recent example, I would refer you to a passage in Brother George Every’s new book on the Byzantine Patriarchate, in which I am not at all convinced that the writer expresses his real mind.

The Fellowship also has been guilty in this matter, too often slipping through the fingers of any attempt to concentrate it on real dogmatic study. When it was our duty to proclaim to the world an Orthodoxy that was not peculiar to any one country, we have sought to find in the Russian word "Sobornost" some idea not contained (though really it is contained) in the original Catholicity—while protecting ourselves with the bizarre, Russian sound of the word, from any idea that it was binding on us English. Or, instead of turning our minds to the classic teaching of the Fathers, we have fastened on the Holy Wisdom philosophy of some outstanding Russian thinkers, classing in our minds as typical of Eastern Orthodoxy just those elements which other Orthodox themselves feel to be exotic, and perhaps due to Western influence. It is greatly to be hoped that Vladimir Lossky’s book on the Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church will appear in English as soon as possible as a counterblast to this.

Perhaps it is not fair to describe all this as fiddling while Rome burns. Perhaps it was inevitable that we should not be ready until now for a greater work. But perhaps we are ready to-day. At least I know that I am no longer by any means alone in the point of view which I intend to sketch for you. Others, perhaps many more than I know, have come to it quite independently of me.

Twenty years ago I found myself in Jerusalem with, as it were, scales falling from my eyes. I had been there for the best part of two years, as an Anglican student enjoying the genial hospitality and admirable teaching of the French Dominicans of the Ecole Biblique of St. Stephen. But almost imperceptibly, through what I saw in the Holy City of the Church Universal, and through the influence of one close Russian friendship, and the warmth of Russian Church Life to which that admitted me so freely, I found my view of life revolutionized:

I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, found me stripped in sleep.

It was as if I had, without noticing it, unlearned everything that I had known before, and started as a child to learn it all over again. The truths I now saw were the same truths: but a new light bound them together and interpreted them differently, explaining apparent contradictions, and leading in many ways to implications hitherto unnoticed. At the same time I had a deep conviction that herein the simpler faith of my country-rectory boyhood was somehow being vindicated against the siren voices with which Oxford had, to some extent, confused it.

I returned to Cuddesdon to find myself reading between the lines of all ordinary books of history and theology, testing this new view, and finding that it seemed to fit the facts. I went to the St. Alban’s Conference at which our Fellowship was founded, to see whether Orthodox theologians would actually interpret their Faith in the way which seemed to me implicit in the somewhat general impressions I had so far gained of their worship. Again I found I had not been mistaken. So the process of growth went on.

Of course a new question presently arose. Orthodoxy now appeared to show me the true vocation of the Church of England. But, having once seen the fuller, freer truth, could I personally remain tied up in the knots of our chequered history? Back in Palestine in 1929, I was very near, or so it seemed, to taking the bull by the horns—to becoming a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church in a land where it was native, and serving it there, leaving aside as not to concern me personally the question of the validity of the Anglican Church. But then I became painfully aware of an attitude all too common among Anglicans—fortunately never universal—an attitude which, as it seemed to me, however polite and friendly on the surface, fundamentally despised Orthodoxy, and had no room for it either inside or outside our Communion. My combativeness was roused. I might not be a very good Anglican, but at least I represented the true heart of our Church better than these—and if I could remain, I must, to prove that. And here I should say that I am never so sorely tempted to doubt the validity of our Church as when I hear people arguing that she is the best Church. What need of that? Knowing that she has her faults, we must not presume to compare her with other empirical Churches, but only with that perfect heavenly Church, the Church of the First born in which is no spot or wrinkle. For all her faults, it was here that Christ first called me, and there is only one Christ.

So, after another two years, I found myself in my country parish, convinced that we must follow Christ and build from the bottom if we are to attain true unity, and to save the world. I have not been a great success, either as a country parson or as a Naval chaplain—but I am convinced that that experience of the wider mind of the Church which has sometimes made me appear exotic to men of my own type of English training, has brought me closer to the ordinary people of England and not separated me further from them.

A warning for Anglican ecclesiastics, whose task it should be to know and understand foreign Churches, and to interpret them to their people:—again and again I have found non-conformists, and Anglican laymen of no specially ecclesiastical interests, who have met the Orthodox Church, in Greece or elsewhere, and have understood her and appreciated her better, it would seem, than they have appreciated our Church, or than our ecclesiastics have appreciated the Greek. We have started with too many presuppositions, and our knowledge, incomplete and in a different framework of thought, has been a hindrance rather than a help to the understanding of Eastern Orthodoxy. Such an understanding is not possible for a Western unless he is ready to start again as a child from the very simplest beginnings—or rather, it is not possible for any man, Eastern or Western, unless he learns to be doing this continually.

Moreover, this Church, which at first sight appears so highly hierarchical, is much more of a layman’s Church than either ours or the Roman. I had already long surmised what I found clearly before my eyes when I went to Greece for the first eight months of her liberation in 1944—Here is a Church from which we may perhaps learn the secret for bridging the gulf between our clergy and laity. Here also Church and community remain identical with a lack of self consciousness which makes it possible to find room for free expression within one undivided Church of very many varied movements of the Spirit which have with us usually resulted in multiplication of sects. Let us lay aside, for the moment at least, the assumption that we of the Church of England are called to be the bridge between Catholic and Protestant or Reformed, and face the possibility that there may be points on which Orthodox and Free-Churchmen (Methodist, Presbyterian, or Congregationalist) may be better fitted in the first instance to understand and be understood by each other than is the Anglican or the Roman Catholic to understand either. I will not now elaborate this point—what Fr. Edward Every will have to say about the Church in Greece will, I think, have a bearing on it. Meanwhile, I would already suggest to you that our task may be to discover in Orthodoxy that miraculous glue which alone is capable of reuniting the shattered fragments of Western Christendom. I should like to call this possibility urgently to the attention of all whose impatience for unity with other Churches of their own country may otherwise lead them to wreck their cause on the rocks of betrayal of principle.

But this brings me back to my main contention. I do not ask you to accept it in a hurry, lock, stock and barrel. But I do ask you not to rule out of court, as most of us appear to have done in the past, the possibility that in the 11th Century Schism between East and West there were fundamental issues involved, and that in these the East was right and the West wrong; and that this breach was but one aspect of a disastrous, tyrannical revolution within the Western Church itself. In the light of this possibility, I would suggest as a fruitful field of research for a Mediævalist, the hints in the Spiritual Franciscans, Wycliff, the Moravians, and perhaps elsewhere, of an underground tradition in the West—or was it only a wistfulness?—that the pure Faith, lost or obscured in Rome, had remained with the Greeks. And I would urge on your notice the fact that on every issue on which the Reformers of the 16th Century broke from Rome, Roman faith and practice were deeply, if subtly, different from the Greek. I would suggest that, both then and subsequently, all the divisions of Western Christendom have been rooted in the search for some elements of Christian Life which would have been found in Orthodoxy.

Do not think that I am asking the Western to become Eastern. I can, in some measure, consent to Michæl Ramsey when he says that East and West sorely needed each other, and ever since they went their separate ways, neither has been able to present the wholeness of Christian and Church life. Only I would remind you that it is not less true that the apostasy of the old Isræl, the defection of the Arab to a false prophet, the refusal of the Indian to see those elements in Christianity which are not to be found in his own religions, have also thwarted our presentation of the wholeness of Christ. But we do not, therefore, say that Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, are on the same level as the Christian Church. Moreover, the Easternism of Orthodoxy is apt to be exaggerated, as if it expressed only one national or racial culture. Here the Fellowship has suffered in the past by seeing too little of anything but Russian Orthodoxy—and, at that, of one element within Russian Orthodoxy. Anyone who has become used to the Orthodox Liturgy at home in several different milieux—say Russian, Greek and Syrian—will know what vast differences of culture and racial character can express themselves fully and freely through the medium of what remains clearly the same Liturgy and the same Faith—differences at least as great, in the first instance, as any which distinguish Eastern and Western Europe. In fact, one begins to wonder whether, in practice, any Christian Liturgy is so well fitted for naturalization into the mind and language of every people in the whole world, as that of St. John Chrysostom. And yet the Orthodox Church has never in theory denied that, for instance, the Roman Mass was, in its purity, an Orthodox Liturgy. And Fr. Evgraph Kovalevsky is showing us to-day the practical possibility of a Western Orthodoxy.

Furthermore, we must beware, lest our desire to remain Western should be a mere cloak for our clinging to those restrictions of Christian outlook which nine centuries of separation have planted upon us. Everyone of us does, in fact, shrink from the task of this return to the simplicity of the Christ which must involve for us, not a rejection, but, as it were, a divesting ourselves, without passing judgment, alike on Newman and Pusey, Laud and Cromwell, Loyola and Luther, Thomas a Kempis and Richard Rolle, Francis and Aquinas, Bernard and Anselm; Rafæl and Botticelli and Leonardo; King’s College Chapel, Chamber Court at Winchester, Salisbury Spire, and the wonder of Chartres:—even further back, as we seek towards the roots of the trouble, Jerome and Augustine must be called in question. For most of us, the process seems far too like being flayed alive—this putting off of our coats of skins. But when we do get back behind the division, is it not true that the comparatively unformed architecture of our fragmentary Anglo-Saxon survivals seems to have links with Byzantine and Universal Christendom which are lost as soon as the Saxon sets into the Norman. I put it to you—were Jerome and Augustine themselves, Patrick and Columba, Gregory of Rome and Benedict, Wilfrid and Chad, to return to earth to-day, may it not be that they would all alike find in modern Eastern Orthodoxy something more recognizably identical with the Church they had known in their own countries than anything they would find now in the Western Churches?

I am not suggesting that there have not been Saints in the West, whose holiness has penetrated behind the middle wall of division to the simplicity of Christ our God. But I do know how, especially in Jerusalem, one could feel even in the least satisfactory representative of the Orthodox Church an unhindered continuity with the Church of the Fathers such as one could not feel in any Western Church there.

Why do I not ask the Orthodox to divest themselves of Gregory Palamas or Seraphim of Sarov? In a sense I do: but in another sense it is not necessary for me to do so: for the Saints themselves, and the heart of accepted Orthodox Theology, have always called us to such a divesting, saying Not I, but Christ living in me; forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Is not this the secret of the survival power of the Byzantine Church, cleansed through the loss of so much that was once its highest outward expression—Haghia Sophia, that Heaven on earth which converted Vladimir’s envoys: the Christian empires of Old and New Rome, of Serbia, and of Russia—so that a Syrian village, without art or learning, perhaps without even a priest, and surrounded by Islam, can in some ways reveal to us more of Orthodoxy than the Byzantine Court? The apophatic or negative mystical way rules over all Orthodox theology. It is the way of humility, which cannot fall because it sets itself from the beginning in the lowest place; the way by which the Mother of God was prepared for the Incarnation—for he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

If we cannot approach the Western Church of the last nine centuries with the same confidence, is it not precisely because, since the clerical revolution of the 11th Century, she has not dared to submit herself or her theology to the primacy of this path? Desiring an assurance of salvation which her reasoning could apprehend, she has not dared to throw herself entirely on the mercy of a God whose Essence remains unknowable. Where her Saints have penetrated to this, she has been tempted to explain them away—to treat their path as an extra, to which some few mystics are called concerning devotion rather than theology—whereas, for Orthodoxy, devotion and theology are more clearly inseparable. The inner bond which bound the Saints together is thus gradually lost from view, until the Reformers thought it necessary to call for a turning from saints seen in practice as separate individuals to the one Christ. But the true Fathers, and the True Church, are taken into the Tabor-light of the Christ Himself just because they are at every moment submitted to the touchstone of the God who is beyond all knowledge and all essence.

I know little of the "Palamite" controversy of the 14th Century: and in England it has been either overlooked completely or assumed to be of no real importance. But I strongly suspect that if we studied it closer we should find it to have been a real seeking out of the spiritual and theological meaning of the breach between East and West. Until we have studied it, we have no right to assume that these differences are of a superficial character. I do suggest that just because of this clear distinction between the unknowable Essence of God and His Activities—the Uncreated Light—the Orthodox are able to develop a teaching of Deification bolder than is ever found in the West, and at the same time to be preserved from the danger of Creature-worship. As soon as the Doctrine of the Church as the Body of Christ is in any way watered down into a metaphor, the justification for worship of the Saints is lost—and no theoretical distinction between veneration and adoration will be felt to be a sufficient safeguard: each saint stands like a solid image, self contained, whatever light he may reflect. But when each is seen but as a star keeping his place in the firmament of the Church—a window through which the light of the Christ shines in upon us—one ikon among all which cover the walls of a Church—then we can fearlessly offer through each all our devotion to God.

There cannot be within the Heaven of the Church any gnostic descending hierarchy, each level one stage further from the purity of the Godhead. Even the historical earthly life of Jesus of Nazareth, the Incarnate Son of God, cannot without idolatry be treated in isolation from His continued Incarnation in the Church. Hence the not unimportant fact that Orthodox instinct, believing fully in the reality of the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ, does not in practice isolate the Sacred Elements for any special veneration outside their place in the Liturgy. This mystery is part, albeit a central part, of the whole mystery of the Church as the Body of Christ: nor can it be understood or have any meaning outside that universal mystery. I know next to nothing of the Schoolmen, but wonder if they did not fall into the error of allowing the profane, the unconverted or imperfectly converted regions of their minds, to pry into matters which should have been reserved for their minds fully converted—;I will not tell Thy secret to Thine enemies.

In this context it surely becomes impossible to speak either of the Pope or of the Hierarchy as the earthly Vicars of Christ: for He, being truly present in His Church, needs no vicar Here we do feel that the Hildebrandine Revolution set the seal upon a false tendency in the West which had already been encouraged by the failure to translate the Liturgy into the vernaculars (connected, we cannot help suspecting, with a certain intellectual laziness in the Latin language itself), and by the position in which the clergy found themselves as purveyors of Roman Civilization to the Western Barbarians. The clergy tended to become the purveyors of Christ in doctrine and sacraments, rather than the essential organs of a living body which is all equally Christ. This is an error from which we did not at the Reformation really succeed in freeing ourselves. It is doubtful whether the Presbyterians succeeded either. Possibly at a later date the Methodists may have been nearer success. But it is worth considering whether, in the face of what appeared as an Apostasy of the Hierarchy, the method of amputation (if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out) may not have had gains, in approach to Orthodoxy which is the Simplicity of the Christ, to counterbalance in part our retention of the outward form and succession at the price, perhaps, of our continuing to be in some measure a Church in which the Faith is imposed rather than elicited.

Here we come to another fundamental point. As in standards of personal righteousness, so in doctrine of the Church, there is for Orthodoxy no such distinction of esse and bene esse as is sometimes made among Protestants—the only righteousness is the perfection of the Christ, the only true Church the perfect Church of the Consummation: and no Saint save the Lord Jesus Himself, and no actual empirical Church on earth, has attained to the full measure of this. The lower standards which we tolerate, and employ economically as stages in our working towards the higher, are in no sense substitutes for it— both we and the Orthodox look askance at doctrines of Merit, and Works of Supererogation. Yet, in so far as we are truly aiming at the Perfection of the Christ, His Grace is with us and we have attained it. I t may be that the Papacy, purified of error, will be found to be as much of the esse of that perfect Church as is the Episcopate (Thou, when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren). And yet the Orthodox Church does, I believe, represent on earth to-day that perfect Church in a truer sense than does the Roman. I, as an Anglican, must believe that the one Spirit did and does continue, however imprisoned, in the Roman Church, if I am to believe that the same Spirit has been handed down through History to us. Only, may it be that in some sense the Faith has remained in the West like the Sleeping Beauty needing the kiss of Orthodoxy to raise it back to full life? And remember, that kiss might come too late.

Here again we seem to be approaching, as near the root of the issue, a difference in conception of Nature and Grace—wherein the Reformers, seeking blindly, only stumbled further into the mire— witness the preconceptions which made the translators of the Authorized Version able to spoil the contrast of I Corinthians—animal man and spiritual man—by translating [psychikon] as natural—a mistake (retained in the Revised Version) which must surely be due to their inadvertently reading [physikon] as a result of their preoccupation with Augustine. To the Orthodox, Nature and Grace are complementary rather than contrasted. Natural man is Adam before the Fall, or the New Adam. What the West calls natural man is unnatural man—[para physin]. Certainly Grace also introduces what is supernatural. But remember that St. John Climacus argues that the highest gifts of Grace—Faith, Hope and Charity—are among the natural virtues, and are found even among the animals—although no supernatural gift can be as important as these.

Man’s true nature is neither altered in its fundamental essence nor obliterated, but imprisoned and corrupted, by the Fall. Its penitence and its prayer go up through the thousands of years before Christ, until at last it is enabled in Mary to see the Angel visitor, and to submit itself to God’s Will. It is here that both we and the Orthodox are suspicious of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Mother of God, lest in reducing a mystery to the definitions of human logic, we should obscure our whole conception of Human Nature, bound up with the fact that she is one of us, needing her Son to be her Redeemer too, though she be fore-cleansed by the Spirit [prokathartheisa to pneumati]—a phrase used also in the Menæa in reference to Jeremiah and other prophets) to become His Mother. The freewill of a woman set right the disobedience of the first Eve. Undisturbed, as it were, by all the ages of the fallen creature, God takes the creature itself to be the means of His own redeeming Epiphany. We are not to be saved from our Nature—our Nature is to be saved by union with His Divine Nature. If we pay special honour to the God-Bearer, it is to safeguard this double truth—that He truly took Manhood of Her, and that He makes her and us (and here, too, she is our prototype) truly partakers of His Divine Nature.

His Grace is such that His Creation, transfigured by Him, shall show a rightly balanced outshining of the Divine Nature. Here, I believe, at its simplest, is the reason why we feel the Filioque clause to be impossible for Orthodox Theology—The Trinity is primarily revealed in Jordan, where the Holy Ghost is seen proceeding from the Father and resting on the Son. Surely this is more than the consecration of His Manhood, and embodies an eternal truth of the Godhead Itself. And even in the temporal mission, though He with the Father sends His Spirit to prepare the way for Him, and to extend His Incarnation in the Church, yet at every point He Himself, in the unity of His Incarnate Person, remains the goal of the Spirit’s work. Is it fanciful to suppose that the Filioque clause has in fact either represented or been responsible for the general Western failure to treat the doctrine of the Church as the Body of Christ as other than a metaphor—the Son remaining aloof upon His Father’s throne, sends the Spirit as a kind of deputy to do His work for Him, through earthly vicars? So, in effect, it may seem that the Papal tyranny stultified for us the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit and the Doctrine of the Trinity—took away that key of Faith which is the deification in Christ of the human understanding, to leave us only a faith of blind obedience, a logic over-confident in itself because it must not question its own premises, and too often, as a result, a liturgical worship becoming the formal execution of a duty, and private prayer entrusted to the emotions at the expense of the intellect. It is a significant tragedy that there is no proper translation for [nous] and its derivatives in Latin or its daughter languages, or in English—the Schoolmen were forced to borrow the Greek word—I should like to know whether there was a word in Anglo-Saxon: certainly there are Greek distinctions which could be made in Anglo-Saxon, but not in Latin, and can no longer be made satisfactorily in English.

The picture I am drawing of the Western Church may be something of a caricature. Much of it would be outrageously unjust if applied to the Roman Church at its best. But any account of error and distortion in a Church is bound to stress that error in a manner disproportionate to the great body of truth retained. The indictment is not against the Roman Church alone. Nor would I suggest that, in the fragmentation of Western Christendom, Rome did not retain faithfully against the Reformers elements as necessary for the fullness of Orthodoxy as any after which the Reformers were striving against Rome. It remains, however, true that it was the Papal Revolution of the 11th Century—itself following on the Cluniac departmentalizing of the Church—which necessitated the fragmentation in the process of recovery of the fuller freedom of Orthodoxy. If the view I am trying to present, of the West as she might be seen through Eastern eyes, is unfamiliar, it is all the more necessary that we should realize what that view may be. Having done so, you can examine for yourselves how far it is justified.

What, then, is that distortion of the Faith towards which the West was being led—against which it kept no sufficient safeguard—and to which, in some points at least, it might seem to have become committed?

Organization here takes the place of organism. Dogma, liturgy and personal devotion are pigeon-holed into separate compartments of life, and their organic bond is obscured. Faith becomes imposed and not elicited—a blind acceptance of what you are told. The Mother of God loses her solidarity with mankind. The Spirit (whom God giveth not by measure) is dispensed by measure through the earthly vicars of a Christ aloof. Worship is conducted for you in a foreign language by a clergy who even in Heaven or hell retain a higher dignity. Even the parish priest, by reason of his enforced celibacy, or his special education, ceases in some measure to represent his people, and becomes the agent among them of a foreign power or of a strange class. A legalistic God and a feudalized Redemption are partly imposed by fear, partly made acceptable by the sentimental appeal of the Child Jesus, or by pity for the sufferings of the Crucified (as if we should presume to pity the brave man in his fight, let alone the victorious Son of God). The heavenly ratification promised by Christ to the decisions of the Church (Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven) is narrowed and twisted to a right (in some measure at least) to decree the fate of souls even after death. A legal minimum, which comes short of the Glory of God, is accounted for righteousness, and merit attributed to what goes beyond it in prayer or good works—and where are Our Lord’s words, Say, we are unprofitable servants? The Cup of which Our Lord said Drink ye all of this is denied to the laity. The simple bread over which He gave thanks, hallowing the every-day food of life (wherefore Greeks and Russians treat all bread as holy) gives way to the unfamiliar Azymes (contrary even to the earlier Western practice, and, if the Greeks are right, against the necessary meaning of the Greek word, [artos], used in the Scriptural accounts). Rebellious against its tedious vocation to convert the kingdoms of this world, the Papal Church sets itself up impatiently as an earthly kingdom. Holy Scripture, the free, the living word, becomes once again the deadening letter of old law—and what does it matter, then, whether that letter be defined still further by Jerome’s translation, and the interpretations of Councils and Popes, or whether it be limited to the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New? In either case it is reduced to little better than a Our’an, imposed from a heavenly throne to which we cannot in the full sense attain. The Holy Mysteries of the Church, wherein all life is hallowed, become the isolated points at which an extraneous God breaks in—and what does it matter, then, whether they be two or seven?

The Reformers failed to escape from the prison of Western categories of thought; for the real issue was not the limits, but the character, of infallibility; not the number, but the nature, of the Sacraments. But it is at least arguable that, in narrowing the limits of the infallible text, they were groping after a right instinct of human freedom, and that their concentration on Baptism and the Eucharist represented a sincere seeking to recover the simplicity of the Christ. Through all their errors, their rejections, losses, and neglectings of Christian Tradition, have not the Churches of the Reformation still in the last resort been anchored to this appeal?

But old habits of mind die hard. It has taken all the force of modern science to knock us off our fundamentalist pedestal—and still we do not realize that the process has only been restoring to us the possibility of true, Orthodox Christian Faith.

For nine hundred years, the West has not dared to have full faith in God Himself, but has sought for an infallible earthly rock on which to build. There was more than a flutter when Luther set about dethroning the earthly Church, and Copernicus the Earth itself, from a false fixity and centrality. But neither had gone far enough: for Luther had but put the Bible in place of the Church, and Copernicus the Sun in place of the Earth. With modern development of historical and physical science, Scripture and Sun alike are gone the way of Earth and earthly Church, and we find ourselves, from the unredeemed point of view, without any rock or fixed point, afloat—if indeed we are afloat—on a boundless and bottomless Ocean. And then at last we have our eyes opened to see the only true centrality of Earth, the only unshakeable fixity of the Church, as we interpret the texts about the Rock in the light of others—Thou hast founded the Earth upon the waters: An anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, and which entereth in to that within the veil. Or we turn to St. Gregory of Nazianzus—For He hath in Himself gathered up all that to be can mean, which neither had beginning nor shall have an end, like some Ocean of Being, endless and illimitable, falling outside and beyond every thought both of time and of nature; by the mind alone sketched in, and that all too dimly and in a measure, not from the things on His level but from the things about Him, with fancies gathered one from here and one from there into a single image of the Truth, which frees us before we have a hold upon it, and escapes us before our mind has grasped it, shining just so much about our master-faculty, even when that is cleansed, as the speed of lightning which stays not shines about our sight; as it seems to me, that by its apprehensibility it may draw us to itself (for that which is completely inapprehensible cannot be hoped for nor attempted), but for its inapprehensibility it may be wondered at, and being wondered at may be longed for the more, and being. longed for may cleanse us, and cleansing may make us God-like, and, when we are become so, may hold converse with us as its own—my word here dares some youthful boldness—God unto gods united and made known—and even so much, perhaps, as He knows already those that are known.

This is a different paper from what I had intended to write. Perhaps my pen has run away with me. I meant to be practical: but perhaps it was necessary first to set forth something of the Vision. I must content myself now with urging the Orthodox to realize to the full their vocation—that in their tradition they have the answer to modern science and social theory, the way of union for the Church, and the key to the world’s Salvation: and with urging my brother English, of whatever party or denomination they may now be, to use this light to rediscover the same treasure hidden in our own past, in the days when the One Christ first came to our forefathers. I am not urging this as a means to outward unity. That would be a joy and a strong weapon: but even when we have attained explicit unity of Faith sufficient for it, it is not unlikely that international politics would still, in one way or another, long hinder its attainment. No—it is simply for the conversion of ourselves, of our country, and of the world, that we must act upon what we have discovered.

Here I must bring you to earth. For such action must, among other things, involve our seriously considering a revision, in several respects, of our teaching, and our liturgical and devotional practice. n some cases, this may mean a return from modern Anglo-Catholic practice to something more like the older ways of the Church of England. n others, points may need to be stressed which have been much longer forgotten. ere are a few examples. Perhaps you can add others.


Has long been recognized by historians to be an addition to the Creed made without the authority of the whole Church, and retained in the face of Eastern protest. Even the Pope at first disallowed it. It may well be that the clause has had a disastrous effect on our doctrine of the Holy Spirit: at least we cannot deny that it is precisely on the point of the nature of the Holy Spirit’s work in the Church that both we and the Orthodox believe Rome to have erred. Surely it cannot be mere chance that the only point of credal divergence should concern the Holy Spirit. The natural supposition is that there lurks in the clause something expressive of Rome’s error. To Dollinger, I believe, it appeared quite incomprehensible that any Church should accept it save on Papal authority. It is not in the Nicene Creed, and it is not in the Scripture. I cannot, therefore, believe that I am acting contrary to the true mind of the Church of England in omitting it. Surely the time has come for us to act. History, honesty, and humility alike demand that it should go.

Here (small point though it may seem) is one of many examples of the disastrous haste of our fathers. Commonly to-day the first sign in an Anglican Church of movement in a Catholic direction is the use of wafers in the Eucharist. This was not the primitive practice in Rome or in the West any more than in the East. It came in in the West not earlier than the 9th Century, if as early. Its reintroduction has added an extra, quite unnecessary difference between us and the Orthodox. The Greeks (through whose language we have all our knowledge of the Institution of the Eucharist) agree with the naive Englishman in saying It is not bread. The Scriptural evidence, itself uncertain, must be interpreted in the light of Church tradition. We have no right to defend a sacramental practice on grounds of mere convenience. Azymes, too, surely must go.

The Consecration of the Eucharist
Whatever may have been written of late, I believe the Eastern rite as we now have it to sum up within itself in a true balance the primitive practice and belief. Where the principle of organic growth allows it, the Scottish Liturgy provides a good pattern for us. And were I quite sure that the 1928 Canon had the unquestioned authority of the Church behind it, I should certainly use it—without being personally satisfied with it at all points. Meanwhile, I very tentatively suggest that, provided the people are taught what is happening, it may provide a better balance and an easier organic development for us if, after reciting the Words of Institution aloud, without elevation or genuflection, we kneel, with the people’s Amen, and make the Anamnesis and Epiclesis silently (as they are made to-day in the Orthodox Liturgy), then proceed with the Prayer of Oblation and the Lord’s Prayer. This gives the Words of Institution the same centrality that they have in the Orthodox Liturgy—a pleading of the One Sacrifice by right of which we act—while its application to our particular Mass in the Epiclesis would be clearly subordinated thereto.—The placing of the Prayer of Oblation and the Lord’s Prayer in their more historical position, before Communion, does seem to me to be required—partly on the ground that I do not believe that Cranmer’s theory at the moment when he produced the present order has ever won acceptance in the mind of the Church: at any rate, I doubt if anyone holds it today: and to continue using one form and meaning another can only result in inconsequence of mind a condition not uncommon in the Church of England!

The separation, within the last two generations, of Communion as a semi-private act from the Mass as corporate worship is a disaster from which we must seek an escape. So also, in general, we should aspire towards the Orthodox ideal of one Mass of each Church, and of each Christian, in the day. Something is involved here of far more primary importance than the ancient and pious practice of fasting before Communion, for the sake of which the disaster has been allowed to occur. Once the liturgical and dogmatic balance has been recovered, we may expect that practice, where it has been lost, to grow up again inevitably: and then, fasting until midday may not after all appear an excessive demand (in any case, whatever spiritual value there is in early rising, there is none in fasting until 8 a.m.!) Until then, let us concentrate on inculcating that sacramental Faith from which the outward reverence will arise, and not trouble the consciences of others over a secondary practice.

Herein, too, we need to learn again from the Orthodox what our fathers knew of the importance of both Matins and Evensong, and their organic connection with the Mass. For the Orthodox they are not, as they may appear in Western tradition, mere monastic and priestly offices, but are shared in fully by the people, and are an essential part of the liturgical whole. It is absurd that we should have allowed the natural order to be inverted as it has been—8.00 Mass; 1l.00 Matins; 6.00 Evensong—whereas clearly the right order, psychologically and liturgically, is Saturday Evensong (the Scriptural beginning of Sunday, as Sabbatarians have failed to observe), Sunday Morning Matins, Litany, and Mass. Duplication of the Mass, and virtual obliteration of Matins, is no remedy. Spiritual valetudinarianism, and the memories some of us have of those Sunday mornings of our boyhood when Matins was followed by both Litany and Ante-Communion, have robbed us of a great liturgical tradition, which we should aim at recovering—though we might well copy the Orthodox in making it easier for people to slip in and out in the course of the service! In any case, there should be no isolation of the central act of Divine Service ([theia leitourgia]) from the rest of the worship of the Church. However incomplete their worship, it is not true that people have not been to Church if they have not been to Mass.

Then as to the veneration of the Holy Mother of God and the Saints—you will have realized, I hope, how very important I believe this to be. Its absence in our Church leaves a void which must be filled. But I do not think—I wish I could—that Anglo-Catholic preaching has often succeeded in really making this a practice of the mind and heart of the Englishman—too often it appears as a sentimental trapping of devotion, in shallow imitation of Roman methods. This is far too serious a matter to be played with. There is a Christian obligation upon us. But it can only be fulfilled by devotion welling up sincerely from the mind and heart. And there is only one way to this—the way by which the Church gradually learnt it in the first centuries of her history. Turn first to the fullness of the Christ’s simplicity, and as you begin to realize the need of it for the right understanding and worship of Him, you will find the right veneration of His Mother and of His Saints taking its place in your mind’s devotion. I think the Orthodox will understand this quiet way, of development to be the right way for us.

The same principles apply to images and pictures—we have been too ready, in our reaction against bareness, to accept anything in the way of Church Art—be it Italian peasant women posing as the Mother of God, or members of the Girls’ Diocesan Association dressed up as angels, or fairies pretending to be the Child Jesus. Perhaps the next Oecumenical Council might well be concerned with anathemas, not on verbal heresy, but on the heresies implied in some types of Church Art. Here we must try to be rigorous. I do not in the least mean that we should reject all Western art, or accept all Eastern. But we should search, in the light of Orthodoxy, for true principles of discrimination—remembering that æsthetics may be conditioned by dogma just as much as metaphysics or ethics—the Good, the Beautiful, and the True, are equally ultimate. Rightly or wrongly, I confess to a feeling in favour of Fra Angelico, perhaps of Botticelli, while I would reject utterly much of Rafæl—including the ikon of the Mothers’ Union. In Eastern Art, as against many ikons which, whatever beauty and truth they have, are marked also with a local and temporal character which makes it too easy for them to be preserved, at least in England at present, as mere curiosities, I would urge the speedy publication of a series of coloured reproductions of the great classic, universal types of Byzantine ikonography—;the mosaics of Agia Sophia as soon as that is possible: the Daphni and Cefalu Pantokrators; the Daphni Crucifixion, the St. Mark’s Anastasis; the Blachernæ, Vladimir and Kazan ikons of the Mother of God; and so on—these to help to restore the balance in our country’s knowledge of Christian Art, and mould our minds towards our own Christian Art of the future. Probably we should, from henceforth, accept the Orthodox distinction, and give up tile making of solid images for Churches—psychologically they err by being either more (as if containing what they represent) or less (as mere statues) than the flat ikon which is a window onto Heaven: and they are more apt to stand out in isolation from their place in the whole ikonography of a Church. We should also feel that a series of ikons of the Great Feasts of Our Lord would be a better first step in introducing ikonography into our Churches than the Stations of the Cross, which are typical of the Western tendency not to pass beyond the Cross to the fullness of Resurrection. In any case, we must do nothing to spoil Orthodox balance in our Churches—better no pictures than the wrong pictures.

Perhaps I should remind Anglo-Catholics of the fact that, very often, Orthodox people actually seem to find themselves more at home in Evangelical English Churches—just as also Evangelicals and other Anglicans have been known to find themselves more at home in the Orthodox Liturgy than in some of our Masses. This cannot be treated as insignificant.

Hymns, again, are a matter onto which we shall have to turn the light of Orthodoxy—and the resultant sifting may have some surprising results, both in rigorous exclusiveness and in inclusiveness. It is surprising how thoroughly in place I found on one occasion, in Greece, a child-like English (or American) revival hymn sung, at home after a baptism, among a whole series of Byzantine troparia. And in another direction, the poetry of Francis Thompson has certain qualities which are perhaps nearer than anything else to the best style of Byzantine Church poetry—a style which we are not accustomed to expect in hymns.

In regard to the Church’s year—we must feel a great loss in the fact that our Church has no feast of Our Lord’s Baptism—and may even have a suspicion that this was at some time purposely obscured in the West, because of its possible implications in regard to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. While it may appear out of the question for us now to adopt the Orthodox use of Epiphany for this purpose, at least we could, on a basis of Western practice, restore thc commemoration of the Baptism on the Octave of Epiphany, and stress this as a major Feast of the Church. Then, we may doubt if it is possible now for us to take Trinity back into Whitsun, and use its Octave, as in the last, for the Sunday of All Saints. But we should at least take note how forcibly, coming so as the culmination of the Gospel Feasts, this brings home the doctrine of the Church as the Body of Christ.

In regard to Scripture—we need to realize that neither Authorized nor Revised Version can be regarded as an infallible translation of the Infallible Book. We should also recognize that, once a truer, more historical, and more Orthodox conception of inspiration is attained, the Septuagintine books which we call Apocrypha (a term which, if only because it is open to gross misunderstanding, could well be changed) are seen—whatever distinction may rightly be drawn between them and the other books—to have an organic place in the unfolding of the whole body of Scripture. We must also face the fact that, if you do not want to treat the lost original documents—JEDP, etc.—as the only really inspired works, there is a great deal to be said for the view that the Greek translation of the Old Testament, as being on the line of development by which the Holy Spirit led up to Our Lord’s coming, is perhaps more authoritative for Christians than the Hebrew original—apart from the fact of its probably preserving in some cases a text closer to this latter than is the Masoretic.

In regard to Confirmation—there is a lot to be said for having some service wherein the child, on coming towards full growth, openly accepts his obligations in the Church. But it is probable that this ought not to be Confirmation—apart from the difficulty of explaining theologically the halfway position of the baptized and unconfirmed child. It is probable that the organic conception of the Church is better inculcated when, as with the Orthodox, the child is confirmed and admitted to Communion immediately after Baptism, and from the first learns the Faith by sharing to the full in the Life.

But these are details, though not such as can be neglected. More important is it that we should learn, in the light of Orthodoxy, to look at exact Trinitarian and Christological Dogma, not as the outworn relics of old councils, but as the living test of a true Christian response to God—Hallowed be Thy Name: to develop a new sense of the Christian Society, and of the Unity of all Life—Thy Kingdom Come: and that we should make a new scrutiny of our methods in the Spiritual Life (hitherto taken somewhat uncritically from the Mediæval and Post-mediæval West) in the light of greater knowledge of the Greek Fathers and of the Eastern tradition (and in particular, of the ancient Jesus Prayer of humility)—Thy Will be done.

In all these matters there is an urgent duty, after prayer, for deeper study, and more general translation and publication of sources.

Oh, for an Orthodox monastery in England to bring to our service not books, but the living tradition of Orthodox Spiritual Life!

I am suggesting matters which we, as English Churchmen, must examine in the light of our experience of Eastern Orthodoxy, with a view to the conversion of ourselves, of our country, and of the world. I believe we are on an organic path for the fulfilment of our Church’s vocation. At the same time we must seek first, not England, but the Kingdom of God. So for years the words have been ringing in my ears—Hearken, O daughter, and consider, incline thine ear: forget also thine own people and thy father’s house. So shall the King have pleasure in thy beauty: for He is thy Lord God, and worship thou Him…In stead of thy fathers, thou shalt have children: whom thou mayest make princes in all lands.

(Many thanks to Project Canterbury for the text of this article.)


Timeline of Orthodoxy in Britain

Source of chart:

The early Christian writers Tertullian and Origen mention the existence of a British Church in the third century AD and in the fourth century British bishops attended a number of councils, such as the Council of Arles in 314 and the Council of Rimini in 359.

The first member of the British church whom we know by name is Saint Alban, who, tradition tells us, was martyred for his faith on the spot where St. Albans Abbey now stands.

The British Church was a missionary church with figures such as St Illtud, St Ninian and St Patrick evangelising in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, but the invasions by the pagan Angles, Saxons and Jutes in the fifth century seem to have destroyed the organisation of the Church in much of what is now England. In 597 a mission sent by St Gregory the Dialogist and led by St Augustine of Canterbury landed in Kent to begin the work of converting these pagan peoples.

What eventually became known as the "Church of England" [1] was the result of a combination of three traditions, that of Augustine and his successors, the remnants of the old Romano-British traditions and the Celtic tradition coming down from Scotland and associated with people like St Aidan and St Cuthbert.

These three traditions came together as a result of increasing mutual contact and a number of local synods, of which the Synod of Whitby in 664 has traditionally been seen as the most important. The result was an English Church, led by the two Archbishops of Canterbury and York, that was fully assimilated into the mainstream Church. This meant that it was influenced by the wider development of the Christian tradition in matters such as theology, liturgy, church architecture, and the development of monasticism.

Regarding the British Isles, what is known about the state of the Church there at the time of the Great Schism is that subsequent to the Norman Invasion in 1066, Church life was radically altered. Native clergy were replaced, liturgical reform enacted, and a strong emphasis on papal church control was propagated. As such, it is probably safe to say that, prior to 1066, the church of the British Isles was Orthodox, and the Normans brought the effects of the Great Schism to British soil. As such, it is probably proper to regard King Harold II as an Orthodox Christian.

It also meant that after King Harold II, the English Church continued under the authority of the "Pope" and not with Orthodoxy and this article does not consider the historical development of the "Church of England" after this date.

Orthodoxy was reintroduced, by the Church of Greece and by Russia.

The greatest contributor towards documenting the ecclesiastical and political history of England is attested to St. Bede, who completed in 731 five volumes of his best known work The Ecclesiastical History of England.

Pre-Roman Britain (55 B.C. - 43 A.D.)
55 BC Julius Caesar's first expedition to Britain, gaining a foothold on the coast of Kent.

54 BC Julius Caesar's second invasion of Britain, resulting in many of the native celtic tribes paying tribute and giving hostages in return for peace.[2]

5 AD Rome acknowledges Cymbeline, King of the Catuvellauni, as king of Britain.

Roman Britian: Introduction of Christianity (43-410)
Apostolic Era: According to the compilers of the Synaxarion, three members of the Apostolic Church had been responsible for preaching the Gospel in Britain:

Apostle Peter who, after visiting Milan, had "passed over to the island of Britain, now called England, (where) he spent many years and turned many erring Gentiles to faith in Christ";

Apostle Aristobulus (brother of St. Barnabas), who is called the Apostle of Britain and who was its first bishop; and

Apostle Simon the Canaanite and Zealot. In these Islands, the Celtic Church had shone forth - especially during the glorious period known as the "Age of Saints" when its missionaries preached throughout much of Europe, becoming 'Equals to the Apostles'.

Apocryphal legend claims that Joseph of Arimathea accompanied the Apostle Philip, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene & others on a preaching mission to Gaul.

Eusebius of Caesarea, (AD 260-340) Bishop of Caesarea and father of ecclesiastical history wrote: "The Apostles passed beyond the ocean to the isles called the Britannic Isles."

Ireland had been a place of refuge for monks fleeing from iconoclastic persecution; so, later, it was referred to as "the New Thebais" on account of the number of its monasteries.

43 Roman Emperor Claudius conquers England at Richborough (Kent), making it part of the vast Roman Empire; London is founded.

51 Caratacus, British resistance leader is captured and taken to Rome.

61 Boudicca, queen of the Iceni, led uprising against the Roman occupiers but was defeated and killed by the Roman governor, Suetonius Paulinus.

63 Joseph of Arimathea, travels to Britain and lands in Glastonbury [3] on the first Christian mission to Britain; Aristobulus, consecrated as first bishop to Britain.

ca.75-77 The Roman conquest of Britain is complete, as Wales is finally subdued; Julius Agricola is imperial governor (to 84).

122 Construction of Hadrian's Wall.

133 Julius Severus is sent to Palestine to crush the revolt.

140 Romans conquer Scotland.

ca. 155-222 Tertullian wrote that Britain had received and accepted the Gospel in his life time. [4]

167 Most commonly held date that Phagan and Deruvian sent by Eleutherius to convert the Britons to Christianity

ca. 170-236 Hippolytus of Rome [5] identifies Apostle Aristobulus listed in Romans 16:10 with Joseph of Arimathea and states that they ended up becoming Shepherds of Britain.

180 Protomartyr of Wales, St. Dyfan of Merthyr martyred at Merthyr Dyfan, Wales, May 14.

208 Tertullian writes that Christ has followers on the far side of the Roman wall in Britain where Roman legions have not yet penetrated.

283-305 Protomartyr of England, St. Alban [6][7], June 22.

304 Repose of Amphibalus at Verulamium (St Albans), Hertfordshire, June 25; Julius and Aaron [8] martyred at Caerleon, Britain, July 1 under the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian; Socrates and Stephanus martyred in Monmouthsire, September 17 under the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian [9]

307 The Church in Britain enjoys peace from the persecutions

313 "Edict of Toleration" (Milan), Christianity is made legal throughout the empire.

314 Council of Arles, for the first time, three British bishops attend a council.

325 First Ecumenical Council of Nicea convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine.

337 Constantine received "Christian" baptism on his deathbed. Joint rule of Constantine's three sons: Constantine II (to 340); Constans (to 350); Constantius (to 361)

350 Ninian establishes the church Candida Casa at Whithorn in Galloway, Scotland, beginning the missionary effort to the Picts.

380 Pelagius [10] enters Britain from Rome and introduces the Heresy of Pelagianism.[11]

383 Rome appoints Magnus Maximus as emperor in Britain while conquering Gaul, Spain and Italy

390 Patrick born at Kilpatrick, Scotland.

395 Death of Theodosius, the last emperor to rule an undivided empire, leaving Arcadius, emperor in the East and his other son, Honorius, emperor in the West; the office of Roman Emperor changes from a position of absolute power to one of being merely a head of state.

403 Abduction of Patrick to Ireland to serve as a slave; Victricius, Bishop of Rouen, visits Britain for the purpose of bringing peace to the island's clergy, who were in dispute over the Pelagian heresy.

406 Invasion of Gaul by Germanic tribes, severing contact between Rome and Britain [12].

410 Escape of Patrick back to Britain; Emperor Honorious recalls the last legions from Britain; Britain gains "independence" from Rome [13]; The Goths, under Alaric, sack Rome

Early British Kingdoms: Era of Celtic Missionaries (410-597)
410 Probable end of Roman occupation of Britain; Pelagian is driven out of Britain by the Goths of Alaric and moves to Palestine.

412 Patrick of Ireland has a vision of God informing him that he will leave for Ireland.

415 Pelagianism is attacked at the Council of Diospolis

418 Pelagianism is condemned at the Council of Carthage

419 King Brychan of Brecknock born, circa 419, in South Wales.

429 Celestine I dispatches prominent Gallo-Roman Bishops Germanus of Auxerre and Lupus of Troyes to Britain as missionary bishops and to combat the Pelagian heresy.

430 Patrick ordained by St. Germannus, Bishop of Auxerre.

431 Augustine and Pelagius;

432 Patrick sent from Aesir in Gaul to mission to Ireland.

440 Materiana born in Gwent of Wales.

445 Founding of monastery at Armagh in northern Ireland.

447 Germannus returns to Britain with Severus and heals a lame youth, condemns Pelagian heretics.

450 First monasteries established in Wales; Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britian.

455 Germanic Saxons and Angles conquer Britain, founding several independent kingdoms.

459 Repose of Auxilius of Ireland[14]

461 Repose of the Holy Hierarch St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland March 17 [15]

484 Brendan the Navigator born at Tralee in Kerry, Ireland.

490 Brigid of Kildaire founds monastery of Kildare in Ireland.

493 Gildas the Wise born in the lower valley of the Clyde in central Scotland [16].

521 Birth of Columba of Iona.

525 Repose of St. Brigid of Kildaire, February 1; Gildas the Wise studies under St. Illtyd and travels to Ireland with David of Wales and Cadoc, here he is ordained to the priesthood.

530 Brendan the Navigator lands in Newfoundland, Canada, establishing a short-lived community of Irish monks.

540 Kentigern appointed bishop to Strathclyde Britons (modern Glasgow).

545 Synod of Brefi at Llandewi Brefi in Wales condemns Pelagianism; Saint David of Wales moved the Primatial See of Britain from Caerleon to Menevia (St. David's).

546 Columba founds monastery of Derry in Ireland.

547 Saint David of Wales does obeisance to the Patriarch of Jerusalem.

550 Repose of St. Jarlath of Tuam, first Bishop of Tuam, June 6; Aed of Ferns born at Inisbrefny, Ireland.

553 Kentigern, Bishop of Glasgow and Strathclyde exiled by pagans fleeing to Menevia, Wales.

556 Columba founds monastery of Durrow in Ireland.

557 Brendan the Navigator founds monastery at Clonfert, Ireland.

560 Gildas the Wise returns to Ireland at the invitation of King Ainmeric.

563 Columba arrives on Iona and establishes monastery there, founding mission to the Picts.

564 Death of Petroc.

569 David of Wales holds Synod of Victoria to re-assert the anti-Pelagian decrees of Brefi.

570 Repose of Gildas the Wise, January 29, his relics allowed to drift; relics of Gildas the Wise recovered and translated to the church in Rhuys, April 29.

573 Kentigern returns to Scotland after exile; Kentigern evangelises Galloway and Cumberland.

580 Aedan of Ferns returns to Ireland after studying under Saint David of Wales in Wales.

581 Kentigern returns to Glasgow.

577 Repose of St. Brendan the Navigator, May 16.

587 Repose of St. David of Wales, March 1.

597 Repose of Columba of Iona, enlightener of Scotland, June 9.

Anglo-Saxon England: The English Orthodox Church (597-1066)
According to historians, during this period St. Non, the mother of St. David of Wales, and the daughter of the nobleman Cynyr of Caer Goch of Pembrokeshire, reposed and St. Materiana of Cornwall, April 9, reposed early 6th-century at Minster of Cornwall.

597 Gregory the Great sends Augustine [17] and forty monks to Britain to convert the Kingdom of Kent; Augustine first preaches in the Isle of Thanet to King Ethelbert, receiving license to enter the Kingdom of Kent; King Ethelbert is converted and on Christmas day 10,000 of the king's subjects were baptized; Augustine was consecrated Abp. at Arles, and establishes the See of Canterbury.

598 Brandon mac Echac (d. 603) convence a synod at which the Diocese of Ferns is made an episcopal see and Aedan of Ferns is made the first Bishop; Glastonbury Abbey founded; the Church in the British Isles numbers 120 bishops, hundreds of monasteries and parishes organized under a Primate with his See at Menevia.

7th century Celtic missions are launched in Northumbria (Aidan, Cuthbert).

601 Death of David of Wales, Bishop of Menevia; Gregory sends the St Augustine Gospels to Augustine of Canterbury[18]

602 Augustine repairs the church of our Saviour and builds the monastery of St. Peter the Apostle, "Peter" is the first abbot of the same.

603 Repose of Kentigern of Glasgow, January 11; Ethelfrid, king of the Northumbrians, having vanquished the nations of the Scots, expels them from the territories of the English.

604 First Bishop of London, Mellitus consecrated by Augustine in the province of East Saxons; Repose of Saint Augustine of Canterbury "Apostle to the English" May 26; Saint Laurence of Canterbury consecrated as the second Archbishop of Canterbury; Bp. Mellitus founded the first St. Paul's Cathedral, traditionally said to be on the site of an old Roman Temple of Diana (although Christopher Wren in the 17th c. found no evidence of this).

612 Repose of Dubricius of Caerleon, Archbishop of Caerleon and Wales, November 14.

618 Repose of abbot Donnan & his monk companions in Eigg, April 17.

619 Repose of Laurence of Canterbury, February 3; Mellitus consecrated as third Archbishop of Canterbury.

624 Repose of Mellitus , first Bishop of London, April 24.

628 Benedict Biscop born in Northumbria.

630 Audrey of Ely born in West Suffolk.

632 Repose of Aed of Ferns, [19] Bishop of Ferns in Ireland, January 31.

635 Cuthbert born in Britain.

640 Repose of Beuno the Wonderworker, Abbot of Clynnog, April 21 [20].

647 Repose of Felix of Burgundy, Apostle of East Anglia, March 8.

650 (Fursey of Lagny, January 7)

651 Cuthbert of Lindisfarne witnesses the soul of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne reposing as a light in the night sky and leaves for Melrose Abbey to become a monk; Repose of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne, enlightener of Northumbria of Northern England, August 31.

653 Benedict Biscop and Wilfred the Elder set off to visit Rome.

661 Cuthbert of Lindisfarne and Eata join a monastery at Ripon.

664 Synod of Whitby; Cuthbert stricken by the great pestilence; repose of St. Boisil, abbot of Melrose Abbey, Scotland, February 23 [21].

668 Gerald of Mayo follows Colman and settles in Innisboffin.

669 Theodore of Tarsus arrives in Kent at the age of seven.

670 Colman founds an English monastery, separate to the irish, the "Mayo of the Saxons"[22], with Gerald of Mayo as the first abbot.

672 Repose of Chad of Lichfield and Mercia, March 2.

673 Historian Bede born.

675 Repose of Ethelburgh, first abbess of the Convent of Barking

676 Cuthbert becomes a solitary on Farne Island.

679 Repose of Audrey of Ely.

680 Repose of Botolph of Iken, June 17; Repose of St. Hilda of Whitby, November 17; Sussex is the last part of England to be converted to Christianity.

681 Repose of Caedmon, February 11 [23]

685 Cuthbert of Lindisfarne consecrated Bishop of Lindisfarne, March 26, by St. Theodore

686 Repose of Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, March 20.

689 Repose of Benedict Biscop, abbot, in Wearmouth, Co Durham, January 12.

690 Repose of Theodore of Tarsus, eighth Archbishop of Canterbury, September 19

694 Repose of Sebbe, founder of the monastery of Westiminster.

693 Repose of Erconwald, Bishop of London.

696 Incorrupt body of Audrey of Ely found.

697 Gerald of Mayo resigns as abbot of the "Mayo of the Saxons" in favour of St. Adamnan; Relics of Cuthbert of Lindisfarne revealed to be incorrupt.

703 Gerald of Mayo resumes the abbacy of the "Mayo of the Saxons".

709 Repose of Wilfrid, Bishop of Hexham, April 24.

714 Repose of Guthlac of Crowland, the hermit, April 11.

716 Repose of Donald of Ogilvy, confessor of Scotland, July 15..

731 repose of Gerald, Bishop of Mayo and english monk, March 13; Bede writes "The Ecclesiastical History of the English People"'

735 Repose of Venerable Bede, May 25.

Viking Age (793-1066)
869 King Edmund of East Anglia, martyred November 20.

870 Repose of Ss. Beocca and Hethor, the two martyrs of Chertsey.

890 Bede's Ecclesiastical History was translated into Old English at the insistence of Alfred the Great.

899 Repose of King Alfred the Great, October 26.

903 Relics of King Alfred the Great [24] translated to New Minster Abbey.

934 Death of Birnstan of Winchester.

935 Relics of St. Branwallader (or Brelade translated by King Athelstan to Milton Abbey [25].

955 Repose of King Edred of England, November 23.

988 Repose of St. Dunstan of Canterbury, Bishop of London.

ca.988-1023 The "Bosworth Psalter" is compiled at Canterbury, including a calendar of the Orthodox Church from among the Saints of Western, especially English origin who reposed before the West fell away from Orthodoxy.

1002 Repose of St. Wulsin, renewer of the Monastery of St. Peter.

1012 Repose of St. Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury martyred to the east of London at Greenwich, April 19.

1030 Relics of St. Boisil (Boswell), Prior of Melrose (+661), are translated to Durham Cathedral by the priest Ælfred.

Roman Catholic Period (1066-1534)
Anglo-Norman Britain: Latin Continental Ecclesiology Formalized (1066-1154)
1066 Repose of the last Orthodox King of England, Harold of England, October 14.

1072 On October 15, the last English Orthodox bishop, Ethelric of Durham, after anathematizing the Pope, died in prison at Westminster.

1104 Relics of Cuthbert of Lindisfarne translated [26] from Lindisfarne to Durham Cathedral, September 4.

ca.1136 Geoffrey of Monmouth writes his chronicle Historia Regum Britanniae ("History of the Kings of Britain").

Plantaganet Era (1154-1485)
This period witnessed the continual struggle between the English Kings and the Church in Rome for the legal high ground.

1170 Abp. of Canterbury Thomas Becket is assassinated in December in Canterbury Cathedral, after having excommunicated the Abp. of York and the Bps. of London and Salisbury, who had held the coronation of Henry the Young King in York in June, in breach of Canterbury's privilege of coronation.

1202-04 Nobleman Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester achieved prominence in the Fourth Crusade.

1215 Magna Carta is issued, arguably the most significant early influence on the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law and democracy today in the English speaking world.

ca.1220 English Bp. Richard Le Poore is said to have been responsible for the final form of the "Use of Sarum", which had the sterling reputation of being the best liturgy anywhere in the West.

1221 The Dominican Friars (known as Black Friars) arrive in England, appearing in Oxford.

1265 Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester calls the first English parliament.

1295 King Edward I summons the Model Parliament, including members of the clergy and the aristocracy, as well as representatives from the various counties and boroughs.

1337-1453 Hundred Years' War between England and France.

1347 Death of William of Ockham, English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher and a supporter of the doctrine of Apostolic poverty, which was held by fundamentalist Franciscan and mendicant orders, bringing them into conflict with the pope; also the author of Occam's Razor.

1349 Death of Richard Rolle, English religious writer and mystic, Bible translator, and hermit.

1393 Julian of Norwich, thought of as one of the greatest English mystics, writes The Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love, chronicling her prolonged states of ecstasy when she saw visions of the sufferings of Christ and of the Trinity.

1438 Margery Kempe, a "religious enthusiast"[27] and laywoman, completes her autobiography The Book of Margery Kempe, chronicling her spiritual experiences, visions, and extensive pilgrimages to various holy sites in Europe.

1453 The Hundred Years War ends, England loses all its territory in France except for Calais.

1455-1485 Wars of the Roses, a series of dynastic civil wars between supporters of the rival houses of Lancaster and York, for the throne of England.

1476 William Caxton introduces the printing press into England, setting up a press at Westminster; the first book known to have been issued there was an edition of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

Tudor Era (1485-1603)
1521 Pope Leo X rewards King Henry VIII for his written attack on Luther by granting him the title "Defender of the Faith".

English Reformation (1534-1660)
1534 Act of Supremacy by which the Parliament of England declared King Henry VIII as 'the only supreme head on earth of the Church in England', and affirming the legal sovereignty of the civil laws over the laws of the Church in England.

1536-1541 Dissolution of the Monasteries, nunneries and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland.

1549 First Book of Common Prayer is introduced.

1550 Vestments controversy begins as John Hooper called for the elimination of vestments; the controversy was ostensibly concerning vestments, but more fundamentally concerned with English Protestant identity, doctrine, and various church practices, shedding much light on the development of English forms of Puritanism and Anglicanism.

1553-1558 Restoration of Roman Catholicism by Queen Mary I; Queen Mary I restored the Sarum rite in 1553 and promulgated it throughout England, but it was finally abolished by Elizabeth I in 1559.

1558-1603 Elizabethan Era, final break with the Roman Church.

1560 Scottish Reformation marks Scotland's formal break with the Papacy in 1560; the Reformation Parliament repudiated the pope's authority, forbade the celebration of the Mass and approved a Protestant Confession of Faith, being made possible by a revolution against French hegemony.

1563 The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion were established, the historic defining statements of Anglican doctrine in relation to the controversies of the English Reformation.

1564-1660 The Era of Puritanism.

1603-1625 Jacobean Era.

1625-1642 Caroline Era.

1649-1660 Interregnum: Commonwealth of England: Anglicanism was disestablished and outlawed, and in its place, Presbyterian ecclesiology was introduced in place of the episcopate; the 39 Articles were replaced with the Westminster Confession, and the Book of Common Prayer was replaced by the Directory of Public Worship.

English (Stuart) Restoration (1660-1689): Orthodox Presence Re-established
Anglicanism was restored in a form not far removed from the Elizabethan version. However the ideal of encompassing all the people of England in one religious organisation, which was taken for granted by the Tudors, had to be abandoned. The religious landscape of England assumed its present form; the Anglican was the established church occupying the middle ground; Roman Catholics and those Puritans and Protestants who dissented from the Anglican establishment, too strong to be suppressed altogether, had to continue their existence outside the National Church rather than controlling it.

1662 Major revision of the Book of Common Prayer is published, remaining the official prayer book of the Church of England up until the 21st century (when an alternative book called Common Worship largely displaced it in Anglican parishes).

1670 Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain established by priest Daniel Voulgaris first Greek Orthodox Community in London, re-establishing an Orthodox presence in Great Britain.

1676 Arrival of Joseph Georgerines, Archbishop of Samos.

1677 "Greek St Church to the Panagia" erected for the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain [28]

1684 "Greek St Church to the Panagia" confiscated and handed over to Huguenot refugees from France. Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain forced to worship for the next 150 years in the Imperial Russian Embassy.

1688 The Glorious Revolution (Revolution of 1688), overthrew King James II of England (VII of Scotland and II of Ireland) by a union of Parliamentarians with an invading army led by William III of Orange-Nassau.

1689 Act of Toleration, partially restores civil rights to Nonconformists who dissented from the Church of England, such as Baptists and Congregationalists, allowing them their own places of worship and their own teachers and preachers, subject to acceptance of certain oaths of allegiance; however this did not include Roman Catholics, Quakers or non-trinitarians.

The Revolution Entrenched (1689-1707)
1700 The Parliament of England passed Popery Act 1698, intended to prevent the Growth of Popery, imposing a number of penalties and disabilities on Roman Catholics in England.

United Kingdom of Great Britian (1707-1801)
1714-1837 Georgian Era.

1738 Print 'Noon' [29] by William Hogarth[30] shows evidence of a crowd exiting a Greek Orthodox church.

1778 The Parliament of Great Britain enacted the Papists Act 1778, the first Act for Roman Catholic Relief, reversing some of the penalties imposed in Popery Act 1698.

1780 The Gordon Riots, an anti-Catholic uprising against the act of 1778, which became an excuse for widespread rioting and looting.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801-1927)
1815-1914 Pax Britannica.

1827 A Byzantine silk depicting the Earth and the Ocean was found in the tomb of St. Cuthbert Bp. of Lindisfarne, when it was uncovered in May at Durham; the personified Earth is shown emerging from the waters with ducks and fishes, fishing being an allegory in Church art of apostolic mission of preaching the Gospel.

1837-1901 Victorian Era.

1837 Imperial Russian Embasy offers hospitality in Finsbury Park, London to the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain community for their religious activities.

ca. 1840-1927 St. Arsenios of Cappadocia prophesised that "The Church in the British Isles will only begin to truly grow again when it begins to venerate once more its own saints".

1850 Greek Orthodox church built in London Street in the City.

1868 Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov born May 6.

1877 Greek Orthodox Church of the Divine Wisdom (St Sophia) in Bayswater built.

1884 Nicholas II of Russia meets Princess Alice Victoria Helen Louise Beatrix von Hessen-Darmstadt

1899 Bede is made a "Doctor of the Church" [31] by Leo XIII.

1901-1910 Edwardian Era.

1906 Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas built in Cardiff.

1908 Oecumenical Patriarchate transfers its rights for four Greek Orthodox community churches to Church of Greece.

1914 By this time in Great Britain there existed four thriving Greek Orthodox Communities, all centred around a Greek Church of their own: London (Saint Sophia), Manchester (The Annunciation), Liverpool (Saint Nicholas), and Cardiff (Saint Nicholas).

1918 The family of Tsar Nicholas, Alexandra and their five children are lined up in their basement and shot, July 16.

1922 Holy Synod of the Oecumenical Patriarchate recognises the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain with London as its seat; Germonos (Strinopoulos), former Rector of the Halki Theological Academy, is chosen as the first Bishop and Metropolitan of Thyateira.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1927-Present)
1941 Death of Evelyn Underhill, an English Anglo-Catholic writer and pacifist known for her numerous works on religion and spiritual practice, in particular Christian mysticism.

1948 HRH Princess Elizabeth, the present Queen, married the Greek Orthodox Prince Philip, the present Duke of Edinburgh; he was officially required to cease to be Orthodox, although he never ceased to make the Orthodox sign of the cross in public.

1951 Death of Germonos (Strinopoulos); Succeeded by Abp. Athenagoras (Cavadas).

1958 Elder Sophrony (Sakharov) seeks a monastic life in Essex of London; Timothy Ware converted from the Church of England to the Greek Orthodox Church.

1959 Patriarchal Stavropegic Monastery of St. John the Baptist founded by Elder Sophrony in Tolleshunt Knights, Maldon, Essex under the jurisdiction of Metr. Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh.

1962 Repose of Athenagoras (Cavadas); Diocese of Sourozh is founded by Metr. Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh.

1964 Gregorios (Theocharous) appointed Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Thyateira.

1965 Patriarchal Stavropegic Monastery of St John the Baptist moved under the Ecumenical Patriarchate; Nicholas Couris ordained a priest for ROCOR in Ireland.

1966 Timothy Ware is ordained to the priesthood and tonsured as a monk, receiving the name Kallistos; repose of St. John Maximovitch, Archbishop of London July 2.

1970 Gregorios (Theocharous) consecrated Bishop of Tropaeou, December 12; Chrysostomos (Mavroyiannopoulos) made auxiliary Bishop of Kyanea, December 19; acquired in 1960, St. Luke's Greek Orthodox Church in Glasgow, Scotland, is elevated to a Cathedral by the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, Nicholas VI (Valeropoulos), with the blessing of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

1973 Anglican-Orthodox dialogue began, when the Anglican-Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Discussions (A/OJDD) held its first meeting in Oxford.

1975 Repose of Metr. Nikolaos of Halkis in a London hospital; the Greek Orthodox community of Saint Panteleimon of Harrow is established;[32] Abp. Athenagoras (Kokkinakis) publishes The Thyateira Confession: The Faith and Prayer of Orthodox Christians.

1976 The first phase of the Anglican-Orthodox dialogue was concluded by the publication of The Moscow Agreed Statemen.

1977 Death of Fr. Nicholas Couris; the New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha - Revised Standard Version (Expanded Edition) is published, endorsed by Abp. Athenagoras (Kokkinakis) of Thyateira and Great Britain.

1978 Diocese of Sourozh buys the Cathedral of the Dormition and All Saints, in London's Ennismore Gardens.

1979 Repose of Abp. Athenagoras (Kokkinakis) succeeded by Abp. Methodios (Fouyias); Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia appointed.

1980 The Antiochian Orthodox Society is established to serve the Arabic speaking and believing community.

1981 Redundant Anglican Church of St. Mary in Mary Street, Dublin handed to the Greek Orthodox Community of Dublin and Ireland, blessed and dedicated to the Holy Annunciation by Abp. Methodius (Fouyias of Thyateira, Great Britain and Ireland, May 24.

1982 Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia consecrated as Bishop for the Thyateira and Great Britain; the Church of St. Edward the Martyr is founded in Brookwood, Surrey, England, under the authority of (OODE note: Schismatic) Metr. Cyprian of Oropos and Fyli , to care for the sacred relics of Saint Edward the Martyr.

1984 The second phase of the Anglican-Orthodox dialogue was concluded with the publication of The Dublin Agreed Statement.

1988 Abp. Methodios (Fouyias) is succeeded by Abp. Gregorios (Theocharous) who is elected Abp. of Thyateira and Great Britain and enthroned at the Cathedral of Sophia in West London, April 16.

1989 The third phase of the Anglican-Orthodox dialogue began, when the commission was re-constituted as The International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD), under the chairmanship of Metr. John of Pergamon and Bp. Henry Hill (succeeded in 1990 by Bp. Mark Dyer).

1990 The Friends of Mount Athos society is formed by people sharing a common interest for the monasteries of Mount Athos, with Metr. Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia being the President of the society, also including Prince Philip (Duke of Edinburgh) and Prince Charles (Prince of Wales and Heir Apparent to the British throne) among its members.

1991 The body of Nicholas II of Russia is exhumed in Yekaterinburg, Siberia.

1993 Death of Elder Sophrony (Sakharov), July 11.

1995 Death of Philip Sherrard, theologian May 30; establishment of the Antiochian Orthodox Deanery of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

1996 St. Aidan's Antiochian Orthodox Church in Manchester consecrated by Metropolitan Gabriel (Saliby); Richard Swinburne, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford and a very influential proponent of natural theology, converted from the Church of England to the Greek Orthodox Church.

1997 Friends of Orthodoxy on Iona founded.

1998 Nicholas II of Russia and family properly laid to rest.

1999 The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies is founded in the ancient university city of Cambridge with the blessing of all Orthodox hierarchs in Western Europe, being a full member of the Cambridge Theological Federation; the Philokalia, Volume 4 published by Faber&Faber.

2000 Theodoritos (Polyzogopoulos) of Nazianzos elected and consecrated Bishop of Nazianzos; the council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church unanimously recognise Nicholas, Alexandra and their five children as saints; Archdiocese of Thyateira annual Youth Conference held at Wood Green, North London, April 21; [33] online discussion community set up by M.C. Steenberg; Institute of Byzantine Studies established at Queens' University, Belfast, Ireland.

2001 Bishop Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia retires.

2005 Mission in Macclesfield dedicated to St. Theodore of Canterbury opens in September.

2006 Bp. Basil (Osborne) was accepted into the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on June 8 and accorded the title of Bishop of Amphipolis as head of the Episcopal Vicariate of Great Britain and Ireland, within the Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe.

2007 The Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate officially released Bp. Basil (Osborne) from its jurisdiction on March 27; the Abp. of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams welcomed Patriarch Bartholomew I to Westminster Abbey to celebrate the publication of The Church of the Triune God: The Cyprus Agreed Statement, taking over 16 years to produce, concluding the third phase of the Anglican-Orthodox international theological dialogue; Diocese of Diokleia is elevated to a Metropolis and Bp. Kallistos (Ware) to Titular Metropolitan of Diokleia; Bp. Elisey of Sourozh consecrated; death of Metr. Gabriel (Saliby) of Western Europe (Antiochian).

2008 Enthronement of Metr. John (Yazigi) of Western and Central Europe for the Antiochian Orthodox Deanery of the United Kingdom and Ireland; partnership between (Patristic and Monastic website) and Ancient Faith Radio, launching a series of weekly internet podcasts entitled "A Word From the Holy Fathers".

2009 With the retirement of Bp. Basil (Osborne) of Amphipolis, the Episcopal Vicariate of Great Britain and Ireland became the Deanery of Great Britain and Ireland, coming directly under the omophorion of Abp. Gabriel (de Vylder) of Komana (Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe)

Some of these dates are necessarily a bit vague, as records for some periods are particularly difficult to piece together accurately.

The division of Church History into separate eras as done here will always be to some extent arbitrary, though it was attempted to group periods according to major watershed events.

This timeline is necessarily biased toward the history of the Orthodox Church, though a number of non-Orthodox or purely political events are mentioned for their importance in history related to Orthodoxy or for reference.

G. E. Palmer, Philip Sherrard and Bishop Kallistos Ware translate and publish four volumes of the Philokalia into English; Bishop Kallistos Ware and Mother Mary produced English translations of the Lenten Triodion and Festal Menaion.

Grand Duchess St. Elizabeth (a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria and a great-aunt of Prince Philip) and St. John Maximovich, who have been associated with them in the recent past.

The memory of Brother Lazaros, killed (some would say, martyred) within the Cathedral at Camberwell, remains vivid...

Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, which depends directly on the Oecumenical Patriarchate and whose Founder was the saintly Archimandrite Sophrony, a pupil of St. Silouanos of the Holy Mountain.

External links
Greek Orthodox Church in Great Britain

Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain - Orthodoxy in the British Isles

ANASTASIS. The web pages of Archimandrite Ephrem Lash.

Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain

Diocese of Sourozh under the Patriarchate of Moscow

Russian Orthodox Church in Ireland

Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Western and Central Europe


Christianity in the United Kingdom: Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Britons (historical).

Timeline of Anglo-Saxon settlement in Britain.

Norman conquest of England.

Timeline of British history.


Orthodox England (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia: Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland).

Timeline of Orthodox Christianity in the British Isles.


Timeline of British History at

An Anglican Timeline (AD. 44-2000)

Timeline of the English Reformation and Development of the Anglican Church (1517-1726).

Christianity in the UK at BBC News.

Published Works
Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, excerpts (from the Internet Medieval Sourcebook)

Judith Pinnington. Anglicans and Orthodox: Unity and Subversion 1559-1725. Gracewing Publishing, 2003. 260 pp. ISBN 9780852445778 (Forward by Rowan Williams, Abp. of Canterbury; Introduction by Kallistos Ware, Bp. of Diokleia)

1. ↑ The "Church of England" (the Ecclesia Anglicana - or the English Church)

2. ↑ The British forces are led by Cassivellaunus.

3. ↑ St. Philip sent Joseph of Arimathea, with twelve disciples, to establish Christianity in the most far-flung corner of the Roman Empire: the Island of Britain. The year AD 63 is commonly given for this "event", with AD 37 sometimes being put forth as an alternative.

4. ↑ Tertullian wrote that Britain had received and accepted the Gospel in his life time: "All the limits of the Spains, and the diverse nations of the Gauls, and the haunts of the Britons--inaccessible to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ."

5. ↑ Hippolytus was considered to have been one of the most learned Christian historians and is the one who identifies the seventy whom Jesus sent in the Gospel of Saint Luke

6. ↑ The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles list the year of St. Alban's execution as 283 not as 305.

7. ↑ St. Alban is first mentioned in "Acta Martyrum", and also by Constantius of Lyon in his Life of St. Germanus of Auxerre, written about 480

8. ↑ The earliest authority for their existence is St. Gildas in De Excidio Britanniae.

9. ↑ Ss. Socrates and Stephanus appear in the Martyrologion Hieronymianum MS.50 from Trinity College, Dublin (11th-century) and one of the earliest amplifications of Bede's martyrology. Tradition holds them to be disciples of St. Amphibalus.

10. ↑ St. Jerome suggests that this Pelagius was of Scottish descent but in such terms that it is uncertain as to whether he was from Scotland or Ireland. He is also frequently referred to as a British monk and Augustine has been documented as referring to him as "Brito" to distinguish him from Pelagius of Tarentum.

11. ↑

12. ↑ In early January, 406, a combined barbarian force (Suevi, Alans, Vandals & Burgundians) swept into central Gaul, severing contact between Rome and Britain. In autumn 406, the remaining Roman army in Britain decided to mutiny. One Marcus was proclaimed emperor in Britain, but was immediately assassinated.

13. ↑ Emperor Honorius tells Britain to attend to its own affairs, effectively removing the Roman presence.

14. ↑ St. Auxilius of Ireland: The date of death is also given as 454 or 455, see Sabine Baring-Gould, The Lives of the Saints (J. Hodges, 1898), 275.

15. ↑ When he came to Ireland, as its enlightener, it was a pagan country; when he ended his earthly life some thirty years later, about 461, the Faith of Christ was established in every corner." (Great Horologion) The work of St Patrick and his brethren has been called the most successful single missionary venture in the history of the Church.

16. ↑ The date of St. Gildas' birth can only tentatively be placed to the decades either side of the beginning of the Sixth Century. St. Bede indirectly suggests the year 493 for this event and this is the date adopted for this article.

17. ↑ Saint Augustine of Canterbury is also called the "Apostle to the English".

18. ↑ The "St Augustine Gospels" manuscript is the oldest surviving Latin illustrated Gospel book in existence.

19. ↑ A bronze reliquary in which the relics of St. Aed of Ferns are kept is currently preserved in Dublin.

20. ↑ St. Beuno the Wonderworker, Abbot of Clynnog, was uncle to St. Winefride of Treffynon, November 3, whom he also restored to life.

21. ↑ Almost all that is known of St. Boisol or Boswell, is learn from St. Bede (Eccles. Hist., IV, xxvii, and Vita Cuthberti).

22. ↑ The Mayo (Magh Eo, the yew plain), known as "Mayo of the Saxons". St. Bede writes of this monastery: "This monastery is to this day (731) occupied by English monks... and contains an exemplary body who gathered there from England, and live by the labour of their own hands (after the manner of the early Fathers), under a rule and canonical abbot, leading chaste and single lives."

23. ↑ Cædmon is said to have taken holy orders at an advanced age and it is implied that he lived at Streonæshalch at least in part during Hilda’s abbacy (657–680). Book IV Chapter 25 of the Historia ecclesiastica appears to suggest that Cædmon’s death occurred at about the same time as the fire at Coldingham Abbey, an event dated in the E text of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle to 679, but after 681 by Bede.

24. ↑ Considered a local Saint by the Orthodox church of England but not formally canonised.

25. ↑ The proper name of Milton Abbey is the Abbey Church of St. Mary, St. Samson and St. Branwalader.

26. ↑ His [St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne] body was still found to be untouched by decay, giving off "an odour of the sweetest fragrancy", and "from the flexibility of its joints representing a person asleep rather than dead.

27. ↑ Margery Kempe (ca.1373-ca.1439) stands very much alone in the English mystical tradition. Indeed, she is thought by some to be outside this tradition because of the lack of depth in her revelations, the highly personal level of her visions, and the extremes of her behaviour. If she is a mystic, it is certainly not in the same sense as her better known contemporaries such as Richard Role or Julian of Norwich.

28. ↑ "In the year of salvation 1677 this Temple was erected for the nation of the Greeks, the Most Serene Charles II being King, and the Roual Prince Lord James being commander of the foreces, the Right Reverend Lord Henry Compton being Bishop, at the expense of the above and other Bishops and Nobles and with the concurrence of our Humility of Samos Joseph Georgeirenes, from the island of Melos." - Inscription from tablet carved in Greek preserved on the west wall of the church Charing Cross Road. This site is now occupied by St Mary's of Kenton a non-Orthodox denomination.

29. ↑ From the series entitled "The Four Times of the Day".

30. ↑ In Hogarth’s time the portion of the street where the church stood was called Hog Lane. It was later renamed Crown Street and was demolished when Charing Cross Road was widened.

31. ↑ The position of "Doctor of the Church" is a position of theological significance; St. Bede is the only man from Great Britain to achieve this designation (Anselm of Canterbury, also a Doctor of the Church, was originally from Italy

32. ↑

33. ↑ Monachos: