Having presently read Fr. Michael's paper "concerning the Calendar Controversy, I must say that he takes us through the calendar issue chronologically, very thoroughly and ties it all together with a very clear conclusion and adequate defence.
However, I would like to add comment on one point, for his perspective on the Celtic Church seems very one-sided and pro-roman, i.e. Bede.
He takes Bede's argument that the Celtic Church was in error and stubbornly opposed the true and Catholic Pascha which had been universally agreed upon at the Council of Nicea (325).
If one reads Bede's account of the mission of St. Augustine Bishop of Canterbury and his group of monks, one finds that, " they were appalled at the idea of going to a barberous, fierce and pagan nation". Bede, Book1: Chapt. 23.
There was Christianity in Britain, it was far from being a "pagan nation".Yet this Christianity disturbed those holding a more legalistic, organised, corporate type of ethos.
The Celtic culture thrived and through its commerce it kept close ties with the East and consequently, the teaching of the Desert Fathers. Here is where they suckled; The ascetisism of eastern monasticism was their spiritual nourishment. From Anatolius of Alexandria in Egypt, who became bishop of Laodicea, they took their calculation for Pascha; And for their Paschalion tradition they claimed the authority of the Holy Apostle John. As did the Church in Asia.
At the council of Whitby, Wilfred aptly argued as one trained in Rome. He was so indoctrinated by the western Church's customs and traditions that he had little tollerance for the eastern mysticism he beheld in the English and Irish Church. "Wilfred...returned to Britain, as bishop (he) introduced into the English churches many Catholic customs, with the result that the Catholic Rite daily gained support and all the Irish then living among the English either conformed to it or returned to their own land". Bede, Book3: Chapt. 28.
The western empire thought of Britain as western and yet their faith was eastern. The antagonism between East and West caused by the imperialist philosophy of the West was felt even more directly by the English and Irish Church because of its geographical nature. It had been conquered by Rome; It was Roman; Western Roman and not Byzantine.
A good reading of the tensions that existed between East and West prior to the " Great Scism" of 1054 would enlighten us to the type of situation between the Celtic Church and those coming from Rome.
Their resistance therefore was not so much "hardihood opposition" to the Universal Paschalion prescribed by the Council of Nicea, but an adherence to the Faith and traditions that they had received,centuries ago, from the East. " their recalcitrance was based on fidelity to a tradition". and hardly a case of "cleaving faithfully to an anarchism".
Could the statement that "sanctity is not always a protection from error" equally apply to the western Church in this instance? Though they appeared to be bringing a certian unity they were in fact bringing the future extinction of the Celtic Church as it increasingly became a papal extremity.
As early as the first visit of an Augustine, Augustine of Hippo, The Church in the British Isles was misunderstood while one of Rome's saints laid the foundations for the Filioque in his heresy of man's salvation by predestination, grace alone. A heresy that undermines the Trinity and and the Incarnation.
This brings to mind the admonition of St. John:
" And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world". John 4:3.
For this we do not unite with those who changed the calendar for they went out from us and if they had not changed they would still be one with The Unchangable, the eternal, Body of Christ.
For this Faith the Celtic Church held fast to the traditions they had been taught and resisted the Roman adjustment. External unity was delayed by those few with vital tenacity.
With much Love-in Christ, Hilda Maillis
Date: Saturday, November 29, 2003 9:31:47 AM
Subject: [hocna] Orthodox Christian Witness
The November 2003 online issue of The Orthodox Christian Witness is now available.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1) A Letter to Michael Christopulos
2) Concerning the Calendar Controversy
3) New and Holiday Items from the Bookstore
Just click on http://www.zipcon.net/OCW/2003/ocw_1530.html
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