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Short History of the Orthodox Church of the Culdees, and Our Reestablishment

Short History of the Orthodox Church of the Culdees

– TABLE OF CONTENTS –

– Short Definition of Culdee – 

– The First Century Church –

– Numerous British 1st-5th Century Saints –

– British Israelites –

– Triumphant Christian Israelites –

– Israelite Liturgies –

– Archbishops and Patriarchs –

– Charters of Glastonbury –

– Kings, Queens, Popes, and Heirs –

– The Rights Transferred to the Descendants in Spiritual Anointing –

– Glastonbury Rights to Ban and Set Free –

– Re-establishment of the Culdees’ Church at Southern California –

– Our Current Primace of the OCC, Abp. Stephen Michael –

– Special Note on the Sabbath – 

– Appendix – 

 

Short Definition of Culdee.

You can read the Basic Definition in the 1911 British Encyclopedia, Volume 7. It conclusively defines the Culdees as “Britain’s earliest priests of God”. The encyclopedia then goes on to defend why that is the most accurate definition of Culdee. 

No one but a non-believer will tend to argue against this fundamental definition from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

While we also have many very good studies into the hebrew/greek/latin/cymric and other languages that speculate on the meanings of the term in original tounges, that is not the purpose of this article. There are plenty enough good studies about the term Culdee done by expert historians which we need not add to. Several of these scholarly works are included in the appendix of this article. We ask that people no longer try and make the word “Culdee” into a grey area, and so make believe fantasy that never was. For sake of this article on the history of our church, we proceed with this basic definition “Britain’s earliest priests of God”, as taken from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

The First Century Church.

The institution known as the “Church of the Culdees” is widely acknowledged to be the Celtic First Century Church at Glastonbury. It was established by the Great Elder of the Sanhedrin, Joseph of Arimathea. He was believed to be the richest man in the world, and owned some of Solomon’s ships that were used to travel to America. He was also heir to the Davidic throne, and of Aaronic lineage. In the “Welsh Genealogies of Saints” it catalogs his descendants as endowing their successors with their Culdean Churches, according to the Hebrew and local English method of inheritance.

Numerous British 1st-5th Century Saints.

In official calendars and histories around the world, our British Saints that predated Augustine by 500 years, are venerated. Even in Greece and Russia, these saints are venerated in their biographies as British, Irish, Scottish, and like Columbanus, as “CULDEAN” founders of the Church in Western Europe. Download the chapter “Spread of the Culdean Church [in Western Europe] from the book, “History of the Scottish Nation” or The History of The Celtic Church (All Three Volumes): History of Civilization From Pre-historic Times To Medieval Times – FREE PDF. For nearly every generation it has been, and still is acknowledged by historians worldwide that hundreds of British missionaries (Culdean Orthodox Saints) were sent from Britain to convert Western Europe long before Rome sent Augustine to England. (Download PDF From “the Culdee of Glastonbury” 133 British Saints Before Roman Augustine’s arrival – PDF.)

British Israelites.

There are over 3,000 books written on the topic of “British Israelism”, that highlight these facts of the First Century Culdean / British Church.

Some say the Culdees went into hiding. However, we see quite the contrary. The British church embraced it’s roots as Israel and used the ancient liturgies of Israel. This included not only in the church, but also the Nobility. The Kings and Queens being descendant of King David.  The current Queen of England, when she was crowned was proclaimed by the Archbishop to be “Queen of Israel”, when her coronation was syndicated live on international television. That isn’t to say in every generation they weren’t perfect. Even the Israelites when they lived in Jerusalem had many wicked kings who even let the people forget God’s commandments.

Triumphant Christian Israelites.

However, after Christ, there became more of a stronger remnant than Israel ever had in the Old Testament. We who are part of His firstfruits have His law as our delight, that the Holy Spirit has written on our hearts. So no longer do people need to teach us the basics, but we know God and seek His will (His word) to be done on earth. The Church Triumphant has had it’s many days of peril, but have emerged as victors outliving every Government, and still having our Orthodox Hebrew beliefs although there is a general “great falling away” of the rest of the church. We consider those who forgot about His laws to simply be “asleep” and in need of awakening. If they don’t awaken now to be in the firstfruits then they will need to stay in the grave an extra 1,000 years till the second ressurection.

Numerous studies can show that throughout the many splits and schisms from our true Israelite faith, the Culdean church has remained true to the Orthodox Hebrew faith down through the centuries until today. Whether you trace the Waldensian Bishops of Lyon France, and their many great martyrdoms, or any other country around the world where the leaders were martyred for teaching God’s law being for the church. These things come and go, and are often only temporary political matters.

There is a consensus among historians that the Protestant reformers were Neo-Culdees.

Israelite Liturgies. 

The present and ancient English liturgy reflects the facts that the Christian nations have always believed they are Israelites. The Hebrew Shama Prayer is used in the oldest of our Culdee Christian liturgies, and is today in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (also used by Roman Catholics) as part of the Eucharist. It is also the oldest prayer that is recited by the Jews (originally from the Great Sanhedrin of 450BC. [That is around the time Jeremiah transplanted much of the priesthood, David’s literal throne (stone of scone), and the remaining heirs of the Judean throne to Ireland]). The English congregations chant the Shama much like Israel did. It is chanted at the Eucharist (also a Hebrew bread feast that Christ pointed to as fulfillment of the shewbread). The shama is chanted before the Decaloge (or 10 Commandments). Most say you can optionally recite the Hebrew Shama text “Hear O Israel.. etc” rather than reciting the full 10 Commandments.

The Saturday Sabbath is also called the day of rest in the “Collect for Saturday”. While most of the Hebrew feasts are already listed in the Book of Common Prayer, the preface says, a Bishop may add or reduce the feasts based on the local needs. Read more on this topic in the sub-chapters on the British Church in the booklet “Honoring the Sabbath in the Orthodox Church”.

Archbishops and Patriarchs.

Archbishop Parker, the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Queen Elizabeth promised in his letter to Calvin, concerning the proposal of a union among all Protestants, reminding him that the Church of England would “retain her Episcopacy; but not as from Pope Gregory, who sent Augustine the monk hither, but from Joseph of Arimathea.” (Gildas, 1525, also in “The Life and Acts of Archbishop Parker” By John Strype, Published in 1711.) [Note that Gregory was fiercely opposed by Saint Columbanus the Culdee from the Luxeuil Abbey.]

The Patriarch Cyril Lucaris of Constantinople also reached out to the Protestants. He made a confession of faith that was in absolute agreement with the Orthodox Culdees.

There were numerous recognitions within the churches of the world, that they would yield to Glastonbury on points of antiquity and precedence.

At the Synod of Pisa in 1409, Council of Constance in 1417, Synod of Sienna in 1424, and the Council of Basel in 1434. There was reached a consensus that the Churches of France and Spain must yield in points of antiquity and precedence to that of Britain. This was for the sole basis of Glastonbury being the first church of the Hebrew Apostles of Christ.

Charters of Glastonbury.

Numerous Royals, Clergy, Bishops and Archbishops claimed and proved Glastonbury’s rightful status as England’s birthright to exert their independence from Rome, and seniority in spiritual matters of the church. In each case, even Rome and the Vatican had to passively accept Glastonbury’s claim of a higher status that wasn’t even subject to Rome. Not only in numerous Royal charters going back to the first century, but this status was also confirmed and endorsed in about 30 Papal Bulls. Such rights confirmed in the Charters and Papal Bulls were higher than any order of Clergy have ever had, not even the Knights Templar had as many rights/obligations. We will get into some of those living rights in the following chapters.

 

Kings, Queens, Popes and Heirs.

At the time of the Reformation, the ancient seat of the Culdees (Glastonbury) was destroyed by Henry VIII. Nearly all the monks signed Henry VIII’s Act of Supremacy, all but one. There was one Monk who refused to sign, and successfully kept the status alive. His name was John Nott. Only the monks could choose successors and so he was made senior (Lord Prior) and came with two other monks to petition the Queen. He raised formal written petition co-signed by his fellow monks, to make requests of the Queen Elizabeth. John Nott’s petition was acknowledged to be valid and was endorsed by her counsellors. In his petition to the Queen in 1556, he mentions the church belonging to Joseph of Arimathea and his heirs. He stood up for this most ancient church, and offered to maintain the grounds without a salary. He wrote that it would also be passed down to his successors (of the House of Nott). Note: there never was re-established a major house of Monks there at Glastonbury until now. However, at those times without a true church heir, it reverted back to the original charters, the original laws, and those of inheritance under the Culdean practice of the firstborn sons of the priests. Normally it was one who was being trained in the priesthood like “the sons of the prophets”, Levites and sons of Aaron in Israel. So his successors, although not found in the church, was in reality to his heirs as it was originally established to be in all Culdean churches. Some quotes on this succession is documented in Jamison’s “Ancient Culdees”, Chapter 2

“..like the priests under the law(Rabbis), they were succeeded by inheritance”

“..in the church of Saint Andrews the Culdees came into the office hereditarily”

“The Culdees of Ireland practiced hereditary succession, the Bishopric of Armagh, could demonstrate fifteen generations.” (Read more. Also read our article “Apostolic Succession” and “Glastonbury Led By Married Hebrew Priests“)

It is also further documented in other works such as the “ECCLESIASTICAL ANTIQUITIES OF THE CYMRY” OR THE ANCIENT BRITISH CHURCH ITS HISTORY, DOCTRINE, AND RITES” – DOWNLOAD FULL BOOK PDF

Historically many of the Monks were married with children, and they retired there at the Abbey. Some of them were young students getting their early education there. For centuries celibacy was contested against at the Abbey. Like the orthodox priests, it was composed of married clergy.

The Rights Transferred to the Descendants in Spiritual Anointing.

The formal petition of the Glastonbury Cleric John Nott, that was received by the Queen had effectually retained several very important and ancient Culdean legal rights. These rights that originated in the First Century, were re-ratified and confirmed by numerous successive Kings, Clerics and Popes.

So the next in line of succession with the Glastonbury Culdean rights would be an early pioneer of America, who is also a genealogical descendant of Joseph of Arimathea. This family of Nott’s have demonstrated to have this spiritual anointing of David, Joseph of Arimathea and the Prophets. Read about some of the exploits of the Nott Family in America, at the following URL:  Imperial Gothian(Odinssons) Exploits in the American Nott Family

Some people believe that the blood makes no difference in character traits of the descendants. The covenants of God to the firstborns, and the many Bible genealogies all being unnecessary. “Honour your father and mother” even less. They say the Saxon Kings always listing their descent from Odin, was just an ignorant practice. May this demonstration put all those lies to rest. Monarchs guarantee the rights of territories to the firstborns in many charters to their heirs perpetually and even “eternally”. So naturally this firstborn line of the Nott(Odinssons) will be one of the better examples of God’s faithfulness to keep His generational covenants.

Why not use this line? President George Washington and President Abraham Lincoln were very proud of their own genealogical descents from Odin, and they had this genealogy also widely published.

So the heir that transferred these anointings from Glastonbury was Judge John Nott of Wethersfield Connecticut. He was of Feudal Nobility, with the title of Serjeant(a title of lordship). According to this anointing, he had the priviledge and honor to draw up the borders of the land in America that was called “Glastonbury” in America in the year 1653, as he was not only Judge but was the land surveyor. The records say he also issued the orders for the calling up of the Glastonbury’s militia and governed the training and drilling activities.

It was at his most ancient American court of Wethersfield where he presided, that the “Fundamental Orders of Connecticut” were written in 1639. This document was called America’s First Constitution, and Connecticut, for this reason is called “the Constitution State”. This first constitution of America failed to mention England or any other worldly power, but that all the power is from Jesus Christ. However, Feudal law was enforced for the regions, where he held the lands. It was before things went back under England and his lands were later limited. It basically defined that our union was “perpetual”, and this text was ratified that said our union is for ONE AIM: “The advancement of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and maintaining the purity of the gospel.” This text was later copied to all the other colonies as the “Articles of Perpetual Confederation” in the early-mid 1600’s.

Glastonbury Rights to Ban and Set Free.

One of the most comprehensive charters that was repeatedly re-ratified and guaranteed by successive Kings internationally, including the Pope (with full autonomy outside Roman structure), was King Edmund’s in 944 describing our rights.
King Edmund re-recognized all the rights in Glastonbury’s past Charters of Independence that were signed by: King Edward, Alfred, Kentwyn, Ina, Cuthred, and the many other Kings and Clergy dating to the first century.
In specifically He mentioned the rights of
Burghbrice, hundredsoena, Athas, Ordelas, Infangentheofas, Homsocna, Frithbrice, Foresealle, Toll and Teame. 
The right to ban any person from entering holy Glastonbury. Including the text that any “Cleric of the House” has the right to intervene on criminal court cases anywhere in the Kingdom,  even to pardon and release any prisoner that was scheduled to be executed.
These rights continued to be recognized by successive Kings up until Henry VIII. Only one “Cleric of the House” John Nott had refused to sign Henry’s Act of Supremacy. On the on the 21st of  November 1556, he raised formal petition with Queen Elizabeth, which was formally accepted by the Queen, indicated in letters of the Chief Treasurer, and in the investment by the Abbot of Westminster,  and in letters of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the text of the Sovereign Cleric, John Nott(also de jure Earl of several Earldoms) effectually Chartered that the Ecclesiastical and land rights
are secured for His Successors.

However, with the Queen’s untimely death, historians say that all the efforts were stopped short of reestablishing a true monastic house at Glastonbury. However, it apparently came to fruition in the new City of Glastonbury, founded by the Nott family heir,

+ Judge John Nott, Serjeant(Feudal Lord) of Wethersfield, Who in 1639 chartered to His successors the Perpetual “Fundamental Orders of Connecticut”, with all rights intact, and chartered the creation of the new Glastonbury City in 1653 and raised it’s Militia, and endowed

+ John Nott II
Judge of Hartford/Wethersfield Court, Firstborn feudal heir (and Lord/Earl) of the House, Who endowed
+ John Nott
Firstborn feudal heir (and Lord/Earl) of the House, Who endowed
+ Thomas Nott
Firstborn feudal heir (and Lord/Earl) of the House, Who endowed
+ Benjamin Nott
Firstborn feudal heir (and Lord/Earl) of the House, Who endowed
+ Benjamin Nott
Firstborn feudal heir (and Lord/Earl) of the House, Who endowed
+ John William Nott
Firstborn feudal heir (and Lord/Earl) of the House, Who endowed
+ Robert Byron Nott
Firstborn feudal heir (and Lord/Earl) of the House, Who endowed
+ George William Nott
Firstborn feudal heir (and Lord/Earl) of the House, Who endowed
+ George Nott-Brunswick (Brunswick Herzoglich cadet branch ) Firstborn feudal heir (and Lord/Earl) of the House, Who endowed
+ Stephen Michael Nott- Brunswick
Firstborn feudal heir (and Lord/Earl) of the House, Landlord of the Culdees’ Church at Garden Grove, Who endowed
+ Stephen Michael Nott-Brunswick II
Firstborn feudal heir (and Lord/Earl) of the House
The Establishment of the Culdee’s Church at Southern California.
Bishop Leroy Crouch re-established the Culdees’ church within Restoration Ministries from 1980s-1990s. Numerous expert speakers on the Culdees spoke at his church, including the foremost living scholar on the subject E. Raymond Capt. (See some of his writings in the appendix of this article). Others who were activists on this topic, and spoke regularly at the congregation were Sheldon Emry and Pastor Dan Gayman.
On the halls of the sanctuary were hung Scotland’s most precious possession, the declaration of Arbroath, where the Scots claimed to have been converted by St. Andrew near the Black Sea (as early Scythian Goths).
Our Current Primace of the OCC, Abp. Stephen Michael.
The testimony of +Stephen Michael is a larger topic, however here are the main ministry events in the Orthodox Church of the Culdees.

In the year of our Lord, 1990, at the age of 12, +Stephen first came under the tutelage of +Bishop Pastor Leroy Crouch, at the Culdees Church in Garden Grove California, while his Parents were the Landlords of the property.

In the year of our Lord, 2000, after 10 years active as a layman in the Culdean church, and three years of a concentrated study +Stephen was anointed as a Priest and Evangelist by +Bishop Lesley Boyle.

In the year of our Lord, 2003, +Stephen became a Chaplain for several local community organizations, performing weddings, baptisms, and communion.

In the year of our Lord, 2003, He was made Manager of the Celts Roots Bookshop by Dr. Warren Johnson. From 2002 +Stephen was recognized as a scholar by Dr. Johnson and the American Institute of Theology published his works on Exegetical Theology into that advanced courses of the Western Division seminary.

In the year of our Lord, 2003, +Bishop Wesley Perkins and +Bishop Lesley Boyle consecrated Stephen as a Bishop of the church, having oversight of multiple assemblies throughout Orange County, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

In the year of our Lord, 2007, the Order of the Culdees, the Orthodox Syro-Chaldean Rite Mission, recognized +Stephen as an Abbot of the Culdees at Zuid-Holland, where he served as a co-writer in their international newsletter. Pilgrimage events hosted by +Stephen in Europe and Glastonbury England were published in their newsletter from 2007 until 2012, which named +Stephen the Abbot. From 2013, the cooperation ended. However during that period it was independently published by at least four separate organizations’ newsletters that +Stephen has reclaimed back the Ecclesiastical rights to rebuild Glastonbury.

In the year of our Lord, 2009, +Bishop Wesley Perkins and +Bishop Lesley Boyle ordained +Bishop Stephen as Bishop at the Netherlands, and jointly signed a letter of reference for his eventual election as Archbishop for the BENELUX jurisdiction.

In the year of our Lord 2013, the Archbishop of Berlin, and the Chancellor of the American Orthodox Catholic Church, and other Bishops, recognized the status of the Culdean church, our seniority, precedence among Western Churches and full autonomy. They also gave permission for us to minister to their churches.

In the year of our Lord, 2015, +Stephen was consecrated as Archbishop by three Archbishops.

The Archbishop of Berlin, +Peter Becker (primary consecrating Bishop) and the Archbishop +Blake Allan Hammacher (assisting Bishop), did canonically consecrate +Stephen as Archbishop of the AOCC Archdiocese of the Netherlands and lowlands (Benelux) with the conditions of full autonomy of the Orthodox Culdean Church. The assisting Archbishop +Ambrose von Sievers, Catacomb Church of True Orthodox Christians, provided a certificate of reintegration with the Orthodox Church, and formally recognized +Archbishop Stephen Michael to be the Primace of the Culdee’s church, and Archbishop of Glastonbury.

Herein are several of the priestly lines that are recognized in Orthodox circles of Christendom (East and West). These lines connect in succession to the Apostles, a consecration of anointing and laying on of hands.

 

As a visiting Bishop to a foreign jurisdiction it is customary that a reconsecration is performed, to confirm the validity of the sacraments within those congregations.

While some believe these consecrations are not necessary, several Universities worldwide consider these as a requirement for anyone acting in priestly service. The English church, and many other churches that are not under Rome’s structure, decided to retain the Episcopal succession. This covers all international recognitions, as it says the English church has “retained it’s Episcopacy, but not as from Pope Gregory, who sent Augustine the monk hither, but from Joseph of Arimathea”. This is together with a wider re-establishment and recognition within the Eastern Orthodox Church (The True Orthodox Church, that escaped the Bolshevik massacres by living in the catacombs, AKA Catacomb church. In agreement with the canons of the original Russian church, to keep Sabbath on Saturday.)

[Special Note on the Sabbath:The Apostles’ Didascalia has been considered canonical in most of the Orthodox world, and in it the Sabbath is Saturday and it is called a day of rest and worship. In the Stoglav, an official manuscript of the Russian Orthodox Church, dated in the year 1556, and containing materials from the Moscow Council during the reign of Ivan IV (1531-1584), has a chapter on the Sabbath:
“By the Authority of Peter and Paul, we command to the people to work during the week. But on Subota (Sabbath) and on Nedelja (Sunday) let them worship in the Church and pray, and let them learn something for the sake of good faith. The Subota is the image of the whole creation, while the Nedelja is the day of the resurrection.” Read more in the book published by Abp. Stephen Michael, “Honouring the Sabbath in the Orthodox Church“.]

 

+ Stephen Michael (Nott-Brunswick) was consecrated on February 7th, 2015 as Archbishop of Glastonbury, Primace of the Culdees’ Church by three Orthodox Archbishops of valid apostolic succesion in right standing within our communion.

Download the PDF to view the full lines of the consecrating Archbishops for the Apostolic Succesion of ++ Archbishop Stephen Michael – click here for the PDF

 

Appendix.
Appendix Note 1
E. Raymond Capt on “CULDEES”
(Quidam advanae — ‘certain strangers’ — old Latin. In later Latin, “Culdich” or Anglicised, “Culdees.”) (E. Raymond Capt, “The Traditions of Glastonbury”, pg. 41
When Joseph and the Bethany group landed in the Isles, and even later disciples that would come from Gaul, they were not called Christians, but rather ‘Culdees’, meaning ‘certain strangers’, which is derived from ‘Ceile De’, meaning ‘Servant of the Lord’. In the ancient British Triads, Joseph and his twelve companions are referred to as Culdees, as were Paul, Peter, Lazarus, Simon Zelotes, Aristobulus and others of that walk, and the name is not known outside of Britain. It is attributed to Cymric, and even though Gaul was Keltic, the name ‘Culdee’ was never employed there.
In later years, the word Culdee emphasized that it was the ‘Culdee’ Christian Church that was the original Church of Christ on earth. It was termed the Culdee Church as late as A.D. 939, in church documents at Saint Peter’s Church, York. According to records, the Canons of York were called Culdees as late as the reign of King Henry II (A.D. 1133-1189). In Ireland, a whole county was so named. The Scottish Church was where would be found the latest use of the names ‘Culdee’ and ‘Culdish’. The first converts of the Culdees or ‘Judaean refugees’ were the Druids of Britain.
 
Appendix Note 2
“Celt, Druid and Culdee” (1973)
by
Isabel Hill Elder
THE CULDEES
To trace the history of the Culdees from the days of St. Columba is a comparatively easy task; to find their origin is more difficult. In the minute examination which such an investigation involves the name Culdee is discovered to have quite a different origin from that usually assigned to it.
The obscurity of the origin of the Culdich (Anglicized Culdees) has led many writers to assume that their name was derived from their life and work. The interpretations ‘Cultores Dei’ (Worshippers of God) and ‘Gille De’ (Servants of God) are ingenious but do not go far to solve the problem. Culdich is still in use among some of the Gael, of Cultores Dei and Gille De they know nothing.(1)
John Calgan, the celebrated hagiologist and topographer, translates Culdich ‘quidam advanae’ – certain strangers(2) – particularly strangers from a distance; this would seem an unaccountable interpretation of the name for these early Christians were it not for the statement of Freculphus(3) that certain friends and disciples of our Lord, in the persecution that followed His Ascension, found refuge in Britain in A.D. 37.(4) Further, here is the strong, unvarying tradition in the West of England of the arrival in this country in the early days A.D. of certain ‘Judean refugees’. It seems impossible to avoid the conclusion that Colgan’s Culdich, ‘certain strangers’, were one and the same with these refugees who found asylum in Britain and were hospitably received by Arviragus (Caractacus), king of the West Britons or Silures and temporarily settled in a Druidic college. Land to the extent of twelve hides or ploughs, on which they built the first Christian church, was made over to them in free gift by Arviragus. This land has never been taxed. Of the twelve hides of land conferred by Arviragus on this church, the Domesday Survey, A.D. 1088, supplies conformation. ‘The Domus Dei, in the great monastery in Glastonbury. This Glastngbury Church possesses in its own villa XII hides of land which have never paid tax.(5)
In Spelman’s ‘Concilia'(6) is an engraving of a brass plate which was formerly affixed to a column to mark the exact site of the church in Glastonbury.(7) ‘The first ground of God, the first ground of the Saints in Britain, the rise and foundation of all religion in Britain, the burial place of the Saints.'(8) This plate was dug up at Glastonbury and came into Spelman’s possession.
From a ‘mass of evidence’ to which William of Malmesbury gave careful study, the antiquity of the Church of Glastonbury was unquestionable. He says:
‘From its antiquity called, by way of distinction, “Ealde Chirche”, that is the Old Church of wattlework at first, savoured somewhat of heavenly sanctity, even from its very foundation, and exhaled it all over the country, claiming superior reverence, though the structure was mean. Hence, here assembled whole tribes of the lower orders, thronging every path; hence assembled the opulent, divested of their pomp; hence it became the crowded residence of the religious and the literary. For, as we have heard from men of elder times, here Gildas, an historian, neither unlearned nor inelegant, captivated by the sanctity of the place, took up his abode for a series of years. This Church, then, is certainly the oldest I am acquainted with in England, and from this circumstance derives its name. Moreover there are documents of no small credit, which have been discovered in certain places, to the following effect: No other hands than those of the disciples of Christ erected the Church at Glastonbury …. for if Phillip the Apostle reached to the Gauls, as Freculphus relates in the fourth chapter of his second book, it may be believed that he also planted the word on the hither side of the channel.'(19)
The first converts of the Culdees were Druids. The Druids of Britain, in embracing Christianity, found no difficulty in reconciling the teaching of the Culdees, or ‘Judean refugees’, with their own teaching of the resurrection and inheritance of eternal life. Numerous writers have commented upon the remarkable coincidence which existed between the two systems – Druidism and Christianity. (Amongst the Druidic names for the Supreme God which they had in use before the introduction of Christianity were the terms: ‘Distributor’, ‘Governor’, ‘The Mysterious One’, ‘The Wonderful’, The Ancient of Days’, terms strictly of Old Testament origin.(10)
Taliesen, a bard of the sixth century, declares :
‘Christ, the Word from the beginning, was from the beginning our teacher, and we never lost His teaching. Christianity was a new thing in Asia, but there never was a time when the Druids of Britain held not its doctrines.'(11)
From ‘Ecclesiastical An Antiquities’ of the Cymry we learn that the Silurian Druids embraced Christianity on its first promulgation in these islands, and that in right of their office they were exclusively elected as Christian ministers, though their claims to national privileges as such were not finally sanctioned until the reign of Lles ap Coel (Lucius), A.D. 156. Even so all the bardic privileges and immunities were recognized by law before the reign of this king.
‘And those Druids that formerly had dominion of the Britons’ faith become now to be helpers of their joy and are becomethe leaders of the blind, which through God’s mercy hath continued in this Island ever since through many storms and dark mists of time until the present day.'(12)
A Welsh Triad mentions Amesbury (Avebury) in Wiltshire as one of the three great Druidic ‘Cors’ or colleges of Britain, and one of the earliest to be converted to Christian uses. In the church attached to this college there were two thousand four hundred ‘saints’, that is, there were a hundred for every hour of the day and night in rotation, perpetuating the praise of God without intermission. This mode of worship was very usual in the early Church.(13)
The Christian king Lucius, third in descent from Winchester, and grandson of Pudens and Claudia(14) built the first minister on the site of a Druidic Cor at Winchester, and at a National Council held there in A.D.156 established Christianity the national religion as the natural successor to Druidism, when the Christian ministry was inducted into all the rights of the Druidic hierarchy, tithes included.(15)
The change over from Druidism was not a mere arbitrary act of the king, for, according to the Druidic law, there were three things that required the unanimous vote of the nation: deposition of the Sovereign, suspension of law, introduction of novelties in religion.(16)
Archbishop Usher quotes twenty-three authors, including Bede and Nennius, on this point and also brings in proof from ancient British coinage.(17) So uncontested was the point that at the Council of Constance it was pleaded as an argument for British precedence.
‘There are many circumstances’, writes Lewis Spence, ‘connected with the Culdees to show that if they practised a species of Christianity their doctrine still retained a large measure of the Druidic philosophy, and that indeed they were the direct descendants of the Druidic caste….
The Culdees who dwelt on Iona and professed the rule of Columba, were Christianized Druids, mingling with their faith a large element of the ancient Druidic cultus. . . . But all their power they ascribed to Christ – Christ is my Druid, said Columba.'(18)
Toland says that:
‘…the Druidical college of Derry was converted into a Culdee monastery. In Wales Druidism cease to be practised by the end of the FIRST century, but long after the advent of St.Patrick the chief monarchs of Ireland adhered to Druidism… Laegaire and all the provincial kings of Ireland, however, granted to every man free liberty of preaching and professing the Christian religion if he wished to do so.'(19)
The cumulative evidence of early historians leaves no shadow of doubt that Britain was one of the first, if not THE FIRST country to receive the Gospel, and that the apostolic missionaries were instrumental in influencing the change whereby the native religion of Druidism merged into Christianity.(20)
It is a remarkable circumstance that while statues of gods and goddesses prevail throughout the heathen sites of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Hindu and other idolatrous nations, NOT A VESTIGE of an IDOL or IMAGE has been found in Britain.
If Mithraism is argued to contest this statement it should be observed that invaders were not free from idolatry. Mithra worship was a Roman importation. The British were entirely free from all forms of idolatry; they never adopted Mithraism. The Druids’ invocation was to ONE all-healing and all-saving power. Can we be surprised that they so readily embraced the gospel of Christ?
Further support for the early introduction of Christianity to Britain is gathered from the following widely diverse sources:
EUSEBIUS of Ceasarea speaks of apostolic missions to Britain as matters of notoriety. ‘The Apostles passed beyond the ocean to the isles called the Brittanic Isles.'(21)
TERTULLIUS of Carthage, A.D.208, the embodiment of the highest learning of that age, tells us that the Christian Church in the second century extended to ‘all the boundaries of Spain, and the different nations of Gaul and parts of Britain inaccessible to the Romans but subject to Christ.'(22)
ORIGEN, in the third century states: ‘The power of Lord is with those who in Britain are separated from our coasts.'(23)
‘From India to Britain’, writes St.JEROME, A.D.378, ‘all nations resound with the death and resurrection of Christ.'(24)
ARNOBIUS, on the same subject, writes: ‘So swiftly runs the word of God that within the space of a few years His word is concealed neither from the Indians in the East nor from the Britons in the West.'(25)
CHRYSOSTOM, Patriarch of Constantinople, A.D.402, supplies evidence in these words: ‘The British Isles which lie beyond the sea, and which lie in the ocean, have received the virtue of the Word. Churches are there found and altars erected. Though thou should’st go to the ocean, to the British Isles, there thou should’st hear all men everywhere discussing matters out of the Scriptures.'(26)
GILDS, the British historian, writing in A.D.542, states: ‘We certainly know that Christ, the True Sun, afforded His light, the knowledge of His precepts, to our Island in the last year of the reign of Tiberias Caesar, A.D.37.'(27)
Sir HENRY SPELMAN states: ‘We have abundant evidence that this Britain of ours received the Faith, and that from the disciples of Christ Himself soon after the Crucifixion’,(28)
POLYDORE VERGIL observes: ‘that Britain was of all kingdoms the first that received the Gospel’.(29)
The fact that Lucius established Christianity as the State religion excludes the claim of the Latin Church to that eminence. That this early establishment was acknowledged beyond the confines of Britain is well expressed by Sabellius, A.D.250. ‘Christianity was privately expressed elsewhere, but the first nation that proclaimed it as their religion, and called itself Christian, after the name of Christ, was Britain’;(30) and Ebrard remarks, ‘The glory of Britain consists not only in this, that she was the first country which in a national capacity publicly professed herself Christian, but that she made this confession when the Roman Empire itself was pagan and a cruel persecutor of Christianity.’
The writer of ‘Vale Royal’ states: ‘The Christian faith and baptism came into Chester in the reign of Lucius, king of the Britons, probably from Cambria, circa A.D.140.'(31)
Missionaries are said to have come from Glastonbury, only thirty miles distant, to instruct the Druids of Amesbury in the Christian faith. When the Druids adopted and preached Christianity, their universities were turned into Christian colleges and the Druid priests became Christian ministers; the transition was to them a natural one.
In the days of Giraldus Cambrensis (twelfth century), as a result of Roman Catholic doctrine, martyrdom and celibacy were much overrated, and it was thought a reproach to the Druids that none of their saints had ‘cemented’ the foundation of the Church with their blood, all of them being confessors, and not one gaining the crown of martyrdom.(32)
An absurd charge, blaming the people for their reasonableness, moderation and humanity, and taxing the new converts for not provoking persecution in order to gain martyrdom.
It is not contended that every individual Druid and bard accepted Christianity on its first promulgation in Britain Even after Christianity had become a national religion, petty kings, princes and the nobility retained, in many instances, Druids and bards. Druidism did not entirely cease until almost a thousand years after Christ.
Had the large collection of British archives and MSS deposited at Verulum as late as A.D.860 descended to our time, invaluable light would have been thrown on this as on many other subjects of native interest.
We read in an historical essay, ‘The Ancient British Church’, by the Rev.John Pryce, which was awarded the prize at the National Eisteddfod of 1876, these words:
‘In this distant corner of the earth (Britain), cut off from the rest of the world, unfrequented except by merchants from the opposite coast of Gaul, a people who only conveyed to the Roman mind the idea of untamed fierceness was being prepared for the Lord. Forecasting the whole from the beginning and at length bringing the work to a head, the Divine Logos unveiled Himself to them in the person of Christ, as the realization of their searching instincts and the fulfillment of their highest hopes. It would be difficult to conceive of Christianity being preached to any people for the first time under more favorable conditions. There was hardly a feature in their national character in which it would not find a chord answering and vibrating to its touch. Theirs was not the skeptical mind of the Greek, nor the worn-out civilization of the Roman, which even Christianity failed to quicken into life, but a religious, impulsive imagination – children in feeling and knowledge, and therefore meet recipients of the good news of the kingdom of heaven.
To a people whose sense of future existence was so absorbing that its presentiment was almost too deeply felt by them, the preaching of Jesus and the Resurrection would appeal with irresistible force. There was no violent divorce between the new teaching and that of their own Druids, nor were they called upon so much to reverse their ancient faith to lay it down for a fuller and more perfect revelation.
Well has the Swedish poet, Tegner, in ‘Frithiofs Saga’, pictured the glimmerings of the dawn of Gospel day, when he described the old priest as prophesying
‘All hail, ye generations yet unborn
Than us far happier; ye shall one day drink
That cup of consolation, and behold
The torch of Truth illuminate the world,
Yet do not us despise; for we have sought
With earnest zeal and unaverted eye,
To catch one ray of that ethereal light,
Alfader still is one, and still the same;
But many are his messengers Divine.’
1. Rev. T. McLauchlan, ‘The Early Scottish Church,’ p.431.
2. Trias Thaumaturga, p.156b.
3. Freculphus apud Godwin, p.10. See Hist. Lit.,II,18.
4. Baronius add. ann. 306. Vatican MSS. Nova Legenda.
5. Domesday Survey Fol., p.449.
6. See Epistolae ad Gregorium Papam.
7. See Joseph of Arimathea, by Rev.L.Smithett Lewis.
8. Concilia, Vol.I, p.9.
9. Malmes., ‘History of the Kings,’ pp.19,20.
10.G.Smith, ‘Religion of Ancient Britain,’ Chap. II, p.37.
11.Morgan, ‘St.Paul in Britain,’ p.73.
12.Nath. Bacon, ‘Laws and Government of England,’ p.3.
13.Baronius ad Ann 459, ex. Actis Marcelli.
14.Moncaeus Atrebas, ‘In Syntagma,’ p.38.
15.Nennius(ed.Giles), p.164. Book of Llandau, pp.26,68,289.
16.Morgan’s ‘British Cymry.’
17.Ussher (ed.1639), pp.5,7,20.
18.’The Mysteries of Britain,’ pp.62,64,65.
19.Dudley Wright, ‘Druidism,’ p.12.
20.Holinshed, ‘Chronicles,’ p.23.
21.’De Demostratione Evangelii,’ Lib. III.
22.’Adv.Judaeos,’ Chap. VII. Def.
Fidei, p.179.
23.Origen, ‘Hom. VI in Lucae.’
24.’Hom. in Isaiah,’ Chap.
LIV and Epist. XIII ad Paulinum.
25.’Ad Psalm,’ CXLV, III.
26.Chrysostom, ‘Orat O Theo Xristos.’
27.’De Excidio Britanniae,’ Sect. 8, p.25.
28.’Concilia,’ fol., p.1.
29.Lib. II.
30.Sabell. Enno, Lib. VII, Chap. V.
31.King’s ‘Vale Royal,’ Bk. II, p.25.
32.Topograph. Hibern Distinct. III, Cap. XXIX.
Appendix Note 3

Culdees Were The First Christians, “Drama of the Lost Disciples” by George F. Jowett

from the subchapter “the Culdees”:

CULDEE

The title, “Christian”, is claimed to have originated at
Antioch, following the enthusiastic reception given to the
disciples who fled there in A.D. 36. It is nearer to the truth
that the inhabitants of this ancient city referred to the
converts as “Little Christs”, and, “Little men of Christ”. These
labels are by no means the correct interpretation of the name
“Christian”. The word is a composite of Greek and Hebrew.
“Christ” is the Greek word meaning “consecrated”, and “ian” is
from the Hebrew word “am”, meaning a person, or people.
Therefore, the true meaning of the word “Christian” is
“consecrated people”.

Early ecclesiastics and historians definitely state that the
word is of British origin. Philologists also support its claim to
British invention; created by the British priesthood, among whom
the Christian movement gained its first and strongest impetus.
Substantiation is found in the statement by Sabellus, A.D. 250,
who wrote: “The word Christian was spoken for the first time in
Britain, by those who first received The Word, from the Disciples
of Christ.”

It is interesting to note that the Bethany group who landed
in Britain, was never referred to by the British priesthood as
Christians, nor even later when the name was in common usage.
They were called “Culdees”, as were the other disciples who later
followed the Josephian mission into Britain.
There are two interpretations given to the word “Culdee”, or
“Culdich”, both words purely of the Celto–British language, the
first meaning “certain strangers”, and the other as explained by
Lewis Spence, who states that “Culdee” is derived from
“Ceile-De”, meaning, “servant of the Lord”. In either case the
meaning is appropriate.
This title, applied to Joseph of Arimathea and his
companions, clearly indicates that they were considered as more
than ordinary strangers. The name sets them apart as somebody
special. In this case, since they arrived in Britain on a special
mission with a special message, we can fairly accept the title
meant to identify them as “certain strangers, servants of the
Lord”.
In the ancient British Triads, Joseph and his twelve
companions are all referred to as Culdees, as also are Paul,
Peter, Lazarus, Simon Zelotes, Aristobulus and others. This is
important. The name was not known outside Britain and therefore
could only have been assigned to those who actually had dwelt
among the British Cymri. The name was never applied to any
disciple not associated with the early British missions. Even
though Gaul was Celtic, the name was never employed there. In
later years the name Culdee took on an added significance,
emphasizing the fact that the Culdee Christian Church was the
original Church of Christ on earth. It became a title applied to
the church, and to its High Priests, persisting for centuries in
parts of Britain, after the name had died out elsewhere in favour
of the more popular name, Christian. Culdees are recorded in
church documents as officiating at St. Peter’s, York, until A.D.
936. And, according to the Rev. Raine, the Canons of York were
called Culdees as late as the reign of Henry II. In Ireland a
whole county was named Culdee, declared with emphasis when
reference was heard at a court hearing in the seventeenth
century, as to its laws. The name Culdee, and Culdich, clung
tenaciously to the Scottish Church, and its prelates, much longer
than elsewhere.

Cambell writes in “Reullura”:

The pure Culdees
were Alby’s [Albion] earliest priests of God,
ere yet an island of her seas,
by foot of Saxon monk was trod.

 

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