Difference between revisions of "Timeline of Orthodoxy in the British Isles"

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*597 Repose of [[Columba of Iona]], enlightener of Scotland, [[June 9]].
*597 Repose of [[Columba of Iona]], enlightener of Scotland, [[June 9]].
==Anglo-Saxon England: Founding of the English Orthodox Church (597-1066)==
==Anglo-Saxon England: The English Orthodox Church (597-1066)==
'' According to historians, during this period St. [[Non of Wales|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.''
'' According to historians, during this period St. [[Non of Wales|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 of Canterbury|Augustine]] <ref>Saint Augustine of Canterbury is also called the "Apostle to the English".</ref> and forty monks to Britain to convert the [[w:Kingdom of Kent|Kingdom of Kent]]; [[Augustine of Canterbury|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.
*597 [[Gregory the Great]] sends [[Augustine of Canterbury|Augustine]] <ref>Saint Augustine of Canterbury is also called the "Apostle to the English".</ref> and forty monks to Britain to convert the [[w:Kingdom of Kent|Kingdom of Kent]]; [[Augustine of Canterbury|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.

Revision as of 04:03, October 15, 2009

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 St 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 ... [to be developed] ...

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 (55BC - AD43)

  • 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 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. citation needed.
  • 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, let 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 citation needed
  • 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)

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.

Viking Age (793-1066)

Roman Catholic Period (1066-1534)

Anglo-Norman Britain: Latin Continental Ecclesiology Formalized (1066-1154)

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.
  • 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.
  • 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)

English Reformation (1534-1660)

Elizabethan Era (1558-1603)

  • 1564-1660 The Era of Puritanism.

Jacobean Era (1603-1625)

  • 1603-1714 Stuart Age: Civil War and Revolution.

Caroline Era (1625-1642)

Interregnum: Commonwealth of England (1649-1660)

Anglicanism was disestablished and outlawed, and in its place, Presbyterian ecclesiology was introduced in place of the episcopate. In addition, 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.
  • 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, Archbisop of Samos.
  • 1677 "Greek St Church to the Panagia" erected for the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain [27]
  • 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)

United Kingdom of Great Britian (1707-1801)

Georgian Era (1714-1837)

  • 1738 Print 'Noon' [28] by William Hogarth [29] shows evidence of a crowd exiting a Greek Orthodox church.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801-1927)

  • 1827 A Byzantine silk depicting the Earth and the Ocean was found in the tomb of St. Cuthbert Bp. of Lindisfarne, when it was opened 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.

Victorian Era (1837-1901)

Edwardian Era (1901-1910)

  • 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.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1927-Present)

Repose of Metropolitan Gabriel Saliby (Antiochian);
Bp. John Yazigi elected to Metropolitanate of Western and Central Europe, March 30


  • 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.

Unknown dates

If you know the dates for these events, please assist us

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.

See also

External links

Greek Orthodox Church in Great Britain

Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain

Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Western and Central Europe



Further Reading


  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. http://www.seanmultimedia.com/Pie_Pelagius_Synod_Lydda_415AD.html
  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. "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.
  28. From the series entitled "The Four Times of the Day"
  29. 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.
  30. 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
  31. http://www.st-panteleimon.org/
  32. Monachos: http://www.monachos.net/