Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Two interesting bits of old news
From nearly a year ago, from The Glastonbury Review, part of the site of the British Orthodox Church, a group that may have been of vagante origin but is now in the Coptic Church (the Church of Egypt, part of the Oriental Orthodox communion) under Pope Shenouda III (AFAIK it doesn't use the Coptic Rite, however):

Reception of Father David Sennitt
With the permission of His Eminence Metropolitan Gabriel of the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese in Western and Central Europe, Father David Sennitt, a priest of the British Antiochian Orthodox Deanery, was granted a canonical release in order that he could be received into the British Orthodox Church. This took place at the hands of Abba Seraphim at Babingley on 9 February. Father David will serve alongside Father David Seeds at the Church at Cusworth, Doncaster. [End.]

If this is true - if the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch really gave a priest its blessing to transfer to the BOC - then the schism between the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox communions is over.

Christian Unity Service at Babingley
The established annual Vespers service at St Felix Chapel at Babingley to mark this week was held on 21 January. This is a feature on the local 'Churches Together' programme and was supported by clergy and lay people from the Anglican, Catholic and Methodist churches in King's Lynn. Some fifty worshippers filled the small church, and all but lifted the thatched roof as they sang the office of the Raising of Evening Incense (AFAIK a service based on one in the Coptic Rite). Fr Patrick Radley of the Russian Orthodox parish of the Transfiguration at Walsingham was the guest preacher.

Later in the same week Fr Anthony addressed a meeting of Anglicans and Methodists at Fulmodeston Methodist Church on the subject of 'The Coptic Orthodox Church'. After answering many questions from the floor, Fr Anthony invited those present to give their response to the use of the title 'Mother of God' for St Mary. On a show of hands this was rejected by all twenty-five folk present. He then went on to enquire how many believed that Jesus was God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity. This was also rejected by a show of hands, twenty-four to one! The convenor of the meeting, a leading Methodist layman, emailed Fr Anthony later that week to say that following the discussion, he realised that by belief he was in fact a Unitarian! Food for thought ... [End.]

Indeed. How sad. It show how far things have sunk in what was the western part of Christendom. (Specifically in England, Mary's Dowry from the Middle Ages!) What's more, these weren't random people including the many unchurched - like the bloke in the last paragraph of this article, obviously modelled on real life - but 'church people' who should have known better!

Reminds me of a survey somebody conducted in America in which most responding said they were 'born-again Christians' (a kind of Protestantism, usually admirably conservative in its very basic credal orthodoxy) but many of the same people also said they believed Jesus committed sins.

Archbishop Robert Morse has said, 'Calvinism always collapses into Unitarianism' - literally true historically as the first Unitarians were apostate Congregationalists - and it seems that mainline Protestantism has been turning Unitarian for quite some time, which the Unitarians gladly note. Many don't realize that Unitarian Universalism isn't a Christian church (and doesn't claim to be), though like Mormonism (another non-Christian religion, and a quite wacky one at that) it culturally grew out of Protestantism and is still often mistaken for it. A logical terminus ad quem of Protestantism.

I would add that this shocking apostasy (or simply ignorance) reflects the temptation of western Christianity to slide into Arianism - the Germanic tribes that conquered Rome often were Arian, and one could argue that the Protestant heresies sprang up partly because the Germanic peoples never were completely 'churched'.

I personally don't think that true of England - it was Protestantized by force. An acquaintance a long time ago, the now-Revd Jack Lusted, once said he thought that underneath it all - the indifference today atop a substratum of no-popery - the English still are medieval and Catholic at heart. (Not unlike the post-Soviet Russians?) Wishful thinking or no?

I see that news page also mentions St Alban's, Holborn, where the Bishop of Fulham once preached the best sermon on prayer for the dead I've ever heard. This was the 'shrine church' Fr Alexander Mackonochie founded but it was all but destroyed in the Blitz. (That was just the building. Now with the ascendancy of Modernism it may be truly gone now.)

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