Message From Limassol

St. Barnabas Anglican Church: crowded, multi-racial, loving. The following echoes part of my message:

The Anglican-Episcopal Communion is not a late add-on to the universal church: its roots are apostolic, holy, orthodox and catholic. The Anglians who invaded Britain (from which we get the name Anglican) inherited a church from the Celtic inhabitants which had bishops in the world-wide church. Just as the apostle Paul brought the Faith to Cyprus in the first century so did apostles bring it to Britain – perhaps Joseph of Arimathea was one of them. Before long Ireland became a land of saints and scholars. When the pagan Anglians and Saxons invaded what became England, the Irish sent a mission to convert them to Christ’s ways. Aidan led a Mission which spread the faith to London, the English Midlands, the Welsh speakers of Cumbria and north into Scotland.

Aidan believed that the church should become indigenous wherever it is planted. His method was to walk among the people. He taught his brothers to store the Gospels in their hearts, make friends of each person, and share the Gospel if invited. He not only had a method, he sought to model God’s kingdom on earth. They built little ‘villages of God’ of daily prayer, learning, hospitality, and work. So is it not an Anglican vision that such a village of God may emerge in a fresh way in Cyprus?

Some scholars have suggested that the famous illuminated Lindisfarne Gospels is a kind of first manifesto of what we now call the ‘Anglican Church'. Its art work includes Celtic, Anglian, Irish, Roman, Oriental, Egyptian and Byzantine influences. It is universal and cross cultural. Aidan’s base was the tidal island of Lindisfarne. This is known as The Cradle of Christianity. Its parish church lists its incumbents and bishops who go back to Bishop Aidan in 635. I was ordained into ‘the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church’ in Lichfield Cathedral, founded by St. Chad of Lindisfarne in the seventh century. Both Greek and Russian Orthodox friends have suggested to me that the Celtic tradition is in some senses to the West what Orthodoxy is to the East. Now, however, West and East have become one global village. We are branches of one family throughout the world. I look forward to being welcomed into Macharias Monastery where I will make my Lenten retreat. Let us celebrate and fulfil our birthright as equal and humble brothers and sisters .

For further exploration of Villages of God see my book 'High Street Monasteries'. The international Community of Aidan and Hilda www.aidanandhilda.org has Orthodox and Evangelical, Catholic and Presbyterian, Lutheran and other members as well as Anglicans, and seeks to heal the schisms in the universal Body of Christ. Each will have a different perspective. The above message acknowledges there is much more to said, but focusses on a few significant elements in my personal understanding.

Posted at 06:09am on 21st February 2016
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