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Celtic Christianity

Celtic Christianity

Celtic Christianity
There is at present a fascination with (and marketing of) “Celtic”
culture: Celtic art, Celtic dance, Celtic story, Celtic spirituality.
If one were to believe the marketing displays, one might assume that
true “Celtic” culture is pagan — finding its spiritual center in
goddess worship. However, to pretend that genuine “Celtic”
spirituality is essentially pagan is to ignore the facts of history.
Specifically Celtic Christianity was a powerful spiritual force for
centuries.

Christianity took root in Celtic communities very early:

Gildas (an early British historian) said the Gospel came to Britain
in the last year of Tiberias (AD 37 — perhaps as a result of the
scattering described in Acts 8:1-4).

Legends about Joseph of Arimathea’s influence in Glastonbury (AD 63)
may well have risen from certain actual events that appear to be more
plausible than not.

Tertullian wrote (ca 200 AD) about parts of Britain, which, though
inaccessible to the Romans, had been conquered by Christ.

Origen (ca 240 AD) makes mention of British Christianity.

British bishops participated in the Council of Arles (314 AD).

The Roman Conquest of Great Britain was never complete nor permanent.
North and west of the Roman occupation, and in many pockets
throughout Great Britain and the British isles, Celtic culture
successfully resisted the Roman incursion. And within that culture,
Christianity flourished in specifically Celtic ways, in contrast to
Roman ways.
Celtic Christian missionaries (including Patrick, Brigid, Brendan,
Kieran, Columba, Kevin and others) established Celtic Christian
communities, not only the British isles, but in continental Europe.

In 596 Rome sent Augustine to Britain to bring Christianity to the
Angles. When Augustine came ashore, he was greeted by Christians. Not
Roman Christians, but Celtic Christians.

Features of Celtic Christianity:

love of nature and a passion for the wild and elemental as a
reminder of God’s gift
love and respect for art and poetry.
love and respect for the great stories and “higher learning”
sense of God and the saints as a continuing, personal, helpful
presence
theologically orthodox, with heavy emphasis on the Trinity
a love and respect for Mary, the Incarnation of Christ, and Liturgy
religious practice characterized by a love for tough penitential
acts, vigils, self-exile, pilgrimages, and resorting to holy wells,
mountains, caves, ancient monastic sites, and other sacred
locations.
closeness between God and nature
soul friend
respect for the “old wisdom”, storytelling
human intimacy with God and the saints
the Trinity
monasticism
importance of kinship and community
education (the Irish monks were the educators of Europe)
mission (the white martyrdom)
prayers for protection
dreams
hospitality
peace and justice
thin spaces and thin times

Food for Thought? :)>
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