Monthly Archives: June 2019

Anti-Christian Values are Obsolete

The Metropolitan elites all over the Western world, including its richly-paid journalists locally at the BBC, have declared that President Putin’s statement of facts criticizing the anti-Christian values of the contemporary Western Establishment is an ‘attack on Western values’. The Western liberal faction, anti-Christian and racist to the core, is upset. Little wonder that it created and supports the thieving and utterly corrupt Russian oligarchs, most of whom are not Russian and live between London, New York and Tel Aviv. It hates President Putin because he is a Christian and, at that, a real Christian. He is not a secularist Christian like the rejected and humiliated Mrs May, who makes wild and completely unfounded accusations against Russia.

To prove that the liberal faction is only that, in the UK an eye-watering 89 percent of Daily Mail readers, all Westerners, agreed with the Russian President’s statement that saw him take aim at elites that he accused of doing nothing to solve the world’s problems.  One commenter said: “Putin is right – liberalism has failed everyone apart from middle and upper-class lefty-liberals.” Another said: “Putin is so right. Putin is spot on. The West’s liberal do-gooders are slowly destroying the West. Another said: ‘Isn’t it strange that it takes people like Putin to state the bleeding obvious?’ (Although we have been saying it for over four and a half decades) A fourth commenter said: ‘Liberals are not at all liberal about those who don’t share their views, they are in fact pretty intolerant’. He proves the old adage that there is nothing so intolerant as liberalism.

It comes after the very popular President Putin told the Financial Times before attending the G20 Summit in Osaka: ‘The ruling elites have broken away from the people. The obvious problem is the gap between the interests of the elites and the overwhelming majority of the people. Of course, we must always bear this in mind. One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future’.

President Putin said the obvious in declaring that the so-called liberal idea had outlived its purpose and, ‘When the migration problem came to a head (in Germany), many people admitted that the policy of multiculturalism is not effective and that the interests of the core population should be considered. Those who have run into difficulties because of political problems in their home countries need our assistance as well…So, the liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population’.

 

 

 

 

At Last an English-Speaking Russian Orthodox Bishop of London

From the Synod of Bishops of the Church Outside Russia, held in San Francisco on the 25th anniversary of the canonization of St John of Shanghai, more good news reached us yesterday, St John’s feast-day. This is that our new bishop, Irenei (Steenberg), is to be granted the title ‘of London and Western Europe’ as he arrives here permanently. This comes 90 years to the day since the last Russian Orthodox bishop of London, Bishop Nikolai (Karpov), who was consecrated as Bishop of London and Vicar of the Diocese of Western Europe on 30 June 1929.  Bishop Irenei becomes then the second Russian Orthodox Bishop of London to be consecrated since 1054. However, unlike Bishop Nikolai, he is English-speaking and has already lived in England for ten years. It means that, after so many decades in the wilderness and unrelenting striving, the refounded and now constituted Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia can expand further, the new backlog of candidates for ordination can be dealt with and more parishes opened.  With three priests in Wales, one in Ireland and several in England, much has been achieved after the transformations since January 2017 there is still much to be done. The only Russian Orthodox bishop living permanently in London, Bishop Irenei will be arriving in London on 5 July, St Alban’s Day.

After the establishment of the Russian Orthodox Exarchate in Paris, another dream after 45 years of waiting has come true!

 

Brexit: The End of the Norman and Frankish Empires and the Return of the Nations

The Viking-founded British Empire was without doubt one of the most horrible and barbaric empires in the history of the world. We can think of brutal, State-sponsored Tudor privateer-plunderers like ‘Sir’ Francis Drake, slavery in Africa and the exploitation of the Caribbean which made the wealth of merchants in London, Liverpool and Bristol, the genocides in North America, in India under and after the thieving rogue Clive, in China (the opium wars) and in Oceania (the extinction of the Tasmanians). We can think of the 1854 invasion of Russia, the later occupation of Cyprus, the ruthless carve-up of Africa under the racist thug Rhodes, the genocides against the Sudanese and the Boers, and two European Wars, which Britain helped to create and spread worldwide, with their 70 million murders.

The British Empire traces its history as far back as the anti-English Viking looters, the Normans, who in 1066 ruthlessly conquered England (100,000 dead and the English elite exiled), then Wales, Scotland and Ireland, setting up what eventually became known as the British Establishment. Whatever their racial origin, those who have been co-opted into the elitist Norman Establishment look down on the people as ‘plebs’. The Establishment revived the word Britain, harking back to the bloodthirsty Romans. The foreign Normans engaged ‘the plebs’ in almost continuous and bankrupting wars with France during the Middle Ages. In the 16th century the foreign Tudors turned away as losers from Western Europe and continued plundering, now overseas, yoking the native peoples of many more lands.

In the next century, the Puritans under the tyrant Cromwell murdered the Christian King and ‘developed’ this empire, slaughtering a million Irish people. However, what would become the worldwide British Empire only took form after the notorious acts of bribery called the ‘Union’ with Scotland in 1707.  After this, only now ruled by German puppet princelings, the plundering mercantile Establishment occupied India, Canada (and nearly all of North America) and Australia. That eighteenth century was that of the notorious East India Company, with its destruction of India, the age of the racist anthems, ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘God Save the King’, the age of interventions in Europe to prevent others rivalling the Establishment (the Seven Years War, later the Napoleonic Wars and two World Wars).

It was also the age of the destruction of the Four Nations of the Anglo-Celtic Isles. (Union with Ireland was declared in 1801, again through bribery and corruption). Masses of impoverished English, Irish, Scots, and Welsh fled to the New Worlds as emigrants to avoid starvation (in Ireland famine), as native agriculture was annihilated, or to avoid early death in the appalling factories and slums of the Industrial Revolution. The future collapse of this nightmare began in the 1870s as Britain was little by little overtaken by Germany and the USA. One hundred years ago, in 1919, with the disastrous terms of the post-War Versailles ‘agreement’ dictated by the USA, it was clear that indebted Britain and its Empire were fading. This was evidenced by the independence finally ceded after war to most of Ireland in 1921.

Humiliated by the equally ruthless Japanese and American Empires in the Second World War, that bankrupting affair caused by the injustices of the Versailles Treaty, the British Establishment was forced into returning freedom to its colonies. As a result, the internal British Empire also began to collapse, with Scotland and even anglicized Wales and many in Northern Ireland and England seeking freedom from the London Establishment elite. The culmination came in 2016, 950 years after the Norman Invasion, when the ‘plebs’ were finally allowed by the Establishment, which had deluded itself into thinking that the plebs would never vote against them, to vote against the elitist European Union project. The real England wanted its freedom back, for Brexit is in fact also freedom from Norman England.

The democratic genie had finally been let out of the bottle in 2016: 950 years of Norman plunder was rejected. Despite the fact that a large majority of the population had been totally brainwashed by generations of the State-run BBC and other media, populated by journalists all carefully vetted by the Establishment, and many of them not racially English and so serving alien causes, freedom was dawning. However, the existence of Norman Britain is only a small part of the problem; the greater problem is the existence of Frankish Europe, which has spread its tentacles all over the world and of which Norman Britain is only part. However, as President Putin implied on 27 June, the Frankish European Union, with its social and economic liberalism – the worst of both worlds, will die just like the Soviet Union.

Thirty years ago, 75 years after the outbreak of the First World War, we began to see the long-awaited collapse of that Soviet Empire. It was the last piece of the 1919 settlement to fall. Next year will mark 75 years since the end of the Second World War. In the coming months and years we shall in turn see the collapse of the 1945 settlement. This includes the collapse of the American Empire, meaning the NATO-ized European Union and its vassals around the world, from Saudi Arabia to Georgia, from Japan to Lithuania, from Israel to the Ukraine. As for the Norman British Establishment, it is over: England, a reunited Ireland, Scotland and Wales are all returning. The only question that remains is: Will these and the other restored nations remain pagan as now, or will they repent and return to their Christian roots?

 

On the Prayer of the Heart

Q: Can the Jesus Prayer be dangerous?

A: Everything can be dangerous: it all depends on the user. Thus television can be used to broadcast spiritual programmes or else scenes of debauchery and violence; computers can be used to establish a gambling addiction or else to provide Church information websites. So too the Prayer of the Heart (miscalled by some the Jesus Prayer – a purely Non-Patristic term) can be dangerous.

If the Prayer is used with the imagination and mental images, as a form of meditation or contemplation as Roman Catholics do, which is strictly forbidden by Orthodoxy, it leads to a state of delusion. Thus, if someone repeats ‘the Jesus Prayer’ over and over again as a mere technique, without love for others, with a cold heart, because he thinks he will go heaven in this way, without seeing anything except his ‘prayer’ and his own selfish and narcissistic ‘spirituality’, this leads to spiritual death. He sees and loves only himself and his own speculations, reflections of his own sinful mind, not God, only his imagination of God. This is the definition of spiritual illusion (plani/illusio/prelest). This is an illusion because such prayer has no humility, no heart, it is merely an intellectual desire. This is precisely NOT the prayer of the heart, but the prayer of the head, accompanied by delusional emotions. I have seen very many who have fallen in this way. They always end up by lapsing from the Church, because in their insanity the think they are too good for the Church, above others.

In other words, if you want to get to heaven by yourself, by pride, you will meet the Devil, the Deceiver. We can only get to heaven with God, with humility. That is the only way. In prayer, we must pay no attention to feelings, thoughts and mental images, especially if they give us a feeling of sweetness and make us ‘feel good’ or feel relaxed. They are all there to distract us.

The key to all this is humility. If prayer makes you humble then it is good. Others will let you know about this, whether in a monastery or in your family – listen to them and their frank opinions. If you feel insulted and offended by them, then you are in a state of pride, spiritual delusion. If ‘prayer’ makes you feel superior to, better than, others, and you cannot possibly go to their ‘inferior’ churches, then that is not prayer, but the thought of yourself, not of God.

This is why there is no meditation in Orthodoxy. For Orthodox it leads to sin. Self-concentration and focusing on your internal abilities only increases pride. But we seek humility. This difference is a result of the different theology or understanding of how the Holy Spirit comes to us. For Orthodox it is directly from God the Father, for Roman Catholics through some human mediation, thought (contemplation or meditation), study or manipulation. This is why for Orthodox there is no difference between action and contemplation. All is one.

 

New Schism of a Schism in the Ukraine

When last January the Patriarchate of Constantinople under strong US State Department pressure on its puppet regime founded a new schismatic religious grouping (‘Church’) in Kiev, it isolated itself from the rest of the Orthodox world. Today this schismatic group has itself split into two, much to the embarrassment of its founders in Istanbul and Washington. One of its pseudo-bishops, ‘Patriarch Philaret of Kiev’ has split away from another, the so-called ‘Metropolitan Epiphanios Dumenko’, and promised to consecrate yet more pseudo-bishops throughout the Ukraine. It will soon have more pseudo-bishops than people. This small group will almost certainly split further.

It seems to be a spiritual law that the sectarian spirit which creates schisms always then creates more schisms. Rabbits breed rabbits.

This can be seen to be true in the history of Catholicism, which, having split from the Church in the eleventh century, continually splits into various sects, from medieval ‘orders’ and groups, persecuted by crusades and inquisitions, to Protestant groups, to Jesuitism, to Uniatism, to Old Catholicism, to Traditionalism and various liberal ‘charismatic’ groups, which appear to have nothing to do with Catholicism. There are now said to be up to 40,000 such sects, all born from the original split in Rome in 1054.

This can be seen to be true in the Greek Old Calendarist schisms. Many years ago I was told that there were no fewer than thirteen Greek Old Calendarist ‘Churches’. I have no idea how many there are today. This can be seen to be true in the tiny sects, a few hundred in each, which broke away from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in 2007; those infected with the sectarian spirit immediate split into four groups, apparently there are even more today! This can be seen to be true in the tiny modernist Paris Rue Daru group, which has already split into three (some returning to the Russian Church; some going to the Bulgarian; the remnant for the moment staying with Constantinople, though it is widely rumoured that the remnant will split into two by or in September this year.

Now we see the same in the Constantinople-founded ‘Orthodox Church in the Ukraine’. The crisis will deepen until Constantinople renounces its error. Already it is facing serious divisions in the ‘three As’ (in America, Australia and ‘Anglia’ – the Greek word for England). Here the Turkish-led Greek nationalist Church has imposed, without consulting the grassroots, three hardline bishops, who already have scandalous reputations. It would seem a good time for all concerned to leave the sinking ship of the Phanar in Istanbul. Not everyone wants to be playing in the band on the deck or rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

Sources:

https://spzh.news/ru/news/63015-v-seti-opublikovano-postanovlenije-pomestnogo-sobora-upc-kp

https://spzh.news/ru/news/63005-filaret-na-pomestnom-sobore-upc-kp-my-postavim-mnogo-novyh-arkhijerejevhttps://spzh.news/ru/news/63018-upc-kp-otobrala-u-pcu-vse-imushhestvo-v-kijevehttps://spzh.news/ru/news/63022-filaret-v-ukraine-tepery-tri-cerkvi-upc-pcu-i-upc-kphttps://spzh.news/ru/news/63025-konstantinopolyu-nuzhno-reshity-chto-delaty-s-filaretom–religiovedhttps://spzh.news/ru/news/63027-filaret-my-postavim-stolyko-jepiskopov-skolyko-budet-nuzhno

Paradise Just Beyond

This autobiographical work has been updated and printed off in a spiral binding. At 136 pages it is on sale for £5 (£8 by post to the UK and £10 by post abroad). Payment can be made by Paypal. Below is the Contents page.

PARADISE JUST BEYOND

Fragments of a Life

Contents:

Foreword: Towards an Orthodox England

  1. Childhood: A Golden Age 1956–1963
  2. Growing: The Third One 1963–1968
  3. Revelation: The Wind from the East 1968–1974
  4. A Study in the Light: Dominus Illuminatio Mea 1974–1980
  5. Darkness: Disappointments 1980–1988
  6. Light: Service in Europe 1989–1997
  7. Return: Service in England 1997–2008
  8. Providence: Full Circle 2008 – 2013
  9. Mercy: Seek and Ye Shall Find 2013-2019

Afterword: Towards an Orthodox Europe

 

One Hundred and Twelve Saints of the English Thebaid

Introduction: The Fen Thebaid

The first great monastic site in history developed in the fourth century in the province of Thebes in Egypt and here thousand of monks and hermits lived the monastic life. Hence the word Thebaid can be used to describe a region inhabited by monastics not only in Egypt, for example, in Ireland (The Irish Thebaid), on Mt Athos (The Athonite Thebaid), in the wild forests of Russia (The Northern Thebaid), and in this case in the English Fens (The English Thebaid). Here there lived at least one hundred and twelve saints.

Fen is a common word of Germanic origin which means marshland. English place-names like Fenton, Fenchurch and Vange are all formed from this word. The well-known former marshland region called the Fens, or the Fenlands, is a very low-lying plain in eastern England around the coast of the Wash. It is constituted by almost all of Cambridgeshire, together with western Norfolk and southern Lincolnshire. In early English times these then wild and undrained marshlands represented a no-man’s land between East Anglia to the east and the East Midlands (East Mercia) to the west. Indeed, in the seventh century the Fens were very sparsely populated, attracting outcasts, some of British origin who gave their name to the town of Chatteris, who lived off fishing and wildfowling.

Altogether covering an area of about 1,500 sq mi (4,000 km2), the Fens were once characterized by at least six shallow but large lakes, called meres (e.g. Soham Mere, Whittlesey Mere, drained only in 1851), shores, called bech or beach (e.g. Holbeach, Landbeach, Waterbeach, Wisbech), streams (called ‘wells’), bridges and islands. Island sites are indicated by place-names ending in -y (e.g. Ely), -ey (e.g. Bodsey, Coveney, Higney, Ramsey, Thorney, Stuntney, Whittlesey) and -ea (e.g. Eastrea, Horningsea, Manea, Stonea).

Most of the Fens were drained only in the seventeenth century, though some more viable parts much earlier, even in Roman times, resulting in a flat, low-lying agricultural region. The drained Fens depend on a system of drainage channels and man-made rivers (dykes and drains) and pumping stations. With the support of this drainage system, the very fertile Fens became a major agricultural region.

The Fen Saints

In the early Christian (Orthodox) period of pre-Norman (English) England, monks and nuns sought the isolation for prayer and ascetic life that could be found in the marshy and impassable wilderness of the Fens. Their hermitages on Fen islands became centres of monastic life, disrupted by Danish pagan raids, but revived by the mid-10th-century monastic revival. After 1066 these refounded communities developed as big businesses with large estates and huge income.

Thus, the gravel islands of the undrained Fens were once awash with hermits, holy men and women, who strove to emulate Christ’s fasting in the desert. For example: St Audrey settled in ‘Cratendune’ before founding Ely; St Guthlac and his disciples occupied Crowland; Peakirk was home to his sister St Pega; Thorney was settled by the siblings, Tancred Torhtred and Tova, who were martyred by the Danes in 870.

These, and the retreats of lowlier anchorites, such as Boda of Bodsey, Godric and Throcken of Throckenholt, Edwin of Higney and the anonymous hermits of Singlehole on the former island of Eye near Peterborough, were destined to be transformed into rich farms by greedy post-Conquest abbots. They began to colonize the fenland on the edge of their domains and had no interest in the ascetic life and unceasing prayer, just the opposite.

Thus the Fens have been referred to as the ‘Holy Land of the English’ because of these monasteries, especially the so-called ‘Fen Five’: Ely, Crowland, Peterborough, Ramsey and Thorney.  Even after the final fall of Orthodox England in 1066, the Fens later remained a place of refuge and resistance and it was here that the English hero Hereward the Wake based his liberation movement against the illegitimate and greedy Norman invaders, usurpers and occupiers.

St Felix, St Audrey and Ely

The founder of Fen Orthodoxy was effectively St Felix (+ 647), the Apostle of East Anglia. Coming from the east, Suffolk and Norfolk which he evangelized, he founded a monastery on the very eastern edge of the fens. This was in Soham (now in Cambridgeshire), once famous for its mere, but which was drained some 300 years ago. He baptised and became the spiritual father of at least four and possibly six, sainted daughters of the East Anglian King Anna, among them St Audrey of Ely (c. 636-679) and St Seaxburh of Ely, who had been born in Exning in west Suffolk, not far from Soham. After his repose St Felix’ relics long remained in Soham.

As an East Anglian Princess, St Audrey (the spelling of her name Ethelthryth was more or less pronounced ‘Eltry’ (Audrey) already in the seventh century) founded the double monastery in Ely (now in Cambridgeshire and only 14 miles to the north of Cambridge) in 673. Though married twice for purely dynastic reasons she had remained a virgin. As a young woman, she had lived almost as a nun on the Isle of Ely, as this was her own land, which she had received as her dowry and added to the Kingdom of East Anglia. St Bede the Venerable who recorded her life in detail relates how after her repose her incorrupt relics worked many miracles.

St Seaxburh (c. + 699), St Audrey’s sister and successor, had been married for real and been Queen of Kent. Both her daughters became saints. Once widowed she became a nun under St Theodore of Canterbury, founded convents and became an abbess in Kent. Following her sister’s repose she returned to her native East Anglia and became Abbess of Ely, devoted to her sister’s memory. She was succeeded as abbess by her daughter St Eormenhild (early 8 c.), who was in turn succeeded by her daughter, St Werburgh (8 c.).

Around Ely there formed a group of hermits and hermitesses. These included:

St Owin (+ 672), St Audrey’s monastic steward and a very practical man, lived in Ely and on an island in Haddenham near Ely, but later became a monk in Lichfield under St Chad.

St Huna (+ 690) was a priest-monk and the chaplain of St Audrey and also buried her. After her repose, he left Ely to live as a hermit on an island, later known as Honey Hill or Honey Farm, located just outside the town of Chatteris in Cambridgeshire. St Huna was considered a holy man and his grave on the small island was known for healings and miracles. Later St Huna’s relics were translated from Chatteris to Thorney, also in Cambridgeshire, at the time more a collection of hermits’ cells than a monastery, just as in Egypt.

St Wendreda (correctly Wendreth – late 7 c.) lived in March (Cambridgeshire). She may have been a sister of St Audrey and have grown up in Exning, where there seems to have been a holy well named after her. She became a nun on an island in what is now March (meaning the borderlands), where now stands a medieval church dedicated to her. She excelled in healing sick people and animals. Here she may well have become an abbess and she remains the patroness of the town to this day.

St Guthlac and Crowland

St Guthlac (673-714) was the English St Antony the Great and lived as a Desert Father in the Fens. He has a detailed life, written soon after he reposed by a monk Felix. He was the son of a noble of the English Kingdom of Mercia (The Midlands) and as a young man fought in the Mercian army. Aged 24, he then became a monk at Repton in Derbyshire in the East Midlands. Two years later he sought to live the life of a hermit, and comforted by St Bartholomew, in 699 he moved out to the island of Crowland (meaning the hump land, as it is on a dry area and earlier known as Croiland and Croyland) just over the border from Cambridgeshire in Lincolnshire. This was to become the second great centre of Fen holiness after Ely. Guthlac built a small chapel and cells on the site of a plundered barrow on the island and lived there until his repose on 11 April 714. Timbers are preserved in the present Crowland Abbey and some say that these were part of the cell in which St Guthlac lived. His relics could be buried in this area. Felix, writing within living memory of Guthlac, described his hermit’s life:

Now there was in the said island a mound built of clods of earth which greedy comers to the waste had dug open, in the hope of finding treasure there; in the side of this there seemed to be a sort of cistern, and in this Guthlac the man of blessed memory began to dwell, after building a hut over it. From the time when he first inhabited this hermitage this was his unalterable rule of life: namely to wear neither wool nor linen garments nor any other sort of soft material, but he spent the whole of his solitary life wearing garments made of skins. So great indeed was the abstinence of his daily life that from the time when he began to inhabit the desert he ate no food of any kind except that after sunset he took a scrap of barley bread and a small cup of muddy water. For when the sun reached its western limits, then he thankfully tasted some little provision for the needs of this mortal life.

His ascetic life became the talk of the land and many visited him during his life to seek spiritual guidance from him as an elder. He gave sanctuary to Ethelbald, future King of Mercia, who was fleeing from his cousin. Guthlac foretold that Ethelbald would become King and Ethelbald promised to build a monastery if his prophecy turned out to be true. Ethelbald did become King and, even though Guthlac had reposed two years previously, he kept his word and started building the monastery in Crowland on St Bartholomew’s Day 716.

His eighth-century life describes the entry of the demons into Guthlac’s cell:

They were ferocious in appearance, terrible in shape with great heads, long necks, thin faces, yellow complexions, filthy beards, shaggy ears, wild foreheads, fierce eyes, foul mouths, horses’ teeth, throats vomiting flames, twisted jaws, thick lips, strident voices, singed hair, fat cheeks, pigeons’ breasts, scabby thighs, knotty knees, crooked legs, swollen ankles, splay feet, spreading mouths, raucous cries. For they grew so terrible to hear with their mighty shriekings that they filled almost the whole intervening space between earth and heaven with their discordant bellowings.

Felix records Guthlac’s foreknowledge of his own death, conversing with angels in his last days. At the moment of death a sweet nectar-like fragrance came out of his mouth, as his soul left his body in a ray of light, while angels sang. Guthlac had asked that his sister St Pega (pronounced Pea-ga) be present at his funeral. Arriving the day after his repose, she found the island of Crowland filled with the scent of ambrosia. She buried his body on the mound after three days of prayer. A year later Pega had a divine calling to move the tomb and relics to a nearby chapel: Guthlac’s body was discovered incorrupt, his shroud shining with light. Of his disciples we can mention:

This St Pega of Peakirk (c. 673-719) was an anchoress on a barrow in what is now the tiny and tranquil village of Peakirk (‘Pega’s church’) near Peterborough (in historic Cambridgeshire) and not far from St Guthlac’s hermitage. As we have said, when Guthlac had realized that his end was near in 714, he invited her to his funeral. For this she sailed down the River Welland, healing a blind man from Wisbech on the way. Some think that her relics may be buried there to this day, beneath the chancel of a former small chapel, now known as St Pega’s hermitage and a private house, where she had lived.

Sts Bettelin (early 8th c.) was a disciple of Saint Guthlac and hermit who lived an ascetic life of unceasing prayer, received counsel from his elder on his deathbed and was present at his burial. After the death of Guthlac, St Bettelin and his companions continued to live in Crowland.

St Cissa (early 8th c.) was also a disciple of St Guthlac and became an Abbot of Crowland. His tomb was placed next to St Guthlac’s and like it this was also destroyed by the Danes. His relics were translated to the nearby monastery of Thorney in the tenth century.

The Fen Martyrs

When the Danes attacked East Anglia and the Fens in the ninth century, they martyred the East Anglian King, St Edmund (+ 869) in Hoxne in Suffolk and at least one hundred others. These included:

Abbot Theodore of Crowland Monastery in Lincolnshire and with him Ethelred, Askega, Swethin, Elfgete, Sabinus, Egdred, Ulric, Grimkeld, Agamund and other monks (+ c. 869). Some think that a skull conserved in Crowland Abbey, though sadly unavailable for veneration, may be that of St Theodore.

Abbot Hedda with eighty-four monks of Peterborough Monastery in Cambridgeshire, founded in 655, whose site is now occupied by the twelfth-century Peterborough Cathedral (+ c. 869). St Hedda’s ‘shrine-stone’ survives in Peterborough Cathedral.

The hermits Tancred, Torhtred and the anchoress Tova, three siblings, were martyred near Thorney Monastery in Cambridgeshire (+ c. 870).

Conclusion: Academia or Holiness

The Fens, the majority of which lie in Cambridgeshire, were once notable for the port of Cambridge, by the bridge over the River Cam. Situated at their southern limit, this location on the river by a bridge was the very reason for Cambridge’s existence. However, as we know, Cambridge has for centuries no longer been a port and rather became famed as a University, as a centre of rationalistic thinking and brainpower. In this way it opposed itself to the ascetic life of the Saints of the Fen Thebaid to the north. What a witness it would be if there were once more an Orthodox church in the Fens, expressing our veneration not of rationalism, but of asceticism, not of scientists, but of ascetic fendwellers, not of brainpower but of spiritpower. May God’s Will be done.

 

 

 

The Remaining Holy Relics of the Native Saints of Great Britain

At the Reformation most holy relics in Great Britain were destroyed by fanatics or else taken abroad, only a few survived. However, some have been returned in the modern era. Below the writer Dmitry Lapa has compiled a list of the saints whose relics are still present (though sometimes concealed):

St. Alban (his shoulder bone was returned to St. Albans Cathedral, Herts, from Cologne in 2002);

St. Audrey of Ely (Etheldreda) (her incorrupt hand is available for veneration in the RC church in Ely, Cambs and a particle of her relics is in St. Etheldreda’s RC Church in Ely Place, London);

St. Augustine of Canterbury (a particle of his relics is in St John’s Orthodox Church in Colchester and another in St. Augustine’s RC Church in Ramsgate, Kent);

St. Bede of Jarrow (his tomb with relics has been preserved in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral since the eleventh century and not destroyed by the iconoclasts because his authority as a historian was great; a particle of his relics is also in St John’s Orthodox Church in Colchester);

St. Birinus of Wessex (a portion of his relics is believed to rest in Dorchester-on-Thames Abbey, Oxon where miracles occur, and some in Winchester Cathedral, though concealed);

St. Boniface of Germany (two relics of the saint and a piece of his tomb were  brought to his birthplace in Crediton, Devon, from Fulda in Germany not long ago and placed in the local RC church; another particle of his relics is housed in All Saints’ Church in Brixworth, Northants);

St. Chad of Lichfield (several of his relics are venerated in the RC Cathedral in Birmingham);

St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (his shrine was buried under the floor of Durham Cathedral at the Reformation and elevated again in the nineteenth century, his relics as well as some personal relics survive and miracles occur; a particle of his relics is also in St John’s Orthodox Church in Colchester);

St. David of Mynyw and St. Justinian of Ramsey (what is believed to be their relics rest in the restored shrine of St. Davids Cathedral, Wales);

St. Eanswythe of Folkestone (her reliquary was uncovered during building work in 1885 in Folkestone church);

St. Edmund of East Anglia (a small particle of his relics is available for veneration in the RC church in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk; his supposed major relics were returned to England from France in 1901 and rest in a reliquary in the Fitzalan Side-Chapel of Arundel Castle in West Sussex);

St. Edward the Martyr (his relics were discovered by an amateur archaeologist, J. Wilson-Claridge, among the ruins of Shaftesbury Abbey in Dorset and are sometimes available for veneration at St. Edward’s Brotherhood in Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey);

St. Frideswide of Oxford (her relics were mixed with the bones of a woman and buried under the floor of Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford after the Reformation; a couple of years ago somebody’s remains were found under the floor during repair work—some of them are believed to be St. Frideswide’s; their whereabouts are unknown: some say they were soon reburied either under the saint’s restored shrine or under her symbolic gravestone, and others say they were even interred in a local church graveyard);

St. Hedda of Winchester (his relics are in Winchester Cathedral, albeit hidden after the Reformation and the exact location is unknown);

St. Hibald of Lindsey (his supposed tomb with relics was discovered under the chancel floor in the church in Hibaldstow, Lincs, in 1866);

St. John of Beverley (his relics were hidden during the Reformation under the floor of Beverley Minster in East Riding of Yorkshire; today his grave is marked there and miracles occur);

St. Kentigern Mungo (his relics most likely lie in the tomb of the lower crypt of Glasgow Cathedral);

St. Melangell (the ancient bones of a woman, most likely Melangell,  were discovered in the former apse of the church in Pennant Melangell in Powys, Wales, during a 1958 restoration project and later placed in the reconstructed shrine; miracles occur all year round);

St. Mildred of Thanet (in 1953 a portion of her relics, which for centuries had been kept in Deventer, Holland, was returned to England and enshrined in Minster Convent in Kent);

St. Swithin of Winchester (his relics were hidden during the Reformation and are still in Winchester Cathedral under the floor, somewhere near his former shrine);

St. Teilo of Llandeilo (his supposed head relic is kept in the chapel which bears his name in a specially constructed reliquary in Llandaff Cathedral in Wales);

St. Tewdrig, King of Glywysing and Martyr (his coffin with relics was rediscovered in the seventeenth century by the Bishop of Llandaff at St. Tewdrig’s Church in Mathern, Monmouthshire);

St. Urith (it can be said with high degree of certainty that her relics still lie under the church floor in Chittlehampton, Devon, a long way below the slab that covers them);

St. Winefride of Holywell (her finger-relic is kept in the RC Cathedral in Shrewsbury, Salop, and another particle of her relics belongs to Catholics in Holywell, Anglesey);

St. Wite (still intact in the church in Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset).

There are other places, where according to tradition saints’ relics may still be present. Among them are:

St. Bertram (Holy Cross Church in Ilam, Staffs);

St. Eata (the crypt of Hexham Abbey, Northumb.);

St. Oswald of Worcester and York (Worcester Cathedral);

St. Wilfrid of York (either Canterbury Cathedral or Ripon Cathedral in North Yorkshire);

Sts. Oswald of Northumbria and Hilda of Whitby (Durham Cathedral);

Those of some of the holy archbishops of Canterbury (buried around St. Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury, where their grave markers survive).

The supposed relics of St. Alfred the Great and St. Edburgh of Bicester have also been under investigation lately, but results are inconclusive.

 

 

 

 

Martyrs Under the Danes

The ninth-century Danish invasions of England produced a host of martyrs for Christ. As a result of the Viking incursions, monastic life in England and in other parts of Britain was virtually wiped out. Moreover, the Danish pirates returned in the late tenth century after the murder of St. Edward the Martyr and continued their ravages and carnage. The following martyrs laid down their lives for Christ over that period (compiled by Dmitry Lapa):

St. Alkelda, a princess who chose to become a nun and anchoress in Yorkshire but was strangled by two Danish women during one of the first raids (+ c. 867; feast: March 28; the church in Middleham in North Yorkshire is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Alkelda, whose supposed coffin with the relics was discovered under the church floor in 1878; local healing wells and another church, in Giggleswick, bear her name too);

St. Ymar, a monk of the monastery in Reculver in Kent, who was slain by the Danes in 830 (feast: November 12);

Abbot Beocca, Hieromonk Ethor and with them ninety monks of Chertsey Monastery in Surrey, now on the outskirts of London (+ c. 869; feast: April 10; a modern Orthodox service to the Martyrs of Chertsey exists);

Abbot Theodore of Crowland Monastery in Lincolnshire and with him Ethelred, Askega, Swethin, Elfgete, Sabinus, Egdred, Ulric, Grimkeld, Agamund and other monks (+ c. 869; feast: April 9);

Abbess Ebbe (Aebbe) the Younger together with her nuns in Coldingham Convent in what is now the Scottish Borders region of southern Scotland, which then belonged to the English kingdom of Northumbria (+ c. 870; feast: August 23; a contemporary Orthodox service to St. Ebbe exists);

Abbot Hedda with eighty-four monks of Peterborough Monastery in Cambridgeshire, founded in 655 and whose site is now occupied by the twelfth-century Peterborough Cathedral of Sts. Peter, Paul and Andrew (+ c. 869; feast: April 9; St. Hedda’s “shrine-stone”, which resembles a medieval reliquary but without a cavity in it, survives in Peterborough Cathedral);

The hermits Tancred, Torthred and the anchoress Tova, three siblings, were martyred near Thorney Monastery in Cambridgeshire, in the Fens (+ c. 870; feast: September 30; Thorney Monastery was refounded by St. Ethelwold of Winchester in the tenth century);

Bishop Herefrith of the province of Lindsey in what is now Lincolnshire, was most probably slain on the site of the town of Louth (+ c. 869; feast: February 27; his relics were translated to Thorney);

St. Fremund, a Mercian English prince who chose to live as a hermit on an island in prayer but was murdered by the Danes (+ c. 866; feast: May 11; his relics were kept in Offchurch in Warwickshire, then in Prescote in Oxfordshire, and finally in the village of Cropredy in the same county, and a portion of them was later translated to Dunstable Priory in Bedfordshire, and numerous miracles occurred);

St. Edmund, King of East Anglia, was martyred by the Danes in 869 and venerated both as a martyr for Christ and as a righteous king of holy life (feast: November 20; he is the first patron-saint of England);

St. Ragener, a soldier-martyr and probably St. Edmund’s nephew, slain in Northampton in about 870 (feast: November 21; his relics were discovered in St. Peter’s Church in Northampton in the twelfth century and many miracles were recorded);

St. Suneman, a hermit of St. Benet Holme Monastery (in honor of St. Benedict) near Ludham on the River Bure in Norfolk, was slain in the ninth century (no feast is known;

Hieromartyr Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, was captured by Vikings and then martyred by them in Greenwich near London in 1012 (feast: April 19);

St. Eadnoth, a monk from Worcester who was later Abbot of Ramsey in Cambridgeshire and Bishop of Dorchester and killed by the Danes in 1016 (feast: October 19);

St. Werstan, a monk of Deerhurst who lived as a hermit in the Malvern Hills on the Worcestershire/Herefordshire border and was martyred in the 1050s (no feast-day is known, Malvern Priory stands on the site of his cell).