The Church in the British Isles will only begin to grow when Orthodox there begin to venerate their own saints.
Saying Attributed to St Arsenios of Paros (+ 1877)
The Church is like a lighthouse, guiding us through the sea of life. However, like any lighthouse the Church is surrounded by dangerous rocks and many are the ships and boats that founder there. This happens whenever the non-serious, spiritual tourists, come to look at the Church out of curiosity, making Her into a game or hobby, or else are attracted to some outward aspect of the Church. For example, some are attracted to Church singing, icons, rituals or vestments, but never attracted to actually entering and living in the Church. So distracted are such by their spiritually impure interest in externals or, even worse, by their self-serving clericalist love of power, that they are burned, forget the rocks and founder. Such people, who love to call us English Orthodox by the Norman name of ‘Anglo-Saxons’ or ‘provincials’, we can call ‘Norman-minded’. Why?
After the papally-sponsored Norman invasion and occupation of England in 1066, the racist invaders with their new, compromised and heretical religion mocked the relics of the English saints and their non-Norman names, and even physically destroyed and desecrated them like the later iconoclastic Protestants, subjecting holy relics to fire. Thus, the Norman-installed Archbishop of Canterbury Lanfranc (+ 1089) derided the holiness of the former Archbishops, St Dunstan and St Alphege, and in St Albans the new Norman Abbot adopted a policy of wholesale destruction of the shrines of the English saints. Thus, it can be said that to be Norman-minded is not racial (Lanfranc was an Italian Lombard), but it is to be possessed of the mentality which mocks and denies the saints because it puts its alien cultural Establishment values above the Church.
Herein lies the radical difference between the old and now dying State Anglican Orthodoxy and authentic English Orthodoxy. The former is composed of Anglicans, regardless of whether they were liberal or conservative, who formally joined the Orthodox Church but did not become Orthodox, as they put their alien, rationalistic, post-Schism, Establishment culture above Church Tradition. The latter is composed of English people who have joined the Orthodox Church and actually become Orthodox, putting Church Tradition first, so becoming Orthodox-minded and thus returning to pre-Schism English cultural values. Thus, they return to the Alfredian civilization of the Church in their way of life, venerating the local saints. In the former case the alien Norman-founded Establishment comes first, in the latter case authentic Church Christianity comes first.
The vast majority of the Norman-minded are of course not ‘Normans’ at all. This is nothing to do with race. For instance, we can include among the extreme ‘Normans’ saint-haters and iconoclasts like the Protestant Cromwell, the Roman Catholic Napoleon and the mixed-race Bolshevik Lenin. Norman-mindedness means turning everything upside down. With no interest in inward life and inward values, the Norman mentality, as we have seen above, prefers invasion, occupation and desecration, externals, pomp and ceremony, outward ‘niceness’, academic theories and fantasies, that is, spiritual castration. Now, at long last, over the last fifty years since the 900th anniversary of the Norman Occupation in 1966, there has been a revival of the veneration of the English saints; we are at last de-Normanizing, reversing the ills of invasion and occupation.
For example, in the last fifty years holy relics have been returned to the Church, like those of St Edward the Martyr, some of those of St Alban have gone back to St Albans and some of those of St Edmund have gone back to Bury St Edmunds. Pilgrims go to St Eanswythe in Kent, St Botolph in Suffolk, St Walstan in Norfolk, St Frideswide in Oxfordshire and St Bertram in Staffordshire and many others. Why? Because today there are Orthodox pilgrims who want to venerate the saints, to ask for their prayers, who compose services to them and paint icons of them. Many of these pilgrims are English, many others are Russian. Thus, there is a service to St Edward the Martyr and an akathist to St Audrey of Ely in Slavonic. Icons of some fifty of these saints have been painted, services have been composed to them, individually and collectively, their feasts are celebrated.
More than this, there have been miracles. For example, St John of Beverley. St Morwenna of Cornwall and St Birinus of Dorchester have all shown their presence to the devout in the places where their relics lie. St Wite of Dorset, whose relics have remained in place all these centuries, is venerated for her miracles. St Nectan and St Edward the Martyr have worked miracles of healing and St Edmund has shown a light in the sky where he was martyred. As for the feast day of St Audrey of Ely, 23 June, it was marked by the Brexit vote, recalling that Ely was one of the very last bastions of Englishness against the Norman occupiers and desecrators, whom we shall yet defeat. If veneration grows, we can expect more miracles, which will profoundly transfigure national life for the better, gradually freeing us from the age-long curse of the Norman Yoke.