HEAVEN ON EARTH – ORTHODOXY
Restoring English Orthodoxy: An Interview with Fr. Gregory Hallam
by Tudor Petcu
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
A Romanian writer, Tudor is a graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, Romania. He has published a number of articles related to philosophy and theology in different cultural and academic journals. His work focuses on the evolution of Orthodox spirituality in Western societies as well and he is going to publish a book of interviews with Westerners converted to Orthodoxy. In this article, he interviews Fr. Gregory Hallam, of the Antiochian Orthodox Deanery of the United Kingdom and Ireland .
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1.) First of all I would like to find out more information about the orthodox heritage of England, and of the British Isles, generally speaking. Why can we say that the true origins of England are orthodox, and not catholic, as we know from history?
This question assumes a false choice that is between “Orthodox” and “Catholic”. In the first millennium both the Christian East and the Christian West used both terms interchangeably. The West preferred the term “Catholic”, the East “Orthodox”. During the first millennium the local churches of the East and the West formed one single communion and Church. Canonically, therefore, Britain as part of the Western Patriarchate (Rome) was just as Orthodox as any territory further east. Likewise, the East was just at Catholic as anything further west. One important consequence of all this is that the Saints commemorated locally in Britain during the first millennium are all Orthodox. Some of them have even found their way into the calendars of the eastern churches.
However, unlike Rome subsequently the Christian East has retained the primitive practice of calendars being essentially local productions and not global. However, in the modern era there has been renewed interest in the Orthodox Churches of the East in the Saints of the first millennium Orthodox West. In 2014 for example, 10 of these Saints were formally included in the calendar of the Moscow Patriarchate.
The unity of the Catholic Orthodox Church in the first millennium is a very precious gift to the contemporary churches ecumenically speaking. An examination of the Saints and teachings of the Western Orthodox patrimony reveals a faith and a life, and even an iconography indistinguishable in essentials from that of the Orthodox Christian East. The Great Schism of 1054 AD did not affect us here in Britain at all. Arguably this did not affect the Christian East much either at least until the disaster of the Fourth Crusade. Far more significant for us here in Britain was the Norman Invasion in 1066 AD.
The legacy of this occupation of England by Norman forces enforced new and Continue reading “Restoring English Orthodoxy: An Interview with Fr. Gregory Hallam”