Orthodoxy in England

There is no doubt, in the mind of anyone who has seriously studied the New Testament, the Church Fathers and the record of the Early Church, that Christ Himself founded one Church here in earth. Nor does such a person have any doubt that He intended it to be one united organic body expressing His teachings and His mind until His return. Further, the serious student of the early Church and its record quickly comes to the realisation that there is only one credible claimant to being that same Church - unaltered, continuously existing in the world today: The Orthodox Church, also commonly and erroneously known as the "Eastern Orthodox Church".

For the first thousand years of Christianity, there was only one Church, organised into four Patriarchates: Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, Alexandria and Rome.

That Church existed both Eastern and Western, and flourished in this country for the whole of that thousand years, having had her first Bishop sent from Tyre in AD 37 - Aristibule of the Seventy.

Then towards the end of the first millennium, the Patriarchate of Rome began to develop a theory that it was somehow superior to all the other Patriarchates, and that it alone should rule the entire Church. This was plainly not the understanding of the Apostolic Church and, given a number of doctrinal innovations of the Roman Patriarchate, a serious dispute arose which resulted in the Great Schism of 1054 with Patriarchate of Rome separating itself from the Church and proceeding alone.

For recognisable geopolitical reasons the Roman Patriarchate could not allow the Church in England to be as de facto autonomous as it was, and given the coincidence of papal necessity and Norman greed, the papacy funded the Norman invasion of 1066, thereby bringing the Great Schism to England.

With the manifest apostasy in England over the past half century from even the basic tenets of genuine Christianity, culminating in the recent actions of the Church of England over the past decade or so, it is becoming increasingly evident to laymen throughout the country that they must now take action to secure themselves, for they cannot trust the Church of England, her bishops or organisations such as Forward in Faith or the Continuing Anglicans, with their spiritual welfare.

The truth is that none of these orgaqnisations is the Church that Christ founded.

Therefore the concerned layman needs to turn to that true Church founded by Christ Himself, whose Bishops discerned the legitimate content of the Bible in the fourth century, and guided her people through the great Councils of the whole Church, whose members have faithfully held to the entire teachings of Christ's Church down the centuries.

Churchmen in this country have discussed the possibility of returning to the Holy Orthodox Church on a number of occasions over the past two centuries, but in the past this has always been in the context of the conversion/ reconciliation of the established church.

That is obviously no longer even a remote possibility, such is the degradation of that body away from any semblance of the true doctrine of Christ.

Therefore it is up to individuals and groups to take action for themselves.

The point is, however, that we are not Greeks or Bulgarians, or Serbs, we have in the past, like them, had our own English Orthodox Church. While this is obviously not possible at the moment, we can at least regain our own English expression of the fulness of the Orthodox faith, with our own Orthodox forms of worship, as indeed was legislated by several parts of the Holy Orthodox Church over the past century-and-a-half.

Accordingly this Society is now in a position to assist people in setting up local Orthodox Study Societies where people can study the Orthodox faith and history - and its history in this country in former times, in order to reclaim it for themselves.