Monday, November 15, 2010

All Saints of British Isles and Ireland

The following is a brief piece I wrote for St. Andrew's Episcopal Omaha, the church I am serving at this year with my internship. You can find St. Andrew's here:

I would also ask people for their prayers for the Celtic Orthodox Church of St. Francis, a tiny, beautiful community which meets in the home of a monk friend near Boston. They were my source for this Icon, but were tragically robbed this past week. You can find out more about them here:

Few people are aware that the Eastern Orthodox churches honored many of our saints in the West esspecially those of Britain and Ireland before the Schism between East and west in 1054. The Russian Orthodox church, recently revived a special feast day for all of these saints in 2007.

I have friends in Boston who are part a "Celtic Orthodox" church planted in Celtic Brittany (France) in the 1800's with the help of Syrian Bishops, they do some lovely work around the world, and pointed this icon out to me. As this is the month when Anglicans especially remember our spiritual ancestors in All Saints and All Souls day (Nov 1 & 2), this seemed a lovely icon to share. Of course, today Anglicans come from all people and cultures, and we have an abundance of saints to be greatful for! But I thought this icon might be of interest to people wanting to learn more about our church's history.

The saints included in this image are English, Celtic saints of Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and also some of the saints of Jesus' time, such as Saint Andrew and Joseph of Aremathia who tradition gives connections to in the British Isles (Saint Andrews Cross, the symbol of Scotland is the blue part of our Episcopal flag; our first Bishop was ordained in Scotland just after the Revolution when the English didn't like us so much!).

One can see the island of Britain, with a beautiful celtic cross in the center. Ireland is to the left, with saints scattered on smaller islands where many established monasteries. In the top left corner, we even see Saint Brendan- the Irish saint who went on a fantastic see journey with his monks- and whom some claim reached America before the Vikings or Columbus!