Wednesday, 26 May 2010

St. Augustine meets the Welsh Bishops.

We know that the meeting of the Apostle to the English with the Welsh Bishops did not go well. St. Augustine failed to rise from his throne when they entered to meet him in the 603AD after Pope St. Gregory sent him on the mission to Britain in 597AD. One of my favourite walks in the adjoining parish which I take from time to time with my working cocker spaniel (yes we shoot, it is what she is bed for!) is to cross the railway track on foot being careful always to listen for the Cardiff to Gloucester train first with 'Dot' safely on the lead! When we get to the Severn estuary between the two road bridges we get to the Old Passage Quay about two miles further downstream and looking past Black Rock to Aust(named after Augustine) on the other side of the estuary about 3miles away at this point. I imagine the boats putting out with Holy Celtic bishops wrapping themselves in their cloaks and preparing to defend their traditions and their 'patrimony' but being open to the Pope's representative as they honour the successor of Peter but now learn they don't like what they see of his negotiator. Here are some photos of this walk where we encounter lapwing, reed bunting, teal, pochard, heron, mallard, hen harrier, oyster catcher and on the marsh wild samphire. Under the episcopal boats the wild salmon decide to go straight on for the Severn or turn left (North) up the Wye. They disembark on the Bristol side and can't understand why their ancient tradition of the liturgy in Greek and their adherence to the Eastern Churches celebration of Easter can not be continued as has always been so for them.The shape of their tonsure was also at stake! More importantly it had been the cult of the saints that had been their strength and helped see the survival of the British church. Augustine of Canterbury failed but later at the Synod of Whitby(664AD) the conformity with Rome came but in Wales not for another 104 yrs when in 768AD Bp. Elvodug conformed the Welsh church. We have much to draw upon and to learn from in our history. The British Church catholic has always recognised and valued Rome and Peter's successors there. What is our real heritage and destiny? Surely it is obvious!

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