127 – The Synod of Whitby

The major players for today will be Hild (who was the daughter of King Edwin’s nephew, Hereric), King Oswiu of Bernicia, Bishop Colman of Lindisfarne, Wilfred the abbot of Ripon, and Bishop Cedd. And they will be, ostensibly, arguing over Easter.

See? Once again, we’ve got Easter causing trouble in Britain. Cadburys chocolate can’t come soon enough. This is getting out of hand.

To see how this started, lets look back to the early beginnings of the Church in Britannia. As you know, it was first introduced by the Romans… but even in the early days, the Brits were developing their own way of doing things that the Romans didn’t entirely appreciate. A good example of that would be Pelagianism, which kept cropping up on the island and Rome repeatedly had to send bishops to squash it as best as they could.

Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea, there were a bunch of barbarians. So not much has changed.

Just kidding, Ireland. But the Irish were pagan, and one of their industries (if you could call it that) was slavery. And they loved hammering the West Coast of Britain. And according to his own account, one of those slaves was Patrick. Here’s a quick summary… So while enslaved, his experiences with the sheep lead him to embrace the Christianity of his youth, like you do, and following a mystical encounter late at night he escaped, became a man of the cloth, and returned and converted a lot Ireland. Now he wasn’t the first bishop of Ireland, but he was certainly quite effective… and it wasn’t long before Ireland was devoutly Christian, and developed their own brand, which we’ll call Celtic Christianity.

Anyway, so following the withdrawal of Rome, Christianity was holding on in Wales, but it /was/ heavily influenced by the Celtic church, due to the close relationship between Ireland and Wales. I know what you’re thinking… How was it close? I mean, with all that slaving business, and also a few instances where Irish nobles look like they supplanted the local Welsh nobility, things seem like they were tense. I guess they worked it out… maybe they had the help of a gifted couples counsellor. Who knows?

Click here to be able to read the full rough transcript.

  4 comments for “127 – The Synod of Whitby

  1. Melody
    June 4, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I am glad I am not the only one who now stands corrected on the pronunciation of synod. Love your podcasts.

  2. June 16, 2014 at 5:52 am

    #127? Have 24 podcasts suddenly gone missing from the feed?

    • June 16, 2014 at 7:25 am

      The shows have been re-ordered and some of them have been regrouped into combination episodes so that the show is easier to follow. I’ll release a PSA about it today on the feed. :)

  3. fixer
    September 5, 2014 at 2:15 am

    small major point: the tonsure debate was also important because the celtic way mimiced the druid hairstyle. Source: in our time bbc4 w/ Bragg on Druids

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