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THE HOLY CELTIC CHURCH SM

Before the establishment of the Holy Celtic Church, there existed by today’s standards, a rather disorganized ancient Celtic Church, conceived by followers of Jesus Christ. By tradition and history, it is acknowledged as the first Christian Church outside the Holy Land. Since Celtic Christianity was established prior to the first century it is classified as pre-Nicene and today teaches Christianity from that period, which is sometimes referred to as "primitive” Christianity. 

Their wandering clergy were loosely organized and served the many and varied Celtic tribes through out Europe that had accepted a common form of Christian faith. The Celtic people of the time existed as a tribal society united by family, language, and religion. Celtic Christianity is believed to have been formed about 37 AD and was always autonomous, never serving any head of state, king, pontiff, or patriarch. It was active before the arrival of the Romans in Britain. The Celtic Church was never involved in the heresies and religious intrigues that marred the first three centuries of the Church and never associated with any other religious jurisdiction or denomination. 

A scholarly debate exists regarding the identity of the founders of the Celtic Church, the exact time period it was formed, and the route taken by those founders, who journeyed from the Holy Land through Gaul. However, traditional Celtic Church oral history is gaining confirmation as archaeological and historical evidence continues to be discovered. At the time of the establishment of the Christian faith the Celts had no written language and all Celtic history was passed on orally. It was not until the fourth century that the Celts began to adopt Latin as their formal means of written communications.

The Celtic Church probably developed its monastic characteristics through Coptic Orthodoxy influence and, as all of early Christianity for the first hundred years, was influenced by its Messianic Jewish origin. It should be noted that the “Galatians” referred to in scripture by the Apostle Paul and with whom he visited were Celts that had migrated into what is now Turkey. Traces of Celtic influence can still be found in that area.          

 Historical evidence indicates the Church founders were followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, led by Joseph of Arimathea, dating from before the crucifixion and the dispersion of Jesus’ followers after Pentecost. These founders traveled from the Holy Land and ultimately settled in the British Isles by way of Gaul. The Celtic Church established at Glastonbury in Britain is accepted as the first above ground Christian Church. Because of its autonomy and geographical isolation, the Celtic Church remained uniquely uncorrupted by Hellenistic Greek philosophy or Roman jurisprudence.

Scholars agree that ancient Celtic Christianity was spiritual, without attraction to material or worldly interests. Historians describe the Celtic Church as uncorrupted and serene, and one that would be difficult to duplicate in its original style. It carried the spirit of its Jewish founders and of the Desert Fathers (Coptic Christians) into the darkest fringes of the then- known world.

 

Some historians have referred to the early Celtic Church as the ancient British Church, and the names have been used synonymously. However, limiting the Celtic Church to the islands off the coast of Europe is to deny its older widespread influence

During the third and fourth centuries Celtic Clergy founded and operated abbeys throughout Europe and the British Isles. These clergy were never well organized and operated as wandering missionaries who played a critical role in both maintaining and establishing Christianity during the dark and middle ages. In its formative years, the Church came to embrace and celebrate the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist.  The theology of Celtic Christianity has never been questioned. Controversy among early academicians and theologians regarding the ancient Church centered primarily on its organization, form, such as the tonsure style, and other religious practices, along with the long-disputed methods of establishing dates, such as that used for Easter.

Modern historians lament the lack of written records and similar documentation, and the dearth of physical evidence concerning the Celtic Church and Celtic life, most of which either disappeared or was destroyed as the influence of the Roman Church expanded north and west from the Mediterranean.

Eventually, external religious and political pressures, and harassment verging on warfare led its clergy to adopt their unique practice of wandering, which ultimately became its trademark and the most remarkable and long-lasting feature of the Celtic religion. The result of this journeying by Celtic monks and bishops, circa 400 to 1000 A.D., was a scholarship, penmanship, art, and teaching that developed the great monastic libraries of Europe.

The modern Holy Celtic Church is a totally independent jurisdiction and a member of the Celtic Synod.  It is Apostolic, possessing valid lines of apostolic succession through the Order of Corporate Reunion and other valid eastern and western apostolic lines. The Church has a limited hierarchy and is served by a non-stipend clergy who are not bound by vows of celibacy. They endeavor to restore the simplicity, purity, and the original intent of Christian worship, free of the religious doctrines, dogmas and traditions that have accumulated over the centuries. The Church adopted the Celtic Liturgy, which reminds worshipers of the major points of the Christian faith God wants all followers to remember and practice daily. The Church operates in accordance with ancient Celtic, not Mediterranean, traditions that place women in responsible roles in the church. Open Communion to all baptized Christians is offered.

Today the Church’s teaching emphasizes fellowship, and a personal and honest relationship with both God and man. The Church encourages its members to recognize the joy and personal peace that comes from respecting all of God's creations, and from understanding and applying the teachings of our Lord.

 Properly exercising an individuals “Free Will” in a way pleasing to God and to gain personal Salvation through Jesus Christ, are the goals toward which members of the Celtic Church work. Since God created man in His image, man is by nature good. Yet, man can fall into sin through the misuse of his “Free Will”. It is our belief that God created all things and is always with us ready to provide strength and guidance through the presence of the Holy Spirit, and that man can overcome evil, renounce sin, and turn from it.

The Holy Celtic Church SM follows the Scriptures, has no doctrine proclaiming the need for any intercessor between God and man, and does not observe a calendar of saints. Individuals who are active in the Church and practice Christian teachings are as in the early church considered living Saints. Celtic Church doctrine rejects revised, modified, or reinterpreted Holy Scripture, including heretical, new age, mystical or esoteric theology and teaching.

The Church follows a conservative doctrine that possesses and displays compassion and understanding. It stresses upholding and propagating basic Christianity by teaching and adhering to the Holy Scriptures, as expressed in the Apostolic Teachings and Creed. The Church recognizes the spirit of the first three Ecumenical Councils of the early Christian Church, which were attended by Bishops of the ancient Celtic Church. The Bishops from early Britain were acknowledged by the Councils they attended as representatives of the first organized Christian Church. 

Today the Holy Celtic Church strives to institute a missionary and chaplaincy ministry, as did the early Celtic Church. The Church works to establish cell and home churches in an effort to form close Christian groups with a supportive fellowship among its members. The Holy Celtic Church is not interested in the number or size of its church groups, but rather in the understanding, sincerity and strength its members have in practicing the early Christian faith.

For information regarding the Holy Celtic Church, please accept our cordial invitation to telephone  (760) 946-6020 or e-mail celticsynod@verizon.net

May God hold you in the palm of His hand, always.

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