n spite of the economic decline of the third century, Egypt and Syria still boasted splendid cities, fine palaces and luxurious villas, gymnasia and baths, all in sharp contrast to the hill cities and small enclosures of the Celtic peoples. Imperial trade was repressively controlled by the reforms of Diocletian, but industries were still carried on (though now the factories often executed orders for the state), and trade routes remained open. It would hardly be possible to imagine a sharper contrast to the insular society of the Celtic world Continue reading Christianity and Early Irish Society
The Irish friars were distinctly different from the monks, especially Benedictines, who lived in Italian, Spanish or French abbeys and monasteries, but also in Northumbria, in the centre of Great Britain. These characters, half friars and half druids, had a considerable interest in astronomy, due not only to the druidic substratum, but also to the fact that the Roman Church had established some very specific canons, based on the moon phases, for the calendar liturgical, for the date of Easter and for other religious occasions. Continue reading Early Irish Monasticism and their Astronomers
We need to find and reappropriate that sound tree of our faith, getting rid of the dead branches of mindless conformity, so that it may live its own vigorous and authentic life. Continue reading Prayer in Irish Spirituality
A Tailcenn (bald-head) will come over the raging sea, With his perforated garments, his crook-headed staff, With his table (altar) at the east end of his house,And all the people will answer — ‘Amen! Amen! Continue reading St. Patrick and the Druids.
remain a likely possibility that the connection between Patrick and the banishment of snakes may owe something to his abolition of the druidic cult of Nathair the snake god instead of an actual purge on snakes. I believe that snakes have served as an allegory for paganism, which St. Patrick “banished” when he brought the Catholic religion to Ireland’s shores, even though there is no such relation mentioned in the early lives of the Saint. Continue reading The Celtic religion prior to the advent of Christianity
The saints are mostly men —of the 700 or so listed, there are only about twenty women— Christians, originally from Brittany, not mainland Brittany, but from insular Brittany, that is to say from the British Isles. At the end of the Roman Empire, present-day Brittany was included in the Roman Continue reading The founding Saints of Brittany… were they Celts or Britons?
The prayer of consecration being ended, the celebrant took three steps backward, bowing thrice in token of the three ways in which man sins namely, in –thought, in word, and in deed– and as he does this the “Miserere” (Psalm 51) is sung by all kneeling, followed by absolute silence. This was strictly enjoined throughout the service, because it was necessary that the mind of the celebrant should be undisturbed. Not only was he guilty of “violating the spiritual order and of being unacceptable to God,” but the sharp discipline of the church awaited him, if he stammered, or inadvertently misplaced or mispronounced a word. Continue reading “The Offering” or the Eucharistic Office of the Celtic Church