The Gospel is said to have been carried to the Celtic nations in the first century AD. Indeed, the Galatians, to whom Paul wrote his epistle, were Celts.
There is evidence that the earliest Celtic believers retained the Jewish or ‘Messianic’ flavour of Christianity, for example observing the seventh day sabbath, and an alternative dating system of the Paschal Feast.
In addition, the early Celtic church was renowned for its holiness, tolerance and a lack of the legalistic and destructive authoritarianism often seen in the Anglo-saxon and Roman churches. There is no record of the Celtic church ever persecuting or oppressing anyone.
The Celtic church had a strong sense of the presence of God in the world, and a deep respect for his creation.
Woman had virtual equal status with men, and often held positions of authority.
Power, status and influence in the Celtic church depended on personal holiness, not on one’s gender or social position in a hierarchy of authority.
This ‘golden age’ of Celtic Christianity began to come to an end firstly when it became influenced by the Roman church with the visit and appointment to Canterbury of Augustine in 597, and then finally when the Church in Canterbury assumed control of all the British churches.
– Anam chara, that is, individual mentoring rather than the Greek model of group teaching by a single teacher.
– The scriptural dating of the Paschal Feast (14 days after the sighting of the Spring new moon)
– The scriptural reckoning of the Sabbath day from Friday evening to Saturday evening, although fellowship meetings may have been after sunset on Saturday or on Sunday.
– We choose a hopeful perspective – looking for good rather than for evil in all things.
– We regard all persons as equal, respecting the removal of the partition curtain in the Temple, representing the separation between men and women, clergy and laity, etc. There is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free – we are all equal in Christ.
– We encourage stewardship of the earth (including organic gardening and farming) as a way to honour God.
– We do not separate life into the spiritual and material, the heart and the head. There is no division between sacred and secular parts of life. All is sacred.
– We recognise that God is omnipresent.
– We do not emphasise complicated doctrine. We acknowledge the limitations of human knowledge. See our page on Simplicity.
– We are spiritually oriented (as opposed to politically).
– A peculiar form of confession and penance.
– We are missionary minded.
– Whether we live alone, as a family or in a larger community, we engage with other people.
– And finally, Celtic ‘monks’ did not conform their tonsure to the pattern of the monks of the Roman church! (That means you can choose your own hairstyle!) 🙂