Christian Unity


Well, today we remember Irenaeus of Lyons (c.125-202).  And while I was looking that up in Kathleen Jones’ “The Saints of the Anglican Calendar,” I noticed I’d underlined a lot about Cyril of Alexandria (376-444).  I checked, and Cyril (unlike Irenaeus) is not in the calendar of the Episcopal Church – not even in the expansion (by about 100 names) that came out of our last General Convention.  In my mind, this may well be a good thing.

About the only good thing in the book about Cyril is that he was “a champion of orthodoxy.”  But he also refused to consider any doctrine not found in the early church fathers.  And that denies God’s continuing revelation.  I have a problem with that. (more…)

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Well, today we commemorate Augustine of Canterbury.  And I have to admit, I don’t normally think of him when I think of the Anglican via media.  But, at Gregory’s direction, rather than adhering strictly to the Roman rite, he made at least some allowance for Celtic practices that were ongoing when he arrived.  And, as our first Archbishop of Canterbury, that had to help set a tone. (more…)

Today is William Reed Huntington Day in the calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts for the Episcopal Church.  And I have, once again, started using Sam Portaro’s “Brightest and Best:  A Companion to the Lesser Feasts and Fasts” for a supplemental reading following Morning Prayer (or “Matins” as it is called in “The Saint Helena Brevary” that I started using late last month).  I was reminded (again) of how thought provoking his writing is.  He addresses the divisions and unity of our church this way in today’s reading:

… this dynamic tension between foundational principles and necessary change lies at the heart of all life.  When Jesus offers prayer for unity, his embrace is inclusive:  “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word” (John 17:20).  Jesus prays for everyone on all sides of every issue.  The oneness for which Jesus prayes is not a unity to be achieved, but a unity already extablished.  Not our ending place, but our beginning place; not what we work for, but what we already are.  In the acknowledgment of our essential oneness, we are freed to move into our respective differences.  The loving unity for which Jesus prays is the loving unity of siblings who grow up in the profound knowledge of their essential union with one another, a union that does not confine, but rather encourages and allows them to be the very different people they are …