Culdee of Glastonbury       Effective Charters on Glasonbury Monks being Sovereign equals to the Monarch.

              500 books widely available on the topic of Glastonbury being the first above ground church.

 

     As known the world over: "the most hallowed ground on earth", "The Sacred Isle", "The Motherland", "the Old Church", "the Mother of Saints" "the Second Rome",  "the Cradle of Christianity", "Built by the Hands of God Himself", "the fountain and origin of all religion", "built by the hands of Christ Himself (- Augustine's own admission)".

 

 

 

Glastonbury Married Cleric Monks

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

- THE MARRIED ABBOTS -

- CELTIC BANGORS, NOT ROMAN MONASTERIES -

- GENEALOGIES OF CELTIC MONASTIC FAMILIES -

-THE DANES LEFT GLASTONBURY ALONE -

- WELSH KINGS PROTECTED GLASTONBURY -

- CULDEAN MISSIONS ABROAD -

- FEDERATION OF JESUS ABBEYS -

 

The Married Abbots

 

In Rawlinson's "Antiquities of Glastonbury" we read on page 88 that in the time of Dunstan the Benedictine, that all the celibate Monks were taken out of Glastonbury Abbey and replaced with married Clergy. So "married Clergy and Monks" were synonymous terms at the Glastonbury Abbey. Against Rome's definitions, Glastonbury held a seniority in such matters to properly define , however, still, they followed the most strict Essenic purity laws.

 

The Venerable Bede(672-735) complained against the Celtic church in general. As quoted from Egberti Dialogus de Ecclesiatical Institutions Page 274 and Origines Anglicanae Page 127 we find several points.

 

One of the main points that stand out is his statement:

 

"Many of the Abbots were married men".

 

These words "many abbots" tells us this wasn't just a few. Many would like to believe that Britain actually had only celibate communities, and that the ones who were actually married were just an exception. However, it was the general rule in the Celtic church, that the "Abbeys/Monestaries" (or Bangors) who also had a strict rule, didn't fall in line with Rome's version of Monasticism.

 

Was Bede really such an agent of Rome?

 

One must realize these weren't some exceptions, but Bede was indeed attacking the Celtic church overall. There are many proofs of this. He was an activist against the Celtic obervance of Easter in favor of the Roman version. This was pivotal in determining his true allegiances within the church. Columbanus' most epic fight against Rome was on this topic of Easter. Furthermore, Bede was the only English born priest to have ever been called a "Doctor of the Church". While Bede did do many great things for the church, still others did much greater, without the Roman elevation.

 

While he has been considered a great English historian, we should take his statements as true, that "Many of the Abbots were married men". Indeed they were. Whether or not he agreed with it, it doesn't matter. This statement in and of itself speaks volumes. He also said said these married Abbots were also military Captains at the same time they had rule of their Monestaries.

 

Bonwick wrote in his "Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions":


"Their(the Culdees') most bitter enemy in early Christian days

was the Venerable Bede, who denied their claims to orthodoxy.
But, since he was a Saxon, and a priest under Roman rule,
his charges have been slightly heeded. Their maintenance
of an hereditary priesthood was not merely Jewish, as he
supposed, but of Druidical sympathy. "

 

 

 

Celtic Bangors Were Different From Roman Monasteries

 

Bede is a source of much information that is recorded on the Celtic Bangors (Monestaries). He was born only long after the damages were inflicted by the Roman monk Augustine.

You may read about the great Massacre of Culdean Monks at Bangor is-y-coed that Augustine was implicated in. However all was still much apparent even for Bede to see and know the difference between a Roman Monestary and Celtic Bangor. Bishop David of Wales (our great Culdean Saint) was part of the holy synod that included the Bangor is-y-coed Monestary. He was consecrated as Archbishop at Jerusalem, and spread the more strict Israelite (Essenic) version of Monastecism that included having provisions that facilitated the growth of the family of the Monks, and having many descendants as cataloged in the "Welsh Genealogies of Saints", also known as “the St. Ynys Prydain, or Pedigrees of the Saints of Britain”. The Bishops consecrated by Archbishop David also carried on this more strict version of Monasticism within the Celtic Bangors. Bede gleefully reveled in the slaughter of these Monastics, even by a pagan Northumbrian king Aethelfrith, given they were British Christians and thus had refused to follow St Augustine’s advice and celebrate Easter following the Roman calendar. Bede was also a Geordie and hence naturally sympathetic to his own kingdom’s pagan ancestors.

Even up to the 12th Century we see that the Roman Church was so biased against the Celtic (Culdean) monasticism, that it refused to admit even Saint Patrick or Columba ever were Monks!

As Bonwick recorded in his "Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions":

"If St. Patrick, St. Columba, and other early Irish Saints
had been true Monks, why did St. Bernard, in his Life of
Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh(1130AD), say that up to that
time there was not a monk in Ireland. Columba certainly
took Culdeeism to Scotland from Ireland. In the Bog of
Monaincha are two islands. On one was a monastery
for men, their wives occupying the neighbouring Woman's
Isle."

In the 4th and 5th Centuries we see a vastly different situation from the current monasticism we know of these days. In short, each Abbey(or Monastery) had it's own autonomous rules that provided for the families of the Monks to have separate facilities. This is not evident in the Roman version, but the members are expected to be unfruitful and not to keep God's first commandment, "to multiply" and replentish (or fill) the earth with descendants.

 

We find in Celtic Monasticism, as well recorded by Hardinge, that the Culdean Monks could always go out to visit their lands, wives and children. However, once they have returned to the Bangor, a very strict form of Essene Monasticsm was again followed. Even missing a footwashing could implicate one as a major offence.

 

Athanasius (circa 373) wrote that "although many bishops were unmarried, many Monks were fathers of children, these things are at liberty and no prohibition is laid upon them..."

  

Augustine of Hippo (circa 430) wrote against these Egyptian so-called "Apostolics" who were excommunicating married Monks. Augustine wrote that "our Monks kept both land and were married".

 

All the while, Saint Patrick who lived shortly after Augustine had reportedly equated Glastonbury with the Monestaries of Egypt.

 

Williams, in his, "The Ecclesiastical Antiquities of the Cymry:

Or, The Ancient British Church ", wrote:

 

Padrig (Saint Patrick) 385-461AD is said to have

rendered Bangor Wydrin (Glastonbury)similar in

character to the monestaries of Egypt, and to have

become its first abbot. Under him, it was further

enriched with lands and possessions, the gifts of

kings and princes. (MS. libell. de reliquis coenobii

Glaston. circa tem. R. Henrici III. script. Johan.

Tinmuthensis in Vita Patricii. Tabula Magna Glastoniens.

MS. in Bibliotheca Collegii S. Trinitatis. Cantabrig.

&c. apud Usher, pp. 56,58.)

 

While Rome's monasticsm took many centuries to refine and develop, the Celtic and Eastern church was thriving. Not only were the Monks owning land, but they had many children succeeding them, as Augustine described the Egyptian (Eastern) churches practiced at the time.

 

Numerous pre-Augustinian Welsh Saints are venerated in the Eastern church. You may request from us the extensive calendar of several hundred Celtic Saints on the Island that predated the Roman Augustine's arrival.

 

Gastonbury, as known the world over, was the "Fountain and Origin of All Religion", the first above ground Christian church that has been legally established in the world, did have this older school of the prophets. As taking in a great deal of the original Holy Apostles, all would be wise to do a strong analysis of the Welsh practices. Some would say they equal the "Desert Fathers" in precedence. Others will say they shine far greater in importance to our faith. We in the Orthodox Church of the Culdees are one of the few churches who set our precedence with the Celtic definitions. While Rome never fully yielded to Glastonbury's precedence, many other nations did yield to Glastonbury's precedence.

 

There were numerous recognitions within the churches of the world, that they would yield to Glastonbury on points of antiquity and precedence.

At the Synod of Pisa in 1409, Council of Constance in 1417, Synod of Sienna in 1424, and the Council of Basel in 1434. There was reached a consensus that the Churches of France and Spain must yield in points of antiquity and precedence to that of Britain. This was for the sole basis of Glastonbury being the first church of the Hebrew Apostles of Christ.

 

As we read, the Roman agent Bede didn't like the fact that Culdean Monks were married and would retain and inherit lands, and that many would bequeath or endow the lands to their sons or daughters.

 

Glastonbury's Monestary was anciently known as BANGOR WYDRIN

 

The Abbots of Glastonbury, according to numerous charters, confirmed from the earliest times, unto the latest, could only be chosen or elected out of their own body. Only could one be solicited from abroad, if there was even one among their ranks, even the lowest and youngest who was capable of fulfilling the position. Installations by a heirarchy of Rome was made impossible at Glastonbury, and none could be made subject to the bishops of surrounding territories. These matters were confirmed, ratified and defended by numerous Kings together in agreements with the Abbots. Full sovereignty and autonomy over secular matters of the region were inherent in the Abbots and Monks.

 

BANGOR WYDRIN (Glastonbury) was a distinguished establishment, as it appears from the following Triad:

 

"The three principal choirs of the isle of Britain; -Bangor Illtyd Varchawg, in Caer Worgan; Cor Emrys, in Caer Caradawg; and Bangor Wydrin, in the isle of Avallon; and in each of these three Bangors were two thousand four hundred saints, that is, one hundred were engaged alternately every hour, both day and night, in celebrating the praise and service of God, without rest, without intermission."

The British traditions refer to the origin of the college at Glastonbury to Elvan. According to William of Malmesbury an institution similar to the foregoing, consisting of twelve members, and endowed with twelve members, and endowed with twelve portions of land, existed here in the earliest period of Christianity. This did not flourish long; but we are informed that in the reign of Lleirwg, it was restored to its original position by Dyvan and Fagan, with the consent and authority of the monarch, who confirmed its ancient charters.

Padrig(Patrick) is said to have rendered Bangor Wydrin (Glastonbury)similar in character to the monestaries of Egypt, and to have become its first abbot. Under him, it was further enriched with lands and possessions, the gifts of kings and princes. Many natives, whose names are now lost, succeeded him in his dignity, before the institution finally passed into the hands of the Saxons.

According to the records of Glastonbury, Dewi(David) visited the island with seven suffragans, for the purpose of dedicating is ancient church. An anonymous authorit of his life says expressely that he "founded" the monastery; whilst the compiler of "Brut y Twysogion" is positive that Ivor "made the great friary in the isle of Avallon" in the year 683, out of gratitude to Almighty God for the victories which he had obtained over his enemies. But such statements were no doubt made, in consequence of a vague knowledge as to the nature of the services which those persons rendered to the establishment. Its endowment was augmented by king Arthur, who was also, with his wife Gwenhwyvar, buried in its holy ground.

Bangor Wydrin was wrested from the native Britons in the reign of Ina, king of the West Saxons. A.D. 721.

 

Genealogies of Celtic Monastic Families

 

According to Saint Paul, you couldn't be an Elder in any church unless you "were the husband of one wife". Within the Hebrew polity of the Culdees, it also had been long established that you couldn't be an elder in any church unless you were married. If only living as an unmarried Monk in their years of education, it would have made this difficult to obtain. Within the Culdee it was long admonished that Bishoprics were handed down from father to son, even at St. Andrew's. While the Monks of Glastonbury were a part of this greater Hebrew order of the Culdee, they weren't all priests. It's recorded most of the Monks were prophets, which in Hebrew law is also hereditary, dubbed "sons of the prophets", etc.

 

In our longer histories of the Celtic Saints, the "Welsh Genealogies of Saints" etc, there is ample evidence of Celtic Monastics having their sons succeed them. The Celtic Monestaries or "Bangors"(as they are called in Welsh) often had many generations of sons in succession.

 

Many like to refer to Gildas. The famous British Monk Saint Gildas had several children in England and France. Three of them became Abbots, and Gildas' father also was an Abbot. Gildas founded and led Monestaries in both countries. After his missionary activities at Brittany, he later retired to lead the Monks at Glastonbury. Among his several sons were Peirio, Cenydd, Noethon and Tydecho. His son Saint Neothon also led the Monestaries of Llantwit and Llancarfan, and was succeeded by his son Cynddilig.

 

Like many other Abbeys, the Culdee Abbices passed from father to son. Of course like all priestly installations, those who would perform the daily ceremonies had to follow a more rigid ceremonial purity. This is cataloged by Hardinge in his history of "the Celtic Church in Britain". As Glastonbury was founded in the First Century by Hebrew Priests and Apostles, it remains a good example of these rules.

 

The Monks of Glastonbury were often only for a short term in their youth being educated at this holy site of worship. Others, like many married Kings, decided to retire there.

 

There is some speculation if "Columbanus the younger" was actually the son of Saint Columbanus who sailed together with him to the Continent. To prove the Clergy were married we need only focus on the times before the "Great Schism". We know even today in the Eastern church that all Clerics are married. When the Eastern and Western church was still one, it was well understood that at least regular priests were married.

 

While there has always been autonomy for the local Monasteries, even Benedictine Monks had largely been married. This was even moreso at Glastonbury, with the many independence charters showing they are not under Roman Bishops' jurisdictions at all. The church at Glastonbury was established by the Saint Joseph the Culdee in the first century. He himself was a member of the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem. Jerusalem Bishops later consecrated Saint David of Wales who rebuilt upon the church he built.

 

So whether or not St. Dunstan had successfully converted Glastonbury into a Benedictine Abbey is a moot point on the subject of married (though solo) Monks. While Benedictines were often welcomed, that was short lived in the time of Dunstan. The Benedictine reformer St. Dunstan was banished twice from Glastonbury (before he even became a Benedictine). However he never changed the Hebrew policy of married Clergy. In any case, the only effect he may have had was encouraging a larger protest against celibacy within Glastonbury and England.

 

The gap of 500 years after the great schism is full of documents that demonstrate protection from the Kings of England, as well as the Pope confirming the Glastonbury Abbey's right of independence of all authority of the Bishops of Rome. While the rule of Saint Dunstan may have become prevelant at one time, there is no real confirmations that married Monks could have ever been removed at any time.

While in the 15th Century priests were being martyrred for preaching against celibacy in Switzerland, Glastonbury also held their own against all forms of outter influence. By the 16th Century Henry VIII already abolished all the Monestaries in England. The epic protestant wars of Switzerland and Luther were on this foundation of response to the martyrdom of the Zwinglian priests who preached in preference of married clergy. Glastonbury didn't have to put up any fierce resistance against Rome, because of the full autonomy and rights that extended for Glastonbury Monks, chartered rights even to decide in civil and criminal matters throughout England.

 

Anciently only the eunichs were aboslutely celibate! These were castrated from birth or at choice.

 

The Danes Left Glastonbury Alone

 

Glastonbury's Cathedral was four times bigger than Constantinople's, they didn't have as much courage as Henry VIII!

 

St. Dunstan, in the year 988, 32 years after his banishment from Glastonbury, had died, and was buried at Canturbury. However, Glastonbury soon was the only untouched monestary, and had the only respectable structures left standing. The Danes, after a swift invasion had razed Canterbury, and from Kent to London the inhabitants murdered, tortured, beaten or sold to slavery and its buildings burnt. They primarily attacked the Roman institutions that the English hated. St. Alphege, the primary Archbishop furthering Dunstan’s cult was imprisoned, tormented and finally, murdered in 1012. Out of the 8,000 Benedictine Monks, only 800 survived this “revolution”, and these were ill treated. There was no resistance against the Danes.

 

Canute was from a long line of Judah Kings and he instituted what we know as "Dane Law" that still exists today. It is the basis of common law, the Magna Carta, and even the US Bill of Rights. King Canute who honoured Glastonbury, granted the Monks permission to move the remains of King Ironside of Wessex and St. Dunstan to Glastonbury, because of their great love for the abbey.

 

In 1032  King Canute the Dane came with Archbishop Æthelnoth of Canterbury to pray at the tomb of the King Edmund Ironside of Wessex, whom he used to call his brother, and there gave a very rich pall to lay on King Edmund's tomb, embroidered with apples of gold and pearls ; and at the same time confirmed all the privileges that his predecessors had granted to this monastery.

 

 

Welsh Kings Protecting Glastonbury

 

Further background on the subject married Monks may be gleaned from information on the last Welsh Kings (who were all Monks of Glastonbury Abbey): 
 

King Athelstan was a monk at Glastonbury for the last three years of his life, and it was for that period the headquarters for his court.
 

King Edmund succeeded his brother Athelstan, and entered Glastonbury also as a monk. He often kept his court at Glastonbury, and banished St. Dunstan from his court, later to not only let him back in but elect him as Abbot. Dunstan never ousted any of the married priests, although he was a celibate. King Edmund was assassinated in 946 near Glastonbury.

 

His son King Edwy, (as is in Haydn’s list of the Kings and Queens of England had the harshest words against St. Dunstan, in accordance with Edmund’s ordeal?) and that this King had not only banished him, but outlawed St. Dunstan, forcing him to flee to the Court of his kinsman Arnulf, Count of Flanders. There he entered a Benedictine Monastery at Ghent. That was the start of St. Dunstan’s new school as a Benedictine. Within two years King Edwy was dead, after much of England revolted against him, and declared Edgar King.

 

King Edgar, in the same year of his coronation elected St. Dunstan as Archbishop of Canterbury. St. Dunstan then with the King sought to implement Benedictine monasticism state-wide. During his reign he wrote one of the greatest Charters for Glastonbury Abbey’s rights equal to the King in Glastonbury, as well as several privileges abroad. (charter is quoted below) Edgar was laid to rest at Glastonbury Abbey.

 

In the year 944, King Edmund wrote a charter for Glastonbury and their Abbot St. Dunstan, not only confirming all the privileges and donations formerly granted to their predecessors, by his ancestors, King Edward, Alfred, Kentwyn, Ina, Cuthred, and others, but discharged them from several burdens, duties, contributions, and subjections ; and gave them a right and power to receive fines, punish malefactors, and of enjoying their lands as free from all claims as he enjoyed his own, especially the town of Glastonbury itself. These privileges in the charter are thus called, Burghbrice, hundredsoena, Athas, Ordelas, Infangentheofas, Homsocna, Frithbrice, Foresealle, Toll and Teame.

 

In the charter of King Edgar the Abbey is said to be ‘the first church in the kingdom built by the disciples of Christ’ (Conybeare’s Roman Britain, p. 254). In 963 Edgar bestowed upon this Abbey the manour of Stoure, alias Stouerminster, and twenty hydes of land more in other places. Edgar granted several charters to this Abbey; some conveying to the Abbot and his Monks more lands, and some enlarging their privileges. That dated at London, in the year 971, adds to the privileges granted by his father King Edmund, Soram and Sacam, on Strond and on Streame, on Wode and on Feld; that is to say liberty to determine pleas and correct delinquents at the sea shore or on the river, in the wood, or in the field, above ground and under ground. Hundredsitrna, which was a privilege of sanctuary in the limits of the hundred; Galle Word, as which signifies the appropriating their own use any hidden treasure found within their territories; Forestall, that is to say, intercepting provisions coming to their market; and Bufan, Corderran, Bencoderan, Flemeneferde, Hamsoena, Grith Brice, and Fridishire, are other terms of franchises for the Monks indefinitely. These rights included the sole priviledge as a monk who met with any malefactor going to the gallows, in any part of the kingdom, could take him out of the executinoer’s hands, and give him his pardon. Moreover, King Edgar by this charter, exempts this Monastery, and the parishes of Street, Mireling, Budicle, Shapewick, Sowy, and the several chapels within the said parishes, to wit, those of Beckery, called Little Ireland, Godeney, Mortinesey, Ferramere, Padonberge, and Adredery, from the ordinary jurisdiction of the bishop, except some things, with a salvo to the Church of Rome, and that of Canterbury.

 

Hugh Paulinus de Cressy mentions another charter of King Edgar’s to the Abbey of Glastonbury, wherein, amongst other things, he granted that the Monks •should always be electors of their own Abbot who was to be chosen out of their own body. Insoasmuch that, if the youngest and lowest of all their congregations were capable, they should not have recourse fpo an Abbot abroad ; nor then, " also, should any be imposed on them without their suffrages ; only he reserved to himself the power of conferring the crosier or pastoral staff on the person elected. Again, that all controversies, as well in secular as ecclesiastical affairs, should be determined in the Abbot’s court. Likewise, that the Bishop of Wells (the ordinary of Somersetshire) should exercise no jurisdiction over them to call their priests to his synods, to suspend any of them from the divine office, &c. These charters of privileges, with many other secular immunities, he caused first to be confirmed in a synod of bishops " and nobles assembled in London, and afterwards sent them to Rome, where they were also confirmed by a bull of Pope John the Thirteenth." One, if not both, these charters. King Edgar carried himself to Glastonbury ; and that it might be perpetually valid, he, at the delivery of it, laid his scepter upon the altar of our Blessed Lady, together with the charter; which scepter was curiously made of ivory. After which he made the said scepter to be cut into two pieces, least some succeeding Abbots should sell it, or give it away, one half whereof he left with the Abbot, and kept the other half himself. This he did in the time of Aelfhard, or as Mr. Willis writes him, AElfstanus, abbat, and in the fifteenth year of his reign, which was in the year of Christ 974.

 

King Egelred, or (as others write him) Ethelred, King Edgar's second son, bestowed upon Sigegar, then Abbot, six hydes of land at Anstancliff, one hyde at Sitebeorge, a mannoui at Pucklechurch containing thirty hydes of land, and a house he bought for forty marks of gold in Wilton.

 

King Edmund the Second, sirnamed Ironside, son to King Egelred, having been mortally wounded by the treacherous Duke Edrick, A. D. 1016, bequeathed seventeen hydes of land to this Abbey, and his body to be buried there.

 

Culdean Missions Abroad

 

A quote from the book, "Letters on the constrained celibacy of the clergy of the Church of Rome, addressed to an Irish Divine of that church by his friend, a layman of the church of England":

"Baleus and Bruschius spoke of the marriages of Monks and nuns as not uncommon in that country (Germany) before the tenth century." The historian Bruschius authored "the first century of the German monasteries".

 

Columbanus with his twelve strongly established these monestaries. Here is a quote from a chapter named "the Spread of the Culdean Church" from "History of the Scottish Nation or The History of the Celtic Church":

 

"...likewise the whole of the country now called Franconia, and Alamannia, and Bavaria, converted and ecclesiastically governed by Culdeans, and Culdeans alone. And if we are to speak of the influences of the British Church, as some express themselves, it must at least be confessed that these influences might be compared to the overflow of ( Page 159 ) a river, which covers the whole land. All the distinctive peculiarities of the Culdean Church—its married priests, its sending out of its missionaries by twelve, its practice of constructing its settlements in separate houses, its subjection of chorepiscopi (or bishops of monasteries) to the rule of the abbots—all this we find in Bavaria and Alamannia in 730-739, just as it was in Scotland in 565. It is all one and the same church-fellowship, that of the Viri-Dei, or in Irish, the Keile De. In the whole south and west, and in a great part of the north of Germany, before ‘the apostle of Germany was heard of, we find in existence a flourishing, well-organised, Rome-free church, whose sole supreme authority was the Holy Scriptures, and whose preaching was the word of the free redeeming grace of God in Christ Jesus.”

 

Federation of Jesus Abbeys

 

The Culdee and the Eastern Church were involved in a project initiated by request of the Vatican to research a solution to the lack of priests for the parishes of he Roman Church scattered throughout the world. From this 25 year project emerged a viable solution in providing married priests in a joint mission between the Eastern Church and the Culdee which is the historic Church among the Celts of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Britannia. The outcome under the leadership of Mar John Dunnigan (now deceased) was the establishment of the Culdee-Roman Order called the Jesus Abbeys.
To following is the preamble to the Constitutions for the establishment of the Jesus Abbeys that was sent to the Vatican and we understand it was reviewed by Cardinal Ratzinger before he was made Pope Benedict. We were told at the time by Mar John Dunnigan that Cardinal Ratzinger viewed the proposal with favor when in retreat in Germany.

Download the full PDF

The original proposal from +Abbot Smith in 2003:

The Canons of the Federation of Jesus Abbeys parallel, in sequence — though not in precise content — the Codes of both Eastern (CCEO) and Western (CIC) Canons, to whit: CIC Cann. 573 – 731; CCEO Cann. 410 – 572.
Key adaptations of CIC and CCEO Canons:

• Replacement of a domestic Postulancy for an enclosed Novitiate; “Covenant” to replace “Vows”;

• Members are, in large part, married couples … as were the Monks of Culdee (and Benedict)*;

• Members are not expected to make a life commitment to the Abbey.

• “Moderator” most often replaces “Superior” (as in the CCEO and CIC Canons) to reflect of the nature of the Federation’s parent: The Order of Culdee*

• The Order of Culdee is referenced throughout the Canons. The Culdee was established by Jewish missionaries to Britain in the first century. It consistently held the Holy Scriptures as its canon for community in all matters of faith and discipline.
“Historically, the Celtic “monks” of Iona had their families located on a near-by island. Married monks! This was the Celtic model based upon the School of Prophets of the Hebrews.
Each Culdee Abbey was fiscally independent yet governed as a single community with a common living confession of daily work, study, prayer and missions. The unity of the many Abbeys was maintained through the holy and humble friendship of its Abbot-bishops and their full submission to the canonized teachings of Jesus and the Apostles.

Abbot +David Michael (Holmes-Smith) is the Abbot General of the Holy Order of the Culdee and desires to establish an Abbey and a Culdee College on Iona this Fall 2003. The Holy Order of the Culdee is an ecumenical Celtic Rite order embracing a number of historic Christian Churches with Culdee families, brothers, sisters, deacons, priests and abbot-bishops serving in Protestant, Orthodox, Old Catholic, Anglican and Eastern Catholic jurisdictions.

This Culdee mission on Iona should be differentiated from the titular jurisdiction and mission of Roman Abbot Mark Dilworth of Iona. The Abbot is in semiretirement [now desceased] (in his 70’s) and is teaching in a college somewhere in Scotland. For ministry on Iona, we will make no claim on any historic title. We also do not seek to undermine the ministry of the British Orthodox Church, the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church or any other jurisdiction seeking to establish a valid Christian mission to serve the many pilgrims visiting Iona each year. The primary outreach of the Culdee College would be to provide classes to seminarians throughout the winter and workshops to pilgrims during the summer.

It is the heart and desire of the Culdee to work in unity with all other abbots and bishops present or absent from Iona that have a reasonable claim to a historic ministry in Iona. Perhaps an ecumenical college of Abbots and Bishops may be formed to meet monthly at a ’round table’ at Iona to facilitate the ministry of the church universal at Iona and to Scotland.”

From the Office of the Abbot General Holy Order of the Culdee (May, 2003)

The Federation, gathered under the umbrella of the Order of Culdee, desires to be in the service of the Church as a quasi-Religious Order. Religious are not agents of The Institution. They have an autonomy which derives from having opted-out of the dynamics and structures of the ecclesiastical world.

 

 

Read more about the Historic Celtic Church and Today's Orthodox Celtic Church movement.