College – Issue 36

CHAPEL Jesus was an Anglican and you can be too

With a title like that Chaplain Rev. Bosco Peters was bound to grab attention for the year's first Centre for Ethics & Spirituality event. On Thursdsay 14 March, about 60 people were taken on a fascinating journey through history, including Church and Christian history. Bosco said we all viewed such history through certain lenses and with various forms of prejudice. Much of the history of Christianity into Asia was either forgotten or neglected, he said, reminding us that while most of us know that around 800AD Charlemagne was Holy Roman Emperor, we don’t hear much about Timothy of Seleucia (a town now destroyed in Iraq) who at the very same time was the Patriarch Catholicos overseeing a similarly large number of Christians – but in the East. “What was the largest church building in 1450?” Bosco asked. The St Peter’s Basilica, in Rome had yet to be built, the largest church building at that time was Hagia Sophia in what we now call Istanbul, he told his audience. Dispelling other myths, he said St Augustine did not bring Christianity to England. “It had been there from about the 1st century in the Celtic form that centred around monasteries. Constantine changed Christianity

from a persecuted sect to an official religion, and when he moved the Roman capital to Byzantium, the power vacuum in Rome meant the cloak of the Emperor fell on to the shoulders of the Bishop of Rome.” While the empire may have fallen in the West – it didn’t in the East, he said. “In the West, monasticism, following the Rule of St Benedict, kept learning alive. That our school looks like a monastery is no accident” Anglicanism owes a lot to Henry VIII, who sought an annulment after having received exceptional permission to marry his brother’s wife, Catherine of Aragon. They did not have a son, but Catherine

did not want to lose her position, and her nephew, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, controlled the Pope – and he certainly would not grant the annulment. “The solution,” said Bosco, “was the divine right of Kings (a strong concept since Emperor Constantine), which led to the King’s leadership of the church in his land.” The roller-coaster of changes that occurred meant Anglicanism was born – or, as Bosco said, “a ‘both/ and’ church. Protestant software running on Catholic hardware.”

Christ’s College Canterbury


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