The Historic Celtic Church and Today’s Orthodox Church of the Culdees

Spread the love
Dr Wylie In his “History of Scotland” said: 
“It was the Culdee lamp that burned at Constance,
at Basle, at Ypres, at Worms and Mainz. Boniface, the emissary of
Rome, came afterwards to put out these lights. The real apostle
of the provinces was the Culdee Church.”
The subject of Celtic Church itself is a vast area of interest around the world. Tens of thousands of inspiring articles and pages circulate on the internet just as it relates things “Celtic”. Many of these articles, as it relates to the Celtic Church, are on our website
Most agree that the earliest Christian priests of the Celtic lands were called Culdees. In most recent years still the estates of Culdees passed to our House of O’Neill heirs whether in Scotland, Ireland or abroad. Culdees (whether in name or spirit) continue on as part of the structure various Cathedral and Monastical establishments. Although typically a Prior or Abbot of the Culdees are Independent, answerable to no jurisdiction, the secular laws protected the property handing down to hereditary heirs (as per Jaimeson’s and other historical works document). Finally Bishop Ussher the Anglican Primate of Ireland, Archbishop of Armagh, under British Royal Decree to reinstate all Culdees, documented their graves and names of buildings, and Streets surrounding his Patriarchate. Although many died in the wars of resistance, he gained a compromise from the Chief of the O’Neills. All the Culdee hereditary institutions were then recognized to be within the lawful possession of the Irish Primate of the Orthodox British.
Ever since, the Culdee continue on at least as Priors/Teachers and Choir. At Armagh the Priors often raised to the highest rank in the church, or held influence of every stature of the land. So the Culdees would remain within the hidden intrigue of what it means to be “Celtic” as felt around the world.
Note: From BC times Ireland was called “little Britain” the the people of Ireland tribally called “Scots”. Hibernia itself, like the word Britain are Hebrew words having to do with being a covenant tribe of Israel. Britain means Covenant People in Hebrew. Hibernia means Hebrew.
Although the protections of our church were more wide ranging in ancient times, still we have sovereign protections (through various means) continuing today for our Orthodox Celtic ethnic minority communities. While our identity and culture is strongly attacked, God has provided us ways forward.
The rank of our church (for example at Glastonbury, where Armagh Primates traditionally retired) has remained an institution comparable to Constantinople (or higher) for the true Orthodox world. It was four times larger, and had many more Apostles and Saints buried there. Long before the Great Schism our British(Celtic) Abbots and Bishops would freely consecrate, co-consecrate and receive consecrations from other jurisdictions such as the Patriarchates of Jerusalem and Constantinople (as one church). Till the last few centuries, the Black Friar communities of Armagh Ireland (Hereditary Coarbs), as protected by the O’Neills, were an example of the continuity of Culdee independence. Today’s thriving order of Benedictine monks (which merged with Culdees long ago) are another example of how an order who existed before the great schism, continues today as being wholly Orthodox in the West. Culdees typically hold more orthodox compliancy credentials than typical orthodox. 
Our unbroken succession of priests (within numerous orders) as Culdee priests, continue in unbroken traditions of the Celtic First Century church, as affirmed in official celebrations of our Celtic Saints around the world. Iona Scotland and Glastonbury England, as well as the numerous institutes listed in the Welsh Pedigrees of Saints, are other examples of our continuity from the original Israelite Apostles. The most inspiring official documentaries on lives of the Celtic Saints, demonstrate the enduring nature and strength of our Independent Celtic church of the Culdees that permeated in every age and is within our BCP liturgy and practices today. 
All of England celebrates King Arthur’s burial place at the Culdees’ Glastonbury Abbey. We also celebrate Emperor Constantine’s Maternal Grandfather King Cole buried at Glastonbury. These had founded a long line of our Celtic Kings who continued to defend our church independence, as unto this present day. Several Irish Coarbs of Armagh (the Primates of the Irish church) would hand it off to one of their family heirs, and leave Ireland to finish their ministries as Abbots of the Glastonbury Abbey. Finally the Saxon Kings were some of the greatest protectors of Glastonbury Abbey where it remained in greater size (and arguably more visited and in more grandeur than) Constantinople’s Cathedral. It remained regarded as such by the West at least until it’s destruction by King Henry VIII, and the successors built a new Glastonbury in America at the height of American Christian governance.

There are many well known leaders of our early schools, such as Saint Patrick and Saint Columba, and even Christ’s Uncle Joseph of Arimathea, and other first Century Saints who led Britain, like St. Aristobulus, St. Andrew, St. Paul, and St. Philip [some of the most ancient forefathers of the Celtic Orthodox Church]. We have a list of nearly 1,000 more Celtic British Saints who led the church centuries before the Roman Saxon St. Augustine came to England.

It was recorded before Augustine came, St Columba had Saxons in his school at Iona, namely Genereus and Pilu as recorded by Adamnan. The Culdees weren’t exclusive to themselves, but had set up great missions to Europe(ie Luxeuil and St Gall and 83 other major establishments). The Roman historian Bede  had also praised the Celts’ outreach and integration of their neighboring kindred tribes

Our Culdean Saint Cummian, who lived a few years after Columbanus, wrote: “What can be deemed worse of a Mother Church than that we should say: Rome goes astray, Jerusalem goes astray, Antioch goes astray, only the Irish and Britons know what is right.” (Cummian, Ad Segienum, Huensen Abbatem.)

On the Continent numerous of our Early Culdean Saints are honored:

150 early Culdee Missionaries are honored in Germany, 45 in France, 30 in Belgium, 13 in Italy, 8 in in Norway and Iceland, to say nothing of other places and Saints of whom mention is made in the British Martyrology.
In the early period of the church, the Culdees are renown for having already founded 12 monasteries in England, 13 in Scotland, 7 in France, 16 in Bavaria, 15 in Rhoetia, Germany and Switzerland, 10 in Alsace, 7 in Lorraine, 12 in Armorica and 6 in Italy.

This church and the many Saints have brought us all much encouragement and inspiration in Christ. Most of all we see what a wonderful God we serve, that our God, the God of Israel, is a true and living God who honors His covenants with His bride called Christian Israel.

Read more about the short history of the Celtic Culdean Church and our reestablishment.

In the following section you will learn more about the fundamental aspects of the Celtic Church.

It was actually from the time of Jeremiah the Prophet that the Irish Celtic church began to take hold. His dated grave remains part of the history of Ireland today. He had successfully transplanted the Kingdom of Israel to the British Isles, just as God had foretold to him. David’s literal throne is a part of Irish, Scottish and English history that is known as the stone of scone. The many Hebrew practices remaining so long in the Celtic lands bears witness to this Israelite heritage. – His Eminence ++ Rev Dr. Stephen M.K. Brunswick ThD, PhD, Primace, OCC.

Here is a short selection from the Doctrinal Articles of our Culdean (Hebrew Celtic) Church:

  1. On Our Church:
    1. Short History of the Orthodox Church of the Culdees (Celtic)
    2. Succession of Our Book of Common Prayer, Our Primary Liturgy
  2. On the Celtic Calendar/Feasts:
    1. Honoring of the Sabbath in the Historic Orthodox Church, by Rev Dr Stephen MK Brunswick, ThD, PhD, Primace, OCC.
    2. “The Celtic Church in Britain” by Leslie Hardinge.
    3. Columbanus and the Celtic Church’s, Quartodeciman (Nisan 14-20) Observance of Easter/Passover
    4. TABERNACLES (RATHER THAN DECEMBER 25TH) was highly popular for Christians in all Orthodox areas
  3. On the Celtic Traditions:
    1. “Truth Trumphant” (Free PDF Book) by Wilkinson, indepth chapters on the Celtic / Gallican church, especially the Waldensians, holding to the Israelite doctrines, Sabbath etc.
    2. “The Liturgy and Ritual of the Celtic Church”(Free PDF Book) By F. E. Warren
    3. “ECCLESIASTICAL ANTIQUITIES OF THE CYMRY” or the Ancient British Church, its History, Doctrine and Rites (Free PDF Book).
    4. “Ireland and the Celtic Church”(Free PDF Book) by George Thomas Stokes Pub 1892
    5. Honoring of St Gall and St Othmar in the Orthodox Church of the Culdees
    6. Celebrating Saint Eadbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne
    7. PDF book: Saints of Wales, Cornwall and Irish Saints with Dedications in Britain, from “The Lives of the British Saints” vol 2
    8. Feast Day of St. Colman, Another Strong Witness for the Orthodox Christian and Hebrew Calendar

    10. Biblical Artwork Is Commanded By God For Churches
  4. On Our Ancient Heritage:
    1. St Elfan Avalonius, 2nd Century Welsh Saint, comm. January 1st and Sept 26
    2. Triads of Wales – OCC E-Book Library Content
    3. Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters, Online and Print Versions
    4. Amra Of St Columba – 6th Century Poem on Life of Columba, an Early Culdee Church Father
    5. Remembering Saint Margaret, the Saxon Queen of Scotland Who Revolutionized our Church, demoted our Culdees and added Sunday worship services
    6. The Jerusalem Church Moved To Britain, and the Apostolic See of Glastonbury, later called the “Second Rome”. Many 1st-2nd Century British Saints attest to this, see attached PDF of Saints
    7. The Early British Church, from “Celt, Druid and Culdee” by Elder
    8. Judah’s Scepter and Joseph’s Birthright (Celtic British Israel Book)
    9. Numerous Ancient Manuscripts Confirming St. Joseph (of the Sanhedrin) Founded the British Hebrew Priesthood at Glastonbury in 36AD
    10. “Spread of the Culdean Church” free Chapter from “History of the Scottish Nation” or The History of The Celtic Church (All Three Volumes): History of Civilization From Pre-historic Times To Medieval Times.
    11. “Irish Saints in Great Britain”(Free PDF Book) by Rev Dr Moran, Dublin 1879
    12. “The Early Scottish Church – Ecclesiastical History of Scotland”(Free PDF Book) by McLaughlin, Edinburg 1865
    14. Free Chapter from the book “Celt, Druid and Culdee”
    15. Hebrew Celtic Origins of the Christian Church
    16. The Declaration Of Arbroath, Proof The Scottish Are Israelites From “Greater Scythia”
    17. Affinity Between the Hebrew and Celtic Languages (AKA Races)
    18. Saint Brendan(the Culdee)’s Voyage to America in the 6th Century
  5. On Hebrew Purity in the Church:
    1. Dietary Laws in the Orthodox Celtic Church
    2. Married Abbots. The Culdees Required Abbots, Priests, Monks and even Nuns to be married in purity and with periods of separation for their courses of services

  6. On the Ancient Hebrew(Christian) Liturgy in the Church:

    1. The Orthodox Order of the Culdees, the Rule of St Maelruan +792AD
    2. Succession of Our Book of Common Prayer, Our Primary Liturgy
    3. Daily Hours Liturgy. English Orthodox Private Devotions For the Hours of Prayer, as Authorized in 1560, added footnotes of Scripture and Church Fathers in 1626
    4. Liturgical BCP Prayer, “THE SHAMA” A Prayer of Christendom and of the Culdees has been upheld from 450BC till this present day

    5. The (Apostles’ Didascalia) and ancient Amidah Prayers outline many of our existing prayer services of Christendom.

    6. The First Century “Didache” (incl. missing translation and verses) as accepted by the Culdee, and greater fellowship of churches. 

    7. Missing Verses from the Didache on Communion with Incense. Also see Sarum Missal and Apostles Didascalia for confirmation.

    8. The Sarum Missal (Our BCP is rooted in Sarum) for reference

A book we highly recommend is “The Celtic Church in Britain” by Leslie Hardinge.


It covers a plethora of proof that the Celtic church kept the Dietary Laws, the Feasts, and Sabbaths.

The Celtic Church was Hebrew and Orthodox

The Celtic Church which occupied Ireland, Scotland, and Britain, had the Syriac (Byzantine) scriptures instead of the Latin vulgate of Rome. The Celtic Church, with the Waldenses and the Eastern empire, kept the seventh-day Sabbath.
The hundreds of pre-schism Orthodox Saints of Great Britain bear the strongest testimony of these facts. Today the Eastern churches still venerate most of these. For Britain alone we have cataloged 130 official Saints of Britain who pre-dated Augustine. When counting all the Celtic lands that number is over 1,000 pre-Augustine Celtic Saints. An example of the most popular pre-schism Orthodox Saints of England can be found online on such sites as:

Hebrew Celtic Law

 Not only was the Celtic church using a Syriac Byzantine Bible, but they were more successful in guarding the whole law of YAHWEH.
One example of the Hebrew Celtic Law is the Lieber ex Lege Moisi.
The Liber ex Lege Moisi, was distributed by Saint Patrick and his successors at every Celtic church, whether in England, Scotland or Ireland.
Summary of contents:
1.       The seventh day Sabbath.
2.       Slavery and the relationship of master to servants
3.       Various capital offences.
4.       Compensation in money of “kind” for different crimes.
5.       Animals’ offences against person and property.
6.       Animals used as food, clean and unclean, and slaughtering.
7.       Sex and marriage.
8.       Feminine hygiene.
9.       Tithes, first-fruits, vows, and offerings of all kinds.
10.   Justice, bribery, witnesses, traduction, and usury.
11.   Cities of refuge, asylum, and hospitality.
12.   Wizards and necromancy and human sacrifices.
13.   Inheritance, and the Sabbatical and Jubilees years, debts.
14.   Sights of a true prophet.
15.   Cursing and blessing.
This formed the basis of beliefs by the Celtic Christians.
The regulations of Adamnan, accepted that people could eat the unclean swine, but not if it was too fat. The pigs must be lean.
The dietary habits of Columba were clearly described as abstaining from meat and ale. (see “Old-Irish Life of Columba”, or “Amhra Chulimb Chille”.)


We are the ancient British Orthodox and Celtic church of God. We are Anglican Orthodox, as under bishops in canonical succession within our communion. If you’d like to learn more about our Anglo Celtic faith, write to

For simplicity we call ourselves the Culdees’ Church, or Orthodox Church of the Culdees. Consider joining us. 

Isa 58:12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

Leave a Reply