This article explores many ways in which the Orthodox Christian heritage from the first 500 years of Christianity in England has survived to modern times with regards to Christmas and Easter traditions. Read it and find out more about the symbolism and origin of sayings about the weather and various animals and plants as well as customs such as window lights, Christmas pudding, mince-meat pies, mistletoe, hot cross buns, and much more.
Fragments of Orthodoxy in English Popular Tradition
“They were old men with no scholarship. They told me of their thoughts: the things they said within themselves as they sailed with the stars and with the wild waters about and beneath them.
I have never heard fairer things than fell from the lips of those unlettered men. It was the poetry of the grace of God.”
From a letter concerning the fishermen of Leigh in Essex of с 1900
If we take a human lifetime as the Biblical threescore years and ten, only fourteen lifetimes ago the English Church was an integral part of the Orthodox family, belonging to the Universal Church of Christ. For nearly five centuries the English were in communion with the rest of Christendom. There were close contacts with Eastern Christendom. One of England’s sainted Archbishops, Theodore of Tarsus, was a Greek; Greek monks and a bishop lived in England at the end of the 10th century, and Gytha, the daughter of the Old English King, Harold II, married in Kiev. It is clear that during such a long period, a half-millennium, the Christian faith impregnated the way of life of the people and the Old English monarchy. It is clear that traces of the Faith of the first five centuries of English Christianity, a Faith that was Orthodox though not Byzantine, must have remained after the 11th century. . . .