Friday, October 16, 2015

A Voice from the Past - Gregory the Great

(Responding to Augustine,  missionary to the Anglo-Saxons, on the differences in customs between the Roman and Celtic Christians.)

Thy Fraternity knows the use of the Roman Church, in which thou hast been nurtured. But I approve of thy selecting carefully anything thou hast found that may be more pleasing to Almighty God, whether in the Roman Church or that of Gaul or in any Church whatever, and introducing in the Church of the Angli, which is as yet new in the faith, by a special institution, what thou has been able to collect from many Churches. For we ought not to love things for places, but places for things. Wherefore choose from each several Church such things as are pious, religious, and right, and, collecting them as it were into a bundle, plant them in the minds of the Angli for their use.

Gregory the Great, 540-604 AD, Epistles of Gregory the Great, Book XI, Epistle LXIV, To Augustine, Bishop of the Angli, (translated by Rev. James Barmby, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, T & T Clark and Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1997, Second Series, Vol. XIII, p. 75)

Is it a good thing to try to bring different ideas of worship from various traditions? How might such things be judged if this is to be done?

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