Succession of the Jersalem Bishops and Church.
A study from the Priory of Salem Institute of Theology
Many people are unaware of how much authority Saint Joseph (Christ’s uncle, the doctor of the Sanhedrin) had. He was widely recognized as the most eligible heir to the throne and crown of King David. Many thought he would take the throne from Rome and become crowned the King of Israel. He also had much sway in the Sanhedrin, with a partial bloodline to the line of Aaron, making him with much sway among the high priesthood of Jerusalem.
If you remember the story how Aaron was chosen, it was by his staff. There are many Hebrew teachings about the staff/rod of authority. Moses had Aaron, along with heads of the other 12 tribes take their rods together till morning and wait for a sign. The next morning the staff of Aaron had budded and grew almonds. This was a great sign. Such a sign also exists with St Joseph of Arimathea, who planted his budding staff at Glastonbury. His staff at Glastonbury is well known as the holy thorn, which has been growing since the 1st Century.
There are many people interested in the lines of priests and Bishops ordained from the priesthood that was set up in England (and Celtic Galilea etc) by St Joseph of Arimathea. Many priests from Wales have long traced their ancestry back to the Levitical (and house of Aaron) Priesthood via the Saint Joseph line of priests (the successions of Bishops kept these records for their ecclesiastical requirements). The Culdees (English, Irish and Scottish) trace their lines or ordination in unbroken succession back to St Joseph of Arimathea, and also from St John the Holy Apostle, and other Apostles.
In England there were several First Century Bishops who were co-consecrators documented. For example, St Aristobulus was the assistant of the Holy Apostle St Andrew. He was the first Bishop of Britain and he was very old. After his death, St Joseph took his place and was formally consecrated by the Holy Apostle St Philip. Several records agree this Apostle came with him, St Mary, and the Apostle St James to Marseilles (France). While the First Century references abound, most people only know about Britain’s connection to Jerusalem in around the time of King Arthur, Columbanus, and of court St David of Wales, who was consecrated as Archbishop on a visit to Jerusalem. The Orthodox church at Jerusalem waned shortly after that period, only to be revived again by the Crusaders. However there has always been some Orthodox church presence at Jerusalem. The Celtic British church also takes much pride in their lines of succession from the Ephesian church (of St John the Holy Apostle). Although the successors of John were excommunciated from the church of Rome, the rest of the Orthodox church world agreed to keep in full communion. The later ways have agreed, from all sides that valid sacraments have continued from this line of priests.
The church of Ephesus (as St Paul had commanded the representatives of Corinth and Galatians) had sent representatives to Jerusalem at least three times a year for the three Pilgrimage feasts of Israel. The more cultivated church in the farthest West became known as the “cities of God” and “new Jerusalem”. Although the Scriptures do afford the church to have local sites to do Pilgrimages to visit, still Jerusalem in Israel held an important place in their hearts, long after the destruction of the Temple. This led to the Crusades later as Christians would get killed on the routes to these commanded festival observances. The Eastern orthodox cried out for help from the farthest West Orthodox.
Saint James the Holy Apostle was named the first Bishop of Jerusalem by the Apostles. He is listed in one of the several lines of Apostolic Succession in the Eastern Church (although the Roman Church does not like to acknowledge other successions than their of Peter at Rome. However there is more proof for the British succession than any other).
Some people like to point out of the accepted Orthodox lines of the Jerusalem Apostolic succession of Bishops that Marcus the Bishop of Jerusalem from 135AD forward had given up his fight for the Hebrew styled ministry of his predecessors. There is no proof for this, other than he’s called their first “Gentile” bishop, and it was when the Jews were outlawed by the Roman Government. However, we have ample evidence of the successors of the Jerusalem church in the farthest West. Many of the prayers of these Jerusalem lines today include daily prayers in the Chapels of the Orthodox Anglican Church, singing the Hebrew prayer “Hear O Israel” at the time of daily Communion.
Some like to give a stopping point date to be when the Gentile Bishop Marcus took over the priesthood at Jerusalem in 135AD. However, historians agreed they cannot prove what all Bishop Marcus changed at Jerusalem but that they all were under great bondages of persecutions there. They were indeed forbidden by the Romans from doing many things, and for this reason many more left as Christ had instructed them “when you see the abomination of desolation, flee to the mountains, etc”. There doesn’t seem to be any proof of any doctrines taken up by Marcus. However in the Didascalia which echoed even through the height of persecution it’s evident that among the daily services, that the Sabbath always held a high place. There is much more in our book “the 7th Day Sabbath in the Orthodox Church“.
Perhaps the Culdees’ line from Saint John is better, as his successors (like Polycarp and Polycrates etc held to the Passover, Feasts, and Sabbaths more strongly. They did not give in to the pressure of Rome, and continued to lead all the Bishops of Anatolia. Their successors became the Bishops of Lyon in France/Gaul. They were later consecrating many of the early British church. Some say it was mutual support both ways, sending and recieving the Celtic Missionaries. The Celtic Orthodox Church of the Culdees have a large library on the topic.
Yet there still may be something to the Jerusalem line. We have longer recorded histories of Bishop (Apostle) James, surnamed the Just, who was also involved in moving the Jerusalem church to Britain. Please find attached in the following PDF, a short list of 1st-2nd Century British Saints. These came primarily from the Jerusalem church, and remained in Britain. The later interaction of these Culdees back again in Jerusalem did not just start with Saint David. There was a constant interaction. Constantine’s Mother is just one example of the family tradition of sailing from Britain to Jerusalem, as she was of the Arimathea line via King Coel, who is buried at Glastonbury.
So here is a partial listing of our Culdees movement(Joseph was called the first Culdee), where they were successfully getting out of the persecutions there at Jerusalem and later throughout the whole East. Many historians wrote about the regions of Britain (Scotland and Wales) where no Roman arms have penetrated. This was important through to the time of the Diocletian persecutions etc. In Britain there was relative freedom. While the early 2nd Century historian Tertullian didn’t call it yet the “Second Rome“, he did depict it as thriving, as did many others. All pointing to it being an important “Apostolic See”. As Britain developed over the next 10 centuries it was unanimous everywhere that Glastonbury was concretely an independent Apostolic See. It was never Biblical to try and exert such central control, and so the keeping away from that practice does not make it any less important. Many church councils yielded to the church of England because of it’s seniority and authenticity demonstrated in it’s Apostolic origin. After reading the attached PDF of early British Saints (1st-2nd Century) it should start to become clear that Glastonbury (and other Welsh English Orthodox churches) were a satellite of Britain. Most agreed that Britain was always under the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, not Rome. There for sure is demonstrated a very strong cooperation.
Did you know Glastonbury Abbey was four times larger than Constantinople’s Cathedral?
In the Domesday Survey completed in 1088AD, the Abbey with it’s original twelve hydes is listed as the “Domus Dei” (House of God) and Secretum Domini (Secret of our Lord). No other church grounds in the Domesday shared that distinction.
All over the world it was given various titles, such as “the Second Rome”, “the most hallowed ground on earth”, “The Sacred Isle”, “The Motherland”, “the Old Church”, “the Mother of Saints” , “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)”.
Read more here:
Numerous Ancient Manuscripts Confirming St. Joseph (of the Sanhedrin) Founded the British Hebrew Priesthood at Glastonbury in 36AD – St. Andrew’s and St. Joseph’s O.C.C.. Home of Watchman News, the Priory of Salem and TCAWW (celticorthodoxy.com)