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What is Celtic Christianity?

What is Celtic Christianity? September 14, 2021

According to John Koch and his 2006 book “Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia.” Celtic Christianity refers broadly to certain features of Christianity that were common, or held to be common, across the Celtic-speaking world during the Early Middle Ages.” (Koch) Celtic Christianity has been viewed on many levels by many different writers. On one level, writers have sought to describe a distinct Celtic Church. It had the purpose of uniting the Celtic peoples. In early writings, it sought to distinguish its practices from the Roman Catholic Church.

Celtic Christianity is not a Dogma

In many ways, it is quite unfair to label Celtic Spirituality distinctive as a denomination. First, Celtic Christianity is a practice of the faith that could be applied in any denominational setting. It is more of a movement and expression rather than a true religious structure.

Other writers seek to classify Celtic practices as a set of distinctive practices. These exist within the already existing denominations of Christianity. Even the term “Celtic Church” is contested as it implies a separate church from others in the mainstream. Because of this, many have opted for the term “Insular Christianity.” (Brown, The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity (2nd ed.). 2003). “Celtic-speaking areas were part of Latin Christendom at a time when there was significant regional variation of structure. But a general collective veneration of the Papacy was no less intense in Celtic-speaking areas.” (Sharpe, 1984). This tells us that Celtic theology and practice grew, over time while inside the Roman Catholic Church.

Celtic Christianity is not a Religion

Given the evidence that there really was no “Celtic Church” in the sense that there exists a Baptist or Catholic Church. Celtic spirituality exists separate of denominational division. In its true essence, anyone who believes in Christ is invited into the process. One does not have to abandon their denomination to ascribe to Celtic spirituality.

Inside the Latin Rite, distinctive traditions and practices developed in Celtic Christianity. these began what could be considered an independent movement. It is not this authors purpose to decide if Celtic Christianity is its own independent form of Christianity. That should be left to the historians. However, this author does seek to show that out of both the Catholic and Reformed traditions a practice of Christianity has been developed which holds some incredibly unique and important perspectives that should be brought to light, so that the reader may understand this practice.

Celtic Christianity is a Movement

So, what is Celtic Christianity? This writer believes it can be both an independent movement and a practice within another Christian denomination. The one who decides to ascribe to the practices will make that distinction themselves. Simply put, Celtic Theology is the discovery, systemizing, and presentation about the truths of God, within the lens of the Pan-Celtic peoples of early Christianity.

In short Celtic Christianity is a movement, not a religious dogma

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