The Synod of Whitby Establishes Celtic Christianity in Northumbria- 664 AD

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Teriyaki, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. Teriyaki Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2018
    One of my favorite book series is the "Sister Fidelma" mysteries by Peter Tremayne. The first book deals with a murder mystery that takes place at the Synod of Whiby in Northumbria. While the mystery and murder are fictionalized, the Synod of Whitby actually did take place. The purpose of this Synod was to establish if Northumbria would establish themselves as following the customs of Rome and their version of Christianity, or the customs established by the monks of Iona in Ireland, now commonly referred to as Celtic Christianity. Some key debates that occurred during this Synod included the date of Easter that would be observed, and which tonsure the monks would sport. In the end, King Oswiu decided that Northumbria would follow the rules of the Roman church. The argument could be made this led to the overthrow of Celtic Christianity in Ireland.

    It makes me wonder, what would the impact have been to history and religion had King Oswiu decided to follow the rules of the Celtic Church in 664, rather than the Roman church?
  2. piratedude Pirate Lord of the Great Lakes

    Sep 8, 2017
    Theres no way they're going to keep celebrating easter on the wrong date. Even if it survived Whitby there's just going to be too much pressure from the Church to get with the program. It was already long established that the Church should celebrate easter at the same time. since nicea i think, though how they calculated when exactly to celebrate changed and hence why the hiberno-scottish missions fell out of sync. The other traditions like a triangular tonsure, private confession, etc. can survive easily.

    I should say, you should be wary of treating these variations as approaching a seperate "celtic church" or "celtic christianity" thats opposed to a "Roman Church" in the same way that the Eastern and predominantly Greek churches eventually did. Setting that situation up is possible but it requires a lot more ground work to get away with realistically than what you're asking, like having a Patriarch in the British isles, or something close like an autonomous/sui iuris archbishopric.
  3. perdu42 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2014
    The Land That Time Forgot
    Only read two of the series but yeah, enoyable.

    ADDED: Just remembered, pretty sure there is a TL that explores this but sorry I can't recall what it is at the mo.