Neo-Celtic Christianity

A revitalization of ancient Christian practices believed to originate from the Celtic tradition.

Neo-Celtic Christianity, also referred to as Contemporary Celtic Christianity, is a religious movement aimed at reasserting or restoring beliefs and practices thought to have originated in Celtic Christianity. This form of Christianity initially took shape within the British Isles during the first millennium of the Christian era, especially in its first half. The movement’s revivalist aspect traces its roots back to Jules Ferrette (Mar Julius) and Richard Williams Morgan (Mar Pelagius), who founded the Ancient British Church in 1858. This contemporary expression of Christianity is characterized by its gentle, tolerant, “green,” meditative, egalitarian, and holistic approach to faith and practice. Adherents see it as a survival or restoration of an early, “pure” form of Christianity that predates and differs from Roman forms introduced by missions like Augustine’s to Canterbury in AD 597​​.

Neo-Celtic Christianity emphasizes a circular perception of time, inspired by pagan Celtic traditions, which contrasts with the linear time perception dominant in modern society. This worldview incorporates the cyclical nature of the seasons and human life into its spiritual practice, aiming to reclaim time and connect deeply with the rhythms of creation. The movement also seeks to revive ancient liturgical practices that celebrate nature, the seasons, and traditional Christian holidays, fostering a sense of eternity and unity within creation. Central to its theology is a non-dualistic understanding that opposes binary thinking and emphasizes the unity of body and soul, life and death, in a Trinitarian framework that echoes the triads of Celtic gods​​.

Despite its rich traditions and spiritual practices, modern Celtic Christianity’s connection to its ancient roots is speculative and varied. The historical Celtic Church was distinct from Roman Catholicism in its organizational structure, liturgical practices, and theological nuances, such as its unique calculation of Easter. Modern followers draw on a mix of historical snippets, a rebellion against Roman Catholicism, and a romanticized view of ancient paganism. Practices among contemporary Celtic Christians can vary widely, often incorporating elements like spiritual mentorship through an Anam Chara, or “soul friend,” veneration of nature as a reflection of the Creator, and the use of the arts as tools of worship​​.

Neo-Celtic Christianity represents a synthesis of ancient Christian traditions with modern spiritual sensibilities, aiming to create a more inclusive, holistic, and nature-integrated expression of faith. Its practices and beliefs offer a distinct perspective within the broader Christian tradition, seeking to connect the spiritual and the material, the divine and the creation, in a deeply interwoven tapestry of faith.

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