Liturgical Colour : White
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are faced once again with the reality of our world, both past, today, and also what it will be in the future. We know that this world does not belong to the Lord but to the devil, for the evil one has his dominion over the world, and we are all under his power which he exercised through the world.
With Christ and His death on the cross, and His glorious resurrection from the dead, He had liberated us from the thrall and dominion of Satan, in that he no longer has any direct power or control over us, and eternal life has been promised and assured to us, providing that we follow the Lord and always walk in His ways.
But the devil still has his ways in this world, and he remains very capable of tempting us and leading us astray from the path that we walk on towards the Lord and His salvation. He has many ways and tools through the world, and his weapons are plenty. Just like when Satan tempted our Lord Jesus with all the things at his disposal, including the wealth and temptations of the world, he will do so to us too, to make us falter.
Why is this so crucial, brethren? And why do I bring this matter up today? That is because today we celebrate the feast of the missionary who brought the faith to the land of England, which that time was filled with mostly the Anglo-Saxon invaders and some native Britons, around the end of the sixth century, more than a thousand years ago. He is St. Augustine of Canterbury, the founder and the progenitor of the Church in England, which is now known as the United Kingdom.
And you all know that there was a great tragedy of the faith, when heresy, an immense heresy and unworthiness brought so great a destruction for the faithful, which remains even until today, and the great repercussions continue to affect even to the rest of the world. Truly, the devil was busy, and is busy causing havoc among the faithful and in God’s Church!
What am I talking about then? It is about the so-called ‘Church of England’, the ‘Anglican Communion’, the product of the devil and his cultivation of division among the faithful, the product of the King of England five hundred years ago, King Henry VIII, who in his futile and desperate attempts to seek a male heir, resulted in him choosing to follow the path to damnation and brought many down with him, rather than submitting to the will of God.
Let me fill you in with some background, beginning from St. Augustine himself, the founder of the Church in England. St. Augustine was a priest and missionary from Rome, who was the personal confidant of Pope St. Gregory the Great and a holy and pious person, dedicated to the works of the Lord. He was well renowned for his great piety and exemplary lifestyle, and as such he was chosen to evangelise the Good News to the heathens in England.
England was once a province of the Roman Empire, and the faith had made its way to that country, and ever since the Emperor Constantine made the faith legal, the Church there had grown, but with the downfall of the Roman Empire in the West, the society in England broke down, and with the invasion of the Germanic Anglo-Saxons from what is now northern Germany, the faith in England floundered and for many years, the people there lived in darkness.
Pope St. Gregory the Great who was elected Pope in 590 AD was a great worker and dedicated reformer, who was very dedicated to the evangelisation of the word of God among the many people who still were ignorant of the faith, and he sent many missionaries, including to England, whom he sent St. Augustine of Canterbury to.
St. Augustine of Canterbury was known as such because he founded the see of Canterbury in the southernmost part of England where he landed after his trip from Rome. The see of Canterbury eventually grow to become the first or the primate seat of all England and the isles there, and that is why now the supposed successor to St. Augustine of Canterbury is the Archbishop of Canterbury, but the one who now holds that seat is illegitimate and unworthy of such a position, ever since the King, Henry VIII sundered the Church in England from the obedience to the Pope, the entire rebellious episcopate and priesthood in England had been rendered invalid.
King Henry VIII was a great and mighty king of England, great in all things especially in his willpower and desire, but he is seriously lacking in one thing. He lacked a male heir, which was all-important especially for monarchs and rulers who always sought for ways to secure their rule and reign, even to that of their descendants’. His first and lawful marriage to Catherine of Aragon provided a daughter but no son.
Hence, Henry VIII was desperate and tried to have his marriage to Catherine annulled, or in short, to divorce her so that he can marry another woman to provide him with a male heir. He petitioned the Pope in Rome to be allowed to do so, but as we all know that divorce is sinful and terrible, for it tramples upon the sanctity of marriage life, which we know is a Sacrament, and a union by God which no man should divide.
The Pope refused to give his permission and sanction, and king Henry VIII in his obstinence, decided to break relations with Rome instead, and established the so-called ‘Church of England’, a national church with the king at its head. It is an act of desperation, and an act of wickedness, done without greater regards for the good of the faithful people of God, casting many souls into eternal damnation and deny them salvation by leading them into heresy.
St. Augustine would truly be sad had he lived to see such degradations and wickedness that his successors at the throne of Canterbury had allowed to happen, as the bishops conspired and followed the king and his successors into sin and wickedness, and therefore hell is assured for them.
And even more lamentable is that, king Henry VIII in his desperation and insanity, even went on to marry a total of six times, a marriage that produced only one male heir, who was sickly and died not long after king Henry VIII himself, ultimately a punishment from God for his debauchery and great sin of causing a split in the Church of God and the faithful.
Today, as we remember St. Augustine of Canterbury and ask for his intercession, let us ask him to pray for the Anglican ‘churches’, that these may see the error of their ways, abandon their sinful rebelliousness and return to the Holy Mother Church, expunging from themselves the mortal sins of Henry VIII and embrace total and complete repentance.
May God guide them, and also all of us, to be able to walk the true path, the path towards salvation in God, and be reunited as one people, and believe in Him without the taint of the corruption of Satan. Let us not be like those who have rebelled against God, like king Henry VIII and his supporters, who put ahead human and worldly concerns, as well as their private desires ahead of God’s love and truth. God bless us all. Amen.