Whitby, A.D. 664
After a week of fierce debating, the Extraordinary Synod on the Date of Easter and the Monastic Tonsure, called by King Oswy of Northumbria, shows no signs of reaching agreement.
Whitby Abbey - damaged when the debate got out of hand.
It is clear that there are two strongly-divided parties to the discussion. First, there are the traditionalists, led by "Saint" Wilfrid, who wish to calculate Easter on orthodox Roman lines; second, there are the modernists, led by Colmán, Bishop of Northumbria, one of the discredited "Magic Circle" of English bishops who prefer to go their own way, keeping to the Ionan tradition. Following a request from St Damian the Spectator, the debate has also been extended to include a discussion of monastic hairstyles. In the end, the decision will be made by King Oswy.
"Who am I to judge?" asks King Oswy.
So far the Synod has heard evidence from a number of families advocating disordered lifestyles: some celebrate Easter at Christmas, some celebrate it twice a year, and some do not celebrate it at all, regarding it as a nasty traddy feast, far inferior to pagan festivals such as the Blessing of the Inwood. Cardinal Kasper has suggested that these people should be shown Mercia, although it is difficult to see how this could best be done.
The situation is worse in the far south of the land, where it is rumoured that Fr Steven the Fisher has abolished Easter altogether, replacing the Light of Christ with Endless Night, while Dame Tina the Beater describes the whole concept of Christianity as male-dominated, and proposes a radical women-only alternative. There are even reports of extensive heresy in the kingdom of Arundel and Brighton, where Bishop Kieran the Scandalous has resigned in disgrace.
Kieran the Scandalous has let himself go a little since he resigned.
Moving onto the secondary subject of the synod, namely monastic tonsures, many have been annoyed by the comments of "Baldy" Sseri, recommending a complete shaving of the head; still less do they approve of his exhortation, "Come unto me and ye will be shaved". For those, such as St Damian, who judge a man on the quality of his hairstyle, the tonsure is an abominable fashion to which they can never subscribe in good conscience.
Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. (2 Kings 2:23).
We shall continue to bring you regular reports from the synod, as we follow the team of great minds wrangling over the future of the Church.
Ven. Bede the anachronistic.