IN THE ANGLICAN TRADITION
St. Mark's stands in the Anglican Tradition because our spiritual roots developed in England. "Anglican" means "of England." Christian faith came to Brittannia sometime in the 1st or 2nd century A.D. Brittannia was part of the same Roman Empire that allowed St. Paul to travel with relative ease between countries.
When the Romans withdrew from Brittannia in 407 AD, they left a strong Christian legacy among the pre-Celtic and Celtic peoples. Celtic Christian churches were still in existence when Pope Gregory sent St. Augustine to the British Isles two centuries later. St. Augustine was the first to connect Celtic churches to the Roman Catholic Church and the papacy.
The Celtic Church was more loosely organized than the Roman Church. Monastic communities were the centers of teaching and mission rather than territorial dioceses centered around a bishop.
Celtic spirituality was prayerful and attentive to nature. Celtic Christians saw in the mysteries of nature reflections of their beloved triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In following the Holy Spirit (sometimes symbolized by a wild goose) missionaries braved the perilous North Atlantic Ocean. Solitaires faced winter's austere cold. But it was the beauty of nature and its seasons that teased from people their sense of place in God's creation.
During the Reformation, the Anglican branch of the Roman Catholic Church challenged the authority of the Pope. The Holy Scriptures were put into English and raised up as the true test of faith. Worship was offered in English and simplified. Over time, a Church in England emerged that was a middle way between puritanical Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. It affirmed a truly catholic faith with a historic and universal comprehensiveness that included the sacraments and the creeds; but put to an end numerous Roman Catholic abuses.
Our tradition is largely contained in The Book of Common Prayer, the first of which was published in 1549. Its beautiful language, and its regimen of daily and weekly Bible readings and prayers, helped bring spiritual life and renewal not only to a nation but to a whole empire. Often simply called "The Prayer Book," it continues to call the worshipper to a simple but disciplined life of devotion and service to our Lord.