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The Last Faithful in the West Begin their Return to Orthodoxy

Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Jn. 12, 24

It may be…that the dramatic and long chapter in human history entitled ‘Western civilization’ is coming to an end…Aelred (1100-1167) and his contemporaries stood at the beginning of a long history which is just ending, creators of that Western Christendom of whose dissolution we are the witnesses.

Professor Colin Morris, The Discovery of the Individual 1050-1200, pp.164 and 167, 1972

It has been announced that the Benedictine Abbey at Weingarten in Baden-Wuertemburg in Germany is to close. The Abbey, founded in 1056, has no more monks since its last monk has been transferred to another Abbey. The closure was marked by a mass celebrated by the local Roman Catholic bishop and attended by the last monk.

The news comes the day after it was announced that the last Roman Catholic seminary in the north of England, at Ushaw, is to close next spring for lack of seminarians. Founded at Douai in northern France in 1568, the seminary was transferred to England in 1808. In the 1950s up to 400 seminarians studied there. At present, there are only 26 seminarians left, which means that it is too expensive to keep it open. The Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain is now increasingly dependent on Polish clergy, some of whom are flown in from Poland at weekends to keep churches open. Since many of the parishioners are themselves Polish, this policy is eminently sensible.

It is now increasingly common to find that in some towns in England the only Christian liturgical centres left, however modest, belong to one of the Orthodox Churches. Given the absence in large parts of Western Europe of all sense of the sacred, tradition, liturgy and holiness, it is vital that the witness of Orthodoxy now spreads throughout Western Europe. Now that the millennial experiment of heterodoxy has failed, the last faithful Christians of Western Europe are beginning to return to their ancient roots in the Orthodox Church and their Saints.

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