King Charles Martyr

February 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm (Pilgrimage)

IML officers, right to left: Mr. McAlister, Coulumbe, Fr. Kelly, Deacon Bartus, Cpt. Bird, Mr. Yakimov, and Dr. Llizo

In January, Amanda and I hopped in the Chevy Geo and took-off for Southern California to catch the first gala event of International Monarchist League’s LA chapter.  We were invited by my friend, Dr. R. Tom Llizo (a subdeacon in WRO-St. Michael’s), who recently became the League’s VP. It so happened that a couple friends from St. Luke’s REC, Mark and Andrew, were likewise planning to attend, so we made the event a pleasant rendezvous. Mark and Andrew both blog on Anglican issues,  and they also gave devotions as lectors at our wedding. It was fantastic to get back together with them since we saw them last August, and we all had a great time. Andrew’s blog can be read at: http://unpopops.blogspot.com/

the League's reception

The  League was kicking-off its LA chapter. We got to meet a number of North American monarchists, some of whom have historical interests (myself), while others are more cultural and political. Mr. Charles A. Coulombe, the western IML delegate and grand council member, was there and spoke regarding the potential of a League in Los Angeles, reminding those attending that LA was the beginning of the King’s Road (El Camino Real), and the downtown plaza was dedicated to the Crown of Spain upon its foundation. In a way, monarchism surrounds us historically, and if we pay attention it’s hard to forget this fact. Capt. Stuart Bird-Wilson spoke as Queen’s delegate from the Royal Society of St. George , and several members belonging to the Russian  Imperial Union Order were present. St. Mary’s of the Angels in North Hollywood hosted the event with a beautiful evening prayer (Vesper) service dedicated King Charles I’s memory.

St. Mary's stained glass, King Charles and Laud.

Charles I was the last head of the English church before the rise of Cromwell, before the supremacy of parliament, its imposition of Solemn League & Covenant in England, and prior to the Puritan”s interim presbyterianism which eventually gave way to congregationalism. The Protectorate finally collapsed due to lack of public support for the Army, but Cromwell was the first to fatally wound the concept of a national church headed by the Crown.  Presbyterians ironically restored the monarchy hoping a puritanized version of the BCP would be adopted, but, once they lost parliament to royalists in 1661, Anglicans re-established the earlier religious Settlement enjoyed by Elizabeth I and Henry VIII. But I digress.

St. Mary's Nave and Chancel

Getting back to Charles I’s death: When Presbyterians ejected Bishops and Royalists from church and state, 1643-45, they captured King Charles after the Siege of Oxford in 1646. By 1648 Charles I was tried by a junta court, and in Jan 30, 1649 the Army violated Solemn League by seizing him and cutting off his head. Charles died saying these last words, ” I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown; where no disturbance can be, no disturbance in the world… Remember!”  Charles and William Laud proved great martyrs for the Anglican church, and they have since been rightly memoralized in Anglican liturgy, calendars, busts, and images. They definitely should not be forgotten, but the last century have feel victim to liberal ecumenicalism. When we do, we forget a great nursing father of the English Church.

Subdeacon Thomas and Amanda. In front of St. Mary's

St. Mary’s is an ACA parish and will likely join Pope Benedict XVI’s Ordinariate. Mary of the Angels is a very historical Anglican parish going back to the turn of the century while Hollywood was nearly a shanty town, dotted w/ barns and tents. The parish is in the middle of a relatively affluent, condo-packed neighborhood with lots of young people. Before Vespers, Amanda and I had lunch at an upscale bistro. I had some soup and she ordered fish. We then met Andrew and Mark across the way in a nearby coffee shop, quickly catching up on some things before the service started. We then made it for Vespers, and greeting us was the IML wecloming men. Our first impression was we were under-dressed!

Little Church Around the Corner

St. Mary’s was very a very striking parish church. My impression was they knew who they were. Though not classical Anglican, and basically Roman Catholic, they reinforced their history, churchmanship, and identity throughout the walls of the building– be it in the sanctuary, pews, narthex, social hall, offices, even the bathroom! They offered tracts, books and brochures in almost every chamber. Too often Anglican churches don’t do this. They shun ‘definition’ and opt instead for a fuzzy broadness were focus is agreeing with everyone, sometimes even unitarians. St. Mary’s is surely a charitable church, but they have stuck to a transparent standard, and this is evident wherever you go while in their parish. For Vespers we sat in the middle row of pews, and sung the Divine office. Deacon Andrew Bartus delivered the sermon on due obedience to authority. Fr. Andrew would later be ordained into the priesthood and has since become the League’s chaplain. The service was beautiful, and afterwards we gathered downstairs for a champaign.

Charles I and royal progeny

It turned out we had contingents from a number of christian faiths. This was probably the first time I’ve enjoyed ‘diversity’. Many of the folks were originally from Anglican churches, but it was a wide christian spectrum. We had WRO, Anglican Use, REC Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Russian Orthodox all in one room prayering together. Amanda, Andrew, Mark, and myself made up the classical Anglican contingent. Foremost in common was our convictions about monarchism. This really got us thinking about a substantial ecumenicalism based on surviving royal households and erastian polities than boiling everything down to minimal ‘essentials’. Afterwards, we all went across the street and had a delicious Italian dinner. Amanda and I didn’t get back on the road until 11 pm. We drove all night back home, crashed for three hours, got up, and still made it to Sunday worship– a memorial service for King Charles I at our parish, St. Luke’s in the Hills (also REC).

Bradshaw's trial against his King

Immortal words of King Charles to the Parliament of 1649 which tried him: “I would know by what power I am called hither … I would know by what authority, I mean lawful; there are many unlawful authorities in the world; thieves and robbers by the high-ways … Remember, I am your King, your lawful King, and what sins you bring upon your heads, and the judgement of God upon this land. Think well upon it, I say, think well upon it, before you go further from one sin to a greater … I have a trust committed to me by God, by old and lawful descent, I will not betray it, to answer a new unlawful authority; therefore resolve me that, and you shall hear more of me”

Anglican Monarchist Contingent: Andrew, Amanda, Charles, and Mark

It was an awesome weekend. We look forward to St. George’s Day, May 1st, again at St. Mary’s, hosted by the League. .This will then be followed on the same weekend by the KJV’s 400th birthday– May 2-3rd–as Anglicans our only approved bible outside the Bishop’s“Remember!”

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