Until the eleventh century, the English Church shared more than a love of icons with the whole body of the Orthodox Church: they shared a communion of beliefs, moral practice, and liturgical life with the Church throughout the world. This lasted for centuries, but it was not to last forever.
Even after the Schism of 1054 – the division between Rome and the rest of the Christian world – England remained in communion with the Eastern Orthodox. In 1066, the Norman Invasion, with backing from the pope of Rome, forced the submission to Frankish Rome of all English churchmen. Rome had already broken communion with the Orthodox East, and changed the Creed and the Conciliar tradition of the Church by elevating one bishop – the Bishop of Rome – above all others.
Why did the English remain in communion with the Orthodox East? Not because the English (and the Irish, Scots, and Welsh, as we would call them today) disliked Rome. The English church was part of the Orthodox church, from its beginnings, until the purge of Orthodox bishops following the Battle of Hastings. The English were Orthodox... More