Through the common practice of generalizing, we are prone to use terms loosely, which easily side-track us into forming faulty conclusions.
Arising out of this habit we have come to generalize the meaning of the word ‘Christian’, insinuating that all followers of Jesus were known by that name from the beginning. In actual fact, the name ‘Christian’ had not been coined. It was not created until years after his death. To the Judean, the Greek and the Roman world, the early adherents to the new Gospel were known as ‘Followers of the Way’.
The Bethany group (Joseph of Arimathea and others) who landed in Britain, was never referred to by the British priesthood (Druids) as Christians, not even later when the name was in common usage. They were called “Culdees’, as were the other disciples who, later, followed the Josephian mission into Britain.
There are two interpretations given to the word ‘Culdee’ (or ‘Culdich’), both words of the Celtic British language- the first interpretation meaning ‘Certain Strangers’ and the other, as explained by Lewis Spence who stated that ‘Culdee’ is derived from ‘Ceile-De’, meaning ‘Servant of the Lord’. In either case, the meaning is appropriate.
In the ancient British Triads (Laws), Joseph and his twelve companions are all referred to as ‘Culdees’, as also are Paul, Lazarus, Simon of Zelotes. Aristobolus and others. This is important. The name was not known outside of Britain and, therefore, could only have been assigned to those who actually had dwelt among the British Cymri (Ancient Britains). The name was never applied to any disciple not associated with the early British missions.
In later years, the name ‘Culdee’ took on added significance, emphasizing the fact that the Culdee Christian Church was the original Church of Christ on Earth. It became a title applied to the Church and to its High Priests, persisting for centuries in parts of Britain after the name had died out elsewhere, in favour of the more popular name ‘Christian’. In Ireland, a whole county was named ‘Culdee’. The name ‘Culdee’ and ‘Culdich’ clung tenaciously to the Scottish Church and its prelates, much longer than elsewhere.
Writers who have made enquiry into the history of the Culdees, while failing to discover the origin of the name, agree it was the name by which the Christianised Druids in Britain were known before a century had passed. In Spelman’s ‘Concilis’, is an engraving of a brass plate which was formerly affixed to a column erected to mark the exact site of the Church of Glastonbury. “The first ground of God, the first ground of the saints in Britain, the rise and foundation of all religion in Britain, the burial place of the Saints” (Vol. I, Epistolae ad Gregorium Papam). This plate was dug up at Glastonbury and came into Spelman’s possession.
From a mass of evidence to which William of Malmesbury gave careful study, the antiquity of the Church of Glastonbury was unquestionable. There are documents of no small credit, which have been discovered in certain places, to the following effect: “No other hands than those of the disciples of Christ erected the Church of Glastonbury.”
The old Culdians (Culdees) were part of the British Celtic Christian community prior to its Romanisation under Augustine, after which it suffered severely through persecution and suppression. However, it survived to a greater or lesser degree until the intensive persecutions of the late Middle Ages, when the flame was extinguished; only a few sparks remaining to kindle the present revival.
The victory of narrow, intolerant orthodoxy, superstition, fear and bigotry seemed complete. Men of high principles and moral integrity suffered awful deaths for their belief in the Goodness of God and Man. A major tragedy was the spiritual loss to the world, for it was those in the intellectual and spiritual vanguard of humanity who were victimized. The peoples of Britain became captive within the confines of spiritually sterile dogma and doctrine.
The original Culdians conceived the world as a battleground between the forces of Good and Evil. All serving the wellbeing, progress and ultimate benefit of mankind was Good, and served the plan of the Supreme Spirit – God; all opposing or apathetic towards this was considered Evil. They did not consider Evil to be devil-inspired, as the Church taught, and incurred the wrath of those who declared the end to be imminent and worldly progress to be futile, if not a sin in itself.
The standard of ethics taught in the Culdian community was based on a moral code old in Britain, even in the first century, and was certainly not inferior to that of the Roman Church. The Church, unfortunately, so diligent in persecuting all who did not ‘toe the line’ of orthodoxy, also slammed shut the door on a doctrine advocating continual spiritual progress. The Culdian teachings, compiled twelve books of Britain, eight books of the Egyptians and one book of the Trojans, were contained in the Kolbrin (or Culdian Bible). The old Culdians were organized in circles of thirteen (twelve and one), the mystic number adhered to even by the Christians, who founded their faith on a Master and twelve disciples. This organized form finally ceased with the martyrdom of one Nathaniel Smith early in the seventeenth century; however, steps were taken to preserve the secret spiritual lore known as Culdicraft – the vast bulk of which has survived through tenacity and cunning in concealing these old records.
The church was extremely harsh on the Culdians because it knew certain records were in their hands, particularly relating to the beginning of Christianity. One, in fact, is the oldest known Gospel. These cast a totally different light on Christianity and its relationship with the earlier religions. In the early centuries of establishment in Britain, the Roman Church was fairly tolerant of the religions it sought to supplant, but after its ascendency attitudes changed. The Church no longer differentiated between several different beliefs, loosely classifying all who did not conform to its teachings under the general name of ‘witchcraft’. This was a grave mistake, for such intolerance and bigotry, apart from being contrary to the teachings of Jesus, greatly retarded the spiritual advancement of mankind. It is impossible to assess how much wisdom and knowledge was lost to the world during these dark ages of the Christian Church’s dominance.
The Ancient Order of the Culdians was revived on November 1st, 1980, when a being from the spiritspheres penetrated the Earthplane and presented herself to a group of people on the Coromandel Peninsula. Under the inspiration of this enlightened teacher, Gwineva, there grew a committed and cohesive unit whose aims are to establish a community of people who, in comradeship and unity of purpose, strive to reach a greater understanding of the powers latent in human beings and to work towards a responsible, mature society. The Culdian Trust is a non-aligned, non-sectarian Order, concerned solely with the Common Good of mankind.