(The following article is a book excerpt, from “Honoring the Sabbath in the Orthodox Church, East and West” http://orthodoxchurch.nl/2015/05/honoring-of-the-sabbath-in-the-historic-orthodox-church/ ) These days it has become popular, and the google ranking system seems to prefer these “new” sources who have agendas to ignore the older authentic records of Joseph at Glastonbury. There are now mostly authors that ignore the 1st-4th Century writings that were the sources getting the exposure, when there are 10 times as many other authors that are basically censored. It has become popular these days to downplay Christian foundations, and make up new versions of long established facts, to bring dishonor on our parents. While these wicked schemes are popular and lucrative, this dishonest rebellion from Christ won’t last for very long.
St. Joseph (of the Sanhedrin) Founded the British Hebrew Priesthood in 36AD
Saint Joseph of Arimathea The first Culdee at Glastonbury , Saint Joseph of Arimathea, was a member of the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem, and the holder of the Twelve Hides at Glastonbury. In the First Century he mounted his Hebrew staff of authority in the ground, which blossomed into a tree. Today it is still regarded as the ultimate symbol of Hebrew law over England, through his Levitical (Zadokian lineage) that passed to their chief heir in the order of MelchiZadok, finally to Yahshua Ha Machiac (Jesus the Christ).
There are thousands of writings and books available that prove in detail that Joseph of Arimathea was the founder of the First Century Church at Glastonbury. However, somehow lately, some opportunists have taken over various Glastonbury establishements to teach that St Joseph in Glastonbury has been a mere legend and him being in Glastonbury didn’t begin as a teaching anywhere until the 12th Century. This is grossly false.
Shame on such so-called historians who have stolen the British Israel birthright for their own short term profit, pleasing men who wish God was not true to His covenants!
The real, and actual scholars rely on several of these sources of evidence (which date to many centuries prior):
1. The Pseudo-Gospel of Nicodemus (Evangelium Nicodemi), in section “Acts of Pilate” , authenticated to at least the 4th Century, while several scholars(like Tischendorf) contend it to be an early 2nd Century writing.
2. The Melchini Fragmentum. Written by the Welsh bard Myrddin(Melkinus Avalonius / Maelgwyn of Llandaff) in the 5th Century. He was Lord of Anglesey and Snowdonia, and Uncle of St David of Wales, who forswore his realm in order to become a monk. He has left these words: ‘Joseph of Arimathea, the noble decurion, entered his perpetual sleep with his eleven Companions in the Isle of Avalon’.
3. De Origine Ecclesiae Britannicae. Written by Elvan of Avalon, an illustrious British scholar who had been educated in the School of Joseph of Arimathea at Avalon, A.D.180. He is referred to by the eminent Roman Catholic ecclesiastic Pitsaeus, and Cardinal Baronius.
4. Gildas Albanicus, the Great English Historian gives the same year for the conversion of the British nation as the year St Joseph arrived. As shown in his writings, from circa 550AD “De Excidio Britanniae” (or On the Ruin of Britain) and “Victory of Aurelius Ambrosius”.
5. Saint David’s Monuments. From 546AD till the destruction by King Henry VIII, his pillar and brass tablet remained standing. The tablet is preserved to this day in a good state. It reads (as Sir Henry Spelman described in his book “Concilia”) “The first ground of God, the first ground of the saints in Britain, the rise and foundation of all religion in Britain, and the burial place of the Saints.”
6. Ancient Vatican Manuscripts of the Historian Baronius, recorded in the 16th Century, Annales Ecclesiastici, AD 35, sec. 5 the accounting of Lazarus, Mary Magdalen, and Martha accompanied Joseph of Arimathea to Britain.
7. Roman texts regarding Vespian. While these have more conflicting information, they also date to the First Century and include accounts about Vespian (leader of the British Foreign Legion) freeing Joseph out of Prison. Various scholars have used such records in teaching how Joseph set up the church in Glastonbury.
8. The 11-13th Century Scholars. There are the numerous Eleventh and Twelth Century scholars reiterating St Joseph founded the Glastonbury church. For example, John of Glastonbury, William of Malmsbury and John de Boron.
William M, and and John G both were high caliber historians. As any good historian does, quotes and cites directly from the widely esteemed historical documents. For example one of these was the Gospel of Nicodemus(or Acts of Pilate).
De Boron wrote in c. 1200 a simple account of Joseph of Arimathea bringing the grail to Britain. There are several ancient texts recording Joseph of Arimathea going to Britain “with the holy grail”. However this is understood not to be the cup itself but the practices of being of Christ’s body, the church of the bloodline of the House of Israel (The twelve tribes, not just the one tribe known as Judah), and taking the holy communion as has been instituted by Christ to do as often as we make offerings.
After this date there are so many hundreds of scholars expounding on the subject. I’m not wishing to leave out any of the many greats, and so I’m not going to make any attempt to list them. The main point we need to cover is that it’s not a new monkish idea that came only at the 12th Century in some grail legends.
Gospel of Nicodemus
While this is a book on the Sabbath, unfortunately I can’t go into detail of every manuscript for analysis. However, lets go into a little detail on the Gospel of Nicodemus.
When John of Glastonbury quoted it, he wrote:
“Incipit tractatus de sancto Joseph ab Arimathia, extractus de libro quodam quern invenit Theodosius imperator in Jerusalem in pretorio Pilati”
(Translation: “Here begins the treatise of St. Joseph of Arimathea, taken from a book which Emperor Theodosius found in Pilate’s council-chamber in Jerusalem”)
Around the world various orthodox have considered this gospel of Nicodemus to be canonical. From time to time it also reached official publications by the church, listing it together with the four gospels. It however never gained universal acceptance any more than than apocryphal and substantial.
Some argue it is not a first century writing, however none disagree it was widely used as of the 4th century as a near “canonical” gospel. It is most widely agreed throughout the Christian world that Emperor Theodosius uncovered the original manuscript from Pilate’s council chamber in Jerusalem.
We could cover each of the manuscripts mentioned at length but that is not the purpose of this book. However we are discussing the context of the British Orthodox Church, and it’s founding quite generally in this book on the Sabbath.
The Western Roman Catholic church has also been forced to admit, so many times the validity of these early 4th-6th Century documents. In at least five church councils (Pisa 1409; Constance 1417; Sens 1418; Sienna 1424; and Basil 1434) it was substantiated that the British church is the oldest Church outside of the Bible lands; with the Council of Basil declaring in 1434, “The Churches of France and Spain must yield in points of antiquity and precedence to that of Britain, as the latter Church was founded by St. Joseph of Arimathea immediately after the passion of Christ.”
The evidence corraborates the writings of William of Malmsbury and John of Glastonbury to be absolutely correct in their recording that the Glastonbury Abbey was first established by St Joseph of Arimathea. Some other details may be debatable, however with these all taken into perspective, the account of St Joseph at Britain holds strong. The word of these scholars should be considered as of the highest authority, considering that they had access to the vast libraries of Glastonbury Abbey (the ancient Monestary that was larger than Constantinople) . This library was later burned and destroyed by Henry VIII.
Since these libraries were burned the secularists have had the most control over the local estates of Glastonbury. These seem to have an agenda to limit and downplay this proof Christ existed on earth, especially His visit to Britain. It has been long established, and known worldwide that Christ did indeed come to Britain together with His Uncle in founding the First church.
Archbishop Parker, the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Queen Elizabeth promised in his letter to Calvin, concerning the proposal of a union among all Protestants, reminding him that the Church of England would “retain her Episcopacy; but not as from Pope Gregory, who sent Augustine the monk hither, but from Joseph of Arimathea.” (Gildas, 1525)
Mary had recieved and legalized the document and deed of the
Glastonbury Abbey to go to the successors of the one Monk, John Nott,
who refused to sign Henry VIII’s Act of Supremacy over the churches.
The relevant excerpt of the document being: “that being a
house of such antiquity, and of fame through all Christendome, first
begun by St. Joseph of Arimathea, (who took down the dead body of our
Saviour Christ from the cross,) and lyeth buried in Glastonbury, and
him most hartily we beseech with us to pray unto Christ for good
success unto your Honorable Lordship in all your Lordship’s
affaires..” The Queen had soon died and
was unable to see the follow through of these works in restoring
Glastonbury Abbey to the religious clerics. To this day it and its
institutions remain in the hands of the secular. Although legally it
should be in the hands of the successors of the late
Lord Prior, John Nott.
The Queen of England, Elisabeth I, had affirmed these established matters. While the Queen herself had the best access to the ancient libraries, she agreed with the long understanding of the Royalty, of the pre-eminence of the British church. She contended that Joseph’s presence in Britain was a matter of fact. Queen Elizabeth I gave a formal reply to the Roman Catholic Bishops in 1559, citing Joseph’s missionary work in England, and she claimed that the Church of England pre-dated the Roman Church in England. This was amazing that while she was a Protestant rival of her Catholic predacessor Queen Mary, that she continued to hold fast the orthodox teachings that the church was founded by Joseph of Arimathea.
The Royals of England from the earliest times kept the church of Glastonbury a strong point of the claim of independence from Rome, and of preeminence among the Orthodox.
The Life of St. Dunstan (909-88), composed about 1000 by an anonymous Saxon monk, described the church as “nulla hominum arte constructam” (built by no human hand,) but by Christ Himself, dedicated to His mother.
Other copies of these accounts are found at Bury St Edmunds and at St Augustines, Canterbury, with the texts stating that “the earliest British Christians found at Glastonbury a church erected by no human agency and didcated by Christ Himself to His Mother.” William also recorded that certain documents say that ‘no other hands than those of the disciples of Christ erected the church at Glastonbury’.
Surely the early English historian Gildas wrote in harmony of these truths, as he recorded in circa 550AD
“We certainly know that Christ, the true Son, afforded His light, the knowledge of His precepts, to our Island in the last year of Tiberius Caesar” ( De Excidio Britanniae or On the Ruin of Britain ).
“The ancient British Church, by whomsoever planted, was a stranger to the Bishop of Rome and all his pretended authorities.” (Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 1765–1769, Vol. IV, p.105.)
Note: Blackstone lexicons are the standard for all law universities.
The great historian Thomas Fuller, wrote,
“… this [Celtic Culdee] Church without competition was senior to all Christian churches in the world.” (Thomas Fuller, in his “The Church History of Britain, from the Birth of Jesus Christ…”)
The Bishop Usher wrote in his “Brittannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates”: “The British National Church was founded A.D. 36. 160 years before heathen Rome confessed Christianity”.
Theodore Martin, of Lvan, writes of the disputes over preeminence in “Disputoilis superDignitatem Anglis it Gallioe in Councilio Constantiano”, A.D 1517: ”Three times the antiquity of the British Church was affirmed in Ecclesiastical Councila. The Council of Pisa, A.D 141; Council of Constance, A.D. 1419; Council of Siena, A.D. 1423. It was stated that the British Church took precedence over all other Churches, being founded by Joseph of Arimathea, immediately after the passion of Christ.”
It was demonstrated in the early church councils that the Bishops of Britain maintained their seniority over all other Bishops.
In AD 314 the Records of the Church Council of Arles confirms these facts. The ArchBishop Restitutus of London, ArchBishop Eborius of York, and ArchBishop Adelphinus of Caerleon attended as chief representatives of the British Church. Representatives of these same Archbishoprics were present again at the Council of Sardica in Illyria in 347, and that of Sulpicius Severus, that several bishops from Britain were present at the Council of Ariminum (in Italy) in A.D. 359.
In the biography of Augustine who came from Rome A.D. 596, to convert the heathen Saxons, we are told that he found the people of Britain in the most grievous and intolerable heresies, “being given to Judaizing, but ignorant of the holy sacraments and festivals of the church.” That is to say, they kept the Bible Sabbath and were ignorant of the Roman “Sunday-festival.” (Mrs. Tamar Davis : “History of Sabbatarian Churches,” p. 108. Phila 1851.) …
Another item that proves the Culdee ministers stood out in Hebrew practices is they had a mode of genealogical inheritance of their abbices or priestly jurisdictions. Much of that is evident in “the Welsh Genealogies of Saints”. The Culdees have demonstrated the best documentation on Levitical ancestry known to man. (There is more on inheritance of autonomous Abbeys from father-to-son in our other articles. Marriage was practiced and yet the Hebrew purity laws were strict.)
Culdees, while Ministers for all God’s church, they hardly considered themselves to be under another foreign Bishop, whether in England or abroad. The Culdee Abbots especially enjoyed this at Glastonbury, where since Saint Patrick they demonstrated a policy of marriage for Priests and Abbots. That is until the abbey was destroyed and Henry VIII started his new religion for England.
The Culdees endured much peril for their beliefs, often being slain. It was under much peril they were able to stand and preserve the versions of the Mosaic law that are present in the health laws all over Christendom. Under much effort they preserved the Sabbath in every generation, and we have them to thank for the future generations of Christendom. Many documented Culdee families are known for being Seventh Day Baptist and Congregationalists who promoted the freedom to keep the Sabbath, against all odds an threats by the government. Even against laws that banned the Sabbath, they made a way to preserve it under harsh circumstances.
As is most clear from the early Culdee priests, and later documents, they believed in the literal Hebrew Sabbath. The Culdees regarded Saturday, the seventh day of the week, to be the only Sabbath of Christendom.
In other publications of our church (OCC) we cover 130 other Saints from the first few Centuries in Great Britain known to be from the “Old Church” setup by Saint Joseph of Arimathea.
At the Council of Arles in 314A.D. there was evidence of a thriving British church. However in the council following it (of Nicea in 325) it is questionable if any British Bishops attended. The reasons being perhaps was their issues with the Emperor Constantine and the fact that the first council he called had basically endorsed a lot of heresy of Arius. There was a lot of falling out with the Emperor among the orthodox.
“There were five British Christians, including three bishops at the Council of Arles in 314. Eborius, bishop of York, Restitutus, bishop of London, Adelfius, bishop of Lincoln (but this is not certain since the scribe wrote Colonia Londoninensium rather than Colonia Lindensium), a priest and a deacon” (Edwards, ibid.) (cf. General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)).
Members of the British church were never afraid to distance themselves from the others, even within the Western church. In the year 359, the Council of Ariminum, in Italy, was convened by Constantinus, the son of Constantine, to decide, like the preceding, upon the Arian controversy, to which the Emperor himself was favourable. Sulpitius Severus related, that four hundred bishops of the Western Church were there assembled and added: “Unto all… the Emperor had ordered provisions and appointments to be given. But that was deemed unbecoming by the Aquitans, Gauls and Britons; and refusing the Imperial offer they preferred to live at their own expense. Three only from Britain, on account of poverty, made use of the public gift after they had rejected the contribution offered by the others; considering it more proper to burden the exchequer than individuals”(Sulpitii Severi Historiae, l. ii, c. 55).
Although the rest of the Western church were united Britain wasn’t afraid to stand apart. These three demonstrated at what extremes they were willing to endure to prove the independence of the British Culdee church. This resistance persisted even against one of their own, Emperor Constantine with his British ancestry via his Mother st Helena was of the Royal House of Judah. Still through the years the Celtic church refused to submit their practices to the new superstitions of the feasts, and clung to the older feasts and the true Sabbath.
“for several generations, with the errors which at that time prevailed in the church of Rome, they (the early Celtic Church) seem not to have been in the least tainted.” (Smith’s Life of Columba, p. 114)
In Domesday book, Glastonbury Abbey is referred to as Domus Dei “the Home of God”. It is catalogued as twelve hides of lands which have never paid tax. These lands were given by the British High-king Arviragus to Joseph and his companions, free from tax (among numerous other rights) in perpetuity. This has been upheld, reaffirmed and defended by numerous successive governments, foreign nations and church councils. The Domesday record contains the following text: “The Domus Dei, in the great monastery of Glastonbury, called the secret of Yahweh.” (Domesday Survey, folio p. 249b, as completed in 1088AD)
While much of the rest of the church practiced celibacy and the offices of their priesthood was electoral, the Culdees had a far different approach. Among the Culdees it remained hereditary. We have a booklet on this topic within the series on Hebrew purity within the Celtic church, where we discuss the Hebrew practice of married monastics and clerics. While some did integrate with Benedictine Monasticism that was more of an exception, and these primarily were not celibate their whole lives either. Joining a Benedictine Abbey was done by Culdees who were ready to retire. Most were married and had many children. The Culdees had a high purity standard for when it came their turn to minister, to not be around women for at least the day before. The facts regarding these marriages we can demonstrate in some of the most well known Culdean churches (of Scotland and Ireland):
“like the priests under the law (Levites), they were succeeded by inheritance”, “in the church of Saint Andrews the Culdees came into the office hereditarily” “The Culdees of Ireland also practiced hereditary succession, the Bishopric of Armagh, could demonstrate fifteen generations.” (From Jamieson’s “Ancient Culdees” Chapter 2)
Jeremiah the Prophet and Baruch the Scribe are also well documented to have setup the first original priesthood that St Joseph (and his successors) were able to more easily advance and perfect.
Not only these but even Paul the Apostle was widely recorded by numerous authorities to have Evangelized at Great Britain.
Note we have more indepth articles on the historicity of Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury. Some books are also available online for free, like Jowett’s “Drama of the Lost Disciples”. Inquire for more details.
Some of the great works on this are such as, Capgrave’s “De Sancto Joseph at Aramathia;” The Magna Tabula of Glastonbury, at Haworth Castle; Heame’s “John of Glastonbury;” Bede’s “Ecclesiastical History;” Gildas and Geoffrey of Monmouth, among many others, particularly “Glastonbury, The Mother of Saints,” by the Rev. L. Smithett Lewis; Hewin’s “Royal Saints of Britain;” Rees’ “Welsh Saints, of our own times.” And in more up to date books and articles for our time, as published by the Orthodox Church of the Culdees, as found at www.orthodoxchurch.nl.
Saint Columba, the Culdee
Saint Columba, the Culdee, in following after his compatriots St Patrick and St Bride, made Glastonbury his headquarters for a period of time (according to Malmesbury). His effects on Glastonbury are evident with the two chapels in the vicinity, named after him (or his successor Columbanus). Being the Culdee, Irish and English Royal descended priest, and Apostle to Europe, surely his headquarters was at Glastonbury before moving to Iona.
At his death bed, his last words were solely to respect and honour the Sabbath of YAHWEH on Saturday. In his dying moments he reiterated that Saturday, the seventh day of the week was the Sabbath. This has been recorded by numerous sources.
The Rule of Saint Columbanus
The Monastic Rule of St Columbanus has several mentions of Sabbath as an ordinary part of the litugy. It says on most holy days such as “the Lord’s day” and “The Sabbath” that three times as many Psalms are sung.
In the 10th Chapter of his rule, on the Monk’s perfection it says,
“If any wishes, let him prepare the offering of the Lord’s Day on the day of the Sabbath; when the ablutions are over the priests are to change, if it is possible, but let the deacons perform their proper service either before or after the exhortation.”
Meaning, if any wish, they celebrate the ordinary Christian services of the Lord’s day on the Saturday Sabbath.
Historical Account On Culdee “Primitive” Christians
In “Dialogue on the Lord’s Day”, p.189. Published in London: 1701. By Dr. T.H. Morer (Church of England): “The primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and spent the day in devotion and sermons. And it is not to be doubted but they derived this practice from the Apostles themselves, as appears by several scriptures to that purpose.Saint David, Bishop of Wales
SAINT DAVID, of Menevia Wales was consecrated by John III, Bishop of Jerusalem. Saint David as the first to add on to the church at Glastonbury since the wattle church which Jesus had built. This is through the lines of St. James the Just, and Bishops of Jerusalem, he was following in the footsteps of the many Apostles who moved to Glastonbury. Joseph of Arimathea was just one great Priestly leader of Jerusalem who made it his refuge and final resting place.
James was made the first Bishop of Jerusalem, as recognized by all the Apostles (see Acts 14: vs 12 and 19). The church has continued it’s connection with Jerusalem, which has long been considered our Patriarchate.”
Nothing is considered more Celtic than the Welsh. The Flower of the Celtic culture being contained in the Welsh Triads, their genealogy of Saints etc. Welsh priests have carefully recorded their genealogies for millennia to prove they stem from the Levites. Native Welsh have no need of translations when reading from original Hebrew Texts. The languages are similar enough.
Herein I seek to set the record straight that it was taught that Joseph set up the church at Glastonbury long before the 12th Century grail legends. I will quote for you from numerous authoritative historical established positions held throughout Western Christendom in every generation. I’m going to demonstrate much of the proof that it was held as matters of fact (far outside the grail legends, and very far preceding it) that Joseph of Arimathea had indeed founded the first church at Glastonbury. The records go throughout the ages as strongly authoritative.
There are thousands of writings and books available that prove in detail that Joseph of Arimathea was the founder of the first Century church at Glastonbury. This article however is more of a rebuttal against those who have incorrectly claimed that the first ever record of Joseph founding Glastonbury was within the Templar Grail legends.
Our church is trying to understand how so many “so-called historians” have missed (or skipped) the numerous 4th Century (and earlier) records of Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury. Some think this has been gross negligence, and others incompetence. However there are those who think this is a much deeper conspiracy attacking the original and true orthodox church of Christ, as against the very foundations of our Apostolic origins. However, it may not hurt any that far, it’s still an area of edification to know it all is true. It is of a much wider edification. It’s widely agreed that those who limiting this story, they may be also reducing some of the strongest proof that Christ had visited earth.
The validity of these mainly 1st-4th Century manuscripts were recognized all around the world through all time really. At many periods the writings were guarded as being canonical and to be included with the 4 gospels.
Some activist so-called scholars want you to be in the dark on these facts and points, while they push their agenda to say the story of Joseph at Glastonbury was limited as a Templar legend or “Myth”.
The Western Roman Catholic church has also been forced to admit, so many times the validity of these early 4th Century documents. In at least five church councils (Pisa 1409; Constance 1417; Sens 1418; Sienna 1424; and Basil 1434) it was substantiated that the British church is the oldest Church outside of the Bible lands; with the Council of Basil declaring in 1434, “The Churches of France and Spain must yield in points of antiquity and precedence to that of Britain, as the latter Church was founded by St. Joseph of Arimathea immediately after the passion of Christ.”
Surely 16th Century church historian, Baronius didn’t mince his words in his “Ecclesiastical Annals”, when he depicted Saint Joseph as arriving at Marseilles France in 35AD, and then had crossed over the channel in to Britain. As he wrote:
” In that year(35AD) the party mentioned was exposed to the sea in a vessel without sails or oars. The vessel drifted finally to Marseilles and they were saved. From Marseilles Joseph and his company passed into Britain and after preaching the Gospel there, died.”
The Bible itself records plainly the Evangelistic outreach of Paul visiting this region at the same time. Later the last gospel of Acts (which has been omitted from most versions today) includes Paul’s arrival into Britain. Paul mentioned his visiting Spain with ease, as if it was a regular route of his efforts. As recorded in the Holy Bible, the book of Romans chapter 15, verses 24 and 28. This agrees with the numerous other accounts, such as of Joseph of Arimathea, Philip, Aristobulus and numerous other First Century Saints as having left Judea to build the church base at Glastonbury England.
did not mince his words when he quoted these many authoritative records, with his conclusion,
Lets get into some of the core documents these Orthodox leaders were referencing:
- The pseudo-Gospel of Nicodemus (Evangelium Nicodemi), in section “Acts of Pilate” , authenticated to at least the 4th Century, while several scholars(like Tischendorf) contend it to be an early 2nd Century writing.
- The Melchini Fragmentum. Written by the Welsh bard Myrddin(Melkinus Avalonius / Maelgwyn of Llandaff) in the 5th Century. He was Lord of Anglesey and Snowdonia, and Uncle of St David of Wales, who forswore his realm in order to become a monk. He has left these words: ‘Joseph of Arimathea, the noble decurion, entered his perpetual sleep with his eleven Companions in the Isle of Avalon’.
He wrote: "Joseph ab Arimathea nobilis decurio in insula Avallonia cum xi. Sociis suis somnum cepit perpetuum et facet in meridiano angulo lineae bifurcatae Oratorii Adorandae Virginis. Habit enim secum duovascula argentea alba cruore et sudore magni prophetae Jesu perimpleta."--Thick vellum Cottonian Library(British Museum) MS., quoted also by Usher, "Melchini Fragmentum." Joseph of Arimathaea is by Eastern tradition said to have been the younger brother of the father of the Virgin Mary. The records of Glastonbury, as cited by Malmesbury and others, preserved the genealogy of his descendants in Britain:- "Helias nepos Joseph genuit Josua, Josua genuit Amminadab, Amminadab Castellor," 8:c.--"Historia de Glastonbury."
Several wish to say only some 12th century scholars were the first to write about Joseph of Arimathea at Britain. Nothing can be further from the truth.
The mentions of Joseph founding the Glastonbury church by John of Glastonbury as well as William of Malmsbury were quotes directly from the widely esteemed historical document, the Gospel of Nicodemus(or Acts of Pilate). Some argue it is not a first century writing, however none disagree it was widely used as of the 4th century as a near “canonical” gospel. It is most widely agreed that Emperor Theodosius uncovered the original manuscript from Pilate’s council chamber in Jerusalem.
However we have so many numerous fake scholars as such zealous activists to delete these proofs God has preserved His covenant people and His word. They browse right over these most absolute facts, and write lies that there were no writings concerning Joseph of Arimathea in Britain prior to the 12th century. Such frauds should be prosecuted in court for defamation of the true church!
In some regions of the world it was kept as a 5th gospel together with the other four gospels, such as in Sweden and England.
Gospel of Nicodemus (Evangelium Nicodemi), or “Acts of Pilate” , which in the 4th century till recent times were considered on par with the canonical gospels.
John of Glaston- bury’s attitude to the EN is similar, although he uses the text more selectively. Aiming to demonstrate the antiquity of the Glastonbury foundation and its connection with Joseph of Arimathea, the chronicler abridges and adapts chapters 12-15 of the EN under the heading “Incipit tractatus de sancto Joseph ab Arimathia, extractus de libro quodam quern invenit Theodosius imperator in Jerusalem in pretorio Pilati” (“Here begins the treatise of St. Joseph of Arimathea, taken from a book which emperor Theodosius found in Pilate’s council- chamber in Jerusalem”). ^^^ The sentence introducing the narrative ex- plains that what follows are undisputed facts extracted from “antiquis historiagraphorum dictis” (“ancient sayings of historiographers”).”^ Jn the intense religious atmosphere of the later Middle Ages and pre-Reformation, this acceptance of the EN at times grew so enthusias- tic that some scribes began to perceive it as quasi-canonical, their respect for it verging on veneration. Not only is it sometimes placed among exegetical works, but in several manuscripts it is directly con- nected with the canonical gospels. Jn a late fourteenth-century manu- script of the Bible executed possibly for Richard JJ of England (London, BL MS. Royal 1 E. JX), the EN is treated as if it were a fifth gospel: it follows the Old Testament and the four gospels but precedes the Epistles, Acts, and Apocalypse. It is here endowed with an almost canonical status, and orUy the lesser extent of its decoration betrays that those responsible for production of the manuscript did in fact distinguish, however hesitantly, between canonical and apocryphal texts. In three additional manuscripts from the same period, the EN is adjacent to the canonical Scriptures, its own status bordering on theirs (Brno, Statru vSdecka knihovna MS. Mk 79, saec. XV in.; Munich, BSB Clm 11403, saec. XV/2, and Clm 28168, saec. XIV); in several others, it is separated from them with empty folios or minor intervening texts (GdaAsk, Biblioteka Polskiej Akademii Nauk MS. 1956, saec. XV; Klostemeuburg, Stiftsbibliothek MS. 151, saec. XV in.; Muruch, BSB “^ John of Glastonbury, The Chronicle of Glastonbury Abbey: An Edition, Trans- lation and Study of John of Glastonbury’s “Cronica sive Antiquitates Glastoniensis Ecdesie,” ed. James P. Carley, trans. David Townsend (Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 1985), 46; cf. Carl Horstman, ed.. Nova legenda Angliae: As Collected by John of Tynemouth, John Capgrave, and Others, and First Printed, with New Lives, by Wynkyn de Worde . . . (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1901), 2:78-80. “* It is also noteworthy that in six manuscripts the EN co-occurs with Geof- frey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae; see Julia C. Crick, Dissemination and Reception in the Later Middle Ages, The Historia Regum Britanniae of Geoffrey of Monmouth, vol. 4 (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1991), 45-46, and idem, A Summary Catalogue of Manuscripts, The Historia Regum Britanniae of Geoffrey of Mon- mouth, vol. 3 (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1989), 272. Latin Middle Ages 83 Clm 22353, saec. XV; and Trier, Bibliothek des Bischoflichen Priest^r- seminars MS. 114, saec. XVI in.).^^^ Nevertheless, it would be an exaggeration to claim that late medieval users of the EN generally considered its authority as equal to that of the canonical gospels. For the majority of late medieval readers, the EN probably remained a humanly pious rather than divinely inspired text. The manuscripts mentioned above reflect a rather extreme tendency which eventually provoked a strong reaction from both Protestant and Catholic circles and which may be responsible for the EN’s ultimate downfall.
Maelgwyn of Llandaff. Circa A.D. 450. He was Lord of Anglesey and Snowdonia, and Uncle of St David of Wales, who forswore his realm in order to become a monk. He has left these words: ‘Joseph of Arimathea, the noble decurion, entered his perpetual sleep with his eleven Companions in the Isle of Avalon’.
John of Glastonbury and William of Malmesbury had access to the vast libraries of Glastonbury Abbey (larger than Constantinople) that were later burned by Henry VIII. They had copied the genealogy of King Arthur back go Joseph of Arimathea as,
Helaius, Nepos Joseph, Genuit Josus, Josue Genuit Aminadab, Aminadab Genuit Filium, qui Genuit Ygernam, de qua Rex Pen-Dragon, Genuit Nobilem et Famosum Regum Arthurum, per Quod Patet, Quod Rex Arthurus de Stirpe Joseph descendit.
The Queen of England, Elisabeth I, had affirmed these established matters. While the Queen herself still had recent access to those vast Glastonbury libraries, she agreed with the long understanding of the Royalty, of the pre-eminence of the British church. She contended that Joseph’s presence in Britain was a matter of fact. Queen Elizabeth I gave a formal reply to the Roman Catholic Bishops in 1559, citing Joseph’s missionary work in England, and she claimed that the Church of England pre-dated the Roman Church in England.
Surely the early English historian Gildas wrote in harmony of these truths, as he recorded in circa 550AD
“We certainly know that Christ, the true Son, afforded His light, the knowledge of His precepts, to our Island in the last year of Tiberius Caesar” ( De Excidio Britanniae or On the Ruin of Britain ).