Part Three — Transcript

Copyright © 2003 LLT Productions

Voice Over:
"Patrick"
“I am Patrick, a sinner, most unlearned, the least of all the faithful, and utterly despised by many. My father was Calpornicus, a deacon, son of Potitus, a priest, of the village Bannavem Taburniæ; he had a country seat nearby, and there I was taken captive. I was then about sixteen years of age. I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity to Ireland with many thousands of people – and deservedly so, because we turned away from God, and did not keep His commandments….” 1
Hal Holbrook This is a copy of St. Patrick’s Confession – the testimony of a man who is often considered the most famous Irishman of all time. But myths and legends often obscure his true identity.
  Was he a great miracle-working missionary to Ireland? Was he the one who chased the snakes off the Emerald Isle? Who was he, really?
  Welcome to Part Three of The Seventh Day: Revelations from the Lost Pages of History. I’m Hal Holbrook Holbrook. We’re about to see the St. Patrick of history – quite a different man from the Patrick of legend and tradition. And we’ll soon go on to uncover more about the long-drawn-out effort to replace the biblical Sabbath with Sunday as the universal Christian day of worship.
  Patrick was born late in the fourth century Scotland into a Celtic Christian culture. His religion was quite different from the Latin—or Roman—Christianity that was taking over in other parts of western Europe.
David Smith We don’t really know who the first Celtic Christians were. We don’t seem to know who brought Christianity to them. We’re not even certain when all that began. But what we do know is what they believed, based on the writings of Patrick and the others. And we know that what they believed was based on their understanding of Scripture.
Announcer

“Unlike the theologians of Roman Christianity who appealed more and more to the teachings of Church and councils, Celtic teachers stressed the Bible.” 2
(Leslie Harding in The Celtic Church in Britain)

Hal Holbrook

This loyalty to the Bible is what separated the Celtic Christians from the much larger Roman Christian community.

Because the Bible was the foundation of their faith, it was difficult for them to accept the authority of the Roman Church. You see, the Celtic church grew up beyond the reach of Roman influence. It was rooted in the Sabbath-keeping church that began with Jesus and His apostles back in the first century.
Clement Murray The background from which the Celtic Christians received their Christianity indicates to us that they were strong believers in what the Scriptures said. They wanted to do what the Bible told them to do. That same background indicates for us that they got their Christianity before Sunday-keeping came into vogue. 3
Announcer “There is nothing in Patrick’s works which indicates his acceptance of the teachings of church fathers…. He appealed solely to the Scriptures in support of what he believed, practiced, and propagated….” 4
(Leslie Harding in The Celtic Church in Britain)
Hal Holbrook So this was Patrick’s religion—based on the Bible, faithful to its teachings, and obedient to its commandments. This was the religion he was destined to carry to the Irish.

Chapter Two: The Real Patrick

Hal Holbrook Kidnapped by raiders, Patrick and thousands of others found themselves carried off to Ireland to be sold like so much livestock. There he spent six long years working for a farmer as a slave. 
“Patrick”

Every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed. The love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened, and this even when I was staying in the woods and on the mountains; and I used to get up for prayer before daylight, through snow, through frost, through rain…. 5

And there one night I heard in my sleep a voice saying to me: 'Soon you will go to your own country.' And again, after a short while, I heard a voice saying to me: 'See, your ship is ready.' And it was not near, but at a distance of perhaps two hundred miles, and I had never been there, nor did I know a living soul there; and then I took to flight, and I left the man with whom I had stayed for six years. And I went in the strength of God who directed my way to my good, and I feared nothing until I came to that ship.” 6

Hal Holbrook Patrick always believed that his escape from Ireland was directed by a divine hand. His own people received him back with the plea that he never leave them again. But God’s plan for Patrick’s life was not to be carried out in his homeland.  
“Patrick” I saw in the night the vision of a man, whose name was Victoricus, coming as it were from Ireland, with countless letters. And he gave me one of them, and I read the opening words of the letter, which were, 'The voice of the Irish'; and as I read the beginning of the letter I thought that at the same moment I heard their voice…and thus did they cry out as with one mouth: 'We ask thee, boy, come and walk among us once more.' 7
Hal Holbrook Responding to the voices of the Irish people, Patrick went back to Ireland.  There his career as a preacher and teacher eventually earned him the title of saint and placed him in the ranks of the world’s best-known Christian missionaries.
  But something that isn’t so well known about him is this: St. Patrick kept the seventh day Sabbath. In fact, His Sabbath-keeping became legendary. 
  Two centuries after his death his biographer wrote that every seventh day Patrick and his friend Victoricus met together for prayer and fellowship. 8 Some historians even think that Patrick’s special Sabbath friend was actually an angel.

Chapter Three: The Celtic Sabbath

David Smith We really don’t have to rely solely on the writings or experience of Patrick to understand the history of keeping the seventh day in Ireland. After all, ancient Irish laws governed the history of the Irish tribes for many years, and those laws stipulated that the people were to, among other things, keep the seventh-day Sabbath. 9
Announcer "It seems to have been customary in the Celtic churches of early times…to keep Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, as a day of rest from labor…. They obeyed the fourth commandment literally upon the seventh day of the week…." 10
(James C. Moffat in The Church in Scotland)
Hal Holbrook As the influence of the Roman religion increased, it gradually affected the Sabbath practice of some Celtic Christians in the British Isles. By the early sixth century, it was not unusual for Celtic believers to keep both Saturday and Sunday as holy days.
  That’s how it was during the lifetime of Patrick’s spiritual successor, an Irishman named Columba. He was a graduate of one of the schools established by Patrick. Born about 521 11 into a noble family, 12he gave up his right to the throne of Ireland and dedicated himself to a higher calling. 13
  Columba based his missionary enterprise on the rocky island of Iona.  He and twelve friends reached that remote post by sailing from the west coast of Scotland in small round boats made of animal skin. There on Iona Columba founded a training school for missionaries who carried the Christian message to the Scottish mainland and all over Britain.
 

In doctrine, Columba was true to his Celtic Christian roots. He kept Saturday, the seventh-day, as the Sabbath. While Sunday was observed in honor of the resurrection of Christ, Columba taught his disciples to keep the Sabbath as equally sacred. 14

Leslie Hardinge  His teachings regarding the observance of the Sabbath was that his followers would go out to the edges of the island of Iona, meditate on creation and the things of God, read the Scriptures, and become spiritually charged up on that holy day. 15
Hal Holbrook Columba and his fellow missionaries firmly planted the Christian religion in Scotland.  Their converts resisted the growing influence of Rome, where Sunday was promoted as the day of worship.  Columba died in 597, but his beliefs lived on for hundreds of years in the religion of the Scots.

Chapter Four: Margaret of Scotland

Hal Holbrook In 1070, Malcolm, king of Scotland, married Margaret, a young woman who was destined to become more famous than her husband. She made her mark in history primarily as a religious reformer. In fact, she was later sainted by the Roman Catholic Church.
Alan MacQuarrie We know that Queen Margaret grew up at the very pious court of the kings of Hungary, and then from about the age of seven or eight she was living at the court of Edward the Confessor of England which was also very pious, devoutly Catholic court.
Hal Holbrook At the English court Margaret lived under the influence of the Benedictine monks from Canterbury.  When political conditions made her family unwelcome in England, they moved to Scotland, where Margaret caught the eye of the king.
Robert Bartlett Margaret herself seems to have contemplated becoming a nun. There is an account of how unwilling she was to marry Malcolm, king of Scots, because she wanted to dedicate herself to be, as she termed it, a bride of Christ.
Alan MacQuarrie

Margaret’s biographer does tell us that in her early life she was very devoted to the church and she was interested in becoming a religious. 16 But when she came to Scotland and she met Malcolm, her future husband, he asked for her hand in marriage, and according to her biography, she wasn’t willing, but she consented because her family requested it...

Alan MacQuarrie But when she came to Scotland and she met Malcolm, her future husband, he asked for her hand in marriage, and according to her biography, she wasn’t willing, but she consented because her family requested it, …and also because she believed that God was thereby giving her an opportunity to carry out His work in the kingdom of Scotland.
Hal Holbrook Margaret found the Scottish court somewhat crude and unrefined.  She set about to change all that. She was appalled at the way folks in Scotland practiced their religion. Many still followed the doctrines and traditions brought by Columba from Ireland nearly five centuries earlier. There was one aspect of the people’s religion that particularly upset the new queen.
Alan MacQuarrie When Margaret first came to Scotland she was dissatisfied with Sunday observance as she found it. She found that lay people tended to carry on their menial labors on Sunday. They may have gone to church first, but thereafter they went about their ordinary everyday tasks. 17 And this was something she tried to prevent.
Announcer “The queen insisted upon the single and strict observance of the Lord’s Day Sunday. People and clergy alike submitted, but without entirely giving up their reverence for Saturday….” 18 (James C. Moffat in The Church in Scotland)

Chapter Five: Assault on the Sabbath

Hal Holbrook The history of the early Christian centuries reveals a definite anti-seventh-day-Sabbath, pro-Sunday movement.  And church documents unmistakably identify the religious establishment at Rome as its nerve center. 
Hal Holbrook The Roman drive to replace the seventh-day Sabbath with Sunday got a big boost back in 321 AD.  That’s the year Constantine ordered state-authorized Sunday observance.  Oddly enough, in spite of his professed Christianity, there was very little Christian about his first Sunday law.  In fact, it sounds a lot like a call to pagan sun worship.
Announcer “On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed...” 19 (Edict of Constantine, 321 AD)
Hal Holbrook With a sympathetic emperor on the throne, the leaders of the Roman church gained power and influence.  In their councils they took bold steps to enforce Sunday observance and to urge desecration of the biblical Sabbath. Some of their actions took on a definite anti-Jewish flavor.
Announcer Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord's Day Sunday; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.” 20
(Council of Laodicea, Canon 29)
Hal Holbrook These pronouncements against “judaizers” referred to those who, like the Jews, refused to work on the Sabbath. Christians who did this were to be excommunicated – kicked out of the church. This extreme position against the Sabbath, combined with a strong pro-Sunday stance, became a pillar of Roman Catholic teaching.
  The Sabbath-to-Sunday change became a mark of Roman Catholic, or papal authority. 
  In 602 Pope Gregory identified Sabbath keepers with the antichrist. He called them  "Judaizers" because of their determination to observe the seventh-day as a day for rest and worship. 21
Announcer

"It has come to my ears that certain men of perverse spirit have sown among you some things that are wrong and opposed to the holy faith, so as to forbid any work done on the Sabbath day...." 22 (Gregory I, 6thCentury AD)

Hal Holbrook

But Christians in the Italian city of Milan dared to openly observe the Sabbath no matter what the leadership in Rome wanted.

Announcer

"…the Church of Millaine...followed the Churches of the East; it seems the Saturday was held in a faire esteem.... The Churches of the East came together on the Sabbath day, to worship Jesus Christ the Lord of the Sabbath." 23
(Peter Heylyn in The History of the Sabbath)

David Smith Over the centuries, the campaign to establish Sunday as the substitute for the biblical Sabbath was probably only mildly successful. But the campaign was really intensified with a move that threatened to drive a deep wedge between the eastern and western branches of Christianity. This move involved a direct assault on the very nature and purpose of Sabbath observance.
Hal Holbrook What was this direct assault?  It was a rule forbidding Christians to eat on the seventh day—in other words, a Sabbath fast. This was an anti-Jewish idea that probably originated with Marcion, a heretic who was kicked out of the church back in the second century. 
George Dragas Marcion wanted to discredit the Sabbath because it was an image of creation. For him, creation was an evil deed, of an evil God, the God of the Old Testament. He distinguished the God of the Old Testament from the God of the New, the God of love. But the church rejected this because creation was a good deed and the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New. So, he turned a celebratory day into a day of lament, and that was his intention. This is why he introduced the Sabbath fast.
Hal Holbrook In spite of its action against him, the church salvaged his fast idea and used it to make the seventh-day Sabbath unappealing.
Robert Johnston Now this was absolutely contrary to what had been taught in Judaism. In Judaism, Sabbath was a day of feasting.  In fact, to fast on the Sabbath meant to break the Sabbath. 24 And so, this was another way of distancing Christianity from Judaism.
Hal Holbrook Turning the Sabbath into a day without food was a very effective strategy, especially since the sixth day, Friday, was also a day of fasting for many believers. In a single generation young Christians grew up with a built-in dislike for the Sabbath, the day of fasting and gloom—and with a corresponding attraction to Sunday, the day of celebration and feasting.
Robert Johnston It was the church in Rome that championed the fasting on Sabbath and the feasting on Sunday. In fact, in the fourth century, Pope Sylvester said that it was good to do this in contempt of the Jews.
Announcer

“If every Sunday is to be observed joyfully by the Christians on account of the resurrection, then every Sabbath on account of the burial is to be regarded in execration of the Jews.”25
(Pope Sylvester, 4th century)

Hal Holbrook In other words, Christians were told to fast on the Sabbath as an expression of their contempt for the Jews – even as an acted-out curse against them. But even this particular anti-Sabbath strategy was only partly successful.  Prominent church leaders opposed it. 
  Hippolytus, a 3rd-century bishop, felt it was a big mistake.
Announcer “Even today some…order fasting on the Sabbath of which Christ has not spoken, dishonoring even the Gospel of Christ.” 26 (Hippolytus of Rome, 3rd Century AD)
Hal Holbrook There is even a report that Augustine, one of the most influential of the Roman church fathers, came to the defense of church members who ignored the Sabbath fast. 27
David Smith The leaders in Rome were eventually successful in imposing the Sabbath fast on their followers in the western world of Christianity. But the same could not be said for what happened in the East. Where the Orthodox influence was strongest, eastern Christianity resisted this, and their views of the Sabbath were really quite different.
George Dragas Sabbath fasting does not make any sense for the orthodox, because the Sabbath is the day that marks two great events: the completion of creation and the completion of redemption. 28 So, Sabbath is a day of double celebration and could never be associated with fasting and lament.

Chapter Six: Power Struggle

Hal Holbrook This issue of the Sabbath fast may seem, from our vantage point, like a tempest in a teapot. But it became part of the struggle for power within the church – an east-west tension that would eventually rip the Christian world in two. 
  In 692, the Emperor Justinian II called a church council in Constantinople. 
  A controversial meeting, it’s known as the Council in Trullo—named after the palace where the bishops assembled. 29
  This was the Eastern church’s big chance to strike a blow against the growing influence of the pope in Rome.
George Dragas Canon fifty-five of the Council of Trullo is based on one of the Apostolic Canons, canon sixty-four, and several other canons of local councils. The principle that we get out of all these canons is that you cannot fast on a festive day. Sabbath is a festive day. It celebrates two events: the completion of creation, the completion of redemption, so it could never be associated with fasting.
Hal Holbrook Those bishops could write a million laws—but they would be nothing but ink on paper without the unanimous approval of the highest officials in the church.  So the bishops had to send their canons to Rome for the pope’s signature.
George Dragas They were sent to the Pope because the Pope was the first patriarch, a first among equal, five equal patriarchs, who constituted the leadership of the church.
George Dragas As it was the custom in all councils, they had to be approved, signed, by all, as a sign of their unity in faith and order.
George Dragas The Pope did not sign the canons of the Council of Trullo because they objected to Sabbath fasting. He was out of tune with the other churches and that is why he did not sign.  He was convicted,
George Dragas and therefore, action, appropriate action, was taken by the emperor.  He was put under house arrest.
Hal Holbrook So the Council in Trullo didn’t settle the issue. In the West, Christians kept the fast. In the East, they didn’t. The Sabbath fast persisted as a divisive issue—a symbol of the growing tension between Constantinople and Rome.
Hal Holbrook In 867, Photius, patriarch of Constantinople and the pope’s chief rival for power, invited his fellow eastern patriarchs to another church council.  30 During the council he accused the entire Western church of eight points of heresy.  31
George Dragas The Photian Schism between Constantinople and Rome was based on several issues. The primary issue was the controversy over the Sabbath, and this is seen in the documents, the primary documents that relate to this controversy.
Announcer “Using fraud and artifice, they have tried to turn these people from the pure faith of Christianity.”
“They have required them to observe the Sabbath fast, contrary to the canons of the church." 32
(Encyclical of Photius, 867 AD)
Hal Holbrook The two sides had very little interaction for the next two centuries.  Then the old quarrels were aggravated by new disputes. Like rival monarchs trying to build up their own kingdoms, the pope and the patriarch each tried to gain the upper hand. 
George Dragas The big issue that was at stake in 1054, between east and west, was the issue of authority, authority in the church. The Pope imposed customs, western customs, Roman customs, on Byzantine churches in Italy. And one of them, of course, was the celebration of a fast, or the keeping of a fast on the Sabbath day.
Hal Holbrook The pope sent one of his most prominent representatives, Cardinal Humbert, to negotiate with Michael Cerularius, the orthodox patriarch. 
Hal Holbrook The effort was fruitless. Neither side would yield for the sake of Christian unity. Things went from bad to worse. And then came the 16th of July, 1054.
Announcer "And so, the papal legates, 'having become bored by the op­position of the patriarch,' as they said, decided on a most insolent action. On the 16th of July, they entered the Church of Hagia Sophia and, while the clergy were preparing for the service at the third hour of the day on Saturday, they laid a bull of excommunication on the main altar in full view of the clergy and people present.
  Going out thence, they shook off even the dust from their feet as a testimony against them… exclaiming: 'Let God see and judge.'“ 33
Hal Holbrook As soon the papal legates were out of sight and hearing, the emperor ordered the burning of the document of excommunication. Michael Cerularius called another council, which issued its own excommunication against the Latin Church. 
  And so, the excommunicated excommunicated the excommunicators.

Chapter Seven: Deceptions

Hal Holbrook It’s clear that loyalty to the Sabbath of the fourth commandment did not die out easily. Roman church efforts to promote the Sunday alternative continued. One novel approach took the form of a letter—a letter that supposedly came directly from heaven.
Announcer “God has enjoined Sunday to be kept holy, for God’s own hand has written that command to men, lest they should do either work or servile labour on Sunday.” 34
Aideen O’Leary The Letter itself claims to have been written by Jesus. We’re told that it appeared on the altar of St. Peter in Rome; and that the priest, who was saying Mass, discovered it there and was obviously quite scared by it….
Hal Holbrook A letter from heaven! Think about it! Who wouldn’t want one of those to support their opinions? That would be a pretty convincing weapon of persuasion, especially to the uneducated and superstitious people of medieval times.
Robert Bartlett It’s not uncommon in the middle ages for people to support their claims by a letter supposedly coming from heaven. There couldn’t be any better way of supporting yourself than to have a letter from God.
Aideen O’Leary It’s very difficult to say exactly how the Letter reached Ireland. But, the most likely explanation is that an Irish monk went on a pilgrimage to the continent, acquired the Letter there, somehow, and brought it back home with him.
Hal Holbrook However it got there, we do know quite precisely what it said. The whole letter was preserved as part of Irish law.
Aideen O’Leary  In Ireland, the Epistle of Jesus is one part of a larger collection of works about Sunday observance. The first two elements are quite brief and they talk about some of the punishments. Then, the third element is the Letter itself. And, finally, we have a lengthy law tract, which goes into much more detail about what will happen on an individual basis, if certain transgressions of Sunday actually happen.
Announcer “Whatsoever plague and trouble has come into the world, it is through the transgression of Sunday that it has come.”

“There are, moreover, in certain eastern parts beasts which were sent to men; and it is to avenge the transgression of Sunday they have been sent.” 35 (The “Epistle of Jesus”)

Aideen O’Leary Some of the threats in the Letter are quite fantastical and, perhaps, even frightening. We’re told that great beasts and locusts are simply waiting to avenge the transgression of Sunday. There’ll be massive rainstorms with thunder and lightning, hailstones. There’ll be flying serpents in the sky. So, basically, a whole lot of evil and destruction is going to occur if people violate the Law of Sunday
Hal Holbrook To the naive medieval mind these threats of miraculous punishments must have sounded terrifying! Better to reform your Sunday observance than to risk the terrors of supernatural plagues and catastrophe. 
Hal Holbrook This so-called epistle of Jesus clearly supported the rulings of church councils and the declarations of the popes. But it stood in direct conflict with the Sabbath law of the Ten Commandments.
Aideen O’Leary The Epistle of Jesus belongs to the massive body of apocryphal literature. And, that’s to say, not canonical, not part of the Bible, and shouldn’t be taken, in any way, at face value.
Hal Holbrook This “letter from Jesus” shows how determined medieval Roman Church leaders were to replace the biblical Sabbath with Sunday. Similar schemes involving messages from heaven were used in other places, in other centuries. 
Hal Holbrook In the year 1200 Eustace of Flay, a French abbot, arrived in England and started the medieval version of a revivalist campaign. He argued that folks shouldn’t buy and sell on Sundays. Realizing that his efforts were unsuccessful, he went home to France.
Robert Bartlett In 1201 he came back again. This time he was reinforced with a letter supposedly delivered from heaven and laid on the altar of St. Simeon in Jerusalem, in which God Himself threatened punishment to those who worked or bought and sold on Sundays.
Robert Bartlett The attempt to enforce the abstinence from work on Sunday continues throughout the middle ages inchurch councils, in papal rulings, in canon law, and in the courts. And obviously the fact that the attempt is continuing to enforce this rule means that it is not always being observed.
 

Chapter Eight: Fight for Truth

Hal Holbrook In general, however, the Church of Rome succeeded in establishing and enforcing Sunday observance.  After all, emperors and kings were under obligation to enforce church law.  Besides that, except in a few isolated areas, the church controlled access to the Holy Scriptures.  For the most part, the common man depended on the priest for his understanding of the Bible and its teachings. 
David Smith But there were remote places where the Scriptures still existed in the language of the peoples, 36 and in those places there were very courageous groups who resisted church authority and persisted in keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. 37
Clement Murray In the mountains of northern Spain and Italy and southern France, there are entire groups of individuals who are legendary for their resistance to the power of Rome. People  like the Albigenses, the Cathari, the Passagini, and the Waldenses. 38
Hal Holbrook Reports from that era tell us that among these groups there were many who observed the seventh-day Sabbath. 39 Opponents accused the Cathari and some of the Waldenses of teaching that Christians should keep the law of Moses to the letter, including the Sabbath commandment. The Passagini kept the Sabbath because they believed it existed even before the law of the Ten Commandments.
David Smith There is a 12th century account about a group of Cathari—four men and a child—who, while traveling near Cologne, France, were captured and burned at the stake for not attending church on the the Lord’s day, or Sunday. 40
Hal Holbrook The church-state establishment had the power to impose its will, even by force of arms. It did not hesitate to use persecution and coercion against the dissenters. Then John Wycliffe came on the scene—and the Christian world would never be the same again.

Chapter Nine: Wycliffe – Champion of Conscience

Fred Berthold John Wycliffe was born in Yorkshire, a little town called Hipswell, of a rather wealthy family in a manorial house. And they had enough funds to send their very precocious son to Oxford to be educated and that became really his home for the rest of his life. That was the center of his life, of his interest, and of his influence.
Herb Samworth John Wycliffe was a man who was passionately in love with the Word of God, and sought to make that Word of God known to the English people. He loved the Word of God to the point where he was willing to stand against the authorities of the church of his day, even at great loss to himself and personal risk.
Fred Berthold For example, on the matter of the individual reading the Bible, the established church took the view that we ordinary laymen are too dumb to do that. It takes somebody with years of higher education to really be able to understand the Bible.
Jill Havens The hierarchy of the church very strongly opposed the Bible being available in the vernacular—to the average lay person—because this would circumvent the role of the priest and would give a certain type of power to the laity to interpret the Scripture for themselves.
Herb Samworth John Wycliffe had a real understanding and respect for the person.  At the time in which he lived, all religious instruction and teaching came through the institutional church.  And the institutional church was failing in teaching the people the Word of God.
Hal Holbrook Wycliffe thought that the teachings of the Bible were clear enough to be understood by the common people.  If they could read it they could determine for themselves what to believe and how to behave.
Herb Samworth And I believe to some extent the church was fearful of that, because it would take away the power, the authority, and the prestige that they were enjoying at that time.
Fred Berthold The motivation that John Wycliffe had for translating the Bible into English goes back to his view that the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct is the Bible.
Jill Havens Wycliffe was the driving force behind the translation of the Bible into Middle English. We sort of see him as the father of the project. 
Hal Holbrook John Wycliffe didn’t limit his interests to the translation of the Bible. He became an outspoken and unrelenting critic of the church. His pen became a weapon in his hand. The church provided him with ample targets, like when Pope Innocent the Third declared that it was necessary for all people to be subject to the Bishop of Rome. 
Fred Berthold John Wycliffe felt that the papal authority, first of all, had no foundation in Scripture. And secondly, he thought that it was very corrupt and had distorted the gospel and had added many human institutions, with the primary purpose of which seemed to be to raise money for Rome, and he objected to the general corruption of the whole papal system. Wycliffe had the view that the Pope was doing the work of antichrist.
Herb Samworth John Wycliffe was viewed by those who were in opposition to him really in two separate ways. One, I believe there was great admiration for him, in the fact that he was a professor of theology and philosophy at Oxford, and the best-known theologian of his day. However, they also saw him as a dangerous person.
Fred Berthold The attitude of the Roman Catholic Church toward John Wycliffe was that he was the greatest of all heretics—of his time, anyway, because he attacked the church so vigorously as the antichrist.

Chapter Ten: The Lollards

Hal Holbrook John Wycliffe might have lived a peaceful life if he had been willing to keep his views to himself. But by blazing away with tongue and pen he made himself a rallying point for others of like mind. He was a charismatic man who attracted loyal followers and supporters.  
Fred Berthold The followers of John Wycliffe were known as Lollards. The Lollards were inspired by John Wycliffe to distribute the Bible to the ordinary people, the Bible in English. And they went about the countryside with their sandals and their russet gowns and their staffs and very little else, all over England.
Jill Havens Initially the term “Lollard” was considered derisive and derogatory. And the word itself comes from the Dutch word “lullen,” which means to mumble, and was used to refer to them as mumblers, or religious fanatics, too. Eventually the term is embraced by the Lollards themselves.  And in one wonderful text about biblical translation they refer to Jesus Himself as the greatest Lollard that ever was.
Herb Samworth One of the questions of all time is the question of authority. In Wycliffe’s day there were two views. The church felt that they had the authority because they were infallible, and had been given that right by God. The Lollards, on the other hand, believed that ultimate authority was in God through the Scriptures. Eventually the Lollard movement turned underground and even pietistic. What I mean by that that they began to study the Bible in a more literalistic way; they sought to apply it to their hearts and their lives in a way that was most in agreement with what the text of Scripture said.
Fred Berthold Some of the Lollards became sabbatarians, believing that worship should take place on the seventh day, according to the Scriptures, because they were believers in the literal interpretation of the Bible. Really the only way we know about the Sabbath-keeping Lollards is the court records of their trials.
For example, we have the story of one of these people who was brought to trial, John Seygno, and he was brought to trial in 1402 for practicing his sabbatarian beliefs, and he professed that he would continue to do so until someone could prove from Scripture that he was in error.
Hal Holbrook With this view of the sacred Scriptures, it’s not surprising that there were Sabbath keepers among those Lollards. 41 They were forerunners of many who would rediscover the seventh-day Sabbath during the Protestant Reformation.

Chapter Eleven: The Church vs. the Bible

Hal Holbrook In 1377 Pope Gregory the Eleventh issued formal statements accusing Wycliffe of heresy—but the Roman church could not effectively restrict the spread of his ideas. They were too powerful, too compelling.
Hal Holbrook Once they reached the educational centers of Europe there was no way to stop them. Wycliffe’s teachings inspired revolutionary ideas in the minds of early Protestant Reformers. That’s why historians have called Wycliffe “the morning star of the Reformation.”
David Smith The Church of Rome lashed out against all of those who believed that Scripture held authority over the church. While Wycliffe died of natural causes, many of his followers were not so fortunate. A severe persecution broke out, and this persecution was made possible, very close relationship between the church and the English government.
Michael Mullett In those late medieval centuries the relationship between church and state in England was close to the point of cozy. Both institutions cozied up. To a very large extent, the state was administered by senior churchmen, the bishops of the church in England, ran the state for the king. On the other hand, the state supported the church, and most notably through the statute, the act of Parliament, of 1401—known as the act for the burning of heretics. In this way the state repaid its debts to the church by maintaining the exclusive position against the heretical minority known as Lollards.
Hal Holbrook In spite of the opposition of the church-state confederacy, John Wycliffe’s ideas took root in the hearts of many in England, including some wealthy members of the nobility.
Fred Berthold John Oldcastle was one of the many noblemen who were attracted to the Wycliffite points of view. But he supported it in many ways: with his money, but also he became a devout preacher of the Wycliffite point of view, and when that was forbidden by an act of parliament on pain of imprisonment or death, he just kept right on doing it. And he finally was arrested and burned at the stake.
David Smith Religious institutions have a sad record of resorting to force when the powers of persuasion fail. This seems especially true when Church and State unite, and this certainly was true of the Church of Rome in the Middle Ages.
Hal Holbrook If the supreme authority of the church could be maintained, the teachings of Scripture could lie unheeded and forgotten. But if the Bible came to be seen as the sacred source of doctrine and the legitimate guide for Christian practice, the power of the church and its traditions would be greatly diminished.

And, thanks to John Wycliffe, that is precisely what happened in the centuries leading up to the Protestant Reformation.
Hal Holbrook As knowledge of the Bible increased, so did a revived understanding of God’s plan for mankind as revealed in the Ten Commandments. And that, of course, impacts our story of The Seventh Day. With the availability of the Bible in the language of the common man, the stage was set for the rediscovery of the Bible Sabbath—and that’s the story we will tell when we return with Part Four of The Seventh Day.


Footnotes

The Confession of St. Patrick, translated from the Latin by Ludwig Bieler. View source

Leslie Hardinge, The Celtic Church in Britain (London: S. P. C. K., 1972), p. 51. View source

Ibid., p.78. View source

Ibid., p. 29, 30. View source

5 Confession of St. Patrick. View source

8 Hardinge, Celtic Church, p. 78.  For this insight Hardinge refers to A. Anscombe, "St Victricius of Rouen and St Patrick," ERIU, vol. 7, (1913), pp. 13-17, and N. J. D. White, St. Patrick, His Writings and Life (Dublin: n.p., 1920), p. 109. View source

W. F. Skene, D.C.L, LL.D., Celtic Scotland: A History of Ancient Alban, 2nd ed., vol. ii (Edinburg: David Douglas, 1887), p. 71. View source

10 Rev. James C. Moffat, D.D., The Church in Scotland (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1882), p. 140. View source

11 “Columba, St.” Encyclopaedia Britannica vol. vi (Chicago: R. S. Peale Company, 1892), p.167. View source

12 A. R. Macewen, A History of the Church in Scotland, vol. i (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1915), p. 48. View source

14 Macewan, Church in Scotland, p. 53.  Macewen writes, “Fasting was observed twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, while Saturday was a day of rest (dies sabbati).  To the Lord’s Day no sabbatical ideas were attached.”  In his footnote he adds, “The identification of the Lord’s Day with the Sabbath had not yet been made.” View source  On page 66 of the same book Macewen quotes words spoken by Columba on his last day: “`. . . this day is called in the sacred volumes Sabbath, which is interpreted Rest, and to me it is truly a sabbath, because it is the last day of my present laborious life.  At midnight, when the venerable Lord's Day begins, I shall go the way of the fathers,’” These words confirm that Columba recognized Saturday as the Sabbath – the day of rest.

15 Leslie Hardinge, videotaped interview, October 2002. Dr. Hardinge offered the following additional comment: "In Columba’s view, the Sabbath...was to be a day of rest and their labors should cease on Friday sundown, all through Saturday, up to early sunrise on Sunday morning. And so, he regarded that day as a day of rest in which they were not to work."

16 Margaret contemplated becoming a nun. When used as a noun, “religious” can refer to a monk, a friar, or a nun.  Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, Deluxe Concise Edition (Cleveland and New York: The World Publishing Company, 1966) includes this definition of “religious: ”A person belonging to a monastic order.”

17 Macewen, Church in Scotland, p.158, n.7: “Patriotic writers have tried to blunt this charge by saying that the Scots, like Columba, took their Sabbath rest on Saturday.” View source Skene, Celtic Scotland, p. 349: “… they seem to have followed a custom of which we find traces in the early Monastic Church of Ireland, by which they held Saturday to be the Sabbath on which they rested from all their labours….” View source Also see John Mackay, M.A., The Church in the Highlands or The Progress of Evangelical Religion in Gaelic Scotland, 563-1843, (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1914), p. 48. View source

18 Moffat, Church in Scotland, p. 140. View source

19 Lex Constantini a. 321 (Codex Justinianus 3.12.3, translated in Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 5th edition (New York, 1902), 3:380, note 1. View source

20 Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, edited by Henry R. Percival, M.A., D.D., (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1900), vol. xiv, p. 148. View source

21 Gregory the Great, "Epistle I: To the Roman Citizens," in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. xiii, p. 92. View source

23 Peter Heylyn, The History of the Sabbath, 2 vols., (London: Seile, 1636), vol. ii, pp. 73, 74. View source

24 The concept of Sabbath fasting is directly contrary to ancient Jewish practice and teaching.  Professor Robert Johnston writes that “the Sabbath was to be honored with food, drink, and fresh clothing, in fulfillment of Isaiah 58:13.  In the spirit of Nehemiah 8:9-12, the Sabbath was to be honored by indulgence of some unusual luxury, especially food and drink; …and it was said: ‘He who observes the practice of three meals on the Sabbath is saved from thre evils: the time of trouble before the Messiah comes, the retribution of Gehinnom, and the wars of Gog and Magog.’”  In support of these comments he cites rabbinical sources including: Tannith 1:6; Midrash on Psalm 92:3; Pesikta Rabbati 23:6, 7; Peshahim 99b; Mekilta Vayassac 5; and Shabbath 118a.  See Robert M. Robert Johnston, “The Rabbinic Sabbath” in The Sabbath in Scripture and History, Kenneth A. Strand, editor (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1982), p. 84. View source

25 S.R.E. Humbert, Adversus Graecorum calumnies 6, PL 143, 933.  Quoted in Samuele Bacchiocchi, From Sabbath to Sunday, (Rome: The Pontifical Gregorian University Press, 1977), p. 194.  (In his footnote 84 Bacchiocchi comments, “This treatise was composed in the form of a debate about the year 1054 by Cardinal Humbert. The Cardinal had been sent by Pope Leo IX early in 1054 as papal nuncio to Constantinople to endeavor to bring back the Greeks into conformity with the religious practices of the Roman (Latin) Church. The mission however did not succeed. The treatise was composed as a further attempt to dissuade the Greeks from holding on to certain divergent religious practices such as the veneration of the Sabbath.”) View source

26 Hippolytus, In Danielem commentarius 4, 20, 3, GCS I, p. 234.  Quoted in Samuele Bacchiocchi, From Sabbath to Sunday, (Rome: The Pontifical Gregorian University Press, 1977), p. 191. View source

27 Augustine, “Epistle to Casulanus” 36, 4, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers vol. i, pp. 265, 266. View source

28 “Saturday (Sabbath) was regarded as the memorial of the creation narrative: ‘So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all His work which he had done in creation.’ (Gen. 2: 3). In the liturgical tradition of the Church Saturday continues to be a festival. It recounts the creative act of God, who brought all things into being out of nothing and reminds us of the opportunity we have to share in God's perpetual Sabbath, i.e., His creative life. Hence, the Church never fasts on a Saturday, except on the one Great and Holy Sabbath, when the Church annually commemorates the burial of God in the flesh.” (Rev. Alciviadis C. Calivas, Th.D., “Orthodox Worship” (http://paul.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7118.asp Web site of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, accessed 12/18/02). View source

29 Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Second Series), vol. xiv, p. 356. View source

30 Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 4, p.314. View source

32 M. L’Abbe Jager, Histoire de Photius, Patriarche de Constantinople (Louvain: Chez C. J. Fonteyn, Libraire-Editeur, 1845), p.141. (Translation ours.) View source

33 Quoted in V. Potapov, “Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy,” website of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Washington, DC, chap. iv. http://www.stjohndc.org/russian/english.htm [Accessed December 1, 2005]. View source

34 ERIU - The Journal of the School of Irish Learning, vol. II, edited by Kuno Meyer and John Strachan, (Dublin: School of Irish Learning, 1905), p. 201. View source

35 Ibid, p. 193. View source

36 Rev. J. A. Wylie, LL.D., History of the Waldenses (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association), p. 18. View source

37 For examples see Schaff, History, Vol. 5, p. 488 View source; J. N. Andrews and L. R. Conradi, History of the Sabbath and the First Day of the Week, 4th ed., (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1912), pp. 547-8. View source

38 For examples see Peter Allix, D.D., Some Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical History of the Albigenses (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1821), pp. 130, 198; View source and Allix., Some Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of the Piedmont (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1821), pp. 226-7 View source.

39 For examples see Schaff, History, Vol. 5, p. 488 View source; Andrews and Conradi, History of the Sabbath, pp. 547-8. View source

40  E. B. Elliott, Horae Apocaltypicae, Vol. 2 (London: Seeley, Jackson, and Halliday, 1862), p. 291. View source 

41 Ball, Seventh-Day Men (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), pp. 32-34 View source; James Gairdner and James Spedding, Studies in English History, (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1881), p. 296. View source