For proof of the establishment of the earliest form of Christianity in Britain, we need go no further than the Vatican itself. There, notwithstanding all the centuries of historical and monastic documentary record in England, the most comprehensive survey on the subject of Christian religious heritage was deposited by the Vatican librarian Cardinal Cesare Baronius (1538-1607).
Having spent 30 years researching the Vatican and Lateran Palace archives, he is regarded as the most learned ever scholar of Church history, and his 1601 Annales Ecclesiastici is one of the foremost documents of Christian literature ever written.
Baronius deduced that (despite all the orthodox propaganda of Rome) Polidoro, Eusebius, Tertullian, Gildas, Wiliam of Malmesbury, Geoffrey of Monmouth and all others, including St Augustine, had been correct, that:
In Augustine's letter of AD 600 to Pope Gregory, known as the Epistolae ad Gregorium Papam, it states:
And now comes the hint of something that has been popularly referred to for some decades now, since the "The Holy Blood and Holy Grail" was published (Henry Lincoln and Michael Baigent, 1983), and which is officially still denied today. That is that Jesus sired children, and, further, his offspring shared in their father's work. But the proof is now almost impossible to refute, as well as many other accounts of Jesus, including how his time was spent between the ages of 12 and 29/30, and of his existence a long time after his crucifixion.
One proof is clear in the Bible itself. As can be found in "The Almighty King: New translations of forgotten manuscripts" by Einon Johns, the suthor points out that: "The first person to see Jesus after the Resurrection was Mary Magdalene and a highly illuminating fragment of the record of that event, in the Garden of Gethsemane, points directly to the likelihood that Jesus and Mary were married. This occurs in John 20:15 when, with sodden eyes, Mary mistakes Jesus for the gardener."
The author continues: "Only a family member would have the authority to take the body away for burial. As Mary was not a blood relation, it can therefore be deduced that she must have been the wife of Jesus. Either John made a blatant error, or the existence of the reference is due to an oversight by the early scribes, whose responsibility it would have been to ensure that the gospels reflected the official orthodox position."
However, it is the message of Jesus that is more important and the historical details should not be fought over.
The accounts of Joseph of Arimathea and young Jesus (junior) in south-western Britain focus on three separate occasions. The first relates to a time when Joseph and Jesus voyaged to Marazion in Cornwall. The second recounts a time when they were at the Mendip village of Priddy in Somerset. Thirdly is the account of young Jesus dedicating the Ealde Chirch of Glastonbury to his mother in AD 64. Prior to these visits are the recorded incidents of apostolic activity in Britain onwards from AD 35. Regarding these earlier activities, Hugh Cressy, the 17th century Benedictine chaplain to Catherine of Braganza (wife of King Charles II), wrote:
Cressy's weighty matters referred to a decision on whether to receive uncircumcised Gentiles into the Nazarene Church. As Jerusalem's first bishop, and as discussed in the New Testament Acts of the Apostles, Jesus' brother James presided at the meeting which handled the debate. It is now known that Joseph of Arimathea and Jesus' eldest brother James (with whom St Clement of Rome corresponded in the 1st century) were one and the same. As the second in succession, James the Just
held the traditional Davidic patriarchal distinction 'Joseph ha Rama Theo' (of the Divine Highness), a style that was phonetically corrupted in translation to Arimathea (as if relating to a place that never existed).
It has been said that this would explain why Jesus junior is recorded as having been Joseph's 'nephew'. However, records can be misleading; there are instances where it has been stated in some history that so-and-so was the grandfather of such-and-such, but further probing then reveals that the person was not a grandfather but (say) a great-grandfather. Caution and insight have to be employed in such research.
Interestingly, the Rev Lionel S Lewis (Vicar of Glastonbury in the 1920s) confirmed from his church annals that St James the Just was indeed at Glastonbury in AD 35, whereas other records of the visit use the name Joseph of Arimathea.
Misunderstandings, caused by the apparent anomalies and duplicated entries concerning Joseph ha Rama Theo and James the Just in Britain, Gaul and Spain, provoked some argument between the bishops at the Council of Basle in 1434. As a result, individual countries decided to follow their different traditions.
It is St Joseph who is most remembered in connection with Church history in Britain, whereas it is as St James that he is revered in Spain. Even so, the English authorities compromised when linking him with the nation's monarchy, and the Royal Court in London became the Palace of St James. This primary residence of England's royalty was built in 1531-36 on the site of a hospital for leprous women (as established by the 12th-century Glastonbury benefactor King Henry II), which had also been dedicated to St James. The feasts observed at the foundation were those of St James and of St Dunstan, Abbot of Glastonbury AD 940-46.
Emphasising the strength of the tradition of the early church at Glastonbury, in an extract from the letter to Three Catholic Bishops written at Greenwich Dec 6th 1559, Queen Elizabeth I states: