Church of England apologizes on behalf of Christians for anti-Jewish laws passed 800 years ago


On Sunday May 8, during a special service at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, the Church of England apologized for laws passed 800 years ago that allowed the expulsion of Jews from England. The opportunity "to remember, repent and rebuild", according to the leader of the Church, Justin Welby. 

A ceremony was held on Sunday May 8 at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford for the eight centenary of the Synod of Oxford in the presence of religious leaders including Ephraim Mirvis, the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and representatives of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

On this occasion, the Anglican Church apologized to the Jewish community for laws passed 800 years ago which led to the expulsion of Jews from England.

In the XNUMXth century, the Synod indeed adopted laws which prohibited all social interactions between Jews and Christians. The Jews were, moreover, obliged to wear badges to identify themselves, they had to transfer part of their salary, the tithe, to the church and certain professions were not accessible to them. Also, they were not allowed to build new places of worship.

Other measures were put in place over time, prohibiting Jews from owning land or passing on their property to their children. According to Guardian, all Jews in England were eventually expelled under an edict in 1209 and were forced into exile for over 360 years.

Although the Church of England only came into existence in the XNUMXth century, the Archdeacon of Oxford, Jonathan Chaffey, believes it is right for Christians to repent of these "shameful acts". He also said the Roman Catholic Church "fully agrees" with the apology.

This initiative is part of a reconciliation process started in 2019 following the publication of a document produced by the Church of England which declared, among other things, that the Church's attitudes towards Judaism over the centuries had provided "fertile breeding ground for murderous anti-Semitism".

In a Twitter post, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, wrote that the ceremony is "a time to remember, repent and rebuild". “Pray that he will inspire Christians today to reject contemporary forms of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism and to appreciate and receive the gift of our Jewish neighbors,” he added.

Camille Westphal Perrier

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