800th Anniversary of Council of Oxford may be marked by the Church of England

From The Times, 13 July 2021:

The Church of England plans to offer its “repentance” over antisemitic church laws that forced Jewish people to wear “a badge of shame” and led to the expulsion of them from medieval England.

Next year will mark the 800th anniversary of the 1222 Synod of Oxford, sometimes known as “the Magna Carta of canon law”.

The meeting at Osney Abbey, which was near Oxford, is most famous as the day that English church leaders declared St George’s Day a holiday. But they also implemented decrees from Rome that forced Jews to wear clothing to distinguish them from Christians, to ensure that no Christian could marry a Jew by mistake.

It has been described as a precursor to the laws that forced Jews in Nazi Germany to wear yellow Star of David badges.

The decrees from Rome, set out in the Fourth Council of the Lateran in 1215, also disqualified Jewish people from holding public office. A written question submitted to bishops during the Church of England’s General Synod this week noted: “Next year is the 800th anniversary of the 1222 Synod of Oxford, the ‘Magna Carta’ of English canon law, which implemented some of the most egregious antisemitic decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council, such as the law that Jews wear a badge of shame to isolate them from the Christian public around them.

“These laws] heightened antisemitic feeling and led to the first nationwide expulsion of all Jews from England in 1290.”

Jewish people were barred from living in England until 1657.

Jacob Vince, a lay synod member from Chichester, said: “In light of rapidly worsening antisemitism in the UK in recent months, might the 800th anniversary next year be an opportune moment for the Church of England to consider making a formal break with these historic prejudices . . . with a view to conducting a fitting service of corporate repentance?”

The Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Rev Dr Michael Ipgrave, said: “The Archbishop’s office has indeed received a letter proposing a service that might offer an act of repentance at the 800th anniversary of the Synod of Oxford and its antisemitic laws . . . We are exploring the idea of such a service to be planned in conjunction with the Council of Christians and Jews.”