May 27, 2022

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On Sunday, the Church of England held a special service at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, apologizing for the antisemitic Synod of Oxford passed exactly 800 years ago that led to the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290, 68 years after the Synod. The service was attended by Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and representatives of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. 

“Today’s service at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford is an opportunity to remember, repent and rebuild,” the archbishop tweeted. “Let us pray it inspires Christians today to reject contemporary forms of anti-Judaism and antisemitism and to appreciate and receive the gift of our Jewish neighbors.”

“Our intention is for this commemoration to be a strong signal of such rich potential, reflected in the depth of interfaith encounter and service that increasingly exists in Oxford and across our society,” the Diocese of Oxford said in a statement last month ahead of the event.

Jonathan Chaffey, the archdeacon of Oxford, told the Guardian newspaper that the time had come for Christians to repent for their “shameful actions” and “reframe positively” their relations with the Jewish community.

In an interview with The Telegraph, the Bishop of Oxford said on Saturday that he was “disturbed” by antisemitism that “grew” under Jeremy Corbyn as former chairman of the Labor Party.

The Synod, passed in 1222, prohibited social relations between Jews and Christians were blocked; church tithes were levied against Jews, and English Jews were forced to wear an identifying badge. Jews were banned from some professions, and the construction of new synagogues was also prevented.

Historically, the Synod predated the Church of England’s creation in 1534,  but the Archbishopric of Canterbury dates to before 600 CE.

The Edict of Expulsion issued by King Edward I in 1290 expelled all Jews from the Kingdom of England and was not repealed until 1657.