As the Western imperial order disintegrated, a new reality took shape: Christian Europe. Barbarian kingdoms absorbed lands that had once enjoyed the protection of Rome, the settled Roman populations of the Western provinces became the subjects of Germanic overlords — usually 'heretics' or even, in some cases, heathens - and the ancient Latin civilization that had once stretched from the British Isles to North Africa and from Iberia to the Balkans dissolved into a collection of largely unread texts and ill-preserved monuments. Henceforth, the unity of the West - despite the episodic empires of European history — would be a cultural unity: which is to say, a religious unity.
(WELL FOR MOST OF EUROPE IT WAS UNITY, BUT NOT SO IN BRITAIN; IT TOOK THE ROMAN CHURCH TILL ABOUT 1100 A.D. TO STAMP OUT BRITISH APOSTOLIC CHRISTIANITY - Keith Hunt)
The first Christian king of France, Clovis I— son of the pagan Childeric I (d.482) and grandson of Merovech (eponymous founder of the Merovingian dynasty) — was baptized at the instigation of his wife, St Clothilda.
Throughout the fourth century and well into the fifth, the most thoroughly civilized province of the Western empire — most plentifully endowed with institutions of higher education, blessed with the richest literary culture, perennially prosperous and governed by a particularly refined patrician class -was Gaul. The settled aristocracy comprised both pagans and Christians, who existed in largely untroubled harmony with one another; and, among the very educated, friendships frequently transcended creed. It was not to last, however. The only cultural institutions that were still intact at the end of the fifth century were the Church and its monasteries.
(THE AUTHOR HAS OBVIOUSLY DONE LITTLE RESEARCH INTO BRITISH HISTORY TO THE FIFTH CENTURY. HE SPEAKS LIKE THE TYPICAL SCHOLAR OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM - Keith Hunt)
A Pioneer of Gallic Christianity
Perhaps the greatest Gallic Christian figure of the first century of Roman Christianity was St Martin of Tours (316-97), the patron saint of France: a tireless evangelist and one of the earliest apostles of monasticism in the West. According to his biographers, Sulpicius Severus and the Christian poet and bishop of Poitiers Venantius Fortunatus (c.540—c.600), Martin chose as a boy often to abandon the paganism of his parents and seek baptism. As a young man, he was conscripted into the army but refused to fight and was briefly imprisoned. After a period of instruction at the feet of St Hilary of Poitiers (c.315—c.367) — the great defender of Nicene theology - Martin travelled to the Balkans as a missionary. Then, in 360, after a sojourn in Italy, he returned home and founded the first monastic community in Gaul, in Liguge. In 371, he was appointed bishop of Tours; near his new see he founded the great monastery of Marmoutier, from which he conducted missions into the still pagan hinterlands of the Gallic countryside.
(INDEED THE AUTHOR SPEAKS OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM - Keith Hunt)
It was during Martin's episcopacy, in 385, that the usurper Magnus Maximus (d.388) — who ruled over Britain, Iberia, Gaul and parts of Germany — had a Spanish bishop, Priscillian of Avila, tried in Trier (Augusta Treverorum, the imperial seat) and executed on charges of heresy and witchcraft. There was no precedent or warrant in Christian tradition for such an act. Under the old pagan dispensation, piety towards the gods had been regarded as inseparable from loyalty to the empire, and Roman magistrates had had the power to institute extraordinary inquisitions and to execute atheists or devotees of proscribed cults. But the emperor was a Christian, and the killing of Priscillian was contrary to all Christian practice, and Martin distinguished himself by his willingness to reproach Maximus openly for his brutality.
The Dawn of Christian France
In the fifth century, the barbarians came. The Visigoths settled south of the River Loire, in Aquitaine, early in the century, and then over time took control of Provence and most of Spain. The Alemanni settled farther to the north, in Alsace and its vicinity. The Burgundians occupied the better part of the lands by the Rhone. And the Franks spread westward from the Rhineland into southern Gaul.
Gaul's native Roman culture was not, however, extinguished all at once. The old aristocracy proved durable and adaptable, and so remained largely enfranchised, in city and countryside alike; and much of the old civil administration of the provinces remained in place. There were losses and displacements among the ancient Gallic peoples as the new Germanic kingdoms replaced the old imperial regime; but Gallo-Roman civilization began to influence the invaders as well. The reigns of the Visigoth kings Euric (420—84) and Alaric II (d.507), for instance, were marked by an almost Roman sense of civil order and higher culture. And, whether Arians or pagans, the German kings left the Catholic Church in Gaul largely undisturbed. As a result, the transition from Roman to barbarian rule was relatively untroubled - at least for the patrician class.
Catholic France, however, began to emerge from the welter of Germanic kingdoms on account of the Salic Franks. King Clovis I (c. 466—511) not only unified the Franks, but conquered territories occupied by Burgundians, Alemanni and Visigoths, and ultimately established his rule over all of Gaul apart from Burgundy and Provence. Through his marriage to the Burgundian princess St Clothilda (d. c.545), Clovis was persuaded to abandon the gods of his ancestors and to embrace Christianity — and, since his queen was a Catholic, Nicene rather than Arian Christianity.
(INDEED THE AUTHOR IS EXPLAINING THE RISE OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM OVER EUROPE - Keith Hunt)
St Martin of Tours appealed directly to the emperor Julian (the Apostate) to be released from military service on the grounds of faith; to avert accusations of cowardice, he volunteered to place himself at the front of the battle line protected by nothing more than the sign of the cross. His offer was refused and he was imprisoned. St Martin's renunciation is depicted in a fresco from 1312—17 by Simone Martini.
Farther west, moreover, beyond the Pyrenees, Roman Iberia had also been invaded by Germanic tribes throughout the fifth century - Visigoths, Vandals, Suevi and so forth - with the Visigoths ultimately emerging as the rulers of Spain.
'Ireland is far more favoured than Britain by latitude, and by its mild and healthy climate ... There are no reptiles, and no snake can exist there; for although often brought over from Britain, as soon as the ship nears land, they breathe the scent air and die.' (The Venerable Bede, Ecclesiastical History, 731 (alluding to a legend that St Patrick banished all snakes from Ireland in the fifth century)
When, in 589, King Recared converted to Catholic Christianity, the triumph of Nicene Christianity in the old Roman West was assured.
(WE ARE SEEING THE MOVE TO CONQUER THE WORLD FOR THE RELIGION OF ROMAN CHRISTIANITY - Keith Hunt)
The British Isles
Roman Britain, while perhaps not quite so idyllic as Roman Gaul, was a prosperous, refined society; but, as imperial protection waned in the last decades of the fourth century, and especially after the last Roman armies departed early in the fifth, the 'barbarians' of the north (Picts, Welshmen, Irishmen, Danes, Saxons, Angles and Jutes) began to raid, invade or simply settle in Britain. The British KingVortigern (fl.425—50) is said actually to have invited the Saxons into his realm to support him in his struggle against the Scots and Picts, and recompensed them with arable land. Yet by the late sixth century, pagan Germanic peoples had conquered England, and the old Roman civilization had been swept away.
(THE AUTHOR SHOWS SERIOUS LACK OF STUDY AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE FIRST FOUR CENTURIES A.D. IN BRITAIN AND THE APOSTOLIC CHRISTIANITY THAT WAS BROUGHT THERE ONLY A FEW YEARS AFTER THE START OF THE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST IN 30 A.D. HE LACKS THE KNOWLEDGE THAT BRITAIN ACCEPTED APOSTOLIC CHRISTIANITY AS ITS OFFICIAL RELIGION BY THE MIDDLE OF THE SECOND CENTURY A.D. YES BRITAIN WAS INVADED BY THE ANGLO-SAXONS AND OTHERS AND HAD ESTABLISHED A STRANGLE-HOLD BY THE LATE SIXTH CENTURY - Keith Hunt)
Christianity, however - Catholic Christianity - persisted and gradually conquered the conquerors.
(THE AUTHOR SPEAKS OF THE COMING OF ROMAN CATHOLIC CHRISTIANITY TO BRITAIN. IT WAS REPORTED BACK TO THE ROMAN POPE, THAT BRITAIN WAS FULL OF "HERETICAL" AND "JEWISH" CHRISTIANITY...... WHICH ROME WAS DETERMINED TO CONQUER AND STAMP OUT; SHE SUCCEEDED BY THE 11TH CENTURY - Keith Hunt)
Undoubtedly the most famous representative of the old Roman Christian order in the age of barbarian hegemony was St Patrick, the fifth-century apostle to Ireland. The son of a Roman Briton deacon, he was captured at the age of 16 by Irish raiders and endured six years of slavery before escaping and returning to Britain. He journeyed to Gaul and there was made a priest. Ultimately, though, inspired by a dream, he resolved to return to the country of his captivity to preach the gospel. In 432 he had the opportunity to do just this, when he was commissioned to replace the beleaguered bishop of Ireland, Palladius. In Ireland, he travelled widely, made disciples and baptized. His was not the first mission to Ireland, certainly, but it was the most ambitious. Irish kings were sometimes indulgent, sometimes hostile; by Patrick's own estimate, he and his followers were taken captive a dozen times, and on at least one occasion he was bound in chains; and his life was frequently in danger — as were the lives of his disciples. He provoked the enmity of the Druids, naturally. But ultimately he counted kings and chieftains among his converts. He did not, of course, eradicate the old religions of Ireland; but if any man can be said to have converted an entire nation, Patrick would be that person.
(WHAT THE AUTHOR DOES NOT TELL YOU IS THAT BRITAIN HAD SENT MINISTERS OVER TO EUROPE, WITH TRUE CHRISTIANITY FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS BEFORE PATRICK. WHAT THE AUTHOR DOES NOT TELL YOU IS THAT PATRICK TAUGHT A MUCH MORE APOSTOLIC CHRISTIANITY TO IRELAND THAN WHAT ROME WAS TEACHING. ROME HAD NOT YET ENTERED IRELAND OR BRITAIN [ENGLAND, WALES, SCOTLAND] WHEN PATRICK LIVED AND PREACHED - ALL OF THIS IS IN OTHER STUDIES ON MY WEBSITE - Keith Hunt)
THE DEFEAT OF THE DRUIDS
St Patrick (Patricius in Latin) converted thousands of Irish people to Christianity. This statue of the nation's patron saint stands at the Hill of Tara.
Far better known than the actual life of St Patrick are the innumerable legends that sprang up around his name in the centuries after his death (which is not, of course, to say that all of these legends are merely legendary). There is the story, for instance, of how the chieftain Dichu raised a sword to slay the Christian missionary only to find his arm frozen above his head until he professed obedience to Patrick. Or the tale of how Patrick came before the idol of the demon-god Crom-cruach - a gold-plated pillar to which infants were regularly offered - and reduced it to dust with a single touch of his crosier.
Perhaps the most colourful of these legends concerns Patrick's contest with the Druids in 433, early in his mission. Hearing that the kings of Ireland had gathered at Tara, the seat of the High King, for a great feast day, Patrick went there hoping to gain a hearing. As it happened, the royal assembly coincided with Easter. By royal decree, all fires were to be extinguished throughout the land until the sacred fire had been lit at Tara: a decree that Patrick and his disciples defied. On Easter eve they went to the top of the hill of Slane, across the valley from Tara, and lit a great Paschal bonfire at midnight. Supposedly the Druids of Tara exerted all their magical powers to put out the flames, but were unsuccessful.
Then, in the morning, Patrick led an Easter procession across the valley.
The Druids, it is said, used magic incantations to cause an impenetrable cloud of darkness to descend upon Tara and over the surrounding valleys; however, when Patrick challenged them to disperse the darkness again, they suddenly found themselves unable to do so. Patrick, though, chased the darkness away with a single prayer.
Nor does the tale end there. Lochru, the chief of the Druids, it continues, rose into the air and began flying around the brow of Tara. Patrick merely knelt in prayer, and the hapless heathen tumbled out of the sky to an abrupt demise at the foot of the hill. As one might expect, the Ard Righ - the High King - was persuaded by this to allow Patrick to preach the faith in all the lands of Eire.
It is a winsome tale - despite Lochru's grisly end - but, at the end of the day, it is hardly more remarkable than the unquestionably true story of a single man, with no great worldly resources at his disposal, succeeding by a life of sheer unwavering devotion in changing the faith of an entire people.
NOTICE "EASTER" IS MENTIONED..... THAT WAS PAGAN..... THERE IS NO PROOF PATRICK OBSERVED THE PAGAN EASTER [NOW ADOPTED OVER IN ROME, FROM THE MIDDLE TO LATE SECOND CENTURY]. ROME HAD NOT YET ARRIVED WITH HER THEOLOGY UNTIL AFTER THE DEATH OF PATRICK. THE WRITER MAKES ALL THIS SOUND AS IF IT IS ROMAN CATHOLICISM THAT IS HERE BEING TALKED ABOUT; MAKING IT SOUND LIKE THERE WAS NO OTHER CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY IN THIS PART OF THE WORLD, BUT ROMAN THEOLOGY. SUCH WAS VERY FAR FROM THE TRUTH, AS PROVED BY MANY OTHER STUDIES ON THIS WEBSITE.