THE HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH CHURCH
CHAPTER 1: On the death of Pope Gregory
About this time, in the year of our Lord 605, having ruled the apostolic Roman Church most illustriously for thirteen years, six months, and ten days, the blessed Pope Gregory died and was taken up to his eternal home in heaven. And it is fitting that he should receive fuller mention in this history, since it was through his zeal that our English nation was brought from the bondage of Satan to the Faith of Christ, and we may rightly term him our own apostle. For during his pontificate, while he exercised supreme authority over all the churches of Christendom that had already long since been converted, he transformed our still idolatrous nation into a church of Christ. So we may rightly describe him by the term apostle; for if he is not an apostle to others, yet doubtless he is to us, and we are the seal of his apostleship in the Lord.
[NO BRITAIN DID NOT RECEIVE CHRISTIANITY THROUGH ROME; CHRISTIANITY WAS ALREADY THERE, DOING QUITE WELL WITHOUT ROME. THE “BRITISH CHURCH” WAS ESTABLISHED CENTURIES BEFORE POPE GREGORY EVER CAME ON THE SCENE. THE PURE GOSPEL WAS BROUGHT TO BRITAIN BY SOME OF THE VERY EARLY CHRISTIANS, WITHIN YEARS AFTER THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD. THE ROMAN CHURCH FOUND IN BRITAIN WHAT IT CALLED “JEWISH HERECY” WHICH IT IMMEDIATELY STARTED TO OBLITERATE; TOOK THEM CENTURIES, BUT ABOUT 1100 A.D. THEY HAD MAINLY OBLITERATED THE OLD BRITISH CHRISTIANITY, AND REPLACED IT WITH THE BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION THAT WAS ROME - Keith Hunt]
Gregory was Roman-born, son of Gordian, and descended from ancestors not only noble but devout. Among them was Felix, once bishop of the same apostolic see, a man of high distinction in the Church of Christ, and Gregory maintained this family tradition by the nobility and devotion of his religious life. By God's grace, he turned his aptitude for worldly success wholly to the attainment of heavenly glory. For he suddenly retired from secular life and sought admission to a monastery. There he entered upon a life of such perfection in grace that in later years he used to recall with tears how his mind was set on high things, soaring above all that is transitory, and how he was able to devote himself entirely to thoughts of heaven. Remaining in the body, he could yet transcend its limitations in contemplation, and looked forward to death, which most men regard as a punishment, as the gateway to life and reward of his labours. He used to mention this, not in order to call attention to his increase in virtue, but lamenting rather the decrease in virtue that he believed himself to have suffered through his pastoral responsibilities. One day, in private conversation with his deacon Peter, Gregory described his former spiritual state, then sadly continued: “My pastoral responsibilities now compel me to have dealings with worldly men, and after the unclouded beauty of my former peace, it seems that my mind is bespattered with the mire of daily affairs. For when it has squandered itself in attention to the worldly affairs of numberless people, even though it turns inward again to meditate on spiritual things, it does so with unmistakably lessened powers. So when I compare what I now endure with what I have lost, and when I weigh that loss, my burden seems greater than ever.”
Holy Gregory spoke in this way from deep humility. Yet we cannot but believe that he lost none of his monastic perfection through his pastoral cares, and indeed made greater spiritual progress by his labours for the conversion of souls than in his former peaceful life, especially since, even when he became Pope, he ordered his house as a monastery. When he was first summoned from his monastery, ordained to the ministry of the altar, and sent to Constantinople as representative of the apostolic see, he never abandoned his spiritual exercises even amid the concourse of an earthly palace. For some of his fellow-monks were so devoted to him that they accompanied him to the Imperial city, and he began to maintain a regular religious observance with them. In this way, as he records, their example proved an anchor-cable that held him fast to the peaceful shore of prayer while he was tossed on the restless waves of worldly affairs, and his studies in their company enabled him to refresh a mind distracted by earthly concerns. By their fellowship he was not only strengthened against the temptations of the world, but inspired to ever greater spiritual activity.
POPE GREGORY’S EXPOUNDING OF JOB
When these companions urged him to write a mystical commentary on the often obscure book of Job, he could not refuse a task imposed on him by brotherly affection, which would be of help to many people. So in a work of thirty-five sections he gave a marvellously clear exposition, showing first the literal meaning of the book, then how it refers to the sacraments of Christ and the Church, and in what sense it applies to each one of the faithful. He began this work when Papal representative in the Imperial city, and completed it in Rome after he became Pope.
During his stay in Constantinople he encountered a new heresy about our state at the resurrection and aided by the grace of Catholic truth crushed it in the very moment of birth. For Eutychius, bishop of that city, was proclaiming that our bodies will then be impalpable, of finer texture than wind and air: but when Gregory heard this, he proved both by the light of reason and by the example of our Lord's Resurrection that this opinion is utterly opposed to orthodox belief. For the Catholic belief is that the body, when transfigured in the glory of immortality, is indeed made finer by the operation of spiritual power, but remains palpable by reason of its nature. This is exemplified in our Lord's risen body, of which he said to the disciples: “Handle Me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have.” In defence of the Faith, our venerable father Gregory contested this rising heresy so effectively that, with the help of the devout Emperor Tiberius Constantine, it was entirely suppressed, and no one has since been found to revive it.
[MAYBE IT WAS NOT REVIVED BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS, BOTH SIDES WERE CORRECT. WHILE JESUS COULD APPEAR IN THE FLESH AND BONE (BLOOD NOT REQUIRED FOR THOSE WHO ARE IMMORTAL) AND BE TOUCHED, HE COULD ALSO DISAPPEAR FROM SIGHT, AS IT IS WRITTEN HE DID; HE COULD APPEAR TO THEM IN A SECOND (ACTUALLY SPLIT-SECOND) IN A ROOM WHERE ALL ENTRANCED WERE CLOSED, AND THEY COULD TOUCH HIM, THEN IN A SPLIT-SECOND DISAPPEAR. TAKE SOME VERSES WHILE IGNORING OTHER VERSES ON A SUBJECT, IS HAVING TUNNEL VISION THEOLOGY. GOD MADE ALL THAT WE CONSIDER “MATTER” (WHICH IS REALLY NOT MATTER PER SE AS MODERN SCIENCE NOW REVEALS - THE NEW BOOK CALLED “PROOF OF GOD” BY TOMPKINS AND HAISCH SHOW THIS TRUTH), HENCE HE CAN IF HE WISHES MAKE HIMSELF INTO “MATTER” TO BE TOUCHED, THEN VANISH BACK INTO “SPIRIT” THAT ALL THINGS IN THE UNSEEN WORLD ARE MADE OF - SPIRIT - WHICH DOES NOT MEAN THINGS IN THAT WORLD ARE FORMLESS. THIS I HAVE PROVED IN STUDIES ON “DEATH AND RESURRECTION” AND “ALL ABOUT GOD, CHRIST, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT” ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt]
GREGORY’S OTHER BOOKS
Gregory also wrote a notable book, The Pastoral Oflice in which he describes in clear terms the qualities essential in those who rule the Church, showing how they should live; with what discernment they should instruct their various pupils; and with what constant awareness they should daily call to mind their own frailty. He also compiled forty Homilies on the Gospel, which he divided into two volumes of equal size. He wrote four books of in which, at the request of his deacon Peter, he assembled the most splendid achievements of saints in Italy known or reported to him, to serve as patterns of holy life for posterity. So, whereas in his Commentaries he showed what virtues we should strive for, in describing the miracles of the saints he made clear the splendour of those virtues. In twenty-two homilies he also revealed the illumination latent in the early and latter parts of the prophet Ezekiel, which had hitherto remained very obscure. Further, he compiled a book of answers in reply to the questions of Saint Augustine, first bishop of the English nation, which I have already mentioned and quoted in full in this history. In conjunction with the bishops of Italy he also compiled the short Synodical Book, which deals with the administration of the Church. To these must be added his personal letters. The extent of his writings is all the more amazing when one considers that throughout his youth, to quote his own words, he was often in agony from gastric pain, perpetually worn out by internal exhaustion and frequently troubled by a slow but chronic fever. But in all these afflictions he reflected that holy scripture says: “The Lord scourgeth every son whom He receiveth”, and the greater his worldly sufferings, the greater his assurance of eternal joy.
Much might be said of his imperishable genius, which was unimpaired even by the most severe physical afflictions; for while other popes devoted themselves to building churches and adorning them with gold and silver, Gregory's sole concern was to save souls. Whatever money he had he bestowed zealously to relieve the poor, in order that “his righteousness might endure for ever, and his horn be exalted with honour.” Like Job, he might justly claim, “When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me, because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my judgement was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor; and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.” And again, “I have not withheld the poor from their desire, nor caused the eye of the widow to fail; nor have I eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof. For in my youth compassion grew up with me, and it came forth with me from my mother s womb.”
[THERE IS NO DENYING POPE GREGORY WAS A MAN OF TALENT AND LEARNING, AND WITH IT ALL, HUMILITY AND A SERVING MIND-SET TO ALL PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY TO THE PEOPLE THAT JOB TALKS ABOUT. SO IN MANY WAYS HE WAS THE JOB OF HIS TIME; IT WILL BE EASY FOR HIM IN THE SECOND RESURRECTION TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRUTHS OF GOD HE DID NOT HAVE IN HIS FIRST PHYSICAL LIFE TIME - Keith Hunt]
Among his deeds of kindness and justice, this also finds a place, that he saved our nation from the grasp of the ancient Enemy by the preachers whom he sent us, and brought it into the abiding liberty of God. He was full of joy at its conversion and salvation, as he mentions with fitting commendation in his Commentary on Job: “The tongue of Britain, which formerly knew only the utterance of barbarity, has some time since begun to cry the Hebrew Alleluia to the praise of God. The once restless sea now lies quiet beneath the feet of His saints, and its ungovernable rages, which no earthly princes could tame by the sword, are now quelled at the simple word of His priests in the fear of God. Heathen nations who never trembled before armed hosts now accept and obey the teachings of the humble. For now that the grace of the knowledge of God has enlightened them and His heavenly works are received and miracles too are published abroad, the fear of God restrains them from their former wickedness, and they desire with all their hearts to win the prize of eternal life.” In these words Gregory proclaims that the holy Augustine and his companions guided the English nation to knowledge of the truth not only by their preaching but also by the display of miracles.
[THE SUPPOSITION THAT BRITAIN DID NOT HAVE TRUE CHRISTIANITY ALREADY WITHIN ITS SHORES, IS A ROMAN CATHOLIC SUPPOSITION. BUT IT IS TRUE THAT WHEN ROME WAS ENTERING BRITAIN WITH ITS BRAND OF CHRISTIANITY, SO WERE THE ANGLO-SAXON, JUTES, AND OTHER BRANCHES OF THE HOUSE OF JOSEPH FROM THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL. IT WAS THESE PEOPLE NOW SETTLING IN ENGLAND THAT THE POPE AND ROME’S THEOLOGY TOOK ROOT AND FLOURISHED - Keith Hunt]
Among many other matters, blessed Pope Gregory decreed that Mass should be said over the tombs of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul in their churches. He also introduced into the Canon of the Mass three petitions filled with the utmost perfection: Order our days in Thy peace, preserve us from eternal damnation, and number us in the flock of Thine elect, Through Christ our Lord.
Gregory ruled the Church during the reigns of the Emperors Maurice and Phocas, and in the second year of the latter's reign he passed from this life and entered the true life of heaven. His body was laid to rest on March the twelfth in the church of Saint Peter the Apostle before the sacristy, whence he will one day rise in glory with other shepherds of Holy Church. On his tomb was inscribed this epitaph:
Receive, O earth, the body that you gave,
Till God's lifegiving power destroy the grave.
Over his heaven-bound soul death holds no sway
Who steps through death into a fairer day.
The life of this high Pontiff, here at rest,
With good deeds past all reckoning was blest.
He fed the hungry, and he clothed the chill,
And by his teaching shielded souls from ill.
Wisdom was in his words, and all he wrought
Was as a pattern, acting what he taught.
To Christ he led the Angles, by God's grace
Swelling Faith's armies with a new-won race.
O holy pastor, all your work and prayer
To God you offered with a shepherd's care.
Triumphant now you reap your just reward,
Raised to high place, the consul of the Lord.
[AS YOU SEE THE IDEA AND TEACHING OF THE “IMMORTAL” SOUL WAS WELL ESTABLISHED THEOLOGY BY 600 A.D. IN THE CHURCH AT ROME; GOING OF TO HEAVEN AT DEATH FOR THE “GOOD” CHRISTIAN PEOPLE WAS A SET TEACHING. ALL COMPLETELY WRONG AS I’VE PROVED IN OTHER STUDIES - Keith Hunt]
I must here relate a story, handed down to us by the tradition of our forebears, which explains Gregory's deep desire for the salvation of our nation. We are told that one day some merchants who had recently arrived in Rome displayed their many wares in the market-place. Among the crowd who thronged to buy was Gregory, who saw among other merchandise some boys exposed for sale. These had fair complexions, fine-cut features, and beautiful hair. Looking at them with interest, he enquired from what country and what part of the world they came. “They come from the island of Britain” he was told, “where all the people have this appearance” He then asked whether the islanders were Christians, or whether they were still ignorant heathens. “They are pagans” he was informed. “Alas!” said Gregory with a heartfelt sigh: “how sad that such bright-faced folk are still in the grasp of the Author of darkness, and that such graceful features conceal minds void of God's grace! What is the name of this race?” “They are called Angles,” he was told. “That is appropriate” he said, “for they have angelic faces, and it is right that they should become joint-heirs with the angels in heaven. And what is the name of the province from which they have been brought?” “Deira,” was the answer. “Good. They shall indeed be rescued de ira - from wrath - and called to the mercy of Christ. And what is the name of their king?” “Aelle,” he was told. “Then” said Gregory, making play on the name, “it is right that their land should echo the praise of God our Creator in the word Alleluia.”
Approaching the Pope of the apostolic Roman see - for he was not yet Pope himself - Gregory begged him to send preachers of the word to the English people in Britain to convert them to Christ, and declared his own eagerness to attempt the task should the Pope see fit to direct it. This permission was not forthcoming, for although the Pope himself was willing, the citizens of Rome would not allow Gregory to go so far away from the city. But directly Gregory succeeded to the Papacy himself, he put in hand this long cherished project. He sent other missionaries in his place; but it was his prayers and encouragement that made their mission fruitful. And I have thought it fitting to include this traditional story in the history of our Church.
CHAPTER 2: Augustine urges the British bishops to cement Catholic unity, and performs a miracle in their presence. Retribution follows their refusal [A.D. 603]
[BEDE’S FIRST MENTION OF A MAJOR DIFFERENCE OVER THE PASSOVER/EASTER DEBATE - Keith Hunt]
Meanwhile, with the aid of King Ethelbert, Augustine summoned the bishops and teachers of the nearest British province to a conference at a place still known to the English as Augustine's Oak, which lies on the border between the Hwiccas and the West Saxons. He began by urging them to establish brotherly relations with him in Catholic unity, and to join with him in God's work of preaching the Gospel to the heathen.
Now the Britons did not keep Easter at the correct time, but between the fourteenth and twentieth days of the moon - a calculation depending on a cycle of eighty-four years. Furthermore, certain other of their customs were at variance with the universal practice of the Church.
[HERE IS BEDE’S FIRST MENTION OF PASSOVER/EASTER DISPARITIES BETWEEN THE BRITISH CHURCH AND THE ROMAN CHURCH. THE BRITISH CHURCH ONCE HAD THE FULL TRUTH OF WHEN AND HOW TO CELEBRATE THE LORDS DEATH….. THROUGH TIME IT BECAME CORRUPTED AS WE SHALL SEE IN DETAIL LATER - Keith Hunt]
But despite protracted discussions, neither the prayers nor the advice nor the censures of Augustine and his companions could obtain the compliance of the Britons, who stubbornly preferred their own customs to those in universal use among Christian Churches. Augustine then brought this lengthy and fruitless conference to a close, saying: “Let us ask our Lord, who makes men to be of one mind in His Father's house, to grant us a sign from heaven and show us which tradition is to be followed, and by what roads we are to hasten our steps towards His kingdom. Bring in some sick person, and let the beliefs and practice of those who can heal him be accepted as pleasing to God and to be followed by all.” On the reluctant agreement of his opponents, a blind Englishmen was led in and presented to the British priests, from whose ministry he obtained no healing or benefit. Then Augustine, as the occasion demanded, knelt in prayer to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, imploring that the man's lost sight might be restored and prove the means of bringing the Light of spiritual grace to the minds of countless believers. Augustine as the true herald of the Light of Christ. The Britons declared that, while they had learnt that what Augustine taught was the true way of righteousness, they could not abandon their ancient customs without the consent and approval of their own people, and therefore asked that a second and fuller conference might be held.
[THE FOLLY OF THE BRITISH CHURCH NOT KNOWING YOU DO NOT SETTLE WHAT IS TRUTH, BY WHO CAN DO A MIRACLE; FOR THE FORCES OF DARKNESS CAN PERFORM, WHAT TO US WOULD BE DECLARED A MIRACLES - Keith Hunt]
This was arranged, and seven British bishops and many very learned men are said to have attended, who came mainly from their most famous monastery which the English call Bancornaburg,1 then ruled by Abbot Dinoot. Those summoned to this council first visited a wise and prudent hermit, and enquired of him whether they should abandon their own traditions at Augustine's demand. He answered: “If he is a man of God, follow him.” “But how can we be sure of this?” they asked. “Our Lord says, Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me for I am meek and lowly in hearty” he replied. “Therefore if Augustine is meek and lowly in heart, it shows that he bears the yoke of Christ himself, and offers it to you. But if he is haughty and unbending, then he is not of God, and we should not listen to him.” Then they asked, “But how can we know even this?” “Arrange that he and his followers arrive first at the place appointed for the conference,” answered the hermit. “If he rises courteously as you approach, rest assured that he is the servant of Christ and do as he asks. But if he ignores you and does not rise, then, since you are in the majority, do not comply with his demands.”
[THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY PLANET PLUTO ADVICE; MANY CAN LOOK HUMBLE AND MEEK AND WITH NO VANITY OR POMPOUSNESS; MANY CAN COME LIKE LAMBS BUT ARE WOLVES IN SHEEPS CLOTHING. GOD’S WORD TELLS US HOW TO ASCERTAIN WHO SPEAKS THE TRUTH - ISIAH 8:20 - THE WORD OF TRUTH, THE BIBLE, IS OUR GUIDE TO TRUTH - NOT SOME OUTWARD PHYSICAL MANNERISMS - Keith Hunt]
The British bishops carried out his suggestion, and it happened that Augustine remained seated in his chair. Seeing this, they became angry, accusing him of pride and taking pains to contradict all that he said. Augustine then declared: ‘There are many points on which your customs conflict with ours, or rather with those of the universal Church. Nevertheless, if you will agree with me on three points, I am ready to countenance all your other customs, although they are contrary to our own. These points are: to keep Easter at the correct time; to complete the Sacrament of Baptism, by which we are reborn to God, according to the rites of the holy, Roman, and apostolic Church; and to join with us in preaching the word of God to the English.” But the bishops refused these things, nor would they recognize Augustine as their archbishop, saying among themselves that if he would not rise to greet them
i. Bangor-is-Coed, co. Flint.
in the first instance, he would have even less regard for them once they submitted to his authority. Whereupon Augustine, that man of God, is said to have answered with a threat that was also a prophecy: if they refused to accept peace with fellow-Christians, they would be forced to accept war at the hands of enemies; and if they refused to preach to the English the way of life, they would eventually suffer at their hands the penalty of death. And, by divine judgement, all these things happened as Augustine foretold.
[WELL THE BRITONS WERE STILL AT WAR WITH THE ANGLO-SAXONS AND OTHERS INVADING THEIR SHORE AND SETTLING IN BRITAIN, SO PROPHESYING DEATH WAS NOT BUT COMMON LOGIC - Keith Hunt]
Some while after this, the powerful king Ethelfrid, whom I have already mentioned, raised a great army at the City of Legions - which the English call Legacestir1, but which the Britons more correctly name Carlegion - and made a great slaughter of the faithless Britons. Before battle was joined, he noticed that their priests were assembled apart in a safer place to pray for their soldiers, and he enquired who they were and what they had come there to do. Most of these priests came from the monastery of Bangor, where there are said to have been so many monks that although it was divided into seven sections, each under its own head, none of these sections contained less than three hundred monks, all of whom supported themselves by manual work. Most of these monks, who had kept a three-day fast, had gathered to pray at the battle, guarded by a certain Brocmail, who was there to protect them from the swords of the barbarians while they were intent on prayer. As soon as King Ethelfrid was informed of their purpose, he said: “If they are crying to their God against us, they are fighting against us even if they do not bear arms.” He therefore directed his first attack against them, and then destroyed the rest of the accursed army, not without heavy loss to his own forces. It is said that of the monks who had come to pray about twelve hundred perished in this battle, and only fifty escaped by flight. Brocmail and his men took to their heels at the first assault, leaving those whom they should have protected unarmed and exposed to the sword-
strokes of the enemy. Thus, long after his death, was fulfilled Bishop Augustine's prophecy that the faithless Britons, who had rejected the offer of eternal salvation, would incur the punishment of temporal destruction.
[NO THE BRITONS WERE NOT FAITHLESS; THE MEETING WAS BETWEEN THE RELIGIOUS BRITONS AND AUGUSTINE AS WE HAVE JUST READ. MORE SLANTING AND BIAS FROM BEDE, IN FAVOR OF HIS ROMAN THEOLOGY - Keith Hunt]
CHAPTER 3: Augustine consecrates Mettitus and Justus as bishops: his own death [A.D. 604]
In the year of our Lord 604, Augustine, Archbishop of Britain, consecrated two bishops, Mellitus and Justus. Mellitus was appointed to preach in the province of the East Saxons, which is separated from Kent by the river Thames, and bounded on the east by the sea. Its capital is the city of London, which stands on die banks of the Thames, and is a trading centre for many nations who visit it by land and sea. At this time Sabert, Ethelbert's nephew through his sister Ricula, ruled the province under the suzerainty or Ethelbert, who, as already stated, governed all the English peoples as far north as the Humber. When this province too had received the faith through the preaching of Mellitus, King Ethelbert built a church dedicated to the holy Apostle Paul in the city of London, which he appointed as the episcopal see of Mellitus and his successors. Augustine also consecrated Justus as bishop of a Kentish city which the English call Hrofescaestir1 after an early chieftain named Hrof. This lies nearly twenty-four miles west of Canterbury, and a church in honour of Saint Andrew the Apostle was built here by King Ethelbert, who made many gifts to the bishops of both these churches as well as to Canterbury; he later added lands and property for the maintenance of the bishop's household.
When our father Augustine, the beloved of God, died, his body was laid to rest just outside the church of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, since the church was not yet completed or consecrated. But as soon as it was dedicated, his body
was brought inside and buried in the north porch with great honour. This is also the last resting-place of all succeeding archbishops except Theodore and Bertwald, whose bodies are inside the church, no space remaining in the porch. Almost in the centre of the church stands an altar dedicated in honour of blessed Pope Gregory, at which a priest of the place says solemn mass in their memory each Saturday. On the tomb of Augustine is inscribed this epitaph:
'Here rests the Lord Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, who, having been sent here by blessed Gregory, Pontiff of the City of Rome, and supported by God with miracles, guided King Ethelbert and his people from the worship of idols to the Faith of Christ. He ended the days of his duty in peace, and died on the twenty-sixth day of May in the above King's reign.'
CHAPTER 4: Laurence and his fellow-bishops urge the Scots to maintain the unity of the Church, particularly in the observance of Easter: Mellitus visits Rome [A.D. 605]
Augustine was succeeded in the archbishopric by A Laurence, whom he had consecrated during his own lifetime; for he feared that even a short interval without a pastor might cause a setback to the newly established Church. In so doing, he followed the precedent set by the Church's first Pastor, blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, who, having established the Church in Rome, is said to have consecrated Clement as his assistant and successor.
[THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE THAT THE APOSTLES PETER FOUNDED THE CHURCH IN ROME; CERTAINLY PETER NEVER MENTIONS IT IN HIS EPISTLES; NOR DOES PAUL STATE WHO FOUNDED THE CHURCH IN ROME; WE DO KNOW THAT THE INFIDEL SIMON [ALSO KNOWN AS PETER] ACTS 8: 9-25 WENT TO ROME - Keith Hunt]
ONCE MORE PASSOVER/EATER DIFFERENCE IS NOTED
On receiving the dignity of archbishop, Laurence gave constant encouragement and a holy example to his flock, working tirelessly to perfect the edifice of the Church whose foundations he had seen so nobly laid. Nor was his interest limited to the Church newly recruited from the English; for he sought also to extend his pastoral care to the original inhabitants of Britain, and to the Scots of Ireland adjacent to this island of Britain. For having learned that in their own country the life and practice of the Scots and of the Britons were in many respects unorthodox - particularly in the observance of Easter, which, as previously explained, they did not keep at the right time, but between the fourteenth and twentieth days of the moon - he wrote them a letter jointly with his fellow-bishops, urging them to join in maintaining the unity, peace, and Catholic customs of the Christian Church established throughout the world. This letter commences:
“To our dear brothers the lord bishops and abbots throughout Scottish lands: from Laurence, Mellitus, and Justus, servants of the servants of God.
When, in accordance with its custom, which holds good throughout the world, the apostolic see sent us to the western lands to preach the Gospel to the heathen peoples, we came to this island of Britain. Until we realized the true situation, we had a high regard for the devotion both of the Britons and of the Scots, believing that they followed the customs of the Universal Church. On further acquaintance with the Britons, we imagined that the Scots must be better. We have now, however, learned through Bishop Dagan on his visit to this island, and through Abbot Columbanus in Gaul, that the Scots are no different from the Britons in their practices. For when Bishop Dagan visited us, he refused not only to eat with us but even to take his meal in the same house as ourselves.”
Laurence and his fellow-bishops also wrote a dignified letter to the British bishops, in which he tried to bring them into Catholic unity; but the present state of affairs shows how little he succeeded.
At this time Mellitus, Bishop of London, visited Rome to acquaint the Pope with the affairs of the Church of the English. This most reverend Pope had summoned a council of the bishops of Italy to draw up regulations for monastic life and discipline, and Mellitus sat with them at this council, which took place on the twenty-seventh of February 610 in the eighth year of the Emperor Phocas. The presence of Mellitus enabled him to subscribe to all the regular decisions of the council and confirm them with his authority, and to convey them to the Churches of the English for their acceptance and promulgation on his return to Britain. He also brought back letters from the Pope both to God's beloved Archbishop Laurence and all his clergy, and to King Ethelbert and his people. This Pope was Boniface [IV], third bishop of Rome after Gregory, who persuaded the Emperor Phocas to give the Christian Church the Roman temple anciently known as the Pantheon, as though it were emblematic of all the gods. After solemn purification, Boniface consecrated it as the Church of the Holy Mother of God and all Christian Martyrs; and once its company of devils had been cast out it became a memorial to the Company of Saints.
CHAPTER 5: At the deaths of Ethelbert and Sabert their successors revive idolatry: on this account, both Mellitus and Justus leave Britain [A.D. 616]
IN the year of our Lord 616 - the twenty-first year after Augustine and his companions were dispatched to preach to the English nation - King Ethelbert of the Kentish folk died after a glorious earthly reign of fifty-six years, and entered the eternal joys of the kingdom of heaven. He was the third English king to hold sway over all the provinces south of the river Humber, but he was the first to enter the kingdom of heaven. The first king to hold such overlordship was Aelle, King of the South Saxons; the second was Caelin, King of the West Saxons, known in the speech of his people as Ceaulin; the third, as I have mentioned, was Ethelbert, King of the Kentish folk; the fourth was Redwald, King of the East Angles, who even in the lifetime of Ethelbert was winning pre-eminence for his own people. The fifth was Edwin, King of the Northumbrians, that is, the people living north of the Humber, who was a powerful king, and ruled all the peoples of Britain, both Angles and Britons, with the exception of the Kentish folk. He also brought under English rule the British Mevanian Isles,1 which lie between Ireland and Britain. The sixth was Oswald, also King of the Northumbrians but a most Christian one, who maintained the same frontiers; the seventh was his brother Oswy, who for a while ruled the same territory, and to a large extent conquered and made tributary the Picts and Scots in the northern parts of Britain. But I shall speak of these kings later.
King Ethelbert died on the twenty-fourth of February, twenty-one years after embracing the Faith, and was buried in Saint Martin's Porch in the Church of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, where Bertha his queen also rests. Among the many benefits that his wisdom conferred on the nation, he introduced with the consent of his counsellors a code of law inspired by the example of the Romans, which was written in English, and remains in force to this day. The first of his laws is designed to protect those whose persons and doctrines he had embraced, and prescribes what satisfaction must be made by any person who steals property from the Church, the bishop, or other clergy.
Ethelbert was son of Irminric, son of Octa, and after his grandfather Oeric, surnamed Oisc, the kings of the Kentish folk are commonly known as Oiscings. The father of Oeric was Hengist, who first came to Britain with his son Oeric at the invitation of Vortigern, as I have already related.
[A RETURN TO HEATHEN WAYS AND REJECTION OF THE ROMAN CHURCH - Keith Hunt]
The death of Ethelbert and the accession of his son Eadbald proved to be a severe setback to the growth of the young Church; for not only did he refuse to accept the Faith of Christ, but he was also guilty of such fornication as the Apostle Paul mentions as being unheard of even among the heathen, in that he took his father's (second) wife as his own. His immorality was an incentive to those who, either out of fear or favour to the king his father, had submitted to the discipline
1. Man and Anglesey.
of faith and chastity, to revert to their former uncleanness. However, this apostate king did not escape the scourge of God's punishment; for he was subject to frequent fits of insanity and possessed by an evil spirit.
The death of the Christian King Sabert of the East Saxons aggravated the upheaval; for, when he departed for the heavenly kingdom he left three sons, all pagans, to inherit his earthly kingdom. These were quick to profess idolatry, which they had pretended to abandon during the lifetime of their father, and encouraged their people to return to the old gods. It is told that when they saw Bishop Mellitus offering solemn Mass in church, they said with barbarous presumption: “Why do you not offer us the white bread which you used to give to our father Saba (for so they used to call him), while you continue to give it to the people in church?” The Bishop answered, “If you will be washed in the waters of salvation as your father was, you may share in the consecrated bread, as he did; but so long as you reject the water of life, you are quite unfit to receive the Bread of Life.” They retorted: “We refuse to enter that font and see no need for it; but we want to be strengthened with this bread.” The Bishop then carefully and repeatedly explained that this was forbidden, and that no one was admitted to receive the most holy Communion without the most holy cleansing of Baptism. At last they grew very angry, and said: “If you will not oblige us by granting such an easy request, you shall no longer remain in our kingdom.” And they drove him into exile, and ordered all his followers to leave their borders.
After his expulsion, Mellitus came to Kent to consult with his fellow-bishops Laurence and Justus on the best course of action; and they decided that it would be better for all of them to return to their own country and serve God in freedom, rather than to remain impotently among heathen who had rejected the Faith. Mellitus and Justus left first and settled in Gaul to await the outcome of events. But the kings who had driven out the herald of truth did not long remain un-punished for their worship of demons; for they and their army fell in battle against the West Saxons. Nevertheless, the fate of the instigators did not cause their people to abandon their evil practices, or to return to the simple faith and love to be found in Christ alone.
CHAPTER 6: Laurence is reproved by Saint Peter, and converts King Eadbald to Christ. Mellitus and Justus are recalled [A.D. 616]
On the very night before Laurence too was to follow Mellitus and Justus from Britain, he ordered his bed to be placed in the Church of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, of which we have spoken several times. Here after long and fervent prayers for the sadly afflicted Church he lay down and fell asleep. At dead of night, blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, appeared to him, and set about him for a long time with a heavy scourge, demanding with apostolic sternness why he was abandoning the flock entrusted to his care, and to which of the shepherds he would commit Christ's sheep left among the wolves when he fled. “Have you forgotten my example?” asked Peter. “For the sake of the little ones whom Christ entrusted to me as proof of His love, I suffered chains, blows, imprisonment, and pain. Finally, I endured death, the death of crucifixion, at the hands of unbelievers and enemies of Christ, so that at last I might be crowned with Him.” Deeply moved by the words and scourging of blessed Peter, Christ's servant Laurence sought audience with the king early next morning, and removing his garment, showed him the marks of the lash. The king was astounded, and enquired who had dared to scourge so eminent a man; and when he learned that it was for his own salvation that the archbishop had suffered so severely at the hands of Christ's own Apostle, he was greatly alarmed. He renounced his idolatry, gave up his unlawful wife, accepted the Christian Faith, and was baptized henceforward promoting the welfare of the Church with every means at his disposal.
[WE SEE HERE A CLEAR EXAMPLE OF THE SATANIC WORLD THAT CAN GIVE VISIONS OF DEAD PEOPLE; ALL TO DECEIVE AND ENCOURAGE THE MINISTERS OF FALSE CHRISTIANITY, TO BOLDLY GO FORTH CONQUERING THE PEOPLE WITH FALSE AND DEMONIC TEACHINGS AND PRACTICES AND CUSTOMS OF A FALSE CHRISTIANITY - Keith Hunt]
The king also sent to Gaul and recalled Mellitus and Justus, giving them free permission to return and set their churches in order: so, the year after they left, they returned. Justus came back to his own city of Rochester; but the people of London preferred their own idolatrous priests, and refused to accept Mellitus as bishop. And since the king's authority in the realm was not so effective as that of his father, he was powerless to restore the bishop to his see against the refusal and resistance of the pagans. After his conversion, however, he and his people were zealous to observe the teachings of our Lord, and in the monastery of the most blessed Prince of the Apostles he built a church to the Holy Mother of God, which was consecrated by Archbishop Mellitus.
CHAPTER 7: The prayers of Bishop Mellitus put out a fire in his city [A.D. 619]
ON the second day of February in the same king's reign, the blessed Archbishop Laurence passed to the kingdom of heaven, and was buried in the monastery church of the holy Apostle Peter next to his predecessor. Mellitus, Bishop of London, became the third Archbishop of Canterbury in the succession of Augustine, while Justus, who was still living, ruled the Church of Rochester. While these bishops were guiding the Church of the English with great care and energy, they received letters of encouragement from Boniface, Bishop of the apostolic Roman see, who succeeded Deusdedit in the year of our Lord 619. And although Mellitus became crippled with the gout, his sound and ardent mind overcame his troublesome infirmity, ever reaching above earthly things to those that are heavenly in love and devotion. Noble by birth, he was even nobler in mind. I record one among many instances of his virtue. One day the city of Canterbury was set on fire through carelessness, and the spreading flames threatened to destroy it. Water failed to extinguish the fire, and already a considerable area of the city was destroyed. As the raging flames were sweeping rapidly towards his residence, the bishop, trusting in the help of God where man's help had failed, ordered himself to be carried into the path of its leaping and darting advance. In the place where the flames were pressing most fiercely stood the Church of the Four Crowned Martyrs. Hither the bishop was borne by his attendants, and here by his prayers this infirm man averted the danger which all the efforts of strong men had been powerless to check. For the southerly wind, which had been spreading the flames throughout the city, suddenly veered to the north, thus saving the places that lay in their path: then it dropped altogether, so that the fires burned out and died. Thus Mellitus, the man of God, afire with love for him, because it had been his practice by constant prayers and teaching to fend off storms of spiritual evil from himself and his people, was deservedly empowered to save them from material winds and flames.
[AGAIN TO SAY THIS WAS FROM GOD NEGATES THE POSSIBILITY IT WAS ALL DONE UNDER THE HAND OF THE EVIL ONE - WHO INDEED CAN WORK IN THE WORLD OF THE PHYSICAL TO DECEIVE PEOPLE THAT IT COMES FROM THE ETERNAL GOD - Keith Hunt]
Having ruled the Church five years, Mellitus likewise departed to the heavenly kingdom in the reign of King Eadbald, and was laid to rest with his predecessors in the same monastery church of the holy Apostle Peter on the twenty-fourth day of April, in the year of our Lord 624.
CHAPTER 8: Pope Boniface [V] sends the pallium with a letter to Justus, Mellitus’ successor [A.D. 624]
Justus, Bishop of Rochester, at once succeeded Mellitus as archbishop. He consecrated Romanus as Bishop of Rochester in his place, having received authority to consecrate bishops from Pope Boniface, successor to Pope Deusdedit. This letter of authority runs as follows:
“Boniface, to his well beloved brother Justus. The contents of your letter and the success granted to your work are double evidence of your devotion and diligence in spreading the Gospel of Christ. Almighty God has not been unmindful of the honour due to His Name, or of the reward due to your labours; for He has faithfully promised the preachers of the Gospel, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ This promise He has of His mercy especially fulfilled in your own ministry, opening the hearts of the nations to receive the mystery of the Gospel through your preaching. For He has crowned the wonderful progress of your good work with His blessing, and has granted a plentiful increase to the faithful employment of the talents entrusted to you, which will set your seal on many generations to come. This is the just reward of the constancy with which you have held to your appointed mission, while with commendable patience you await the redemption of this nation, so that it may profit through the merits of those who work for its salvation; for our Lord Himself has said, ‘He that endureth to the end shall be saved.’ By your patient hope and courageous endurance you have been saved, so that you may cleanse the hearts of the heathen from the ills implanted by nature and by superstition, and obtain mercy for them from their Saviour. We learn, furthermore, from the letters of our son King Ethelwald,1 how your profound knowledge of God's holy word has guided him to a real conversion and acceptance of the true Faith. We firmly trust in God's patience and mercy, and are confident that your preaching and ministry will effect a complete conversion of his own people and also of their neighbours. In this way, as the Scripture says, will you receive the reward of a task well done from the Lord and Giver of all good things, and the universal profession of the nations, after receiving the mysteries of the Christian Faith, will proclaim: ‘Their sound is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.’
Moved by your devotion, my brother, we are sending
1. i.e. Eadbald.
you by the bearer of this letter the pallium, which we grant you the privilege of wearing only when you celebrate the Holy Mysteries. We also grant you authority, under the guiding mercy of our Lord, to consecrate bishops as occasion may require, in order that the Gospel of Christ may be diffused by the mouths of many preachers among all nations as yet unconverted. We are confident that you will maintain with whole-hearted sincerity this dignity granted you by the favour of the Apostolic See, bearing in mind all that is symbolized by this highest of honours which you have received to wear on your shoulders. And, as you implore God's mercy, endeavour so to live and labour that when you stand before the judgement seat of God, you may display this honour which we grant you not only unstained but enhanced by the witness of all the souls which you have won.
God keep you in safety, my dearest brother.”
CHAPTER 9: The reign of King Edwin: Paulinus comes to preach the Gospel to him, and first administers the Sacrament of Baptism to his daughter and others [A.D. 625]
AT this time, the people of the Northumbrians, the English living north of the Humber, under Edwin their king received the Faith through the ministry of Paulinus, whom I have already mentioned. As a sign that he would come to the Faith and the heavenly kingdom, King Edwin received wide additions to his earthly realm, and brought under his sway all the territories inhabited either by English or by Britons, an achievement unmatched by any previous English king. He also brought the Isles of Anglesey and Man under English rule: of these, the southern island is the larger and more fertile, and by English reckoning, extends to nine hundred and sixty hides, while the other island extends to rather more than three hundred. The Northumbrian people's acceptance of the Faith of Christ came about through their king's alliance with the kings of Kent by his marriage to Ethelberga, known as Tata, a daughter of King Ethelbert. Edwin sent an embassy of nobles to her brother Eadbald, then king of the Kentish folk, to request her hand in marriage, but received the reply that it was not permissible for a Christian maiden to be given in marriage to a heathen husband, lest the Christian Faith and Sacraments be profaned by her association with a king who was wholly ignorant of the worship of the true God. When Edwin's messengers returned with this reply, he gave an assurance that he would place no obstacles in the way of the Christian Faith, and would afford complete freedom to Ethelberga and her attendants, both men and women, priests and servants, to live and worship in accordance with Christian belief and practice. He also professed himself willing to accept the religion of Christ if, on examination, His advisers decided that it appeared more holy and acceptable to God than their own.
On this understanding, the maiden was betrothed and sent to Edwin; and in accordance with the agreement Paulinus, a man beloved of God, was consecrated bishop, so that he could accompany the princess as her chaplain and by daily Mass and instruction preserve her and her companions from corruption by their association with the heathen.
Paulinus was consecrated bishop by Archbishop Justus on July 21st, 625, and came to Edwin with the princess as her spiritual counsellor in the marriage. But he was further determined to bring the nation to which he was sent to the knowledge of the Christian truth, and to fulfil the Apostle's saying, “to espouse her to one husband, that he might present her as a chaste virgin to Christ”. Therefore, directly he entered the province he began to toil unceasingly not only by God's help to maintain the faith of his companions unimpaired, but if possible to bring some of the heathen to grace and faith by his teaching. But although he laboured long, yet as the Apostle says, “the god of this world blinded the minds of them which believed not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine unto them.”
During the following year, an assassin named Eumer was sent into the province by Cuichelm, King of the West Saxons, in order to rob Edwin both of his kingdom and his life. This man had a double-edged, poisoned dagger, to ensure that if the wound itself were not mortal, the poison would complete its work. On Easter Day Eumer arrived at the royal residence by the Derwent, and was admitted into the king's presence on the pretext of delivering a message from his master. And while he was artfully delivering his pretended message, he suddenly sprang up, and drawing the dagger from beneath his clothes, attacked the king. Swift to see the king's peril, Lilla, his counsellor and best friend, having no shield to protect the king, interposed his own body to receive the blow; but even so, it was delivered with such force that it wounded the king through the body of his warrior. The assassin was immediately attacked on all sides, but killed yet another of the king's men named Fordhere in the ensuing struggle.
On the same holy night of Easter Day, the queen was delivered of a daughter, to be named Eanfled; and as the king thanked his gods in the presence of Bishop Paulinus for the birth of his daughter, the bishop gave thanks to Christ, and told the king that it was Christ who had given the queen a safe and painless delivery in response to his prayers. The king was greatly pleased at his words, and promised that if God would grant him life and victory over the king his enemy who had sent the assassin, he would renounce his idols and serve Christ; and as a pledge that he would keep his word he gave his infant daughter to Paulinus to be consecrated to Christ. Accordingly, on the Feast of Pentecost this infant, together with twelve others of her household, was the first of the Northumbrians to receive Baptism.
[BY NOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAD RESORTED TO BAPTISM BY SPRINKLING, AND SO EVEN INFANTS; IT AT FIRST ONLY BAPTIZED WITH EMERSION, SOME BAPTISMAL TANKS HAVE BEEN FOUND IN OLD CATHOLIC CHURCHES - Keith Hunt]
When the king had recovered from the assassin's wound, he summoned his forces, marched against the West Saxons, and in the ensuing campaign either slew or forced to surrender all those who had plotted his murder. Returning home victorious, the king would not receive the Sacrament of Christian Baptism at once or without due consideration, although he had already abandoned idol-worship when he promised that he would serve Christ. But he wished first to receive a full course of instruction in the Faith from the venerable Paulinus, and to discuss his proper course with those of his counsellors on whose wisdom he placed most reliance. For the king was by nature a wise and prudent man, and often sat alone in silent converse with himself for long periods, turning over in his inmost heart what he should do and which religion he should follow.
CHAPTER 10: Pope Boniface writes to the king, urging him to accept the Faith
About this time, the king received a letter from Boniface, Bishop of the apostolic Roman see, urging him to accept the Faith. Here follows a copy of this letter, sent by the blessed and apostolic Pope Boniface of the Church and City of Rome to the illustrious Edwin, King of the English:
“To the illustrious Edwin, King of the English: Boniface, Bishop, servant of the servants of God. The words of man can never express the power of the supreme Divinity, abiding in His own greatness, invisible, inscrutable, eternal, such that no human intelligence can understand or define how great it is. Nevertheless, God's humanity having opened the doors of man's heart to admit Him, mercifully infuses into their minds by secret inspiration some knowledge of Himself. Accordingly, we have undertaken to extend our priestly responsibility to disclose to you the fullness of the Christian Faith, in order that we may impart to your senses also the Gospel of Christ, which our Saviour commanded to be preached to all nations, and may offer you the medicine of salvation.
The clemency of the Divine Majesty, who by His Word alone created and established the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that in them is, has ordained the laws by which they subsist; and by the counsel of His co-eternal Word in the unity of the Holy Spirit He has formed man after His own image and likeness from the dust of the earth. He has further granted him a most excellent prerogative, placing him above all other creatures in order that he may inherit eternal life by obedience to His commandments. This God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - the undivided Trinity - is adored and worshipped by the human race from east to west, which confesses Him by the faith that brings salvation as Creator of all things and Maker of all men. To him are subject all imperial power and authority; for it is by him that kingship is conferred. Of His bountiful mercy and for the well-being of all his creatures, He has been pleased to warm with His Holy Spirit the frozen hearts of the most distant nations of the world in a most wonderful manner to knowledge of Himself. We presume that Your Majesty has heard in fuller detail, as from a neighbouring territory, how our Redeemer in His mercy has brought light to our excellent son Eadbald and the nations subject to him. We therefore trust that Heaven's mercy will grant this wonderful gift to you as it has to him, more especially as we understand that your gracious Queen and true partner is already endowed with the gift of eternal life through the regeneration of Holy Baptism. In this letter we affectionately urge Your Majesties to renounce idol-worship, reject the mummery of temples and the deceitful flattery of omens, and believe in God the Father Almighty, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. This Faith will free you from Satan's bondage, and through the Iterative power of the holy and undivided Trinity you will inherit eternal life.
The profound guilt of those who perversely cling to pernicious superstition and idolatrous worship is clearly shown by the damnable example of those they adore. Of such the Psalmist says: ‘All the gods of the nations are idols; but the Lord made the heavens’ And again: ‘Eyes have they but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not; they have hands, but they handle not; feet have they, but they walk not. They that make them are like unto them; so is everyone that trusteth in them.’ How can such objects have power to help you, when they are made for you from perishable materials by the labour of your own subjects and servants? Even their inanimate resemblance to living shapes is due solely to man's craftsmanship. Unless you move them they cannot move, but are like a stone fixed in its place: they are manufactured, but have no intelligence, being utterly insensible and having no power to hurt or help. We cannot understand how people can be so deluded as to worship as gods objects to which they themselves have given the likeness of a body.
Accept therefore the sign of the Holy Cross, by which the entire human race has been redeemed, and exorcize from your heart the damnable crafts and devices of the Devil, who jealously opposes all the workings of God's goodness. Overthrow and destroy these artificial gods of your own making; and the very destruction of these things, which never drew the breath of life and could never receive understanding from their makers, will itself afford you clear evidence of the nothingness of these objects of your former worship. Consider, you yourselves, to whom God has given the breath of life, are nobler than these man-made things; for Almighty God has ordered your descent through countless generations from the first man that He created. Therefore accept the knowledge of your Creator, who breathed into your frame the breath of life, and who sent His only-begotten Son for your redemption, that He might deliver you from original sin and the evil power of the Devil, and grant you the prize of Heaven.
Accept the message of the Christian teachers and the Gospel that they proclaim. Believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ His Son and in the Holy Spirit, the in-separable Trinity. Spurn the temptations of the Devil, and reject all the suggestions of our malicious and deceitful enemy. Thus, born again by water and the Holy Spirit, you will be empowered by God's generous aid to abide in the splendour of eternal glory with Him in whom you shall come to believe.
We impart to you the blessing of your protector, blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles. With it we send you a tunic with a golden ornament, and a cloak from Ancyra, asking Your Majesty to accept these gifts with the same goodwill as that with which we send them.”
[CERTAINLY A FINE OVERALL LETTER TO ANYONE TO ACCEPT THE CHRISTIAN FAITH, ACCEPT IN KNOWLEDGE GOD THE FATHER, HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT. WE SEE HERE AT THIS TIME, SOME OF THE POPES WERE TRULY EVANGELICAL IN APPROACH AND ZEAL TO BRING PEOPLE TO THE CHRISTIAN FAITH, AND OF COURSE TO THE ROMAN CATHOLIC FAITH, WHICH THEY BELIEVED WAS THE ONLY TRUE CHRISTIAN FAITH IN THE WORLD - Keith Hunt]
CHAPTER11: The Pope writes to the Queen, urging her to exert her influence to obtain the king's salvation
The Pope also wrote to Queen Ethelberga as follows. A copy of the letter of the blessed and apostolic Boniface, Pope of the City of Rome, to Ethelberga, Queen of King Edwin:
“To his illustrious daughter, Queen Ethelberga, from Bishop Boniface, servant or the servants of God. In His great providence, our loving Redeemer has offered a saving remedy to the human race, which He has saved from the Devil's enslaving tyranny by the shedding of His own precious Blood. Christ has made His Name known to the nations in various ways, so that they may acknowledge their Creator by accepting the mysteries of the Christian Faith. God in His mercy has revealed this truth to Your Majesty's own mind in your own mystical cleansing and regeneration. We have been greatly encouraged by God's goodness in granting you, through your own profession of faith, an opportunity to kindle a spark of the true religion in your husband; for in this way He will more swiftly inspire not only the mind of your illustrious Consort to love of Him, but the minds of your subjects as well.
We have been informed by those who came to report the laudable conversion of our glorious son King Eadbald that Your Majesty, who has also received the wonderful sacrament of the Christian Faith, shows a shining example of good works, pleasing to God. We also know that you carefully shun idol-worship and the allurements of temples and divinations; and that, having given your allegiance to Christ, you are unshakeably devoted to the love of our Redeemer and labour constantly to propagate the Christian Faith. Out of pastoral affection, we particularly enquired about your illustrious husband and learned that he still serves abominable idols and is slow to listen to the teaching of the preachers. It has caused us deep grief to hear that your partner remains a stranger to the knowledge of the most high and undivided Trinity. Our paternal responsibility moves us to urge Your Christian Majesty, imbued with the force of divine inspiration, not to avoid the duty imposed on us in season and out of season, in order that, with the assistance and strength of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the King also may be added to the Christian fold. Only in this way will you enjoy the full privileges of marriage in perfect union; for the Scripture says, 'The two shall become one flesh.’ But how can it be called a true union between you, so long as he remains alienated from the daylight of your Faith by the barrier of dark and lamentable error?
Let it therefore be your constant prayer that God of His mercy will bless and enlighten the King, so that you, who are united in one flesh by the ties of bodily affection, may after this fleeting life remain united for ever in the bond of faith. My illustrious daughter, persevere in using every effort to soften his heart by teaching him the commandments of God. Help him to understand the excellence of the mystery that you have accepted by believing and the marvellous worth of the reward that you have been accounted worthy to receive in this new birth. Melt the coldness of his heart by teaching him about the Holy Spirit, so that the warmth of divine faith may set his mind on fire through your constant encouragement and remove the numbing and deadening errors of paganism. If you do this, the witness of the Holy Spirit will most certainly be fulfilled in you, that ‘the unbelieving husband shall be saved through the believing wife.’ For this is why you have received our Lord's merciful goodness, in order that you may restore to your Redeemer with increase the fruits of faith and of the boundless blessings entrusted to you. We shall not cease from constant prayer that God will assist and guide you to accomplish this.
Having mentioned this matter, as fatherly duty and affection demands, we beg you to inform us, as soon as a suitable messenger is available, what measure of success God's goodness grants you in the conversion of your husband and the people over whom you reign. Good news will greatly relieve our mind, which anxiously awaits the longed-for salvation of you and yours. And when we see the glory of the divine atonement spreading ever more widely among you, we shall give glad and heartfelt thanks to God, the Giver of all good things, and to blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles.
We impart to you the blessing of your protector, blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles. With it we send you a silver mirror, together with a gold and ivory comb, asking Your Majesty to accept these gifts with the same goodwill as that with which we send them.”
TO BE CONTINUED
QUITE THE EVANGELICAL LETTER SENT BY THE POPE TO THE KING’S WIFE. CERTAINLY MANY OF THE POPES AT THIS AGE IN HISTORY WERE VERY ZEALOUS TO SEE THE CHRISTIAN FAITH ABOUNDING, AND SO MUCH SO IN THE BRITISH LANDS. SINCERITY IN THIS THERE IS NO QUESTION; THE POPES AND BISHOPS DID INDEED BELIEVE THEY HAD THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE FAITH OF CHRISTENDOM. THEY HAD AS YET TO OBTAIN THE FULL BACKING OF ALL NATIONS IN EUROPE AND SO WERE SPIRITUAL FIGHTERS ONLY; IT WOULD BE SOME CENTURIES LATER BEFORE THE ROMAN CATHOLIC RELIGION WOULD WAGE WAR, LITERALLY, UPON NATIONS THAT WOULD TRY TO DESTROY CHRISTIANITY. IT WAS MUCH LATER THAT THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WOULD PERSECUTE POCKETS OF CHRISTIANS THAT DISAGREED WITH HER THEOLOGY.