This mission was referred to as the Gregorian mission. This mission led by Augustine marked the turning point for the Anglo Saxons pagans; the mission spread to the regions spontaneously and later merged with the Celtic mission.1 The activities that preceded the arrival of St Augustine to Kent changed the history of the regions. With the Kent kingdom being powerful at the time, the conversion of the King ushered in immense success for the kingdom of Kent. St. Augustine Mission Background In 410, the province of Britannia was left by the Roman legions; this left the people of the Britannia to defend themselves from the attacks led by the Saxons. The Britannia was already converted to Christianity before they left. After the Legions withdrawal, non Christians settled on the island’s southern parts. The inhabitants of the western part of Britain which was beyond the Anglo Saxon’s rule remained Christian dominated. These were Celtic Christians who developed slowly in complete isolation from Rome. The calculation of Easter and the style of the haircut of the Celtic clerics were different from that of the church in Rome. 1Bede, translated by Leo Sherley-Price, A History of the English Church and People, Penguin Classics, New York, 1988. Evidence of Christianity survival in Eastern Britain during the time exists. However, evidence on the issue of the conversion of native Christians to Anglo Saxons is unavailable. The Saxons invaded the province and destroyed the remnants of the Roman civilisation, economic and religious structures. It was during the era of King Ethelberht who married Bertha, a Christian princess; this was under the condition that she will be allowed to remain Christian that the St. Augustine mission. Before the year 588 Pope Gregory the first decided to send the Gregorian Mission to convert Anglo Saxons to Christianity. Augustine arrived on the Isle of Thanet and entered the Ethelberht’s main town of Canterbury. With the influence of his Christian wife the king was converted to Christianity. The conversion of the King prompted him to give the missionaries freedom to preach the word freely; in addition he gave them land which resulted to founding of a monastery. Augustine was ordained as bishop and many of the Kings subjects were converted, it was during the same year of 597 in the Christmas Day that mass baptism was held, thousand of the people in Kent were baptised. The baptism of the king and his 2000 servants marked the turning point of the medieval history because the church gained grounds to penetrate the region. The mission of Augustine Augustine was at that time, accompanied or escorted by Laurence of Canterbury and a group of 40 companions who comprised of monks. On landing in Kent the mission had great initial success. The success was marked by the conversion of Ethelberht. During the early medieval period, religious conversion was more successful with the conversion of the ruler. The subjects could then easily emulate the ruler. This hierarchical approach was liked by many people. Bede Portrays Augustine as aggressive and conformist. Augustine triggered the conversion of the Anglo Saxons, he is portrayed as conformist due to believe he held which he had about the Roman Church, these believes were affirmed by Wilfred in the Whitby Synod. The region of Kent played key role in the conversion of Britain in the period dating 550-700 due to number of reasons. Kent was by the then the reigning regime in the south eastern
Ecclesiastical History of the English People Name: Institution: Introduction St. Augustine mission to Christianise the English people started in 595. The mission aimed at converting to Christianity, the Anglo Saxons. The Roman Church then headed by Pope Gregory wanted to spread Christianity to the region…
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