A MONTHLY TEACHING LETTER
This is the nineteenth in a series of teaching letters. With the last two teaching letters, I have distributed two 8 ˝ x 14 pamphlets, four columns each side. The first pamphlet was entitled The Great Two Seedline Controversy War In Identity, and the second, Irish And Scottish Genealogy. One person alone ordered 200 of the Seedline pamphlets. Another man said this of the Seedline pamphlets: “As soon as I read it, I knew I wanted more. Compared to your Research Papers, it is much more concise, clear, and to the point. I have already used it as part of a witnessing tool, though; I must say that it caused much rebuke from the recipient. It was declared ‘a White Supremist, racist, and a hater of the Jews’ and as ‘You’re a cancer. Too far gone.’ This from a Judeo-Christian who ‘worships the God of love.’” Another person passed the pamphlet on Irish And Scottish Genealogy at his new job in a medical teaching college. The Irish Catholic lady who received it became quite irate, and took the pamphlet to her husband, which he in turn took to her manager, whereupon the new employee was called before the manager and highly reprimanded. Isn’t it simply amazing how people hate the truth! They’re almost ready to kill the messenger in many cases. (“Oh please God, don’t tell me the truth! I’m having too much fun eating at the hog trough!”) I could tell you several other similar stories about these new pamphlets, but space does not permit. I believe you will find these pamphlets the most powerful and to the point witnessing tools written on one piece of legal size paper. Not only this, the cost of these pamphlets is unbelievably minimal. It is now time that we go on the offensive with this message, and with these pamphlets, we have the tools to do the job.
Now Continuing The Topic:
JUST WHO IS THIS PATRIARCH, JUDAH? (Part 19)
In the last lesson we studied about the invasions of the Saxon tribes and how it affected the British Celtic church. In this lesson we will deal with the subject of how the Saxons and finally the Irish became Roman Catholic. This lesson will bring us to the latter half of the 4th Century. I will be bringing you information on persons like Gregory, St. Columba, Augustine of Canterbury and St. Patrick. It may seem, at times, I am getting off the subject, but just be patient with me, as the full story will play out as we go along. We will begin this lesson with the subject of St. Patrick.
TWO ST. PATRICK'S, AND THE TRUE ONE WAS NOT ROMAN CATHOLIC
Yes, you heard me right; there were two St. Patrick’s. For this part of the story, we will read from the book Celt, Druid and Culdee By Isabel Hill Elder, pages 110 to 113 (Most all other histories seem to get the two mixed-up):
During the storm which the Pelagian heresy caused in Britain, one of the brightest lights of the Culdee Church, St. Patrick, was, in the providence of God, being prepared for his great work of revival among the Irish people, Christianity, according to Gildas, having been planted in Ireland before the defeat of the Boudicca, A.D. 61.
Maelgwyn, or Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland and of the Isle of Man, born at Llantwit Major, Glamorganshire, A.D. 363, from whence he was taken prisoner and carried to Ireland, was by tradition, a Culdee and the son-in-law of a bard; by his own statement the son of a presbyter, and grandson of a deacon, both of the British Church, St. Illtyds, Llantwit Major, to which was attached a college.
Patrick’s father, Calpurnius (not Patrick himself, as frequently erroneously stated), would appear to have been principal of this college, acting at the same time as an official of the Roman Empire, probably as broveratius, ‘district justiciary and chief.’ Patrick would, in such case, have had early opportunity of acquiring knowledge of Roman law and British Church government.
Niall of the Nine Hostages, so-called because five provinces in Ireland and four in Scotia delivered hostages to him, changed the name of North Britain from Albania to Scotia at the request of a colony of the Dalriada, the Irish colonists who had been led by Fergus from Antrim to Argyllshire. Niall, in one of his raids, took Patrick prisoner from Llanwit Major to Ireland in A.D. 379. The captive escaped to Gaul, returning to Ireland nearly fifty years later as a missionary revivalist.
St. Patrick is said to have introduced the use of the Latin language, the previous missionaries having used chiefly Greek. Latin, did not, however, rapidly supplant Greek. Professor H. Zimmer states: ‘It is almost a truism to say that whoever knew Greek on the Continent in the days of Charles the Bald (tenth century), was an Irishman or was taught by an Irishman.’
Bede does not mention Patrick for the very obvious reason that the Culdee hierarchy, with its hereditary succession, was obnoxious to Bede as an earnest adherent of the novel Papal Church introduced in A.D. 664, but he speaks of his contemporary, Palladius, a Caledonian and a Culdee, who became like Ninian an emissary of the Roman See, which was now resolutely setting itself to grasp the sceptre of universal dominion in the Christian Church. Baronius states: ‘The bishops of Ireland were all schismatics, separated from the Church of Rome.’
The Latin Church at a later date, claimed many saints of the British Church, and legends undeserving of the slightest credence grew around their names. The Latin Church later claimed those who owed nothing to Rome in connection with their conversion, and who long struggled against her pretensions, as though they had been her most devoted adherents. This is especially noticeable in the case of St Patrick, whose conversion was the result of training in a British home, who was all his life a Culdee, yet is now given the greatest prominence in Roman Catholic hagiology.
The Papal Church between the Culdee St. Patrick of the fifth century and the later Patrick of the ninth century who, according to the ‘Chronicles of Ireland’, was, in the year 850, Abbot of Ireland, Confessor, created deliberate confusion. For there were two Patrick’s, the first a very learned and godly man, the second an abbot, given to superstition and founder of the fabulous Purgatory, which goes in Ireland under the name of St. Patrick’s Purgatory. During a great rebellion in Ireland, Patrick the Abbot was compelled to flee the country. He fled into Britain and lies buried at Glastonbury. The Martyrology of Sarum reports that in Ireland they kept the feast of Patrick the Abbot on the 24th of August. It was to this second Patrick that the Pope sent the pallium (cloth) as a reward for his Romanizing zeal, its first appearance in Ireland. (Underline emphasis mine)
The great St. Columba, fourth in descent from Niall of the Nine Hostages born A.D. 522, about fifty years after the death of St. Patrick, was associated with the Culdee Church of Iona for thirty-two years, where he arrived from Ireland with his twelve disciples on Pentecost Eve in the year 565.
Now for another short quote, which will provide further evidence St. Patrick was from the British Celtic church, and not the Roman Catholic Church, and it is from the book The Legacy of Arthur’s Chester by Robert B Stoker, page 95:
St. Patrick, as we have noted before, was a member of the British Celtic Church, and it was this Church that he introduced into Ireland. He had been consecrated bishop, but about A.D. 440, he made himself Metropolitan of Ireland. ...
Because it is our purpose here to learn as much as we can about St. Patrick, I am going to include a sizable quote on this subject from the book St. Joseph Of Arimathea At Glastonbury, by Lionel Smithett Lewis, pages 195-198:
... St. Patrick the Briton. In the text we have spoken of his parentage, birthplace, and place of burial. But he cannot be quite left out here because of the immense importance of his missionary work in the Celtic Church. We would just add that his real name was Succat, and that the name Patricias or Patrick means “of noble birth.” Professor Hewins in his Royal Saints of Britain, in a pedigree, names his sister Darerca as the wife of Conan “Meriadec” Duke of the Armorican frontier (a Roman office) under the Emperor Maximus, who is said to have been the first King of the Bretons. She is also called great-niece of St. Martin of Tours. The difficulty is — who gave St. Patrick the name of Succat? For he was carried away captive to Ireland when about sixteen. The amazing thing is that the Book of Ballymote, and the Book of Lecan, both say that he, the son of a deacon and grandson of a priest, was baptized during his captivity by Caranoc, above mentioned, who was at a Christian settlement at Nendrum in Stratford Lough. It is more likely that St. Patrick the slave somehow came across Caranoc, who, as we know, was on his mission to Ireland, and that he influenced him for good, and led to his great repentance. Baptism in those unsettled days was sometimes amazingly delayed. The Christian Emperor Constantine the Great was not baptized till on his death-bed, twenty-five years after his conversion; St. Ambrose not till his thirty-fourth year. St. Augustine not till his thirty-second; both of the latter were born in Christian families, and were convinced and keen Christians.
We know from St. Patrick’s “Confession” in the Book of Armagh that St. Patrick had not taken advantage of all the Christian teaching in which he had been brought up, and that like the Prodigal Son this was brought home to him by his misfortune. It is possible that the story of the two books may have some light thrown on it by the horrid fact that when he was about to be made bishop someone disclosed a sin of his early youth that he had confessed before being made deacon and that some bishops, unwilling that one so unlearned should be consecrated, used it as an excuse. But even then, if he was careless, or wild, how came it that the son of a deacon and the grandson of a priest was unbaptized? St. Patrick was always full of repentance for a wasted youth and the neglect of opportunities, educational and otherwise, His own words were “Before I was afflicted, I was like a stone which lies in the deep mire,” But what a precious jewel for Christ the stone turned out to be! The first part of his captivity was in the Wood of Lochlut, “the oldest wood that ever was in Ireland, and the gloomiest.” There he made friends with the little children who were kind to him. In return, he, prayerful, and fully repentant, tried to convert them, In consequence he learned Gaelic, and the ways of the Irish, so useful to him when he came on his mission. These children always lived in his affectionate heart. Afterwards in Ulster, as a slave to Milchu, he taught other children at Glemish in Antrim. After his escape, and landing at Marseilles, on his way to his friends in England, he made for Tours where his great-uncle, St. Martin, was consecrated bishop in 371. He passed through Auxerre where St Germanus was consecrated bishop on July 7, 418. St. Patrick is said to have been born about 395. He was sixteen when taken captive. He was a slave for six years. If these dates were right he would have been free about 416. But there is no certainty about the date of St. Patrick’s birth. So it is quite possible that he found that most remarkable man Germanus on his episcopal throne. Germanus’s biographer, Constantius, who wrote forty years after his death records that Germanus died July 31, 448. In 429 he and his fellow Gallican bishop, Lupus of Troyes, in response to an appeal from the British Church, were sent by a Gallican synod to Britain to fight the Pelagian heresy and, as it turned out, to win the Alleluia victory (Smith and Wace’s Christian Biography under Germanus). Whether St. Patrick had known St. Germanus before or not, William of Malmesbury tells us that Germanus, after the victory, took him into his own suite of followers. He is said to have learned more from St. Germanus than from anyone else. It seems that St. Patrick was advised by St. Paulinus of Lola to study on the island of Lerin near Cannes, but exactly when is not clear. One thing is for certain: Pope Celestine sent Palladius to Ireland in 431. He was a failure, and died after a few months. Immediately, in 432, St. Germanus, who saw St. Patrick’s worth, consecrated him at Auxerre, and sent him to take Palladius’s place, where his charm, courage, and knowledge of the Irish succeeded. He bearded King Leary at Tara itself. He won permission to preach throughout his kingdom. Conall, one of the King’s brothers, was converted and built St. Patrick a church at Donaghpatrick, whence he spread the Faith through Meath. He destroyed the chief idol of Ireland. In seven years he built fifty churches in Connaught. He built the church at Armagh, which became the Archiepiscopal See. He established monasteries for monks and nuns all over the land. He taught through Leinster and Munster. He became Archbishop of Ireland, and his See remains to this day. He had entered Ireland as a slave. He left it as Archbishop to return to the Mother Church of his native Britain, there to gather the successors of the first anchorites under one roof, and to die blessed and beloved of all, as William of Malmesbury tells us....
Andrew Gray, in his book The Origin And Early History of Christianity In Britain, gives a very extended treatment to the subject of St. Patrick, which I will quote at this time starting with and including pages 81-86:
ST. PATRICK. About the year A.D. 432 Patrick, afterwards known as St. Patrick. Went into Ireland establishing Christianity in the country. He was so successful in his work that he has been called ever since the “Apostle of Ireland.”
The great man, whose original name was Succoth, but to whom that of Patricius or Patrick was given on account of his noble birth, was undoubtedly born near Dumbarton on the Clyde, in the village called after him Kirkpatrick. His father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest, both of St. Ninian’s Mission, and his mother is believed to have been the sister of St. Martin.
When he was sixteen years old a band of pirates, from the North of Ireland, landed at the mouth of the Clyde, and carried him off to Ireland, where, as a slave for six years, he was made to attend cattle. At the end of these years he managed to escape. He then went to Gaul, and studied theology in the School of St. German, Bishop of Auxerre, and probably in that of his uncle of Tours also. He was almost assuredly ordained deacon and priest by St. German, and consecrated Bishop by the said German, assisted by the far-famed St. Martin. He now felt himself called to go to the land of his captivity, and preach the Gospel to the Irish.
We are sometimes told that Pope Celestine ordained Palladius (who was a Briton) a deacon, and sent him into Ireland before St. Patrick entered on his work there. Very true, Palladius did go to Ireland about the year 430, but his mission proved a complete failure, and he was expelled from the country by the king of Leinster, and died shortly after. Not, then, to Palladius but to St. Patrick belongs the honour of the conversion of Ireland. His mission was eminently successful; one of his first converts being the king himself. With true devotion he preached the Gospel from North to South. He is said to have built about 360 churches, to baptize 12,000 converts and to ordain many Deacons, Priests, and Bishops. He fixed his principal See at Armagh, A.D. 454, and that has continued to be the seat of the Primate of the Church of Ireland. He lived to see the whole country Christianized, and after a long and useful career he, according to Archbishop Usher, fell asleep in the year A.D. 493, at the age of 120 years. ...
This appears to be a suitable place for emphasizing a few facts concerning St. Patrick and the Irish Church, about which there is a lamentable lack of information.
... Do the thousands of Roman Catholics, and especially Irish Roman Catholics, who join so heartily in the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, and sound his praises so loudly, realize that he never was a Roman Catholic? This fact is overlooked, or not understood, by many others who do not belong to the Roman obedience. Romanists claim him, and many who protest against Rome, weakly and ignorantly give up to Roman monopolization one who never owed or acknowledged allegiance either to the Bishop or Church of Rome. What has the Church, whose boast is semper, idem, to say to his parentage? Deacons and priests in that Church are not supposed to have sons. His own account of his parentage, given in his “Confessions”, reveals to us the fact that the domestic and social life of the clergy of his day was very much like that of the clergy of the Church of Ireland, or of the Church of England, of our day, and very unlike that of the clergy of the Roman obedience in modern times. (Underline emphasis mine)...
He never held or taught the modern doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility. Both have been invented and promulgated in our times, to wit, in 1854 and 1870 respectively. His teaching was in harmony with primitive Christianity, with the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, which until this day are held and taught by the Church of Ireland, which he founded. As to the Creed of Pope Pius IV — the Official Creed of the Church of Rome — neither St. Patrick nor any other person had ever seen or heard of it in his day; and we believe, and are sure, that if he were now living in the Roman communion, and held and taught the very same doctrines which he held and taught in Ireland in the fifth century, he would be promptly excommunicated for heresy. But he would find the Church, which he founded in Ireland, had “kept the Faith.” ...
AUGUSTINE CONVERTS THE SOUTHERN SAXONS TO ROMAN CATHOLICISM
There is one very important fact, which must be established at the very beginning here, and that is, this Augustine was not the same as Augustine of Hippo. This Augustine was called “Augustine of Canterbury.” To get an idea of just whom we are talking about, we will do a short overview of this Augustine taken from the World Scope Encyclopedia, volume 1, under the term Augustine:
Augustine, or Austin, Archbishop of Canterbury, called the Apostle of England, born in the first half of the 6th century, died at Canterbury, May 26, 604. He is first mentioned as a Benedictine monk in the monastery of St. Andrews at Rome. Pope Gregory I sent him with 40 monks to England, where he was detailed to work among the Saxons. The latter not only received him with kindness, but gave marked heed to his teachings, and many were baptized into the faith. A large number of heathen temples were converted into Christian churches under his direction.
In speaking of Augustine, I will be getting back on the subject of St. Columba, which I presented, in detail in lesson eighteen. I will repeat part of a passage I quoted in that lesson plus more. You can see very clearly here how the Roman Catholic Church deliberately used deceit and cunning to use the good name of a member of the Culdee Celtic church to their advantage. To see where St. Columba fits in with St. Patrick, I will repeat this passage plus more from letter eighteen where I quoted The Horizon History of Christianity, by Roland H. Bainton. This will also convey more in detail the story of how the southern Saxons were converted to Roman Catholicism by Augustine. I will be quoting pages 142-143:
Another of the many reasons why this pope is remembered as Gregory the Great is that during his papacy monasticism was brought into the active and important service of the [Roman] Church. In 596 he sent forth the prior of a Roman monastery, Saint Augustine — called Augustine of Canterbury to distinguish him from Augustine of Hippo — to regain England for the Church. Following the withdrawal of the Roman Angles, Saxons, and Jutes had invaded troops England, and Christianity had been largely superseded by paganism. Some missionary activity had already been directed to the British Isles. In 563 Saint Columba, a Celtic abbot, had gone from Ireland to Scotland, where he established a monastery on the Island of Iona. After convincing the king, the saint and his disciples won the inhabitants of Scotland, then called the Picts. The Celtic Irish were ready to convert the Picts, but there was at first no disposition on the part of the Celtic Britons to convert the Anglo-Saxons. Unlike the barbarians who invaded other parts of Europe, these barbarians were brutal in their conquest of Britain; consequently those native Britons that survived the invasion were driven west into Wales and Cornwall. It was left to the Irish monks settled in Scotland to begin the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons of northern England, just shortly after Augustine (a Roman Catholic priest who had no connection with the Celtic church whatever) undertook the conversion [of Saxons] of the south.
Augustine commenced in Kent under the favor of Queen Bertha, a Christian queen (Merovingian French princess, obviously a British Celtic convert) eager to convert her pagan husband. King Ethelbert was willing to grant Augustine an audience but only out of doors, where Augustine would be less able to exercise what the king supposed were magical powers; for he was reputed to be able to make tails grow on the backs of those with whom he was displeased. The king was so far persuaded that he granted land for the foundation of a monastery at Canterbury, ever after to be the seat of the English primate...
While this article by The Horizon History Of Christianity is fairly accurate, it is not entirely honest. For instance the Roman Catholics could not “regain England for the Church”, as the Celtic Church was never under its domination before this stated time, there was nothing to regain. The word “regain” is totally out of place here. It only takes one misleading word such as this to throw the reader entirely in the wrong direction, and as a result, assume something that is entirely false. It was a political plan (a power move) on the part the Roman Catholic Church to expand into territories formerly held and directed by the British Celtic church.
Also The Horizon History Of Christianity is not entirely honest when they don’t explain that Queen Bertha was a British convert who was over anxious to see her husband, King Ethelbert become a Christian. Queen Bertha was a Merovingian French princess, which we will soon prove. The reason we have so many Irish, Scottish and Anglo-Saxon Roman Catholics today is because of Bertha’s prodding of her husband King Ethelbert. As the king, so went his subjects. We find more on Queen Bertha in The Story Of Civilization; part IV, “The Age Of Faith”, by Will Durant, page 533:
Tertullian mentions Christians in Britain in 208; Bede speaks of St. Alban as dying in the persecution by Diocletian; British bishops attended the Council of Sardica (347), Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, went to Britain in 429 to suppress the Pelagian heresy. William of Malmesbury avers (declares positively) that the British, presumably on a later visit, routed an army of Saxons by having his British converts shout “Hallelujah!” at them. From this vigorous condition British Christianity pined and almost died in the Anglo-Saxon invasions; we hear nothing of it again until, at the end of the sixth century, the disciples of Columba entered Northumberland, and Augustine, with seven other monks, reached England from Rome, Doubtless Pope Gregory had learned that Ethelbert, the pagan King of Kent, had married Bertha, a Christian Merovingian princess. Ethelbert listened courteously to Augustine, remained unconvinced, but gave him freedom to preach, and provided food and lodging for him and his fellow monks in Canterbury. At last (599) the Queen prevailed upon the King to accept the new faith; and many subjects followed their example. In 601 Gregory sent the pallium (cloth) to Augustine, who became the first in an impressive line of distinguished archbishops of Canterbury. Gregory was lenient to the lingering paganism of England; he allowed the old temples to be christened into churches, and permitted the custom of sacrificing oxen to the gods to be gently transformed into “killing them to the refreshing of themselves to the praise of God” so that the English merely changed from eating beef when they praised God to praising God when they ate beef...
Christianity came to Germany as the gift of Irish and English monks. In 690 the Northumbrian monk Willibrord, who had been educated in Ireland, crossed the North Sea with twelve adventurous aids, fixed his episcopal seat at Utrecht, and labored for forty years to convert the Frisians. But these realistic lowlanders saw in Willibrord the hand of his protector Pepin the Young, and feared that their conversion would subject them to the Franks; moreover, they were not pleased to be told that all their unbaptized forebears were in hell. A Frisian king, having learned this as he stood on the brink of baptism, turned away, saying that he preferred to spend eternity with his ancestors.
We can know that Bertha was a British Celtic converts, as indicated by the book The Legacy of Arthur’s Chester by Robert B. Stoker, page 84:
Evidently the Celtic Church played a full part in the Christianizing of the Franks, hence the tomb of a Frankish king at Iona.
MORE PERSPECTIVE ON AUGUSTINE
Now I will tell the story from a different perspective, and we will see that this Augustine was quite a manipulator. I will now quote again from The Legacy of Arthur’s Chester by Robert B. Stoker, pages 85-86:
Let us examine the career of St. Augustine as described by Bede. He was Prior of St. Gregory’s Monastery in Rome, and having been sent with a party to convert the English, was hesitant. However, encouraged by the promise of becoming Bishop of the English (which could be read ‘Archbishop’), Augustine set off again. Received by Ethelbert, King of Kent (the great grandson of Escus, son of Hengist and the grandson of Octa, Arthur’s opponent) who had a Franco-Christian wife, Bertha, they were able to use the old British church of St. Martin at Canterbury, and made a convert of the king. Once a king was converted, his subjects found it safer also to follow suit. Augustine said he had ten thousand converts, the large number probably being accounted for by this fact of it being unwise not to worship the same God as your king. Augustine immediately raced back to the Archbishop of Arles to be consecrated archbishop, and then presented Rome with a fait accompli. No other archbishop has had no bishops and such a dubious flock! He next asked Gregory a number of questions, presumably contemplating a ‘take-over bid’; ‘What are to be our relations with the Bishops of Gaul and Britain?’ Gregory answered that he had no authority over the Gaulish bishops, ‘who since ancient times had been under the Archbishop of Arles, who had received the “pallium” from his predecessors, and his authority was in no way infringed.’ If he went to Gaul and saw anything wrong with the behavior of the French bishops, he had to consult with the Archbishop of Arles. Augustine evidently, as a new broom, was not content just to show his authority in Britain, so Gregory wrote to the Archbishop of Arles asking him, if Augustine should visit him, to receive him kindly, and if ‘as an independent observer’ he should report anything wrong asking his colleague of Arles fully to enquire into it. However, to soften the blow of excluding Augustine from France, Gregory committed all the bishops of Britain to his charge, He ignored the fact that just as the Archbishop of Arles had the ‘pallium’ since ancient times, so had the Archbishop of Chester.
Pope Gregory then sent over Mellitus, Justus, Rufinianus and Paulinus. And three companies, with the pallium to Augustine, and instructions that he was to consecrate twelve bishops, subject to his jurisdiction...
A few years later, round about A.D. 604, not long before his death, Augustine appointed Mellitus Bishop of London, and Justus Bishop of Rochester, and so now there were two bishops (not twelve); therefore there could not be an Archbishop of London (or York). The head bishopric remained in Canterbury, Laurentius being appointed. Augustine’s arrogant behaviour with the British bishops earned no dividend amongst the other branches of the Celtic Church, as Laurentius complained that a Scottish bishop not only refused to eat with him, but would not eat in the same house. (Underline emphasis mine)
WHAT CAUSED GREGORY TO SEND AUGUSTINE TO ENGLAND?
For this information, we will pick up the story in the book The Origin And Early History of Christianity In Britain by Andrew Gray, D.D., pages 111-114:
We come now to speak of the arrival of Augustine, and of his mission in Britain. Gregory, afterwards Bishop of Rome, before his elevation to the Episcopate, chanced one day to be passing through the Roman slave-market, where he saw, among the slaves, some fair-complexioned, light-haired youths. Their fresh beautiful countenances instantly attracted his attention. On inquiring whence they came, and who they were, he was told they were Angles, from Britain. “Ah!” replied Gregory. “They rather deserve the name Angels.” “From what province do they come?” He was told they were from Deira, a district in Northumbria, “Deira”, he said; “that is well — they are called to the mercy of God from His wrath (de ira). But what is the name of the King of that province?” He was informed that it was Alla or Ćlla — “Alleluia” he exclaimed; “Alleluia must be sung to their country.”
Influenced by these coincidences, Gregory resolved upon undertaking a mission into Britain, supposing that the inhabitants were all pagan. He would at once have carried this resolve into effect, had not his elevation to the Episcopate, in the year 590, prevented his leaving Rome. But the noble resolution of converting the Saxons was not abandoned, for immediately after his consecration he ordered a Gallic priest, named Candidus, to buy some Saxon youths, to be educated as missionaries for their native land.
The ardent mind of this prelate, however, could not endure the delay of educating missionaries for so pressing and darling an object. He resolved, therefore, on speedier measures. He looked around him for a man of zeal, talent, and resolution. Such an one he found ready for him, in the person of Augustine, the Prior of St. Andrews. The enterprising ecclesiastic, having secured a band of forty monks as his associates, directed his course towards Britain; but on his way through Gaul his heart failed him, and he would have abandoned the undertaking had it not been for the rebuke of Gregory.
The time chosen was providential. Ethelbert, King of Kent, and Bretwalda over the other kingdoms of the Heptarchy... had married a Christian wife, Bertha, daughter of Charibert, King of Paris, on condition that she should be allowed the free exercise of her religion, and to take with her Luidhard, her chaplain. For her use a British church (St. Martin’s Canterbury) had been restored and made fit for service. Augustine, taking with him interpreters from France, came into Britain with singular advantages; he was the messenger of Gregory, whose spiritual power was widely acknowledged throughout Europe; he bore recommendations from the King of France, and was sure of the favour of Queen Bertha. Ethelbert, who no doubt already looked on Christianity with favour, was willing to receive the missionaries. They landed at Ebb’s Fleet, on the island of Thanet, in A.D. 597 — the same place where Hengist and Horsa landed a century and a half before — and after a few days delay the King proceeded to meet them. Augustine and his monks approached the King in formal procession. One bore on high a silver cross, another carried a banner with a representation of the Crucifixion of our Savior, and all chanted a Litany. Through their interpreter they explained to the King the object of their mission. They told him they were come “to preach the word of life to him and to his people.” “These are indeed fair words and promises which you bring with you”, said the King, “but because they are new, and uncertain, I cannot at once take up with them, and leave the faith which I and the Saxon people have so long observed. But as you have come from far, and as I think you wish to give us a share in things which you believe to be true and most profitable, we will not show you unkindness, but rather will receive you hospitably, and not hinder you from converting as many as you can to your religion.” This was all that they could expect. They were allowed to preach; they were provided with sustenance, and given a temporary abode at Canterbury. They used St. Martin’s church for their services; and by their preaching as well as by their holy and self-denying lives, and their frequent prayers and fastings, they soon made many converts. Indeed the progress of the work of the conversion was so great, and the success, which crowned their efforts so extraordinary, that at Christmas of the same year Augustine and his associates are reported to have baptized 10,000 persons. Soon afterwards the king declared himself a convert, and was baptized on the Whitsunday following, probably in St. Martin’s Church.
Isabel Hill Elder in her book Celt, Druid and Culdee, has a very interesting remark of explanation defining the difference between the British church and the Church of England, page 8. I will also quote excerpts from pages 20, 57, 65 and 104:
(Page 8) An interesting point also is made as to the difference between the British Church and the Church of England. The Church of England was originally, of course, Roman, founded by St. Augustine, and was turned Protestant by the powers that be in our country, but it has never been quite so independent in thought as the British Church that fought Rome over so many hundreds of years. The history of the British Church, described in the book as Culdich, is of outstanding interest and should be read by all, for it redounds to the credit of our islands.
(Page 20) A great deal of history, so-called, has come down to us from Latin sources, whose one object was, from the very first, to make us believe that we owe all to Rome, when, in fact, Rome owes a great deal to us; so much error has been taught in our schools concerning the ancient Britons that it is difficult for the average student to realize that the British, before the arrival of Julius Caesar, were, in all probability, among the most highly educated people on the earth at that time and, as regards scientific research, surpassed both the Greeks and the Romans — a fact testified to by both Greek and Roman writers themselves.
(Page 57) By very stringent laws the number of priests was regulated in proportion to the population; and none could be a candidate for the priesthood who could not in the previous May Congress of the tribe prove his descent from nine successive generations of free forefathers. Genealogies, therefore, were guarded with the greatest care. This barrier to promiscuous admission had the effect of closing the Order almost entirely to all but the Blaenorion or aristocracy, making it literally 'Royal Priesthood.’
(Page 65) A breastplate was found in an excavated cist at Stonehenge, on the skeleton of an important Briton. Five similar breastplates have been found in Britain and Ireland.
(Page 104) Giraldus Cambrensis, Bishop of St. David’s, in the twelfth century, a strong supporter of the Latin Church, complains of the Celtic Church that ‘the sons after the deaths of their fathers, succeed to the ecclesiastical benefices, not by election, but by hereditary right.’