Since today is St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I would write a little about my fascination with Celtic Christianity. This post will be very short, because I don’t know much about Celtic Christianity. However, I am still fascinated by the early history of Christianity in the British Isles.
So, what fascinates me about this facet of history? Well, St. Alban (200’s – 300’s AD), Palladius (400’s AD), and St. Patrick (400’s AD) were among several famous early Christians in Roman Britain. But, we do not know exactly when the gospel was introduced to the British Isles. What we do know is very interesting, especially the story of St. Patrick, his captivity and transport to Ireland, and his return to Ireland as a missionary.
But, there is something about early British Christianity that is even more fascinating to me. Sometime around 596 AD, Pope Gregory the Great sent Augustine (NOT Augustine of Hippo) to Britain. When he got there, he found that Christianity was already present in Britain, but it was different from Roman Christianity. King Ethelbert of Canterbury was eventually persuaded that the Roman brand of Christianity was better than the English brand, and he and his subjects were “converted” and baptized into Roman Christianity.
I have always wanted to study this early period of British Christianity. If Christianity was introduced very early in Britain (Tertullian mentions Britain around 200 AD), and if Britain was cut off from Roman Christianity, then it would be interesting to study the Christianity that developed in Britain from around 400 to 600 AD and compare that the Christianity that developed in Rome from the same time period.
If anyone knows a good book on this subject, please let me know. I’d love to read it during one of my school breaks.
By the way, speaking of St. Patrick’s Day, I was excited to see some Southern Baptist proudly displaying their “green” here: Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative.