HAHA Part 11
Christianity Comes To Britain
G’day and welcome to Partakers and to our series, HAHA – Heroes and Heretics Abound. Together we are looking at the story of the church from its origins to the Age of Reasoning in the 18th century. Last time we looked at Christian origins in Britain. Today we will look at some of the leading figures in the growth of Christianity in Britain.
Ninian was the Bishop of Galloway in South West Scotland by the end of the 4th Century. He is known to have carried out extensive missionary work in South Scotland. Hence there are many churches named after him in that area. He was born about 360 and is widely regarded as being the first Gospel preacher in a part of Britain which was not under Roman rule. Touring widely away from Galloway, Ninian preached at various missions. Much of Celtic Christianity is thought to have formed from this man’s ministry.
Bede in Ecclesiastical History of England refers to him thus “For the southern Picts, who dwell on this side of those mountains, had, it is said, long before forsaken the errors of idolatry, and received the true faith by the preaching of Bishop Ninias, a most reverend and holy man of the British nation, who had been regularly instructed at Rome in the faith and mysteries of the truth;” ~
Patrick – (389-461) He was the Apostle to England and is perhaps the greatest name in Irish history. At 16, he was taken as a slave from West Britain to Ireland for 6 years, during which time he found God. Patrick escaped to France & trained in a monastery. Later, he returned to Britain and had a dream calling him to Ireland. Subsequently Patrick returned to Ireland as bishop in 432. From there, Patrick evangelised the majority of Ireland, founding many churches & monasteries. Few men have had such an impact on a nation. Many missionaries and mission trips later, he left Ireland to evangelise Britain & Europe.
Columba was born in Ireland in 521 and as a young man entered the Moville monastery and later ordained deacon. Columba left Ireland under dubious circumstances and he sailed north until he could no longer see Ireland. He landed at the Island of Iona, South West of Scotland, and founded the Iona monastery, a great centre of learning and missionary activity. It is known that he evangelised much of northern Scotland.
Bede in Ecclesiastical History of England writes “Columba came into Britain in the ninth year of the reign of Bridius, who was the son of Meilochon, and the powerful king of the Pictish nation, and he converted that nation to the faith of Christ, by his preaching and example. Wherefore he also received of them the gift of the aforesaid island whereon to found a monastery” Most information comes from the Vita Columbae (i.e. "Life of Columba" ). ~
Aidan was born in Connaught, Ireland. He was educated at Leinster, later going into the Monastery of St David in Wales where he spent many years studying and researching. He later founded a monastery in Wexford, becoming its Bishop. Later responding to a call from the King, Aidan settled on Lindisfarne Island. From here, Aidan engaged in much missionary work and evangelised extensively!
Bede in Ecclesiastical History of England relates to him thus: “Aidan’s holiness of life wins from him a warm tribute of admiration. … a man of singular gentleness, piety, and moderation; having a zeal of God, but not fully according to knowledge; for he was wont to keep Easter Sunday according to the custom of his country …” Bede goes on to describe various miracles said to be done by Aidan.
That’s it for this time! Next time in our series HAHA, we will look at a new threat to the growth and well being of Christianity - Islam! Thanks for listening! Come back to Partakers, where every day there is something new to encourage your walk as a Christian in the 21st century.