Medieval religion in Medeival Religion England was essentially Christian and under the authority Medeval Religion of the Roman Catholic church. England was evangelised by Augustine of Canterbury in 597 and remained Catholic until the Protestant Reformation during the Mediveal Religion reign of Henry VIII, Medieal Religion which led to the foundation of the Anglican Church of England in 1534.
- 1 History Meideval Religion of Medieval Christianity in England
- 1.1 Early Christianity
- 1.2 The Celtic Church
- 1.3 Anglo-Saxon Religion: 597-1066
- 1.4 Religion from the Norman Conquest to the Reformation: 1066-1534
- 2 Medieval Religious Beliefs
- 2.1 Popular beliefs
- 2.2 Scholasticism
History of Medieval Christianity in England
Christianity arrived in England with the Roman Empire. There are different views as to how early this was, or how extensive. According to legend Joseph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury and established the first Christian Church in the year 37.
Tertullian wrote, circa 200, "The extremities of Spain, the various parts of Gaul, the regions of Britain which have never been penetrated by Roman arms have received the religion of Christ." (Tertullian, Defensor Fidei, p179).
Eusebius, circa 300 wrote “"The Apostles passed beyond the ocean to the isles called the Britannic Isles." (De Demonstratione Evangelii, Liber III).
Dorotheus, Bishop of Tyre, in 303 wrote: "Aristobulus, whom Paul saluted, writing to the Romans (Rom16:10) was Bishop of Britain" (Synopsis de Apostol. Synops. 23. "Aristobulus").
There is scant evidence of Christianity spreading outside of the areas under Roman control, until the fifth century. The Roman legions withdrew from England in 410. England was then overrun by pagan tribes of Saxons, Angles, Jutes, Franks and Frisians. Christianity in England was significantly reduced.
The Celtic Church
See main article: Celtic Christianity
During the fifth century, Christianity spread rapidly in Ireland. This is usually attributed to Saint Patrick. During the sixth century Columba is credited with spreading Christianity to Scotland and the north of England. With the Decline of the Roman Empire travel became nigh impossible. Celtic Christianity evolved in isolation for two centuries (circa 400 to circa 600). It developed its own doctrine, and church government. These were reconciled in a series of synods from the Synod of Whitby in 664 to the Synod of Cashel in 1172.
Anglo-Saxon Religion: 597-1066
See also: Anglo-Saxon polytheism
In 597 Pope Gregory the Great sent a group of monks led by Augustine of Canterbury to evangelise Britain. Augustine landed in Thanet, Kent and was well received by Ethelbert of Kent who had already married a Christian wife. Before the end of the 6th century most of the Jutes of Kent had been converted. Acting on instructions previously received, he went to Arles, France to be consecrated as a bishop. Frequent communications were exchanged with Rome, and in 601 Gregory sent Augustine the pallium, the emblem of his authority as archbishop, directing him to consecrate other bishops and to set up his see in London. This was not then possible, and Canterbury became the prime church of England. London, however, very shortly afterwards had its church.
The conversion of Britain to Christianity was a slow and gradual process of transformation, accompanied by the foundation of monasteries, parishes and dioceses. By the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066 a more or less unified Christian system of belief under the authority of the Pope in Rome had been established.
Religion from the Norman Conquest to the Reformation: 1066-1534
Medieval Religious Beliefs
In early medieval England, the customary religious practices were Germanic paganism similar to Norse paganism, particularly after the official withdrawal of the Roman forces circa 400 A.D. When St. Augustine came as a missionary at the request of the Pope Gregory the Great to Canterbury, Roman Catholicism soon was taken up as the dominant religion. Unlike the religions of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, who invaded England before, the religion of Augustine came to England with 40 other monks and came as a peaceable religious interest. In addition to usual Roman Catholic traditions, however, some inhabitants naturally upheld prior beliefs or superstitions including a series of Anglo-Saxon magical charms or magical sayings for maladies of all sorts.
Scholasticism notBold text a philosophical school that developed in the medieval university. Medieval theologians in the High Middle Ages were usually scholastics.
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