How Christianity came to Europe

Matejko_Christianization_of_Poland

During the Middle Ages nearly all the lands of Europe converted to Christianity. In this short guide, we take a look at how various lands adopted Christianity, including by means of missionary efforts, politics and warfare.

Katherine of Alexandria: Decline of an Empire

Katherine martyred on the wheel

According to hagiographers, (C)Katherine was a princess, the daughter of Roman governor named Constus. She was well educated, beautiful and highly intelligent. She converted to Christianity at the age of 13 or 14 and caught the eye of the Roman Emperor, Maxentius (278-318 AD).

Christianisation of the Piast Monarchy in the 10th and 11th Centuries

Poland

Which facts testify to the beginning of the Christianisation process of a given country and which ones indicate its conclusion?

‘Forget Your People and Your Father’s House’: Teresa de Cartagena and the Converso Identity

Teresa de Cartagena

Religion is a very important factor to take into consideration in discussions about the identity of the conversos [converts] or New Christians, an emerging group in 15th-century Castile.

A Created Enemy: ‘Barbarians’ in spite of Religious Conversion. Visigoths and Byzantines in 6th-Century Iberia

Capital from the Visigothic church of San Pedro de la Nave.

This study approaches the concept of resistance as a tool for historical analysis during Roman Late Antiquity, especially with respect to the identity construction and the creation of physical or mental borders between Byzantines and Barbarians.

Fast and Feast – Christianization through the Regulation of Everyday Life

Haakon Jarl (Haakon Sigurdsson) was given missionaries by the king of Denmark, but before departure, Haakon sent the missionaries back.

This article will illustrate that an important part of rulers’ wish to create a Christian society was the introduction of Christian legislation.

Christianity and the Latin tradition in early Medieval Ireland

Book of Ballymote - explaining Ogham script

The Christianity which arrived in Ireland with the fifth-century missionaries was more than just a literate religion; it was very much a religion of the book.

Hungary’s Conversion to Christianity: The Establishment of Hungarian Statehood and its Consequences to the Thirteenth Century

Mummified right hand of Stephen I of Hungary - canonized in 1083 A.D.

The Carpathian Basin occupies a peculiar place in history. It was the ground where Roman-Germanic world met that of the Slavs and mounted nomad peoples, where no group had achieved sustained unity before the state of Hungary was founded.

Conversion on the Scaffold: Italian Practices in European Context

Renaissance Hanging

11 January 1581 was a fine day in Rome. That morning, Michel de Montaigne, recently arrived in the city, had gone out on horseback when he encountered a procession accompanying a condemned man to execution. Montaigne stopped to watch the sight.

Saints’ Cults in Medieval Livonia

Medieval Saints

Saints’ cults played a crucial role in medieval society. Although we know very little about the beliefs and rituals of the indigenous peoples of Livonia, either before or after the thirteenth-century conquest, we may assume that the process of Christianization must have caused major changes in their religious practices.

To Be or Not to Be… a Christian: Some New Perspectives on Understanding the Christianisation of Estonia

Medieval baptism

The Christianisation of Estonia has been a subject of extensive research already for a couple of centuries. Archaeologists generally agree that some elements of Christian religion were present in Estonia already prior to official Christianisation at the beginning of the 13th century.

Did Halley’s Comet Convert the Irish to Christianity?

conversion irish

Many attribute the spread of Christianity in Ireland to St. Patrick. But Medieval history and scientific evidence dating back to 540 A.D. hint at a more cosmic reason.

The effects of Viking activity on Scandinavian society

Viking overlooking the Strindfjord and Munkholmen / Wikicommons

Three ways in which Viking raids and conquests in western Europe affected Scandinavian society are discussed

The Khazars did not convert to Judaism, historian finds

Khazars

It has long been believed that the Khazars, a central Asian people, converted to Judaism in the ninth or tenth century. However, a new article concludes that the conversion never took place.

St. Patrick’s Irish Pride

St Patrick

In honour of the day, it seems fitting to throw out some interesting facts about St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint.

Burning Idols, Burning Bridges: Bede, Conversion and Beowulf

Athelstan, c.895-939. Illuminated manuscript from Bede's Life of St Cuthbert,

This article will re-examine some of the information in Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, completed in AD 731, on the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity in the late sixth and seventh centuries.

St. Ninian of Whithorn

Saint Ninian

My interest here is in finding usable information regarding the centuries before Bede and in the way in which new data, especially the outstanding recent archaeological discoveries at Whithom in Wigtownshire (which is certainly the site of Candida Casal. might support and add to his picture of St. Ninian and the importance of his church at Candida Casa.

Frankish involvement in the Gregorian mission to Kent

Pope Gregory I

This article re-examines the primary documents relating to the sixth century Gregorian Mission to Kent in light of the modern historiographical tradition which claims Frankish hegemony existed over the Kentish Kingdom under Aethelberht’s rule.

The Pagans and the Other: Varying Presentations in the Early Middle Ages

Death of Saint Bruno of Querfurt.

The Pagans and the Other: Varying Presentations in the Early Middle Ages Ian Wood Networks and Neighbours, Volume One, Number One (2013) Abstract This paper discusses the position of the pagan ‘Other’ in medieval thought, arguing that although Paganism was alien to the Christian, churchmen wanted above all to bring the pagans into the Christian […]

The Christianisation of Bohemia and Moravia

Bohemia_and_Moravia

The territory of what is now Czech Republic consists of essentially two lands, Bohemia and Moravia.

Religious and Cultural Boundaries between Vikings and Irish: The Evidence of Conversion

Viking raids in Ireland

If we compare sources from England, the horror with which viking attacks were viewed is immediately apparent. The heathenism of vikings is stressed as one of their dire attributes in Alcuin’s famous response to news of the attack on Lindisfarne in 793. Literary accounts of vikings also became more lengthy and imaginative over time.

How Christian Were Viking Christians?

Olaf II of Norway. Based on drawing by Peter Nicolai Arbo (Norway 1831-1892).

What did the Vikings know of Christianity, how did they appreciate Christian teaching per se and in comparison with their native beliefs, in what way was Christianity enrooted in the minds of pagan Scandinavians?

Infant Burials and Christianization: The View from East Central Europe

Dziekanowice-groby-odkryte (uncovered graves)

This was the second paper in the Early Medieval Europe I series given at KZOO and another fabulous archaeology paper. It contrasted infant grave sites in early converted medieval Poland and Anglo Saxon England.

Louis the Pious and the Conversion of the Danes

220px-Charlemagne_et_Louis_le_Pieux

This paper was part of a very interesting session on the Early Middle Ages. The papers covered Eastern European Infant Burial, the archaeology of medieval feasting and conversion. This paper contrasted the conversion policies of Charlemagne versus those of Louis the Pious.

Holding The Border: Power, Identity, And The Conversion Of Mercia

Stained glass window from the cloister of Worcester Cathedral showing the death of Penda of Mercia.

Examining the conversion of the kingdom of Mercia from the perspective of that kingdom’s origins and development and its rulers’ interests and concerns will enable us to understand both resistance and conversion to Christianity in seventh-century England.

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