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Thread: Anglo-Saxon Missions to Frisia

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    Anglo-Saxon Missions to Frisia

    The earliest Anglo-Saxon missionaries, Wilfrid and Willibrord,
    concentrated on Frisia, establishing the essential political
    character of theirs and subsequent missions. Wilfrid, bishop
    of York, had been deposed by the archbishop of Canterbury
    Theodore for objecting to the division of Wilfrid's huge
    diocese, and was on his way to Rome via the Rhineland (his
    assistance in arranging the return of Dagobert II had made
    him persona non grata in Neustria) when he first arrived
    among the Frisians. His successor Willibrord arrived in 690
    and began his work under the protection of Pippin in those
    areas that had been reconquered by the Franks. One of the
    first things he did was to travel to Rome to obtain papal
    sanction for his activities. This would have been unthinkable
    for a Frankish clergyman, but seemed only natural to

    The process of Christianizing the Frisians and subduing
    them militarily went hand in hand. Conversion meant
    conversion to Frankish Christianity and thus a radical break
    with their own autonomous social and political past. The
    Frisians understood this well. The story was told that Duke
    Radbod was taking religious instruction and nearing the point
    to be baptized when he asked Willibrord whether his ancestors
    were in heaven or hell. The orthodox response was that they
    were surely in hell because they had been pagans, but the
    duke would no doubt achieve heaven after baptism. On
    hearing this Radbod refused baptism, saying he could not do
    without the company of his ancestors in the next life.

    From: "Before France and Germany: The creation &
    transformation of the Merovingian world",
    by Patrick J. Geary; ISBN 0195044584; p.214
    Lík börn leika best.

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