Avalon Chronicles #19: "Christianity and the Romans-Part 2"
Acts 8:4 (King James Version) "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word."
In sequel to Chronicles #18 we take up our stories with Joseph of Arimathea and the secular ancient archives that report (sourced from Drama of the Lost Disciples by George F. Jowett) he, "...was the Apostle of Britain, the true apostle first to set up Christ's standard on that sea-girt little isle, five hundred and sixty years before St. Augustine set foot on English soil. He with twelve other disciples of Christ, erected in England the first Christian church above ground in the world, to the glory of God and His Son, Jesus Christ."
Southwest of our visit to Bath is the Cornwall area of England and even Julius Caesar described the tin trade between Cornwall and Phoenicia. Joseph apparently held a position in the Roman administration as a minister of mines so he had frequent contact with the tin mines of southwest England. Many records indicate Joseph's involvement with Britain's tin trade prior to his exodus. After the crucufixion of Jesus the Jewish hierarchy, the Sanhedrin, began in Palestine a persecution of Christians, the followers of "the Way." That great man of faith, later known as Paul, previously known as Saul, was a leader of the Sanhedrin's gestapo. Recall that Joseph of Arimathea departed Palestine in 36 A.D. A Cardinal C. Baronius was considered in his time the most outstanding historian of the Roman Catholic Church. He was Curator of the famous Vatican library and the author of the 12 volume Ecclesiastical Annals (1588-1607). Jowett quotes Baronius, "In that year (36 A.D.) the party mentioned was exposed to the sea in a vessel without sails or oars. The vessel drifted finally to Marseilles (France) and they were saved. From Marseilles Joseph and his company passed in to Britain and after preaching the gospel there, died." (Drama, 31).
Records also indicate the inhabitants of Britain (Druids) believed in One Invisible God and the coming of a Messiah. (Drama, 43). Julius Caesar in his Gaelic War (VI, 14) 54 B.C. wrote, "The Druids make the immortality of the soul the basis of all their teachings, holding it to be the principal incentive and reason for a virtuous life." Therefore, this constitutes the fertile ground of the people of Britain to accept the pure Christianity of Joseph and his Bethany group, carried by them from the Holy Land. Jowett writes that, but for the Druids in Britain, Christianity might never have flourished (Drama, 58). The Romans during their occupation tried mightily to kill all Druids and Christians. A Druid delegation presumably went to Gaul (France) to meet Joseph. It is probable that Philip, one of the original twelve apostles, was already in Gaul when Joseph arrived after his Mediterranean voyage. The Druid Prince Arvigarus offered Joseph lands and safe haven in Britain. Joseph was said to have had twelve companions with him when he went to Britain. Cardinal Baronius identified three of them as St. Martha, St. Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead,
and St. Mary Magdalene. With others they were called the Bethany group.
The group eventually settled on the western side of southern England in a place today called Glastonbury,
thirty or so miles from Bath, in a location at that time called the "Sacred Isle of Avalon", from whence comes the theme of my chronicles. For years Linda and I had desired to visit Glastonbury, but it was difficult to travel there without our own auto. Additional points of interest are important about Glastonbury. The abbey there is said by E.Raymond Capt in his The Traditions of Glastonbury to be, "...the oldest, continuous Christian foundation in the world. Since the time Joseph built his first church on the Sacred Isle of Avalon, men have worshipped Christ on that site,...worship of the Lamb of God has never ceased at Glastonbury Abbey." (pg. 83).
Druid Prince Arvigarus was the cousin of Caradoc, defined in a royal lineage of Great Britain as the first Christian king of Britain. The Prince welcomed Joseph to Britain, was converted by him, and offered his protection from the Romans. Apparently the Romans never occupied Avalon. Propagation of the faith was divinely protected in this area of Britain. The Romans attempted here and in Rome itself to destroy Christianity, but God's protection prevailed and we stand on their shoulders.
Prior Chronicles may be viewed at www.combatfaith.blogspot.com
Allen's web site is www.combatfaith.com Contact Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org