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Ecclesiastical History of the English People - With Bede's Letter to Egbert & Cuthbert

Item Number: 21959

Catalog Code: 9780140445657

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Ecclesiastical History of the English People

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With God’s help, I, Bede … have assembled these facts about the history of the Church in Britain … from the traditions of our forebears, and from my own personal knowledge.

Written in AD 731, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People is the first account of Anglo-Saxon England ever written, and remains our single most valuable source for this period. It begins with Julius Caesar’s invasion in the first century BC and goes on to tell of the kings and bishops, monks and nuns who helped to develop government and convert the people to Christianity during these crucial formative years. Relating the deeds of great men and women but also describing landscape, customs and ordinary lives, this is a rich, vivid portrait of an emerging church and nation by the ‘Father of English History’.

Leo Sherley-Price’s translation from the Latin brings us an accurate and readable version of Bede’s History. This edition includes Bede’s Letter to Egbert, denouncing false monasteries; and The Death of Bede, an admirable eye-witness account by Cuthbert, monk and later Abbot of Jarrow, both translated by D. H. Farmer.

Table of Contents - 

List of Abbreviations
Notes to the Introduction
Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People
Author's Preface: To the Most Glorious King Ceolwulf
Book One
1. The situation of Britain and Ireland: their earliest inhabitants
2. On Gaius Julius Caesar, the first Roman to reach Britain
3. Claudius, the second Roman to reach Britan, annexes the Isles of Orkney to the Roman Empire: under his direction Vespasian subdues the Isle of Wight
4. Lucius, a British king, writes to Pope Eleutherus and asks to be made a Christian
5. Severus divides Roman Britain from the rest by an earth work
6. The reign of Diocletian: his persecution of the Christian Church
7. The martyrdom of Saint Alban and his companions, who shed their life-blood for Christ at this time
8. The Church in Britain enjoys peace from the end of this persecution until the time of the Arian heresy
9. During the reign of Gratian, Maximus is created Emperor in Britain, and returns to Gaul with a large army
10. During the reign of Arcadius, the Briton Pelagius presumptuously belittles the grace of God
11. During the reign of Honorius, Gratian and Constantine set up as despots in Britain: the former is killed shortly afterwards in Britain, and the latter in Gaul
12. The Britons, harassed by the Irish and Picts, seek help from the Romans, who come and build a second wall across the island. Notwithstanding, these enemies again break in and reduce the Britons to worse straits
13. During the reign of Theodoius the Younger, Palladius is sent to the Christians among the Irish. The Britons make an unsuccessful appeal to the Consul Aëtius
14. The Britons, made desperate by famine, drive the Barbarians out of their land. There soon follows an abundance of corn, luxury, plague, and doom on the nation
15. The Angles are invited into Britain. At first they repel the enemy, but soon come to terms with them, and turn their weapons against their own allies
16. Under the leadership of Ambrosius, a Roman, the Britons win their first victory against the Angles
17. Bishop Germanus sails to Britain with Lupus: with God's help he quells two storms, one of the sea, the other of the Pelagians
18. Germanus gives sight to the blind daughter of a tribune. He takes some relics from the tomb of Saint Alban, and deposits relics of the Apostles and other Martyrs
19. Germanus is detained by illness. He puts out a fire among houses by his prayer, and is healed of his sickness by a vision
20. The two bishops obtain God's help in battle, and return home
21. The Pelagian heresy revives, and Germanus returns to Britain with Severus. He heals a lame youth, and after denouncing or converting the heretics, restores the British Church to the Catholic Faith
22. The Britons enjoy a respite from foreign invasions, but exhaust themselves in civil wars and plunge into worse crimes
23. The holy Pope Gregory sends Augustine and other monks to preach to the English nation, and encourages them in a letter to persevere in their mission
24. Pope Gregory writes commending them to the Bishop of Arles
25. Augustine reaches Britain, and first preaches in the Isle of Thanet before King Ethelbert, who grants permission to preach in Kent
26. The life and doctrine of the primitive Church are followed in Kent: Augustine establishes his episcopal see in the king's city
27. Augustine is consecrated bishop: he sends to inform Pope Gregory what has been achieved, and receives replies to his questions
28. Pope Gregory writes to the Bishop of Arles, asking him to help Augustine in his work for God
29. Gregory sends Augustine the pallium, a letter, and several clergy
30. A copy of the letter sent by Pope Gregory to Abbot Mellitus on his departure for Britain
31. Pope Gregory writes to Augustine, warning him not to boast of his achievements
32. Pope Gregory sends letters and gifts to King Ethelbert
33. Augustine repairs the Church of Our Saviour and builds a monastery of Saint Peter the Apostle. A note on Peter, its first Abbot
34. Ethelfrid, King of the Northumbrians, defeats the Irish and drives them out of England

Book Two
1. On the death of Pope Gregory
2. Augustine urges the British bishops to cement Catholic unity, and performs a miracle in their presence. Retribution follows their refusal
3. Augustine consecrates Mellitus and Justus as bishops: his own death
4. Laurence and his fellow-bishops urge the Irish to maintain the unity of the Church, particularly in the observance of Easter: Mellitus visits Rome
5. At the deaths of Ethelbert and Sabert their successors revive idolatry: on this account, both Mellitus and Justus leave Britain
6. Laurence is reproved by Saint Peter, and converts King Eadbald to Christ. Mellitus and Justus are recalled
7. The prayers of Bishop Mellitus put out a fire in his city
8. Pope Boniface sends the pallium with a letter to Justus, Mellitus' successor
9. The reign of King Edwin: Paulinus comes to preach the Gospel to him, and first administers the Sacrament of Baptism to his daughter and others
10. Pope Boniface writes to the king, urging him to accept the Faith
11. The Pope writes to the Queen, urging her to exert her influence to obtain the king's salvation
12. King Edwin is moved to accept the Faith by a vision seen during his exile
13. Edwin holds a council with his chief men about accepting the Faith of Christ. The high priest destroys his own altars
14. Edwin and his people accept the Faith, and are baptized by Paulinus
15. The Province of the East Angles accepts the Christian faith
16. Paulinius preaches the Word of God in the Province of Lindsey. The reign of King Edwin
17. Pope Honorius sends a letter of encouragement to King Edwin, and the pallium to Paulinus
18. On succeeding Justus in the See of Canterbury, Honorius receives the pallium and a letter from Pope Honorius
19. Pope Honorius, and later Pope John, write letters to the Irish about Easter and the Pelagian heresy
20. King Edwin is killed, and Paulinus returns to Kent, where he receives the Bishopric of Rochester

Book Three
1. King Edwin's immediate successors abandon their people's Faith and lose their kingdom: the most Christian K

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St. Gregory the Great

St. Gregory the Great Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 09/03
Tridentine Calendar - 09/03

Patron Of: Choir Members, Educators, Masons, Musicians, School Children, Singers, Students, Teachers

    Son of Gordianus, a Roman regionarius, and Saint Silvia of Rome. Nephew of Saint Emiliana and Saint Tarsilla. Great-grandson of Pope Saint Felix III. Educated by the finest teachers in Rome. Prefect of Rome for a year, then he sold his possessions, turned his home into a Benedictine monastery, and used his money to build six monasteries in Sicily and one in Rome. Benedictine monk. Upon seeing English children being sold in the Roman Forum, he became a missionary to England.

    Elected 64th Pope by unanimous acclamation on 3 September 590, the first monk to be chosen. Sent Saint Augustine of Canterbury and a company of monks to evangelize England, and other missionaries to France, Spain, and Africa. Collected the melodies and plain chant so associated with him that they are now known as Gregorian Chants. One of the four great Doctors of the Latin Church. Wrote seminal works on the Mass and Office.

    c.540 at Rome, Italy

Papal Ascension
    3 September 590

    12 March 604 at Rome, Italy

All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.


St. Pope Boniface IV

Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 05/08
Tridentine Calendar - 05/25

    8 May
    formerly 25 May


    Son of a physician named John. Student under Saint Gregory the Great. Benedictine monk in Rome. Served as deacon under Saint Gregory the Great; dispenser of alms and patrimonies. Chosen 67th Pope in 608. Converted the Roman temple of the old gods, the Pantheon, to a Christian church dedicated to Our Lady and all the Martyrs in 609, the first such conversion of a temple from pagan to Christian use. Supported the expansion of the faith into England, and met with the first bishop of London. Encouraged reforms among the clergy, and balanced it with improvements in their living and working conditions. Corresponded with Saint Columba. Late in life he converted his own house into a monastery and lived there, dividing his time between his papal work and life as a prayerful monk.


    c.550 at Valeria, Abruzzi, Italy

Papal Ascension

    25 August 608


    615 at Rome, Italy of natural causes; interred in the portico of Saint Peter's; relics moved c.1100; relics moved in the late 13th century by order of Pope Boniface VIII; relics re-interred in Saint Peter's Basilica on 21 October 1603



All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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