The Pope – The Pontifex Maximus – The Pagan Priesthood

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Continuing the look at a clash between the British church and the church of Rome. We investigate the true origin the Pagan title the Pope uses, the Pontifex Maximus. The Saxons were not yet Christian and they brought their traditions of shed building and idol worship to Britain. Augustine claimed to have arrived to convert them, but he had an ulterior motive of getting the pre-existing British church to acknowledge the superiority of Rome. A conference was arranged between the two, but Augustine disrespected the British Bishops so they refused to accept his leadership over them.

Augustine of Canterbury (Wiki)

Augustine of Canterbury was a monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 597. He is considered the “Apostle to the English” and a founder of the English Church.
Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him in 595 to lead a mission, usually known as the Gregorian mission, to Britain to Christianize King Æthelberht and his Kingdom of Kent from Anglo-Saxon paganism.

Anglo-Saxon Paganism

The pre-Christian society of Anglo-Saxon England was illiterate. Thus there is no contemporary written evidence produced by Anglo-Saxon pagans themselves. There is some evidence for the existence of timber temples, although other cultic spaces might have been open-air, and would have included cultic trees and megaliths.

There is no evidence that anyone living in Anglo-Saxon England ever described themselves as a “pagan” or understood there to be a singular religion, “paganism”, that stood as a monolithic alternative to Christianity.Based on the evidence available, the historian John Blair stated that the pre-Christian religion of Anglo-Saxon England largely resembled “that of the pagan Britons under Roman rule… at least in its outward forms”. However, the archaeologist Audrey Meaney concluded that there exists “very little undoubted evidence for Anglo-Saxon paganism, and we remain ignorant of many of its essential features of organisation and philosophy”. Similarly, the Old English specialist Roy Page expressed the view that the surviving evidence was “too sparse and too scattered” to permit a good understanding of Anglo-Saxon paganism.

An example of the rewriting of history on Wiki

During most of the fourth century, the majority of Britain had been part of the Roman Empire, which—starting in 380 AD with the Edict of Thessalonica—had Christianity as its official religion. However, in Britain, Christianity was probably still a minority religion, restricted largely to the urban centres and their hinterlands. While it did have some impact in the countryside, here it appears that indigenous Late Iron Age polytheistic belief systems continued to be widely practised. Some areas, such as the Welsh Marches, the majority of Wales (excepting Gwent), Lancashire, and the south-western peninsula, are totally lacking evidence for Christianity in this period.

Britons who found themselves in the areas now dominated by Anglo-Saxon elites possibly embraced the Anglo-Saxons’ pagan religion in order to aid their own self-advancement, just as they adopted other trappings of Anglo-Saxon culture. This would have been easier for those Britons who, rather than being Christian, continued to practise indigenous polytheistic belief systems, and in areas this Late Iron Age polytheism could have syncretically mixed with the incoming Anglo-Saxon religion. Conversely, there is weak possible evidence for limited survival of Roman Christianity into the Anglo-Saxon period, such as the place-name ecclēs, meaning ‘church’, at two locations in Norfolk and Eccles in Kent. However, Blair suggested that Roman Christianity would not have experienced more than a “ghost-life” in Anglo-Saxon areas. Those Britons who continued to practise Christianity were probably perceived as second-class citizens and were unlikely to have had much of an impact on the pagan kings and aristocracy which was then emphasising Anglo-Saxon culture and defining itself against British culture. If the British Christians were able to convert any of the Anglo-Saxon elite conquerors, it was likely only on a small community scale, with British Christianity having little impact on the later establishment of Anglo-Saxon Christianity in the seventh century.

More from Wiki

Anglo-Saxon paganism only existed for a relatively short time-span, from the fifth to the eighth centuries. Our knowledge of the Christianisation process derives from Christian textual sources, as the pagans were illiterate. Both Latin and ogham inscriptions and the Ruin of Britain by Gildas suggest that the leading families of Dumnonia and other Brittonic kingdoms had already adopted Christianity in the 6th century.

Wiki on Augustine continues

Kent was probably chosen by Pope Gregory and Augustine because Æthelberht had married a Christian princess, Bertha, daughter of Charibert I the King of Paris, who was expected to exert some influence over her husband. Before reaching Kent, the missionaries had considered turning back, but Gregory urged them on, and in 597, Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet and proceeded to Æthelberht’s main town of Canterbury.

King Æthelberht converted to Christianity and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Augustine was consecrated as a bishop and converted many of the king’s subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. Pope Gregory sent more missionaries in 601, along with encouraging letters and gifts for the churches, although attempts to persuade the native British bishops to submit to Augustine’s authority failed.

RW Morgan on the conference of Bishops

Augustine requested an interview with the Bishops of the British church. The arch-bishop of Caerleon, or St. David’s, deputed Dunawd, abbot of Bangor, and the Bishops of Hereford, Worcester, Bangor, St. Asaph, Llandaff, Llanbadarn, and Margam, to meet him. Two conferences were held under the protection of Brochwel, prince of Powys, on the confines of Herefordshire or Ferrex, at Augustin’s Oak, (Austcliffe on the Severn). The second lasted seven days ; Dunawd and the British Bishops disputed, states Leland, with great learning and gravity against the authority of Augustin—they maintained the jurisdiction of the Arch bishopric of St. David’s, and affirmed that the Ancient Britons would never acknowledge either Roman pretensions or Saxon usurpation.

The Britons’ response

Once the conferences were closed by the British Bishops, they delivered on behalf of the British church and people, the following rejection of the Papal claims—which is the oldest as well as the most dignified national protest on record—
“Be it known and declared to you, that we all, individually and collectively, are in all humility prepared to defer to the Church of God, and to the Pope of Rome, and to every sincere and godly Christian, so far as to love every one according to his degree, in perfect charity, and to assist them all by word and deed in becoming the children of God. But as for further obedience, we know of none that he whom you term the Pope, or Bishop of Bishops, can claim or demand. The deference which we have mentioned we are ever ready to pay to him as to every other Christian; but in all other respects our obedience is due to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Caerleon, who is alone under God our ruler to keep us right in the way of salvation.”

“The British Church,” remarks Sir Henry Spellman, “acknowledged no superior to its arch-bishop of Caerleon, or St. David’s, but God alone ; it knew nothing of the jurisdiction of any foreign power or potentate.”

The Pope (TruthVids)

The Popes used the Pagan title “Pontifex Maximus.” This translated literally, means “the highest bridge builder.” By bridge builder it means bridge between God and this world. The Pope’s therefore claimed that they were the bridge between man and God. In other words to get to heaven, you had to go through the Pope, not through Christ. This title had it origins in ancient Pagan Rome and was a Pagan title that goes as far back in history as the legendary Aeneas arriving in Italy.

When Troy was sacked a remnant fled away led under Aeneas, a prince of the Trojans and the grandfather of Brutus. They settled in Latium in Italy. Aeneas married the daughter of the King of the Latium people. Soon after, the King of Latium died and Aeneas became the King of both the Latium people and his Trojans. Aeneas’s wife gave birth to a son, Silvius. However there was a dilemma, as Aeneas already had a son from his previous wife in Troy, who he had brought with him. This son was called Ascanius but also was known as Iulus. Which son would become the ruler over both people after Aeneas? To solve this dilemma, Silvius inherited the kingship and Iulus the priesthood. The priesthood was known as the Pontifex Maximus.

Many centuries later, Julius Caesar who came to rule over the Roman Empire had inherited the priesthood title, the Pontifex Maximus as the Julius line claimed to be direct descendants from Iulus. Eventually his successor, Octavian, his nephew, gained the Roman Empire and also the title of Pontifex Maximus. The Emperors were thus the rulers and the priests of the entire Empire. Therefore after Rome fell and the Bishop of Rome gradually rose in stature he gained the title of Pope. They revived this Pagan title of Pontifex Maximus and merged it into Christianity. But it has no origin at all from within Christianity.

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