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Christianity in Roman Britain

Christianity in Roman Britain

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Published by corinne mills

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Published by: corinne mills on Mar 23, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Christianity in Roman Britain
The Romans at first believed this was just another mystery cult but it differed in as much as itdemanded exclusive worship unlike the other cults.The similarities to most of the other religions were reflected in the fact that Jesus had lived, beencrucified and had been resurrected it was just another of the many religions which Romantolerance endured. It was also open to all – men women and children, master and servant.In the early 4 th Century Christianity was adopted as the State religion by the EmperorConstantine. Other religions had no problem accepting the concept of a divine emperor andworship of his divinity. The Christians could not accept this and this refusal to worship theemperor was treason to the State. This led to persecution on political as well as religious reasons.Christians would hold services privately, often hiding their religious affiliation.There must have been a substantial following in Britain, confirmed by the fact that bishops fromLondon, York and Colchester were available to attend a council of the church in Southern Francein AD314.The Christian faith still had to compete with pagan gods
Archaeological Evidence
Nearly all the Christian objects and places of worship date to the 4 th century.
Colchester – rectangular basilican building with an eastern apse in use from c350 to the 5th century
 Silchester – site of a font – building consisting of nave and aisles.Richborough – two buildings – one of timber, one of stoneIcklingham – Baptistry, cemetery and lead tanks with Christian symbols
Hinton St Mary , Frampton– domestic chapels built on country estates, mosaics depictingChrist and Chi-Rhos.
Lullingstone – domestic chapel with depictions of Chi-Rhos (The first two letters of thename of Christ in Greek) on its painted walls.
 Cirencester – cryptogram scratched on the wall of a house in the 3 rd century
Hoxne treasure, Suffolk – c AD 400 – gold and silver objects as well as 15000 coins – withChi-Rho characters, monogram crosses and a phrase on a spoon “vivas in deo” (“may youlive in God”)

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