Todays story was first recorded for prosperity by the Venerable Bede in his great work, Ecclesiastical History Of The English People, and can be found in Book 2 Chapter 1.
The market in Rome was bustling as it always was. Traders came from near and afar to sell their goods. If you wanted a chicken or a length of silk, then this was the place where you could purchase it. How about a new horse or perhaps some sheep? Do you have the coins to purchase some exotic spices? And if all your purchases become too cumbersome to carry, then you could always buy a slave to carry your goods home.
Amongst the slaves were two children. These children caught the eye of Brother Gregory. These boys were different to the other slaves. They were so very white of skin, and their hair was very fair.
"Where are they from?" he asked the slave dealer.
"They are from Angli," the slave dealer replied. "They are hard working and will serve you well."
"I have no need for slaves," Brother Gregory answered. "These children are beautiful, look at their angelic faces."
The slave dealer laughed at Brother Gregory's words. "Believe me they are no angels, and they are no Christians. They are heathens."
"Their King, what is his name?" Brother Gregory asked.
The slave dealer scratched his chin as he thought. "King Ella, I believe.”
"King Ella," Brother Gregory repeated and then he laughed. "’Alleluia, the praise of God the Creator must be sung in those parts..." With that, he walked away and immediately sought an audience with the Pope.
Brother Gregory explained about the children he had seen in the marketplace, and he asked the Pope if he could go to this pagan island that the slave dealer had told him about. It was his Christian duty to introduce these pagans to God.
The Pope refused. Brother Gregory was too important to leave Rome. Brother Gregory sighed his discontent, but he did not cross the Pope.
Many years later, the Pope died and much to his surprise, Brother Gregory became the new Bishop of Rome. But despite all those years, he had not forgotten those angelic children that he had seen in the marketplace.
|Pope Gregory ~ Wikipedia|
He summoned Brother Augustine, and he commanded him to take forty monks and travel to the land of the pagans and spread the Good News of Christ.
But during the long and arduous journey to the land of the pagans, the monks lost faith in their mission, for they had heard terrible things about this country. They petitioned Pope Gregory asking if they could return to Rome. Their answer was an unequivocal "No."
The Christian monk's soldiered on. They had only a small silver cross to protect them. They landed at Ramsgate and sent word to King Ethelbert of Kent.
King Ethelbert was intrigued so agreed to meet them, but there were conditions. King Ethelbert feared these monks would use magic to seduce him to their way of thinking, so he demanded they were to meet out of doors.
But Brother Augustine needed no magic, for he had God. The people were soon flocking to hear him preach. With the help of his fellow monks, the population converted to Christianity. Pope Gregory, it seemed, had been right all along.
’Alleluia, the praise of God the Creator must be sung in those parts..." ~ Bedes, Ecclesiastical History Of The English People
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