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Saxons and Vikings: Their Gods

anglo-saxon-cross

Anglo-Saxon Cross

Saxons and Vikings worshipped the Norse Gods, in their homelands, but in Britain they became Christians.  They never forgot the religious beliefs of their Gods, these warrior Gods, and their ancestor’s stories of heroic deeds, all in the name of their Gods!

Saxons = Woden                   Viking = Odin

The Saxon goddess; Eostre, became the Christian Festival of Easter.  The Saxon Gods, Tiw – Woden – Thunor – Frigg transposed into days of the week = Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Saxon used spells and charms to ward off evil spirits and sickness.

The Vikings believed that their lives were ruled by fate, and the Goddess of Norns looked after the past, present and future.  Viking Gods lived at Asgard, joined to Earth by a rainbow bridge.  Around the Earth monsters inhabited the ocean, for these were the enemies of their God.

Death to a Viking meant everlasting glory, going to Odin’s hall of Valhalla.  Some Vikings were buried in a ship, whilst others were sent off on a burning ship heading out to sea to the after-life, along with their weapons and coins to do battle within the after-life.

Christianity was introduced to Britain during the Roman occupation (306-337) and during the reign of Emperor Theodosius of Rome (378-395) and became the official religion of the Roman Empire.

In 431 Pope Celestine attempted to evangelise the Irish, and Columba was sent forth to Iona, off the coast of Scotland.  Then in 596 Pope Gregory I sent missionaries to Kent under the leadership of the Monk Augustine.

King Ethelbert of England married Bertha a Christian Frankish princess in 612.  Ethelbert was baptised and Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury, and the southern Kingdoms turned to the Christian faith.

The Kingdom of Northumbria; met the Christianity of Rome and celtic Christianity, which came from Ireland by St.Columba to Scotland and in 651 by St.Aidan.

Celtic church differed from that of Rome.  Northumbria’s King Oswy (612-671) opted to follow the Christianity of Rome, giving England a common religion.  Theodore of Tarsus (602-690), the then Archbishop of Canterbury in 668, gave English church its basic structure.

The Venerable Bede, Northumbrian Monk was responsible for using BC and AD for the dating of historical events.

With Christianity accepted by the Anglo-Saxons Kingdoms, there was still friction between the two options; Roman Rites and Irish Rites.  In 664 Saint Wilfrid an advocate of Roman Rites won against his Irish Rites opponent Bishop Colman.

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