Saturday, October 15, 2011

This End of the World

Understanding the dynamics of this new faith, first called "Christian" at Antioch [see Book of Acts 11:26], is important in realizing the implications that it had on individuals for generations to come. Just as the Celtic world would never be the same, the whole world would never be the same. It is hard to imagine, that a small group of folks who had huddled around fear, discouragement, and doubt, would lead this new faith first in Jerusalem, then to Judea, then to Samaria, and then to the end of the world.

Eusebius writing some three centuries later, outlines the early centers of this faith. Jerusalem beginning around 41 AD, followed by Antioch; then Rome [54 AD], followed by Alexandria in Egypt.

It was under Diocletian [starting 284 AD] that the destruction of these early centers occurred, ending the Church at Jerusalem [35 leaders listed from 41 AD to 282 AD], Antioch [ 19 leaders listed 41 AD to 286 AD], and Alexandria [17 leaders listed 54 AD to 286 AD]. The Church at Rome was the only one to survive, listing Miltiades as the leader in 311 AD. [Rome had 29 leaders listed between 54 AD to 286 AD.] It was during this period of persecution that many of the faith fled to areas at the edges of the known world.

One such group moved to the edge of the Egyptian desert. Prayer and contemplation was certainly needed and a fellow named Antony lead the way. His example is credited with the movement titled "monasticism" [ca. 251 AD - 356 AD] which by 370 AD had spread to Tours in what is now France. By 400 AD disciples of Martin of Tours had established a monastery at a place on the coast of what is now south-west Scotland. It was called Whithorn, and a monk named Ninian (d. 432) started things off on this end of the world.

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