« הקודםהמשך »
THE EXTERNAL HISTORY OF THE CHURCH.
Concerning the prosperous Events that happened to the Church,
during this Century.
ern provinces re
A CONSIDERABLE part of Europe lay yet in- CENT. X11., volved in pagan darkness, which reigned more several of especially in the northern provinces. It was, there. the northfore, in these regions of gloomy superstition, that the zeal of the missionaries was principally exerted in ceired the this century; though their efforts were not all light of the equally successful, nor the methods they employed for the propagation of the Gospel equally prudent. Boleslaus, duke of Poland, having conquered the Pomeranians, offered them peace, upon condition that they would receive the Christian teachers, and permit them to exercise their ministry in that vanquished province. This condition was accepted; and Otho, bishop of Bamberg, a man of eminent piety and zeal, was sent, in the year 1124, to inculcate and explain the doctrines of Christianity, among that superstitious and barbarous people. Many were converted to the faith by his ministry, while great numbers stood firm against his most vigorous efforts, and persisted, with an invincible obstinacy, in the religion of their idolatrous ancestors. Nor was this the only mortification which that illustrious prelate
CEST. XII. received, in the execution of his pious enterprise ;
for, upon his return into Germany, many of those whom he had engaged in the profession of Christianity, apostatised in his absence, and relapsed into their ancient prejudices : this obliged Otho to un. dertake a second voyage into Pomerania, A.D. 1126, in which, after much opposition and difficulty, his labors were crowned with a happier issue, and contributed much to enlarge the bounds of the rising church, and to establish it upon solid foundations. From this period, the Christian religion seemed daily to acquire new degrees of stability among the Pomeranians, who had hitherto refused to permit the settlement of a bishop among them. They now received Adalbert, or Albert, in that character, who was accordingly the first bishop of Pomerania.
II. Of all the northern princes of this century, inbabitants none appeared with a more distinguished lustre than of the isle of Waldemar I., king of Denmark, who acquired' an Rugen.
immortal name by the glorious battles he fought against the pagan nations, such as the Sclavo. nians, Venedi, Vandals, and others, who, either by their incursions or by revolt, drew upon them the weight of his victorious arm. He unsheathed his sword, not only for the defence and happiness of his people, but also for the propagation and advancement of Christianity; and wherever his arms were successful, he pulled down the temples and images
of the gods, destroyed their altars, laid waste their sacred groves, and substituted in their place the Christian worship, which deserved to be propagated by better means than the sword, by the authority of
a See Henr. Canisii Lectiones Antiquæ, tom. iii. part ii. p. 34, where we find the life of Otho, who, A. D. 1189, was canonised by Clement III. See the Acta Sanctor. Mensis Julii, tom. i. p. 349. Dan. Crameri Chronicon Eccles. Pomeraniæ, lib. i. as also a learned Dissertation concerning the conversion of the Pomeranians by the ministry of Otho, written in the German language, by Christopher Schotgen, and published at Stargard, in the year 1724. Add to these Mabillon, Annal. Benedict. tom. vi. p. 123, 146, 323.
reason, rather than by the despotic voice of power. CENT.XII The island of Rugen, which lies in the neighbourhood of Pomerania, submitted to the victorious arms of Waldemar, A. D. 1168; and its fierce and savage inhabitants, who were, in reality, no more than a band of robbers and pirates, were obliged, by that prince, to hear the instructions of the pious and learned doctors that followed his army, and to receive the Christian worship. This salutary 'work was brought to perfection by Absalom, archbishop of Lunden, a man of a superior genius, and of a most excellent character in every respect, whose eminent merit raised him to the summit of power, and engaged Waldemar to place him at the head of affairs b
III. The Finlanders received the Gospel in the The Finsame manner in which it had been propagated among thé inhabitants of the isle of Rugen. They were also a fierce and savage people, who lived by plunder, and infested Sweden in a terrible manner by their perpetual incursions, until, after many bloody battles, they were totally defeated by Eric IX. styled after his death the Saint, and reduced under the Swedish yoke. Historians differ about the precise time when this conquest was completed ; but
• Saxo-Grammaticus, Histor. Danic. lib. xiv. p. 239.—Helmoldus, Chron. Sclavorum, lib. ii. cap xii. p. 234, and Henr. Bangertus, ad h. 1.-Pontoppidani Annales Ecclesiæ Danicæ, tum. i. p. 404.
at Beside the historians here mentioned by Dr. Mosheim, we refer the curious reader to an excellent history of Denmark, written in French, by M. Mallet, professor at Copenhagen. In the first volume of this history, the ingenious and learned author has given a very interesting account of the progress of Christianity in the northern parts of Europe, and a particular relation of the exploits of Absalom, who was, at the same time, archbishop, general, admiral, and prime minister, and who led the victorious Danes to battle, by sea and land, without neglecting the cure of souls, or in the least diminishing his pious labours in the propagation of the Gospel abroad, and its maintenance and support at home.
Most writers, with Baronius, place this event in the year 115). Different, however, from this is the chronology of Vas
CENT. xii, they are all unanimous in their accounts of its effects:
The Finlanders were commanded to embrace the religion of the conqueror, which the greatest part of them did, though with the utmost reluctanced. The founder (and ruler) of this new church was Henry, archbishop of Upsal, who accompanied the victorious monarch in that bloody campaign. This prelate, whose zeal was not sufficiently tempered with the mild and gentle spirit of the religion hé taught, treated the new converts with great severity, and was assassinated at last, in a cruel manner, on account of the heavy penance he imposed upon a person of great authority, who had been guilty of homicide. This melancholy event procured Henry the honors of saintship and martyrdom, which were solemnly conferred upon him by pope Adrian IV.
IV. The propagation of the Gospel among the Livonians was attended with much difficulty, and also with horrible scenes of cruelty and bloodshed. The first missionary, who attempted the conversion of that savage people, was Mainhard, a regular canon of St. Augustin, in the monastery of Segeberg, who; toward the conclusion of this century, traveled to Livonia, with a company of merchants of Bremen, and improved this opportunity of spreading the light of the Gospel in that barbarous region of superstition and darkness. The instructions and exhortations of this zealous apostle were little attended to, and produced little or no effect upon that uncivilised nation; whereupon he addressed himself to the Roman pon
The Liro. nians.
tovius and Oernbielmius, the former placing it in 1150, and the latter in 1157.
d Dernhielmii Histor. Eccles. Gentis Suecorum, lib. iv. cap. iv. sect. 13.-Jo. Loccenii Histor. Suecica, lib. iii. p. 76, ed. Francof-Erlandi Vita Erici Sancti, cap. vii.---Vastovii Vitis Aqui: lonia, p. 65.
e Vastovii Vitis Aquilon. seu Vitæ Sanctorum Regni Sueogo. thici, p. 62. Eric. Benzelii Monumenta Ecclesiæ Sueogothicæ, part i. p. 33.
$ In the year 1186.