January 28th, 2010

Fishy Circumstances

Bertha founds St. Martin's

Bertha and Aethelbert

From Pope Gregory I, to Queen Bertha of Kent: "the nation of the Angles through the zeal of your Glory".

Short version of the history for those without context: In the sixth century, Bertha was a Merovingian princess who married Aethelbert, king of Kent, whose capital was Canterbury. She brought her priest with her, and she converted Aethelbert (and by proxy, Kent) to Christianity. She restored a Roman (?church ?temple), St. Martin's, as her place of worship. Thanks to her efforts, when Gregory sent Augustine to convert the Angles, he had a warm welcome and was given land to found what became St. Augustine's monastery. That's Bertha's hand in the foreground, showing her establishing the religion "here", with Aethelbert in the background.