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Circles under churches
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Re: Circles under churches
Oct 03, 2009, 16:20
"The question is whether the Church was suppressing or assimilating the older beliefs - perhaps it was doing both in different places at different times; or perhaps, as you quote, "Do not destroy pagan temples, but convert them to Christian use so that the people will feel more comfortable coming there." really was the tactic used and the stones we now see under some churches are indeed the remains of 'converted pagan temples'."

It was assimilating as much as necessary in order to suppress. t's important to realize that Christianity was not welcomed with open arms by many. It was accepted by kings, and the people were ordered to accept it - and the resentment of the people is well illustrated by the following story :

Around 650 a.d., a young Saint Cuthbert watched as a group of people jeered at monks being helplessly washed down the Tyne before a strong current. Cuthbert admonished them, saying that they should pray for the monks’ salvation. He was told :

“Nobody is going to pray for them. Let not God raise a finger to help them! They have done away with all the old ways of worship and now nobody knows what to do.” - Bede’s 'Vita Sancti Cuthberti', Chapter 3, completed in 721 a.d.

So church authorities were forced to assimilate whatever it took to convert them. Brigid, the great pagan goddess of the north (i.e. Brigantia - a kingdom named after her) became St. Brigid. Wells and streams, probably the homes of pagan water spirits, became associated with famous Christians - St. Helen's Well, St. Hilda's Well, etc. They didn't destroy these places - that would have INCREASED the resentment - but took enough pagan items into Christianity for the people to find it less objectionable.

It was a matter of assimilate what is necessary in order to suppress the remaining bulk of heathenism.
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