The Age of Saints
BY DAVID ROSS, EDITOR
The Christian church had an uncertain start in Britain. During the Roman occupation Christianity was but one of several popular cults. After Constantine the Great proclaimed Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire in 313, it flourished - or at least, more people paid lip service to it.
The Celtic Church
The term "Celtic Church" can be misleading. The early saints of Wales were not part of a separate Church, indeed there was only one Christian church organisation, and that a very loose affair, which allowed for a wide degree of local beliefs, traditions, and practices throughout the Christian world. It is only in later centuries, especially after the year 800AD, that Christianity adopted a more uniform set of beliefs and structured practise.
After Dyfrig's death his position as leader of Christian Wales was taken by Illtud. Unlike Dyfrig, Illtud was an abbot, not a bishop. This in itself is interesting, for it shows that the monastic lifestyle had taken root in Wales.
Illtud himself was later inter-twined with the legends of King Arthur. Some tales had him being one of the three knights entrusted by Arthur with the Holy Grail. Others state that Illtud was Sir Galahad. These tales are interesting not so much for their factual basis (dubious at best), but for the way in which the "heroes" of Welsh Christianity were merged with tales of secular heroes like Arthur and his knights.
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This Day in British History
19 December, 1154
Henry II crowned
Henry took the throne after the death of his uncle, King Stephen.