Monday, June 1, 2015

This Day in Christian History: June 1 Saxon King Baptized

This Day in Christian History: June 1

June 1, 597: Saxon King Ethelbert is baptized

Sculpture of Ethelbert of Kent
Ethelbert of Kent was the third king to hold rule over the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. He had married Bertha, the Christian daughter of the king of the Franks to build an alliance, but that may have had an influence in him becoming the first English king to convert to Christianity.

The Pope sent Augustine as a missionary to Kent in 597. Shortly following his arrival, Ethelbert converted to Christianity and was baptized. The exact date of Ethelbert's conversion in unknown, but tradition holds it to be around the first of June, the summer after Augustine arrived in Kent.

Ethelbert's conversion was what opened the door for the rapid spread of Christianity among the Angles and Saxons.

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