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    STUDIA THEOLOGIA ORTHODOXA - Ediţia nr.2 din 2006  

  Rezumat:  King Oswald (634-642) and Anglo-Saxon Christianity. In the VII-th century the Nordic world was undergoing significant changes. New political entities, from Ireland to the south of Scotland, supported by military groups, managed to establish new kingdoms. Similar hegemonies were also formed in Saxon Britain. They were ruled by different kings who had embraced Christianity and who were aware of what the new religion could offer. Oswald (634-642) was one of these kings. He revived the Christian faith in Northumbria, with the help of his bishop Aidan, who made his monastic mission centre on Lindisfarne, across the bay from the royal court at Bamburgh. The most detailed account on the beginnings of Christianity in the Anglo-Saxon regions is given by Bede the Venerable in his 731 Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Almost the entire third part of Bede’s History is dedicated to Oswald, whom he refers to as “Most Holy and Most Victorious King” of Northumbria. Even though the second part of Bede’s History has a rather dark ending, due to the description of the decline of the Northumbrian Christianity following the death of King Edwin in 633 and the return of bishop Paulin and the widow queen Ethelburga to Kent, the beginning of the third book gives an account of Oswald’s victory at Havenfield. This is followed by a description of the battle and of the miracles attributed to Oswald’s cross. We are then told about Bishop Aidan, how he was brought from the monastery of Iona, and of the success of his apostleship in Northumbria. Oswald’s skills as a king and a warrior, the virtues that ennobled him, but also his faith, humility and charity, complete the spiritual portrait of a great king in the history of the English people. His death in the battle of Maserfelth on 5 August 642, at age 37, led to him being venerated as a saint and as a martyr. The holiness of his life, and the miracles worked by God through his relics, are carefully documented by the Venerable Bede in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People.  
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