Early medieval missionary tactics: the example of Martin and Caesarius

Alberto FERREIRO

Resumen


RESUMEN: Western Europe in the fifth and sixth centuries was still undergoing dramatic changes, due primarily to the settlement of «barbarians», particularly in Gaul and Spain, in what were once two of the most prosperous of the Roman Empire. The impact of these newcomers, as research continues to demonstrate, was multivaried 1. The church in the West at this jucture since the time of Constan tine had become the only unified, stable, continuous institution that eased the transition from late antiquity to what is now designated, as the early Middle Ages. The theological controversies that seemingly tore apart the Church in the East had ceased to be a major concern as had those in the West, such as Pelagianism and Priscillianism. One of the great challenges the Church faced in the West was the evangelization of both German and Roman. Most of the germanic tribes had been converted to Arianism; those who were not were still pagan; both adhered to their religious persuasion quite tenaciously. Missionary efforts in Gaul and Spain targeted three distinct groups distinguished primarily by religious preference, not ethnicity. There were Hispano/Gallo-Romans and germanic peoples who were either Arian or pagan, and likewise those who were already converted to orthodoxy but maintained pagan rituals and beliefs as part of their daily religious experience. This latter group included the clergy as well.

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