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March 23, 2012


So who brought the Gospel to your wretched pagan ancestors?

Today the church calendar commemorates St. Gregory the Illuminator, credited with bringing the Gospel to the Armenian people.  That is to say, my mom’s side of the family got the Good News thanks to Gregory.

If you grew up in a Christian home, who gets credit for introducing the faith into your ancestry?


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24 comments

Tim. thank you for reminding us of our spiritual legacies.  Mine include Columba of Scotland, Augustine of Canterbury, and Boniface of Germany.

[1] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 3-23-2012 at 08:08 AM · [top]

St. Declan of Ardmore for my neck of the woods, and of course, for the country as a whole, St. Patrick.

[2] Posted by Martha on 3-23-2012 at 08:51 AM · [top]

Sts Cyril & Methodius for my Ukrainian ancestors.

For the Heinz 57 side of the fam, a mix predominantly of Irish, English & German, we have Sts Patrick, Augustine and Boniface.

I had to look up Boniface just now. So I learned a little something from this exercise. Thanks for asking the question.

[3] Posted by StayinAnglican on 3-23-2012 at 09:10 AM · [top]

Saint Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of Normandy. I really need to learn more though. Who were the missionaries who converted the Normans?

[4] Posted by All-Is-True on 3-23-2012 at 09:44 AM · [top]

The history of Christianity in Wales, the Land of my Fathers, began in the years 72-79, with the rise of the early Celtic Church, with Dyfrig (Dubricius), the first of the ‘saints’ of the Celtic Church, who was essentially a Roman.  Dewi Sant (Saint David) is generally accepted as the Patron Saint of Wales, however.

[5] Posted by cennydd13 on 3-23-2012 at 09:48 AM · [top]

In addition to those already mentioned in #1, and #5, I have to add Olaf II Haraldsson (St. Olaf - Norway).

[6] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 3-23-2012 at 10:33 AM · [top]

In addition to Boniface and Patrick, mentioned above,  I would add Piron of Cornwall…but with an asterisk, as there is some question as to whether he existed at all, or is part of the gauzy mythology that embraces much of Cornish history.

[7] Posted by KevinBabb on 3-23-2012 at 12:01 PM · [top]

wooHOO!  Seven posts and nobody’s written “I didn’t know you were ‘ArmInian!” 

But seriously, I am enjoying the comments and it is humbling to think about the sacrifices of those who brought the Word to folks who would eventually pass it on, generation to generation, until it was there for us to receive.

Those of us who were not converts, who “grew up Christian,” do well to look back at the history of how God channeled the water of life to flow in our direction.

[8] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 3-23-2012 at 12:16 PM · [top]

So I have been reading up on St Boniface and something struck me about his martyrdom that I have been mulling over ever since.

At the time of his martyrdom he was an elderly man who had nonetheless gone out in the wildlands of Frisia on a mission to save souls. The location of his group was discovered by those who were none too keen on his presence there and they were attacked. Apparently he was killed with a copy of the Scriptures in his hands.

What struck me was how much this seems to say about the man. I think it says that he was a man who was in the Word a lot, who lived it, whose Bible was his daily bread and practical tool. He could have died shielding it like some precious object worth more than he was (contrast to the Muslim imam who has just stated that a copy of the Koran is worth more than a thousand Muslim lives) He could have flung it away in a panic as if in the heat of the moment it was suddenly a hinderance to him. But no, he seems to have instinctively put that Bible between him and his killer like a shield.

Wow.

[9] Posted by StayinAnglican on 3-23-2012 at 01:35 PM · [top]

My maternal ancestors from Antioch were introduced to the Christian faith by Peter.

My paternal ancestors from Wales were converted by St. Illtyd.

[10] Posted by Chazaq on 3-23-2012 at 04:02 PM · [top]

St. Patrick on my Irish side, Sts. Augustine and Aidan on my English side. Thanks Fr. Fountain for reminding us to think of this.

Yours in Christ,
jacob

[11] Posted by Jacobsladder on 3-23-2012 at 04:20 PM · [top]

Very, very interesting. Learn something new every day. I have German ancestry on both sides of my family so most definitely St. Boniface of Germany, for the English of my mom’s family, it is St. Augustine and for the Norwegians of my dad’s paternal ancestry, St. Olaf or as Undergroundpewster said Olaf II Haraldsson (St. Olaf - Norway).

So Fr. Tim+, what about your dad’s heritage?

[12] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 3-23-2012 at 05:16 PM · [top]

Missionaries from New England, starting in 1820.

[13] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 3-23-2012 at 05:33 PM · [top]

Colmcille, not Patrick, on the Irish side (one grandparent).  The rest were German.  No doubt Boniface gets the credit there, but the real work was done by the missionaries Luidiger & Willehad (Ostfriesland) and Landolf (possibly also Odo) in Lower Saxony.

[14] Posted by Nikolaus on 3-23-2012 at 06:07 PM · [top]

#12 SC blu cat lady: Dad’s heritage is harder to pin down… grew up in the Ozarks (Arkansas) and was orphaned early… records hard to come by.  Likely English/Scotch/Irish roots.  So several of the saints listed in the comments above are likely.

The question in #4, about Normandy, is probably relevant.  The spelling “Fountain” first shows up after 1066, in land grants given by William the Conqueror to his troops.

[15] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 3-23-2012 at 06:17 PM · [top]

St Ninian or St Columba for the Scottish heritage, St. Dubricius or St. David for the Welsh strains and St. Augustine for the English side of the family.

[16] Posted by The Little Myrmidon on 3-23-2012 at 10:27 PM · [top]

Been a very long time since commenting here. For my Czech ancestors Sts.Cyril and Methodius, for my Italian ancestor’s I will claim Sts. Paul and Peter. For my Swedish ancestors St.Ansgar who is usually credited with bringing Christianity to Sweden.

Finally I am part Sami, and for those who don’t know, they are the Reindeer herders in Northern Scandinavia and the Kola Penninsula of Russia. Most Sami are Lutheran with a small minority who are Orthodox. The Sami where late commers to Christianity with the first serious conversions happening after the Reformation. Christianity among the Sami I guess would be traced the early work of evangelizing the rest the Finnish,Swedish and Norwegian populations. Sami who are Orthodox can trace theIR history back a Russian monk named Trifon, who evangelized the Sami in areas of Russian influence in the 16th century. Trifon is venerated as a local saint among the Sami, who are Orthodox.

[17] Posted by Anglo-Catholic-Jihadi on 3-24-2012 at 01:22 AM · [top]

St Ninian and St Kentigern and St Columba (Scots), St Augustine and St Aidan (English), and those unnamed Christian missionaries who evangelized Roman Gaul and St Remigius for bringing Clovis (and the Franks) to baptism (French).  For the Cherokee and Osage - I don’t know, I’m sorry to say.  Probably unnamed (but remembered in the Kingdom!) Methodist and Baptist evangelists in the early 19th century, if not the late 18th.

Thanks be to God for the witness of all of them.

Good to learn something about the conversion of the Sami.

[18] Posted by Todd Granger on 3-24-2012 at 04:51 PM · [top]

Don’t know for sure. But my maternal grandfather was a Lutheran minister (and then Superintendent) in Austria so… Here I stand, I can do no other. (I cannot think of a better legacy to belong to!)

[19] Posted by David Ould on 3-24-2012 at 09:22 PM · [top]

Boniface on the maternal side from German stock according to the printed family history.  The paternal side is possibly the earliest Roman Christians to the British isles, what became Celtic Christianity and contributed 3 bishops to the Council of Nicaea.  Stroud is “coarse cloth” from the old English as I understand it.

May those saints be praised and in them God glorified!

[20] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 3-25-2012 at 01:02 PM · [top]

It was either St. Patrick, or Terrell Glenn.
Seriously, how do you guys know if your ancestors accepted the gospel before emigrating?  You might know which saint was in your great(x6)grandfather’s proximity, but you don’t know what happened in his heart unless you have remarkably detailed and well-preserved family documents.
Peace,
The Believing Cynic

[21] Posted by hippocamper on 3-26-2012 at 07:20 PM · [top]

Well, I know that the following among my ancestors:

The German Mennonites

The French Huguenots

The Leyden/Mayflower Separatists

accepted the Gospel before emigrating, because it was their belief in the Gospel that necessitated their emigration.

[22] Posted by KevinBabb on 3-26-2012 at 10:35 PM · [top]

Quote: “If you grew up in a Christian home, who gets credit for introducing the faith into your ancestry?”

A sovereign God!

a’Lasco

[23] Posted by aLasco on 3-27-2012 at 05:37 PM · [top]

I neglected to mention my Nipmuc ancestors who were converted by members of Roger Williams’ Baptist colony. They became known as the “Praying Indians” and were largely peaceful lake and riverside dwellers. They’re also best known for Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. The Nipmucs lived in western RI, eastern CT and south central MA (the Blackstone River valley.)

[24] Posted by The Little Myrmidon on 3-28-2012 at 12:42 PM · [top]

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