Faculty Mentor

Dr. Chris Cain


From the Celts to the Anglo-Saxons, nomadic tribes of Europe fostered pagan beliefs. Today, few records exist to explain these faiths because of their roots in oral tradition and a demise of animistic traditions brought about by the adaptation of a new conviction. The Christian faith spread across the continent stretching across the English Channel into present day Ireland and United Kingdom. Unlike other periods in history, the conversion to Christianity among the Celts and Anglo-Saxons occurred quickly. In order to understand this cultural shift, we must consider those people responsible for it. Mainly, we must ask what tactics missionaries used to spread the faith to the pagan people. Led by accredited religious figures such as St. Patrick and St. Augustine, lofty boasts about a universal faith allowed Christianity to supplant the widespread pagan beliefs. The missionaries also used certain devices to spread the faith including, but not limited to, the conversion of kings before peasants and the incorporation of certain pagan rituals into Christian practices. Both of these strategies eased the people’s transition to the new beliefs. Without the success of these missionaries, the Anglo-Saxons and Celts might not have adapted writing and certain values, which would have resulted in a significantly different world than we know today.

Cover Page Note

Acknowledgments: I would like to acknowledge and thank Dr. Chris Cain for helping me develop the paper during his seminar, the Assistant Honors College Dean, Erin Mountz, for her encouragement and support, and the Honors College Dean, Dr. Michael O'Pecko, for his motivation.