Christian Churches of God

No. 266




Origin of the Christian Church in Britain


(Edition 1.0 20060801-20060801)


People often ask when the Church came to Britain and what it believed. The truth is quite astounding and the mysteries surrounding some of it are also important aspects of its history.






Christian Churches of God

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(Copyright ã 2006 Wade Cox)



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Origin of the Christian Church in Britain



Many people ask us where the Sabbatarian Church in England started, and how it got to England. The answer is that it started in chains and it was brought to Britain by the sons of captive kings.


There is an apocryphal legend that concerns Joseph of Arimathea and that legend is recorded as follows at:


“Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy disciple of Jesus, who, according to the book of Matthew 27:57-60, asked Pontius Pilate for permission to take Jesus' dead body in order to prepare it for burial. He also provided the tomb where the crucified Lord was laid until his Resurrection. Joseph is mentioned in a few times in parallel passages in Mark, Luke and John, but nothing further is heard about his later activities.

Apocryphal legend, however, supplies us with the rest of his story by claiming that Joseph accompanied the Apostle Philip, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene & others on a preaching mission to Gaul. Lazarus & Mary stayed in Marseilles, while the others travelled north. At the English Channel, St.Philip sent Joseph, with twelve disciples, to establish Christianity in the most far-flung corner of the Roman Empire: the Island of Britain. The year AD 63 is commonly given for this "event", with AD 37 sometimes being put forth as an alternative. It was said that Joseph achieved his wealth in the metals trade, and in the course of conducting his business, he probably became acquainted with Britain, at least the south-western parts of it. Cornwall was a chief mining district and well-known in the Roman empire for its tin. Somerset was renowned for its high quality lead. Some have even said that Joseph was the uncle of the Virgin Mary and therefore of Jesus, and that he may have brought the young boy along on one of his business trips to the island. Hence the words of Blake's famous hymn, Jerusalem:

And did those feet, in ancient time,

Walk upon England's mountains green?


It was only natural, then, that Joseph should have been chosen for the first mission to Britain, and appropriate that he should come first to Glastonbury, that gravitational center for legendary activity in the West Country. Local legend has it that Joseph sailed around Land's End and headed for his old lead mining haunts. Here his boat ran ashore in the Glastonbury Marshes and, together with his followers, he climbed a nearby hill to survey the surrounding land. Having brought with him a staff grown from Christ's Holy Crown of Thorns, he thrust it into the ground and announced that he and his twelve companions were "Weary All". The thorn staff immediately took miraculous root, and it can be seen there still on Wearyall Hill. Joseph met with the local ruler, Arviragus, and soon secured himself twelve hides of land at Glastonbury on which to build the first monastery in Britain. From here he became the country's evangelist.

Much more was added to Joseph's legend during the Middle Ages. He was gradually inflated into a major saint and cult hero, as well as the supposed ancestor of many British Monarchs he is said to have brought with him to Britain a cup, said to have been used at the Last Supper and also used to catch the blood dripping from Christ as he hung on the Cross. A variation of this story is that Joseph brought with him two cruets, one containing the blood and the other, the sweat of Christ. Either of these items are known as The Holy Grail, and were the object(s) of the quests of the Knights of King Arthur's Round Table. One legend goes on to suggest that Joseph hid the "Grail" in Chalice Well at Glastonbury for safe-keeping.

There is a wide variance of scholarly opinion on this subject, however, and a good deal of doubt exists as to whether Joseph ever came to Britain at all, for any purpose.”


It is not critical that Joseph ever came to Britain but he may have done that. The ancestry that goes back to Joseph comes in fact from his meeting with Arviragus, however, that may not have been in England but in Rome.


King Lucius a king of Britain was alleged to have Christianised Britain ca. 156 CE.


St. Cadval, a British missionary, going out from Glastonbury, founded the church of Tatentum, Italy, ca. 170 CE.


However, the missionary movement was to require Lucius to ask assistance of the bishop of Rome. The bishop was reportedly Eleutheris (ca. 174-189). Bishop Eleutherius is recorded as sending the missionaries Faganus and Duvanus to Britain (cf. Venerable Bede and Liber Pontificalis).


According to the Liber Pontificalis, St. Eleutherius was a Greek from Nicopolis in Epirus. His father's name was Habundius. He ordered that no food which was fit for a human being should be despised by Christians. This decree, if authentic, probably was aimed at the Gnostics and the Montanists, a fanatical puritanical sect, or the Manicheans, who despised meat.


Irenaeus, the famous father of the Church, was sent by his bishop Pothinus (b. 87, d. 177) and the clergy of Lyons to confer with Pope Eleutherius about Montanism. Pothinus was the first bishop of Lyon and was consecrated perhaps as early as 150 CE.


We do know that Eleutherius was a deacon serving Anicetus in Rome who became bishop ca 154-164 CE when Justin Martyr was also serving there. He served under the next bishop Soter and succeeded him as bishop ca 174.


The Catholic Encyclopedia has this to say in dealing with this problem for the Roman Church.

Pope Eleutherius, [says this writer], received from Lucius, a British king, a letter in which the latter declared that by his behest he wishes to become a Christian (Hic accepit epistula a Lucio Brittanio rege, ut Christianus efficerentur per ejus mandatum). Whence the author of the first part of the "Liber Pontificalis" drew this information, it is now impossible to say. Historically speaking, the fact is quite improbable, and is rejected by all recent critics.

As at the end of the second century the Roman administration was so securely established in Britain, there could no longer have been in the island any real native kings. That some tribal chief, known as king, should have applied to the Roman bishop for instruction in the Christian Faith seems improbable enough at that period. The unsupported assertion of the "Liber Pontificalis", a compilation of papal biographies that in its earliest form cannot antedate the first quarter of the sixth century, is not a sufficient basis for the acceptance of this statement. By some it is considered a story intended to demonstrate the Roman origin of the British Church, and consequently the latter's natural subjection to Rome. To make this clearer they locate the origin of the legend in the course of the seventh century, during the dissensions between the primitive British Church and the Anglo-Saxon Church recently established from Rome. But for this hypothesis all proof is lacking. It falls before the simple fact that the first part of the "Liber Pontificalis" was compiled long before these dissensions, most probably (Duchesne) by a Roman cleric in the reign of Pope Boniface II (530-532), or (Waitz and Mommsen) early in the seventh century. Moreover, during the entire conflict that centered around the peculiar customs of the Early British Church no reference is ever made to this alleged King Lucius. Saint Bede is the first English writer (673-735) to mention the story repeatedly (Hist. Eccl., I, V; V, 24, De temporum ratione, ad an. 161), and he took it, not from native sources, but from the "Liber Pontificalis". Harnack suggests a more plausible theory (Sitzungsberichte der Berliner Akademie, 1904, I, 906-916). In the document, he holds, from which the compiler of the "Liber Pontificalis" drew his information the name found was not Britanio, but Britio. Now this is the name (Birtha- Britium) of the fortress of Edessa. The king in question is, therefore, Lucius Ælius Septimus Megas Abgar IX, of Edessa, a Christian king, as is well known. The original statement of the "Liber Pontificalis", in this hypothesis, had nothing to do with Britain. The reference was to Abgar IX of Edessa. But the compiler of the "Liber Pontificalis" changed Britio to Brittanio, and in this way made a British king of the Syrian Lucius.

The ninth-century "Historia Brittonum" sees in Lucius a translation of the Celtic name Llever Maur (Great Light), says that the envoys of Lucius were Fagan and Wervan, and tells us that with this king all the other island kings (reguli Britanniæ) were baptized (Hist. Brittonum, xviii). Thirteenth-century chronicles add other details. The "Liber Landavensis", for example (ed. Rees, 26, 65), makes known the names of Elfan and Medwy, the envoys sent by Lucius to the pope, and transfers the king's dominions to Wales. An echo of this legend penetrated even to Switzerland. In a homily preached at Chur and preserved in an eighth- or ninth-century manuscript, St. Timothy is represented as an apostle of Gaul, whence he came to Britain and baptized there a king named Lucius, who became a missionary, went to Gaul, and finally settled at Chur, where he preached the gospel with great success. In this way Lucius, the early missionary of the Swiss district of Chur, became identified with the alleged British king of the "Liber Pontificalis". The latter work is authority for the statement that Eleutherius died 24 May, and was buried on the Vatican Hill (in Vaticano) near the body of St. Peter.


The real issue is that the Liber Pontificalis is trying to regulate the Christian system in Britain with Roman antecedents, knowing that it was established centuries beforehand. It is probable that the missionary activities from Glastonbury from the second half of the Second century were requiring Roman support, as it involved many activities that were taking place in Italy and not far from Rome itself.


The Romans had commenced the practice of worshipping on Sundays as well as the Sabbath in 111 CE. The missionaries may well have taken this practice with them but it is not recorded in Britain, which remained Sabbath–keeping and determined the Passover as had been dictated by the apostle John, as we know from the histories (see the paper The Quartodeciman Disputes (No. 277)). The Church in Gaul was persecuted at this time and many Christians fled to Britain for protection under the Christians there.


Paul speaks of some people in Rome that are of importance and we can identify these people.


Paul makes mention of Linus, who was a member of the Church at Rome, among others. Irenaeus, who states that Peter and Paul founded the Church in Rome (Adversus Haereses, 3, 3, 3), tells us that the same Linus was first appointed as bishop of Rome and was succeeded by Anacletus and then Clement. Irenaeus makes no mention of Peter being bishop of Rome but rather with Paul as the founder of the Church there. We also know that Peter was the bishop of Antioch and appointed and ordained his successors. Peter seemingly had more to do with that church than with Rome. There is no authoritative mention of Peter going to Britain, but some claim he did. His death in Rome may also be conjectural based on the fact of it being ordered during the reign of Nero.


Augustine of Hippo, writing later, makes a different notation from Irenaeus.


Augustine (354-430), in Letters, No. 53, written in 400 AD:

For, to Peter succeeded Linus, to Linus, Clement, to Clement Anacletus, to Anacletus Evaristus, ... to Siricius Anastasius.


Here we see the assertion that Peter was bishop of Rome, as by this time it was a political exercise to establish Athanasian Trinitarianism and Roman supremacy.


The NT text says in 2 Timothy 4:21:

Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers send greetings.


Who were these people? Where did they come from? To answer these questions we have to go to Britain. This epistle to Timothy was written in 66 CE before Paul’s death. The people are thus known to be alive and in Rome at that time. The epistle makes no mention of Peter being in Rome at that time. Paul was also alone there for a long time. Thus Peter was not resident bishop of Rome and had to arrive there, if indeed he went there as tradition holds, some time in 66 CE after the epistle was written, and before the martyrdom of Paul. There was contact between the British royals and the British homeland and the Church was involved in this process as they were members of the Church.


“Sabbath-keeping was extant in England from the initial conversions. Britain was certainly introduced to Christianity very early and Tertullian of Carthage (a rhetorical writer) in Against the Jews [referring to Tertullian, Answer to the Jews ch. VII, ANF, Vol. III, pp. 157-158]

boasts that 'parts of Britain inaccessible to the Romans were indeed conquered by Christ'. That was written about two hundred years after the birth of Christ (Edwards, Christian England, Vol. I, p. 20).  


The area of Glastonbury was kept under control of the British until Ine, King of the West Saxons (688-722), occupied it. He found a wooden church there already revered as ancient. He gave extensive lands to its clergy and it survived until it was burnt down in 1184. The earliest Christian martyr recorded under the Romans in Britain, is Alban. He seems to have been a Roman soldier, who sheltered a Christian priest escaping from Gaul and was baptised by him (Edwards, p. 21). Gildas and Bede tell us also of the martyrs Aaron and Julius at Caerleon. Aaron's name suggests that he was a Jew (Edwards, ibid.).


There were five British Christians, including three bishops at the Council of Arles in 314. Eborius, bishop of York, Restitutus, bishop of London, Adelfius, bishop of Lincoln (but this is not certain since the scribe wrote Colonia Londoninensium rather than Colonia Lindensium), a priest and a deacon (Edwards, ibid.)” (cf. General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)).


The emperor Constantine had been declared Augustus, or emperor at York on 25 July 306, on the death of Constantius, his father. He was exposed to British or Celtic Christianity from his stay in England and in France. He attempted to unify the Empire under it and was baptised a Unitarian by Eusebius of Nicomedia on his deathbed. He was exposed to Mithraism whilst in the army as were the vast majority of soldiers.


The First Christians

The Sabbatarian system was established in England from the First century CE by the sons of Caradog or Caratacus (d. 54 CE), king of the Cantii (from ca 40) and king of the Catavellauni (from 43-51). He was the brother of Aviragus who was taken to Rome with him. (The family tree is at Appendix 2). He and his family were taken to Rome in chains by Claudius after being finally defeated in Wales at the head of an Army of 15,000. He was betrayed by Cartimandua, queen of the Brigantes (from 43-69 CE) who had made a pact with the Romans. There were a few British Chieftains taken to Rome with him. Claudius also set up puppet rulers of the line of the British kings that he thought could be trusted. Caratacus’ family were baptised in Rome in the Church of the apostle Paul and his disciples prior to 54 CE. That was prior to the death of Caratacus (or Caradog) and Claudius, and certainly before the martyrdom of Paul under Nero (ruled 54-68), which is placed around 66 CE. Caradog’s son, Linus, became the first bishop of Rome and his other son, Cyllin and family reportedly returned to England and established the Faith there. His daughter married Coel I who had also been taken to Rome in chains with Caratacus and Arviragus. Arviragus’ son Marius (Celtic Romanisation of Meurig from Y-Veurig, hence Arviragus) married the daughter of Claudius’ appointee Prasutagus and Boudica. Their son Coel married his second cousin, the daughter of Cyllin, and they became the parents of Lucius. Marius is also reported to have married the daughter of Bran the Blessed whose mother, the wife of Bran, was the daughter of Joseph of Arimathea.  They also returned to England (cf. Mike Ashley, The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens, Carroll and Graf 1999, pp. 67, 75, 78, 79). Their son (or his son) Lucius became king and in advancing age asked Eleutherius, the bishop of Rome (ca 174) for assistance with some missionaries, as we saw above. (See Appendix 2 for details.)


On referring back to the text by Paul in 2Timothy 4:21 we can identify some of those people. For example, we have an historical record of Pudens and of Claudia. She can be identified as Claudia Rufina. Wikipedia has this to say on the matter.

Claudia Rufina was a woman of British descent who lived in Rome in the 90s and was known to the poet Martial. Martial refers to her in Epigrams XI:53, describing her as "caeruleis [...] Britannis edita" ("sprung from the blue Britons", presumably in reference to the British custom of painting themselves with woad), and praising her for her beauty, education and fertility.

She is probably identical with the "Claudia Peregrina" ("Claudia the Foreigner") whose marriage to his friend Aulus Pudens, an Umbrian Centurion to whom several of his poems are addressed, Martial describes in Epigrams IV:13. She may also be the Claudia whose height Martial compares to the Palatine colossus, a gigantic statue that once stood near the Palatine Hill (Epigrams VIII:60).

It is possible that she and her husband may be identified with the Claudia and Pudens mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21 in the New Testament. This identification was made as early as the 17th century, by James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, in his British Ecclesiastical Antiquities, and his contemporary Cardinal Alford, a historian, who independently associated the two in his Regia Fides. Archdeacon John Williams's 1848 book Claudia and Pudens goes into greater depth on the relationships between Claudia and Pudens and their ethnicity than even Ussher or Alford. This view was supported also by Giovanni Battista de Rossi (d. 1894), a Christian archaeologist.

Martial wrote in the 90s, while the Pastoral Epistles are traditionally dated to the 60s, so on the face of it this identification would appear doubtful. However, many critical scholars consider the Pastoral Epistles to be pseudepigraphic and date them to the 90s; this would place them in the right time period but cast doubt on their contents.

Many traditional Roman Catholic scholars dispute this identification: according to the scholars at CCEL, these claims are specifically refuted by the Bollandists

An idea popularised in The Drama of the Lost Disciples, a 1961 book by the British Israelite pseudohistorian George Jowett, makes Claudia a daughter of the British resistance leader Caratacus.

Jowett did not originate all these ideas: he cites renaissance historians such as Archbishop James Ussher, Caesar Baronius and John Hardyng, as well as classical writers like Caesar, Tacitus and Juvenal. Some of his arguments appear to have originated with Archdeacon J. Williams in his Antiquities of the Cymry(1862), Claudia and Pudens (1848), and an article entitled "The Romans at Colchester" in Quarterly Review in 1858. Williams was familiar with James Ussher who had argued the same relationship between Claudia, Pudens and Caratacus much earlier in British Ecclesiastical Antiquities. Ussher himself cited Baronius as his source.

Daughter of King Cogidubunus

Given her name, it has been speculated that she was related to Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, a British king who ruled as a Roman client in the late 1st century. However the Claudii were an important and extensive Roman aristocratic family, and any female member of the family would have borne the name Claudia — as would any female freed slave formerly belonging to the Claudii, and indeed any woman in the empire whose father was given citizenship under the emperors Claudius and Nero. Furthermore, several British kings, such as Tincomarus, Dubnovellaunus, Adminius and Verica, are known to have fled Britain to Rome, and Caratacus was brought there as a prisoner. Numerous other Britons are likely to have been sent there as diplomatic hostages, not to mention war captives who would have been sold as slaves, offering a variety of possible ancestries. Since Martial is not specific about her ancestry, any attempt to identify her relations can only be conjecture.

(Wikipedia ibid.)


The traditions also note that Martial’s family was also involved with them, and his mother at least was allegedly a Jewess who went to Britain with her husband. The father’s name was Marcellus and the mother Elizabeth. They are alleged to have gone to Britain with Zacchaeus and other Judeans. It is beyond dispute that Martial was familiar with the British as we see here with Claudia. Pudens may have been a centurion on duty in Judea.


There were centurions that had direct access to Jesus Christ. One had his servant healed by faith (Mat. 8:5-13; Lk. 7:6).


There was, after all, a centurion at Jesus’ feet at the Passover execution, who proclaimed Christ as the Son of God (Mat. 27:54; Mk. 15:39) or the “righteous man” (Lk. 23:47).  He appeared to have been converted, as also was Pilate at a later date. Pilate spoke to the centurion before he released the body of Christ to Joseph of Arimathea who handed it to Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James (Junior), Joses and Salome.  He was not the centurion referred to as Cornelius in Acts 10:1. There are other centurions that came into contact with Paul and the apostles (Acts 21:32; 22:25-26; 23:17,23; 24:23; 27:1,6,11,31,43; 28:16). It should also be noted that Drusilla the wife of Felix (Acts 24:24) was a Jewess, so such marriages of Jewesses to Gentiles were common, as were the marriages of Israelites to Gentiles in the OT such as with Hiram of Tyre’s parents and some of his artisans or helpers.


If Martial’s mother was a Jewess, as is claimed, we are probably looking at the nucleus of the Church in Rome formed from the experiences in the ministry of Christ, and which formed the basis of the conversion of the British kings and chieftains taken to, or allied with Rome and resident at the “House of the British” there.


Ashley says that the son of Marius, who was the son of Arviragus, was Coel who was raised and educated in Rome. Marius returned to the Silures and is recorded as being a king of the British who paid his taxes to Rome and was of upstanding character. Ashley is of the opinion that he may well have become a client king of the Romans, as were Prasotagus and Cogidubnus. Cogidubnus was the king of the Regnii who were north of the Thames and into Wiltshire but he may have had association with the Dobunni if his name was Tog Y Dobunni or King of the Dobunni. If that was the case then he was given lands away from his Gloucester homeland (cf. also Ashley, op. cit., p. 79). He assisted the Romans in 43 CE during the invasion and afterwards in the rebellions of Caratacus and Boudica (queen of the Iceni (59-61) after the death of her husband Prasutagas).


Ashley is of the opinion that Coel, son of Marius, may have been confused with Cogidubnus by Geoffrey of Monmouth but the time-frames are not reconcilable. Ashley places him as the son of Marius and the husband of the daughter of Cyllin, son of Caratacus. There is little doubt that Linus the first bishop of Rome was the Linus of 2Timothy and that person appears to be of British descent. Claudia is identified as his sister and the wife of Pudens. If he was indeed the Pudens married to Claudia Rufina, we have one of the first Christian soldiers. Pudens and Claudia would have remained in Rome or Umbria. Linus also remained in Rome. If Coel was raised and educated in Rome then the daughter of Cyllin may well have remained in Rome until it was Coel’s time to return to Britain to succeed his father.


It may well be that the children of Cogidubnus, Prasotagus and Marius were all retained in Rome at the House of the Britons and educated there probably as a security for their parents’ fidelity. However, Prasutagas’ two daughters were in Britain in 59-61 CE and were raped at Colchester when their mother was flogged for complaining about Roman abuse of their lands. That action resulted in the rebellion of the Iceni and the Tinovantes and the sacking of Colchester and London.


The dating of Linus’ ascension as bishop of Rome is held to be 26 years from Christ’s ascension, which is held to be 30 CE, and thus Linus was appointed Bishop in 56 CE by Paul, some ten years before Peter returned to Rome. The Catholic Encyclopaedia says that this date is too early.  


One writer claims that Linus was of Italian extraction but that does not appear to be supported from the ancient sources.


Ethel Ross Barker, (Rome of the Pilgrims and Martyrs, London, 1913, p. 64), says Linus is an Italian, of the region of Tuscia; his father was Herulanus. He is claimed to have sat in the episcopal chair for eleven years, three months and twelve days. This period was from the consulships of Saturninus and Scipio to that of Capito and Rufus, i. e. 56 to 67 CE.  The death in 67 puts it in the order of suppression that resulted in the martyrdom of Paul and subsequently Peter (if the traditions are to be given credence) in the same time period. These dates are essentially as recorded by Lightfoot (Apostolic Fathers, p.253) but the date of death given by Barker is wrong. What is important is that Peter was not in Rome and Linus was appointed its first bishop. Peter only visited Rome according to the traditions and that was at the end of Linus’ period as bishop and shortly before his martyrdom in September (following the Liber Pontificalis regarding the Ninth month – i.e. novem). Catholic Encyclopaedia sources have the following to say concerning Linus for what are considered obvious reasons.


“Linus's term of office, according to the papal lists handed down to us, lasted only twelve years. The Liberian Catalogue shows that it lasted twelve years, four months, and twelve days. The dates given in this catalogue, A.D. 56 until A.D. 67, are incorrect. Perhaps it was on account of these dates that the writers of the fourth century gave their opinion that Linus had held the position of head of the Roman community during the life of the Apostle; e.g., Rufinus in the preface to his translation of the pseudo-Clementine "Recognitiones". But this hypothesis has no historical foundation. It cannot be doubted that according to the accounts of Irenaeus concerning the Roman Church in the Second century, Linus was chosen to be head of the community of Christians in Rome, after the death of the Apostle. For this reason his pontificate dates from the year of the death of the Apostles Peter and Paul, which, however, is not known for certain.


The “Liber Pontificalis” asserts that Linus's home was in Tuscany, and that his father's name was Herculanus; but we cannot discover the origin of this assertion. According to the same work on the Popes, Linus is supposed to have issued a decree "in conformity with the ordinance of St Peter", that women should have their heads covered in church. Without doubt this decree is apocryphal, and copied by the author of the “Liber Pontificalis from the first Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (11:5) and arbitrarily attributed to the first successor of the Apostle in Rome. The statement made in the same source, that Linus suffered martyrdom, cannot be proved and is improbable. For between Nero and Domitian there is no mention of any persecution of the Roman Church; and Irenaeus (1. c., III, iv, 3) from among the early Roman bishops designates only Telesphorus as a glorious martyr.”


Obviously they have to dispute the martyrdom based on their late reconstruction of his reign, which on the correct earlier dates make it impossible for Peter to have been bishop. Indeed, as pointed out, Irenaeus does not say Peter was bishop, but rather that Linus was appointed bishop by the apostles. That accords with the text attributed to Hippolytus below, which also has to be refuted and declared dubious by Rome. The very nature of the succession was that Christ appointed the Apostles and the Seventy and the Apostles were not bishops of any one place, but rather established churches and appointed the Seventy as heads of the churches as their bishops. The details attributed to the Liber Pontificalis are considered to have been placed there specifically to refute the details of the first bishop of Rome and the connection with Britain at such an early date and to place it further back. Tertullian specifically removes that possibility by his comments (quoted herein).


Hippolytus, a Greek, was a disciple of Irenaeus at Lyons who was taught by Polycrates and perhaps Polycarp disciple of John. Polycarp was "instructed by Apostles" (Irenaeus, op. cit., III, iii, 4) and had been a disciple of St. John (Eusebius, op. cit., III, 36; V, 20) whose contemporary he was for nearly twenty years.


Hippolytus became bishop of Portus Romanus and castigated the bishops in Rome, who at this time were starting to be called popes, along with the bishops of other major sees. He is wrongly attributed as bishop of Rome because he lived near Rome at Ostia, the port city of Rome in the period in which he wrote against two of them. He is associated also with Asia and may well have come to Lyons from Smyrna where Polycarp and Polycrates were teaching, as had the bishops of Lyons he served. He was martyred at Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber during the reign of Alexander Severus. Some Roman Catholics refer to him as an “antipope” because of his attacks on the bishops at Rome and the misconception that he was bishop of Rome, which he was not. Eusebius mentions him three times in connection with Beryllus bishop of Bostra, in Arabia, and so it is most likely he was trained in Asia Minor, perhaps at Bostra or Smyrna and sent to Lyons, which was associated with Smyrna and its bishops trained there. In 192 Victorinus anathematised all Quartodecimans, which caused a great problem for Lyons and its bishops and saw Polycrates and Smyrna in schism with Rome.


The writer of the introductory note to the ANF text has this to say of Hippolytus and his work.


1. That neither Hippolytus nor his master [Irenaeus] had any conception that the See of Rome possesses any pre-eminent authority, to which others are obliged to defer, is conspicuously evident from the history of both. Alike they convicted Roman bishops of error, and alike they rebuked them for their misconduct.

2. Hippolytus is the author of a work called the Little Labyrinth, which, like the recently discovered Philosophumena, attributes to the Roman See anything but the "infallibility" which the quotation from Irenaeus is so ingeniously wrested to sustain. How he did not understand the passage is, therefore, sufficiently apparent. Let us next inquire what appears, from his conduct, to be the true understanding of Irenaeus.

3. I have shown, in the elucidation already referred to, how Irenaeus affirms that Rome is the city which everybody visits from all parts, and that Christians, resorting thither, because it is the Imperial City, carry into it the testimony of all other churches. Thus it becomes a competent witness to the quod ab omnibus, because it cannot be ignorant of what all the churches teach with one accord. This argument, therefore, reverses the modern Roman dogma; primitive Rome received orthodoxy instead of prescribing it. She embosomed the Catholic testimony brought into it from all the churches, and gave it forth as reflected light; not primarily her own, but what she faithfully preserved in coincidence with older and more learned churches than herself. Doubtless she had been planted and watered by St. Paul and St. Peter; but doubtless, also, she had been expressly warned by the former of her liability to error and to final severance from apostolic communion. Hippolytus lived at a critical moment, when this awful admonition seemed about to be realized.

4. Now, then, from Portus and from Lyons, Hippolytus brought into Rome the Catholic doctrine, and convicted two of its bishops of pernicious heresies and evil living. And thus, as Irenaeus teaches, the faith was preserved in Rome by the testimony of those from every side resorting thither, not by any prerogative of the See itself. All this will appear clearly enough as the student proceeds in the examination of this volume (ANF, Vol. V, pp. 4-5).


The work, translating Hippolytus in the Ante Nicene Fathers Vol. 5, has an appendix listing items that are considered to be dubious or spurious. In that appendix is the complete list of the seventy apostles and where they went, and the offices they held, and, where known, the way they died. In that list appears Linus the first bishop of Rome who was allegedly one of the Seventy. Also listed is Aristobulus bishop of Britain. James is referred to as the Lord’s brother and is bishop of Jerusalem. Cephas is listed also but is not mentioned as a bishop of Rome or anywhere else, and that is probably the major reason why the list was later branded as dubious, but there is a lacuna noted in the text. It is not listed as wrongly ascribed and is attributed to him in the text but placed with others that are spurious.


Peter is listed by Hippolytus as preaching the gospel in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia and Betania, and Italy and Asia. He is then held to have been crucified upside down in the time of Nero (ANF, Vol. V, pp. 254-255). However, so also were a number of other apostles crucified upside down, such as Philip and Bartholomew. Andrew was also crucified on an olive tree.


The sheer breadth of Peter’s ministry makes it impossible that he could have been bishop of Rome. Betania is in the area of Tbilisi in the Caucasus.  It is the area from where the Anglo-Saxons came as part of the Parthian horde and where the Israelites had been banished. Peter’s major area of mission was to the Lost Tribes of Israel scattered abroad and there fused with the Scythians and Parthians, and not to Rome. Paul was apostle to the Gentiles not Peter; he was an apostle to the circumcision.


Peter was originally bishop or patriarch of Antioch, and appointed Evodius as bishop there in his place, well before he died. Evodius died ca 68 and was replaced by Ignatius of Antioch as bishop. Eusebius, (Historia Ecclesiastica, II.iii.22) records that Ignatius succeeded Evodius. Theodoret (Dial. Immutab., I, iv, 33a) states that Peter himself appointed Ignatius to the see of Antioch. That means Peter must have been there in 68 CE on the death of Evodius, and he either returned to Rome or was never killed in Rome. Alternatively, Ignatius may have gone to Rome on the death of Evodius, or he was appointed by instrument of Peter and perhaps ordained by John. Thus Peter is intimately associated with Antioch, and not with Rome, and in appointing its bishops.


Ignatius styled himself Theophoret or bearer of God, and is understood to have been a disciple of Peter and John. Indeed, he must have been, as John lived and controlled the Church from Ephesus and Ignatius must have had close association with him.


Ignatius was martyred between 98 and 117 CE.


If the tradition is to be accepted that Peter ordained Clement as bishop of Rome on the death of Linus, then Peter was not martyred in Rome where it is commonly believed he died. Such a view must be dismissed unless Linus was martyred shortly before Peter, and Peter then appointed Clement, or had given such instructions.


Paul was the apostle most often there in Rome, and in 66 when 2Timothy was written there is no mention of Peter at all. It is unthinkable that Peter should have been left off if he had been present in Rome. It is thought the two epistles of Timothy were written ca 66 and the subsequent year (i. e. 67 CE) respectively, and Titus was written at the same time. Modern attacks on their authenticity stem from what are probably sectarian political concerns.


Of the twelve apostles, in addition to John, Hippolytus claimed that Matthew also died naturally, as did Matthias. Simon the zealot is so listed as bishop of Jerusalem after the death of James, and it is he who is listed as being called Jude. Judah or Jude was also the name of the brother of Christ.


If this list is correct it shows that Linus was part of the Seventy, and also Aristobulus who was sent to Britain, and thus contact between Britain and Judea was either a fact or at the very least assumed to be so (ANF, Vol. V, pp.254-256). It also indicates that when the Seventy were sent out they were sent to places containing elements of the Faith, and Britain was one of those areas containing people of Hebrew descent. We have looked at the issue of who that may be and the details are contained in the paper Genetic Origin of the Nations (No. 265) and War of Hamon-Gog (No. 294). It is probably the YDNA Haplogroup I (Isles) that people the areas that are predominantly now outside of what was the accepted Roman area of influence in Britain. That would also accord with Tertullian’s statements ca 200 CE about them being outside of Roman control. They could have been all over the North and in the South-west, which had limited Roman occupation. If Aristobulus was indeed one of the Seventy, as also was asserted for Linus, then Linus had to have contact with Judea for some reason and had come to Judea and became a disciple of Christ before Christ was killed at Passover 30 CE. The disciples were then sent out after that, as we see in Acts. Britain thus must have received a delegation within the short period up to the appointment of Paul. Aristobulus is mentioned in Romans 16:10. His household was to be greeted but he himself does not appear to be there. The answer, on Hippolytus’ account, would be that he was sent to Britain and may have left his household there in Rome in order to call them forward when appropriate. The Church may have been established in Britain on this account when Caratacus was captured and brought to Rome in 51 CE, or perhaps even before. Paul wrote the epistle on his third missionary journey from Corinth ca 56 CE. Aristobulus at this time must have been a minimum of 52 years of age if he was one of the Seventy. He was allegedly the brother of Barnabas, who Hippolytus says became bishop of Heraclea, which is an ancient Greek city in Lucania, Southern Italy, not far from the Gulf of Tarentum (Taranto). There is a tradition that asserts that Paul sent Barnabas ahead to England. If so he must have then returned to Italy and went on to Heraclea when Aristobulus assumed control in England.


It also would demonstrate the connection between Britain and Rome at such an early date, with these people mentioned in 2Timothy being present by 66 CE. Thus, between 51 and 66 CE the addition of the British is evidenced in Rome in the Church.  Aristobulus is then 62 and a trifle old to be establishing churches. We could therefore conclude the Church in Britain had to be already established at this time for him to be its bishop.

The Line of Joseph

The Great Lord, or King of the British in the First century BCE was Beli Mawr (lit. Lord Great). His two sons were Llud and Caswallon.


Caswallon was the father of King Lear of Shakespeare fame. Lear married his second cousin Penardun, the daughter of Llud, and their son was Bran the Blessed. It is widely recorded in the genealogies that Bran married Anna, who was the daughter of Joseph of Arimathea. The Coptic Church records another daughter’s name as Jose. If it is the case, as recorded in the histories and genealogies, that Joseph was the uncle of the Virgin Mariam, then Anna was her cousin as well as the cousin of Mary wife Clophas.  The descendents of this marriage to Bran directly inherit the lineage of Christ in Luke 3 back to David through Nathan, as Joseph is attributed to be the (great uncle) of Christ and younger brother of Heli, Mariam’s father. It was for that reason that Pontius Pilate granted Joseph the body of Christ for burial.


The son of Bran and Anna was Beli (see Appendix 2). This Beli is often confused with Beli Mawr or The “Great Lord” who was great grandfather of Bran alive in the First century BCE. The historians who make this error thus dismiss the genealogies based on the incompatible time-frame. The fact is that they are dealing with two distinct personalities and Anna was the mother of Beli son of Bran and not the wife of Beli Mawr. Bible students will note that Beli in the Brythonic is the equivalent of Baali in the Hebrew and both mean “Lord”.


The lineage goes from Bran to Beli to Amalech, and down to Coel Hen on the one line from Eudelen, and to Cunedda on the other line from Eugein. Cunedda married Gwawl daughter of Coel Hen (Old King Cole of the nursery rhymes). The sons of Coel Hen descended to the chiefs of the North (Northumbria) and to the Welsh and to the last princes of Wales through the line of Cunedda. Cunedda was tasked by Vortigern, High King of Britain, to turn back the Irish invasions. He established himself in North Wales and probably at the Roman Fort of Chester.


The Romans relied on this line of the British chieftains, and for example, the genealogy of Cunedda makes him the grandson of Padarn Beisrudd, which translates as Paternus of the Scarlet Cloak. Paternus was almost certainly a Roman official of high rank who was placed in command of the troops around the area of the Votadini or the Gododdin ca 388.


The lines of the descendants that were taken to Rome of Caratacus and Arviragus are also tied in to the lines of Joseph, in that Marius (Lat. for Meurig i.e. Arviragus) is recorded as marrying the daughter of Bran the Blessed and thus her grandmother was the daughter of Joseph of Arimathea. Thus Jesus Christ was her grandmother’s cousin on this view (cf. also Ashley, op. cit., p. 78).


It follows that, based on the genealogies, most of the Celtic aristocracy of England are claimed to be descended from the family of Jesus Christ.


Given the generations we have seen, the extent now is truly pervasive throughout the people of the UK and its colonies.

The traditions regarding Joseph in England are of note.

The interpolations of William of Malmesbury's HISTORY OF GLASTONBURY say Joseph was sent to Britain by Saint Philip who was preaching in Gaul. With regard to Gaul, there is a tradition which says that, with Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, Martha and others, Joseph was placed in an oarless boat which was divinely guided to Marseilles. J. W. Taylor says there is an Aquitanian legend that says Joseph was one of a party which landed at Limoges in the first century and that there is a Spanish tale relating how Joseph, with Mary Magdalene, Lazarus and others, went to Aquitaine. Taylor also cites a Breton tradition that Drennalus, first bishop of Treguier, was a disciple of Joseph. Taylor adduces these traditions as part of an attempt to show that Joseph came first to Gaul, then to Britain. It is worth noting, however, that the tradition of Mary Magdalene and Lazarus coming to Marseilles is not now regarded seriously by most hagiologists. - Joseph was said, not only to have come to Britain, but to have settled at Glastonbury where he was given land by King Arviragus. A local tradition, perhaps not older than the nineteenth century says he buried the cup of the Last Supper above the spring in Glastonbury and hence the water had a red tinge. A tradition amongst certain metalworkers was that, sometime before the Crucifixion, Joseph actually brought Jesus and Mary to Cornwall. Benjamin suggests that Joseph may be identical with Joachim, the father of the Virgin Mary in the PROTEVANGELIUM OF JAMES, an apocryphal work; but the two names are quite distinct in origin. In the ESTOIRE Joseph is given a son, Josephe. In SONE DE NAUSAY he had a son named Adam, while Coptic tradition claims he had a daughter, Saint Josa.

To conclude this chapter we will observe that the very first page of Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum contains an account which assumes the truth of the legend of the arrival in Britain of Joseph of Arimathea, as well as of several other statements in John of Glastonbury. It is there fore worth while to quote it in connection with the present subject. # 779: Dugdale's account commences as follows: "About sixty-three years after the Incarnation of our Lord, St Joseph of Arimathea, accompanied by eleven other disciples of St Philip, was despatched by that Apostle into Britain, to introduce in the place of barbarous and bloody rites, long exercised by the bigotted and besotted druids, the meak and gentle system of Christianity. They succeeded in obtaining from Arviragus, the British king, permission to settle in a small island, then rude and uncultivated, and to each of the twelve was assigned for his subsistence, a certain portion of land called a hide, comprising a district, denominated to this day THE TWELVE HIDES OF GLASTON. Their boundaries, as well as the names of the principal places contained in them, will be found in the Appendix (i.e. the Appendix to the Monasticon). They enjoyed all the immunities of regal dignity, from ancient times and the first establishment of christianity in this land. One peculiar privilege which this church possessed by the grant of king Canute, was that no subject could enter this district without the permission of the abbot and convent. It now includes the following parishes; Glastonbury St Benedict, Glastonbury St John, Baltonsbury, Bradley, Mere, WestPennard, and North-Wotton. "The name by which the island was distinguished by the Britons was Ynswytryn, or the Glassy Island, from the colour of the stream which surrounded it. Afterwards it obtained the name of Avallon, either from Aval, an apple, in which fruit it abounded; or from Avallon, a British chief, to whom it formerly belonged. The Saxons finally called it Glæsting-byrig. Here St Joseph, who is considered by the monkish historians as the first abbot, erected, to the honour of the Virgin Mary, of wreathed twigs, the first Christian oratory in England." # 24 - 156 - 261 - 320 - 392 - 418 - 604 - 779


The biblical position of Joseph is that he was a member of the Council (Mk. 15:43) and that is taken to mean the Sanhedrin, and not just his village council at Arimathea, or Ramah in the foothills east of Joppa or Tel-Abib.


He is assumed to be the relative of Jesus Christ in all traditions associated with him, and Hippolytus does not list him as one of the Seventy (see Appendix 1).


Matthew 27:57 says he was rich. He also owned a tomb of his own in Jerusalem. His family tomb was probably in Arimathea.


John 19:41 says the tomb was located in the garden not far from the site of the crucifixion.


There are some legal motives attributed to Joseph that make him merely a kindly benefactor. H. C. Kee writing in the Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible (Vol. 2, pp. 980-981) considers that it is unlikely that a leading Jew of the Council would have risked his life to please a Galilean rabble, the leader of which had just been put to death. Kee thinks he may have acted in accordance with the law as a responsible official, as “implied” in Mark 15:42-43. The law was that a dead body rendered unclean those who touched it. It had to be buried before the Sabbath commenced that evening. The law was also explicit that a criminal had to be buried on the day of his execution (Deut. 21:23). The Romans would probably have left the body on the stake to be eaten by vultures. However, the authorities would have been concerned with this and arranged it if that were of real concern to the Sanhedrin. The argument may be advanced that he was simply acting on behalf of the Sanhedrin. However, if that were the case he would not have provided his own tomb voluntarily. He also did not agree with their condemnation of Christ and refused to give his consent (Lk. 23:51). In Mark’s account it does say that he was looking for the Kingdom of God.  Mark 15:43 then says: “he took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus”.  He then buried Christ with Nicodemus (Jn. 19:39).


Matthew claims that Joseph was one of Jesus’ disciples (Mat. 27:57).


The gospel accounts agree with Mark 15:46 in that Joseph bought a linen shroud and that the body was handed to Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James Jr., Joses and Salome.


We have established that he was a wealthy disciple and that he did not stint in the assistance to deal with the body of Christ. However, he needed to have some claim to the body. The authorities simply did not hand over bodies to anyone then, just as they do not do it now.


They placed a guard on his tomb for three days to make sure it did not disappear.


The most likely reason Pilate acted in that way was that Joseph had a legitimate claim, and was a relative in some way, or acted for the family in some official capacity. As a disciple he may have acted at the behest of the member of the Seventy to which he was assigned, in which case he is traditionally associated with Aristobulus who went to Britain. It may be that Hippolytus listed a replacement for him in the Seventy after his death and that disciple had then been assigned to another area or diocese. He was with Nicodemus in dealing with the body of Christ. Both may have been associated with the Sanhedrin. The view was, however, that he was associated with or related to Mariam, and that he also cared for the women after Christ was killed. The NT Apocryphal work, a narrative of the Assumption of the Virgin, which is ascribed to Joseph of Arimathea, reports that he cared for Mariam the mother of Christ until her death. The Bible text states it was to John that Christ gave his mother in care. The confusion may well have come from the fact that she was confused with Maria, the wife of Clophas, in that her name was incorrectly ascribed as Maria when that was the name of her sister, the wife of Clophas, and the traditions associate Joseph with this pair and Mary Magdalene. It is this tradition that gave rise to the traditions of the Merovingian Lineage of Christ in France, and the Fisher King legends in Scandinavia and that of the Holy Grail.


The traditions are fairly extensive concerning the relationship of Joseph to Christ’s family and the Bible indicates some close relationship simply by his actions, and he was at the very least a wealthy disciple.


There is also an appendix titled The Story of Joseph of Arimathea to the work “The Acts of Pilate”.

Britain as a Missionary Centre

There are a number of traditions surrounding the appointment of bishops under the direction of Paul and the Church in Britain to centres in Gaul such as that of Avignon. It is claimed by some British Israelites that Parmena, disciple of Joseph of Arimathea, was appointed its first bishop, others are also claimed for that honour. The Catholic Encyclopaedia states:

There is no evidence that St. Rufus, disciple of St. Paul (according to certain traditions the son of Simon the Cyrenean) and St. Justus, likewise held in high honour throughout the territory of Avignon, were venerated in antiquity as bishops of that see. The first bishop known to history is Nectarius, who took part in several councils about the middle of the fifth century.


It is thus clear that Rome did not have sway over Avignon until the middle of the Fifth century. It is highly unlikely that such a centre would have been left alone by Christianity yet subject to such important traditions. The answer is that it was not a Roman Catholic centre until well after the paganism of Julian the apostate.


These assertions come from a long held tradition in England that the Church at Glastonbury was responsible for the evangelism of much of Europe, for some three centuries.


The French traditions also link these churches directly to the early apostles. The history of the Church in France and England makes it known that the religious system until the conquests of the Franks was Unitarian, or Arian, over all the north countries and amongst the invaders. The centre at Rome simply bribed their leaders (see also the paper Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath Keeping Churches of God (No. 170) and also General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No 122)).


There is a tradition, as we see above, that Drennalus helped Joseph found the Church at Morlaix, and was then appointed to Treguier as its first bishop.


Not surprisingly, the Catholic Church is silent on this issue but they do admit that:


“The hermit, St. Ronan, a native of Ireland, often held to be one of the 350 bishops consecrated by St Patrick, was in the fifth century one of the apostles of Cornouailles and the neighbourhood around Léon” (CE artic. Morlaix).


They thus admit an external influence from the Celtic Church for the establishment of the see.

As for Tréguier:

“Tréguier is located 36 m. N.W. of Sait- Brieuc by road. The port is situated about 5 1/2 m. from the English Channel at the confluence of two streams that form the Tréguier River.

Tréguier (Trecorum), which dates from the 6th century, grew up round a monastery founded by St. Tudwall (died c. 564). In the 9th century it became the seat of a bishopric, suppressed on July 12, 1790 (decree of November 14, 1789). Pop. (1906), 2605 (cf. Wikipedia).


It is one of the seven towns linked to the seven founding Catholic Saints of Brittany, one of whom was Tudwall. Thus the Roman Catholic Church does not recongise the Celtic Church of Brittany founded before Tudwall established the monastary there in the 6th century. It is simply inconceivable that Amorica or Brittany, which had such close connection with the Celtic people of Britain, would not have shared in its religious evangelism. What is established beyond doubt is that Brittanny or Amorica was not Roman Catholic until the Sixth century and admitted that to be so in their history, as we see here from this Wikipedia comment.

Tro Breizh (Breton for "Tour of Brittany") is a Catholic pilgrimage that links the towns of the seven founding saints of Brittany, including Tréguier, Saint Tudwal's town.


To understand what happened here in Brittany we must understand the history. The Roman Catholics could not have dealt with them earlier than that, as they were not there at the time, and by the Sixth century the original inhabitants had gone and only started returning on the invasion of Britain by the Angles Saxons and Jutes, as we see from the history of Brittany or Bretagne.

...Roman sources record the Armoricani tribes of the Veneti, Osismii, Namneti, Coriosoliti and Riedoni as inhabiting the area in the iron age.

In 56 BC the area was conquered by the Romans under Julius Caesar. The Romans called the district Armorica (a Latinisation of a Celtic word meaning "coastal region"), within the larger province of Gallia Lugdunensis. The modern département of Côtes-d'Armor has taken up the ancient name. The uprising of the Bagaudae in the 3rd century led to the destruction of villages and to depopulation.

By the 4th century Romano-British tribes from across the English Channel started to settle. This flow of Britons increased when Roman troops and authority were withdrawn from Britain, and raiding and settling by Anglo-Saxons and Scotti into Britain increased. The immigrant Britons gave the region its current name and contributed to the Breton language, Brezhoneg, a sister language to Welsh and Cornish. The French speaking peoples surrounding the region gave the name "Bretagne" (Brittany in English) to the area where Britons settled fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britannia, hence they named "Grande Bretagne" (Great Britain) to the island where these Britons came from.


The history confirms without doubt that the British tribes not only went there, but also brought their culture and religion. Thus the tribe of the Bagaudae and its villages and churches were all destroyed in the Third century and the people fled to Celtic Britain where Roman control was weakest as the British histories state.  That is why the record of the British evangelism in Brittany is confined to the early Celtic writings in Britain, and not in the Roman Catholic Church in either Britain or France. They simply were not there.


The Bagaudae village at Tréguier was destroyed and so was its church and that is why Tudwall was able to establish a Catholic monastary there in the Sixth century. It was no longer a town. That is also why it is not recorded as sending any bishops or officers to the Council of Arles in 314.


The Bagaudae were an armed Celtic Christian militia operating in Amorica under their leaders Amandus and Aeilianus who were local landowners. They came to the attention of the authorities in 284, and were crushed by 286 under the Caesars Maximian and Carausius, working for Augustus Diocletian. (cf. Wikipedia article Bagaudae). Carausius was a Roman usurper in Britain and Northern Gaul who declared himself emperor of Britain and Northern Gaul on being accused of larceny by Diocletian and hearing of his sentence. He declared himself restorer of Britain and won the support of the three British legions and with his command of the navy. Obviously his naval command was important in isolating and defeating the Bagaudae.


This action was before the ten years of the persecutions of Diocletian in the east.


“Diocletian, was Roman Emperor from November 20, 284 to May 1, 305 [with Maximian]. Diocletian brought to an end the period popularly known to historians as the "Crisis of the Third Century" (235–284). He established an autocratic government and was responsible for laying the groundwork for the second phase of the Roman Empire, which is known variously as the "Dominate" (as opposed to the Principate instituted by Augustus), the "Tetrarchy", or simply the "Later Roman Empire". Diocletian's reforms helped ensure the survival of the Western Roman Empire for another two hundred years, and the survival of the Eastern Roman Empire (later the Byzantine Empire) for another thousand.”



Constantine was appointed emperor at York in 306 on the death of his father. Christians became tolerated after his edict at Milan in 311. We can thus view the Celtic Christians in the light of an independent group resisting Roman authority at the appointment of Diocletian and the enforced autocratic government of the Roman Empire. Diocletian then went on quelling all opposition both in the west and in the east. That suppression involved the suppression of the Church. The Church at Rome was easily in the camp of the Romans and was not persecuted for more than two years there, but it was persecuted for ten years in the east. The Celtic Church in Brittany was virtually wiped out or dispersed. It seems some are recorded as later returned from Britain, hence giving the name to Bretagne or Brittany.


The early Celtic Church in Gaul suffered as part of this suppression. The Celtic missionaries Sidonius, Saturninus and Cleon are all part of the tradition of the early Church being sent from Britain to Gaul. They are reported as returning to Britain. The history has deliberately not been preserved, as the Celtic Church was not Roman Catholic and was rather Sabbatarian Quartodeciman.


The traditions of the Celts hold that the Church founded in Britain then sent missionaries not only to Gaul, but also to the Helvetii who had by then established themselves in Switzerland. The missionary is named as Beatus in the histories listed above. He was allegedly baptised by Barnabas. Some claim that he is Joses the Levite in Scripture. The early traditions are noted in the Historians’ History of the World, Vol. XVI, p. 533) where Beatus is noted as the first bishop of the Helvetii in the First century. Reference is made to Lucius, the Rhaetian, in the Third century and to the Theban legion at the end of the Fourth century. The historians note also the signature of bishops and presbyters of the churches in the Valais, at Geneva, Coire, Aventicum and elsewhere in the Fourth century. They are considered to be of doubtful genuineness and what is settled on is that there was a church in the Valais during the Fifth century and others elsewhere after that. Again the obvious reason is that they were not Roman Catholic and there was no other record of them in Rome. The Helvetii were Celts allied with the Cimbri and also the Teutones. They had been defeated by them under Caesar in Gaul on their march west to the lands of the Cimbri in Gaul, and were turned back to their homeland and made subject to the Romans and mistreated by them over the ensuing few centuries. In the Fifth century (ca 443 CE) the Burgundians finally invaded and occupied the both banks of the Jura and Lake Geneva, in the Valais, on the banks of the Rhone and the Saone. From 409, together with the other tribes, they invaded the confines of the Empire. The Vandals and the Suevi attacked Spain and the Goths fell upon Italy. The Goths were to follow on into Spain as Visigoths or Western Goths, and another sub-group of them had gone into Scandinavia and were followed by the Svear.


These tribes were all Unitarian Sabbatarians, and thus the Church in its origins was all Sabbatarians in Switzerland and across Northern Europe from the Rhine, the Oder and the Vistula, to the coast, including the Fris and Dutch, and then on into Britain.


Mansuetus is claimed as the first bishop of the Lotharingians (ca 49 CE) with his seat at Toul. He is also claimed as founding the Church at Lorraine, which is in effect the same thing as Lotharingia from the division of the empire of Charlemagne. Some writers claim he had contact with Rome after the death of Clement as a bishop there.


The Roman Catholics claim that their first bishop at Trier was in 250 CE and that they sent missionaries from there to Lorraine.

“The territory afterwards known as Lorraine was converted to Christianity while still under Roman domination. Missionaries came thither from Trier whose first bishop was St. Eucharius (about 250). One of his successors, Maternus (313-14), founded the See of Cologne.”


Thus the area prior to that was not Roman Catholic, and was Germanic in the east and Frankish in the west. These tribes were originally Sabbatarians, termed Arians by the Roman Catholics. The Fris and the Germanic tribes of the Saxons and Thuringians/Hermanduri were only converted to Catholicism after the forced conversion of Britain and the sending of Boniface to Frisland and Germany. Some were not converted from Sabbatarian Christianity until as late as the Eighth century. France was forcibly converted to Catholicism by the power of the Franks.


Cologne and Trier were the two ancient bishoprics that were converted to Catholicism and used to subjugate the others. Toul was one of those other bishoprics. The Catholics elevated the sees to archbishoprics as follows:

About 811 Trier became an archbishopric, the episcopal Sees of Metz, Toul, and Verdun being suffragan to it. From 511 Metz was capital of Austrasia, and became a bishopric in the sixth century, one of its first bishops being St. Chrodegang (742-66). Toul and Verdun have been bishoprics since the fourth century. Under Bishop Hildebold, in 799, Cologne received from St. Boniface metropolitan jurisdiction over Liège and Utrecht. The two great archbishoprics early became temporal lordships.


Note that these establishments did not take place until the Ninth century. Trier became a bishopric in the Sixth century. Toul and Verdun were bishoprics in the Fourth century. Prior to this time the whole area was Unitarian Sabbatarian and not Roman Catholic.  Toul was a Gallo-Roman City and was the oldest bishopric being established from the Sabbatarian system in Britain.


Anglican authorities recorded that the Church in Britain kept the Sabbath and the food laws, and they were Quartodecimans (see for example Bishop Edwards’ Christian England).  Niall of the Nine Hostages, High King at Tara in the Fourth century, invaded Gaul and captured some two hundred people, one of whom was St. Patrick. Patrick converted Niall’s grandson, who became St. Columba of Iona. He was a Sabbatarian, as was Aidan of Lindisfarne. The Church they established in Northern Britain was forced to comply with the Roman system in 664 CE at the synod of Whitby by the power of the Angles under Ethelbert. It was forced underground in England and in Wales by 1054, and in Scotland under Queen Margaret. Following the Council of Genoa in 1190, the Sabbatarian Publicani or Pauliani (after Paulicians or Paulists) were delivered up to be burned at Oxford in 1191. That persecution continued until 1612 when Edward Wightman was burned at the stake for teaching against infant baptism and the Catholic understanding of the Trinity among other things. He was the last to be executed in that manner. To hold and teach the Sabbatarian religion continued to be a capital offence in England in the Seventeenth century. Wightman’s sons went to America to Rhode Island to join the other Seventh Day Baptists (called Brownists after their leader from Surrey). The usual establishment practice was to trivialise Sabbatarian existence and beliefs by referring to them as sects named for the leaders or areas such as Waldensians or Vallenses. Hence, we also see the use of the terms Armstrongites, Duggerites, Davidians (from Francis Davidis), Transylvanians etc. The Sabbatarian Baptist sect termed Brownists had fled to Holland for safety and after a few years in exile chartered the Mayflower and the Speedwell to go to America. They are known there as the Pilgrim Fathers. However, their Unitarian Sabbatarianism is ignored by the US religious establishment. They were followed there from England by the establishment system and later had to flee to Rhode Island (see the paper The Dutch Connection of the Pilgrim Fathers (No. 264) at








Appendix 1:



Where each of them preached, and where they met their end.


1. Peter preached the Gospel in Pontus, and Galatia, and Cappadocia, and Betania, and Italy, and Asia, and was afterwards crucified by Nero with his head downward, as he had desired to suffer in that manner.


2. Andrew preached to the Scythians and Thracians, and was crucified, suspended on an olive tree, at Patrae, a town of Achaia; and he too was buried.


3. John, again, in Asia, was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos, in which he wrote his Gospel and saw the apocalyptic vision; and in Trajan’s time he fell asleep at Ephesus, where his remains were sought for, but could not be found.


4. James his brother, when preaching in Judea, was cut off with the sword by Herod the Tetrarch, and was buried there.


5. Philip preached in Phrygia, and was crucified in Hierapolis with his head downward in the time of Domitian, and was buried there.


6. Bartholomew, again, preached to the Indians, to whom he also gave the Gospel according to Matthew, and was crucified with his head downward, and was buried in Allanum, a town of the great Armenia.


7. Matthew wrote the Gospel in the Hebrew tongue and published it at Jerusalem, and fell asleep at Hierees, a town of Parthia.


8. Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and Marians, and was thrust through in the four members of his body with a pine spear at Calamene, the city of India, and was buried there.


9. And James the son of Alphaeus, when preaching in Jerusalem, was stoned to death by the Jews, and was buried there beside the temple.


10. Jude, who is also called Lebbaeus, preached to the people of Edessa, and to all Mesopotamia, and fell asleep at Berytus and was buried there.


11. Simon the Zealot, the son of Clopas, who is also called Jude, became bishop of Jerusalem after James the Just, and fell asleep and was buried there at the age of 120 years.


12. Matthias, who was one of the Seventy, is numbered along with the eleven apostles, and preached in Jerusalem; he fell asleep and was buried there.


13. Paul entered into the apostleship a year after the assumption of Christ; and beginning at Jerusalem, he advanced as far as Illyricum, and Italy, and Spain, preaching the Gospel for five-and-thirty years. And in the time of Nero he was beheaded at Rome, and was buried there.








1. James the Lord’s brother, bishop of Jerusalem.

2. Cleopas [or Clopas] as above, bishop of Jerusalem. (Husband of Mary, Mariam’s sister)

3. Matthias, who supplied the vacant place in the number of the twelve apostles.

4. Thaddeus, who conveyed the epistle to Augarus.

5. Ananias, who baptised Paul, and was bishop of Damascus.

6. Stephen, the first martyr.

7. Philip, who baptized the eunuch.

8. Prochorus, bishop of Nicomedia, who also was the first that departed, believing together with his daughters.

9. Nicanor died when Stephen was martyred.

10. Tinion, bishop of Bostra.

11. Parmenas, bishop of Soli.

12. Nicolaus, bishop of Samaria.

13. Barnabas, bishop of Milan.

14. Mark the evangelist, bishop of Alexandria.

15. Luke the evangelist.

These two belonged to the seventy disciples who were scattered by the offence of the word which Christ spake, “Except a man eat my flesh, and drink my blood, he is not worthy of me”.  But the one being induced to return to the Lord by Peter’s instrumentality, and the other by Paul’s, they were honoured to preach that Gospel on account of which they also suffered martyrdom, the one being burned, and the other being crucified on an olive tree.

16. Silas, bishop of Corinth.

17. Silvanus, bishop of Thessalonica.

18. Crisces (Crescens), bishop of Carchedon in Gaul.

19. Eprenetus, bishop of Carthage.

20. Andronicus, bishop of Pannonia.

21. Amplias, bishop of Odyssus.

22. Urban, bishop of Macedonia.

23. Stachys, bishop of Byzantium.

24. Barnabas, bishop of Heraclea.

25. Phygellus, bishop of Ephesus. He was of the party also of Simon.

26. Hermogenes. He, too, was of the same mind with the former.

27. Demas, who also became a priest of idols.

28. Apelles, bishop of Smyrna.

29. Aristobulus, bishop of Britain.

30. Narcissus, bishop of Athens.

31. Herodion, bishop of Tarsus.

32. Agabus the prophet

33. Rufus, bishop of Thebes.

34. Asyncritus, bishop of Hyrcania.

35. Phlegon, bishop of Marathon.

36. Hermes, bishop of. Dalmatia.

37. Patrobulus, bishop of Puteoli.

38. Hermas, bishop of Philippi.

39. Linus, bishop of Rome.

40. Caius, bishop of Ephesus.

41. Philologus, bishop of Sinope.

42. Olympus and

43. Rhodion were martyred in Rome.


44. Lucius, bishop of Laodicea in Syria.

45. Jason, bishop of Tarsus.

45. Sosipater, bishop of Iconium.

47. Tertius, bishop of Iconium.

48. Erastus, bishop of Panellas.

49. Quartus, bishop of Berytus.

50. Apollo, bishop of Caesarea.

51. Cephas.

52. Sosthenes, bishop of Colophonia.

53. Tychicus, bishop of Colophonia.

54. Epaphroditus, bishop of Andriace.

55. Caesar, bishop of Dyrrachium.

56. Mark, cousin to Barnabas, bishop of Apolonia.

57. Justus, bishop of Eleutheropolis.

58. Artemas, bíshop of Lystra.

59 Clement, bishop of Sardinia.

60. Onesiphorus, bishop of Corone.

61. Tychicus, bishop of Chalcedon.

62. Carpus, bishop of Berytus in Thrace.

63. Evodus, bishop of Antioch.

64. Aristarchus, bishop of Apamea.

65. Mark, who is also John, bishop of Bibloupolis.

66. Zenas, bishop of Diospolis.

67. Philemon, bishop of Gaza.

68. Aristarchus and

69. Pudes.

70. Trophimus, who was martyred along with Paul.