Throughout history, the Celts have always been a people of deep spiritual
convictions. Although the story of their Christianization is commonly thought
to have originated with Joseph of Arimathea, or even Christianized Romans,
who came to the British isles in the first centuries following Christs
advent, the first Celtic Christians were believed to be the Galatians of
Asia Minor. It was to these gentile converts that St. Paul wrote
the Biblical book of Galatians. The Celtic empire stretched
from Britain to Anatolia, and the Celts dealt the Romans many bloody noses
in the early days of the Empire. Their lack of political unity and their
willingness to fight amongst themselves, however, was eventually their undoing. The
Romans rebounded from their early defeats and eventually swept the Celts
from Europe, save for those residing in Iere and Prydain. With Rome ensconced
in Europe and the mideast, and roads connecting the far flung reaches of
the Empire, Christianity spread all the way to Britain.
The cymry, the ancient Britons, were already Christianized before Maxim Maximus took the last of the legionaires on their ill fated trip to Rome where the unfortunate Emperor of the West lost his head. Ireland, and the lands to north of Hadrian's Wall were still largely pagan. Through the pioneering work of saints such as Columba and Patrick, the Gospel of Christ was extended into these realms as well. under the Norse and Saxon onslaughts of the middle ages, Christianity, and with it Western Civilization, was virtually wiped out in continental Europe. Sheltered amongst the crags of remote Irish monastaries, the legacy of Christianity and classical literature was preserved by the spiritual descendants of St. Patrick. The contribution of these monks has been celebrated in modern works, such as How the Irish Saved Western Civilization, (although it should be mentioned that Patrick was from what is now known as Wales, and was definitely not Irish). It was during this time that the form of worship known popularly today as Celtic Orthodox Christianity flourished. In the centuries that followed, Ireland was the launching point of new efforts to reestablish Christianity on the continent. Later however, when Rome became the major power in all things ecclesiastical, the Celtic traditions were subsumed into the Church and Roman Catholocism became the predominant form of Christianity in Britain.
This is an archaic but reputedly accurate English translation of the Latin Bible (known as the St. Jerome or Vulgate Bible) used during the Age of the Saints, including Patrick.
Below is an excellent resource for those interested in Celtic Music with a Christian emphasis.
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