The century which was bounded by A.D. 950 and A.D. 1050 saw as wide a geographic advance of Christianity as any in the history of the faith until after A.D. 1500. It witnessed the conversion of those pagans who so recently had been a scourge of Christendom, the Scandinavians, in some of their homelands — Denmark, Norway, and, incompletely, in Sweden — and in lands beyond the earlier borders of "Christendom" m which they had effected settlements — Iceland, Greenland, and, more notably, Kiev, the nucleus of the later Russia. It was the time when many of the Slavs of Central Europe came to the faith — some of those east of the Elbe through the efforts of Otto I, but especially the Czechs and Poles. During that period the Magyars were converted and Hungary joined the ranks of professedly Christian nations. In Spain the Christian reconquest of the peninsula made extensive strides. In Sicily the occupation by Christian Normans spelled the doom of Islam in that island. In Mesopotamia an Arab tribe accepted the faith. Thus those pagans who had threatened the very existence of Christianity were being won, and, as nowhere else by any other religion, the tide of Islam was being rolled back. In that same hundred years in Central Asia the Keraits, who were later to be conquered by the Mongols and to be the means of the infiltration of Christianity into the ruling line of that masterful people, adopted the Nestorian form of the faith.

The following two centuries were to witness a further geographic extension, but nothing as spectacular as this.

0 0

Post a comment