Info

in 376, as did groups of Greutingi, and shortly afterwards the Christian Fritigern became their leader. Their resettlement on Roman territory, however, was delayed: the subsidies they had been promised were not forthcoming and so for several years the Goths roamed the Balkan peninsula, plundering as they went. At the same time they formed a new ethnic group. Ulfila's Goths did not join this new Gothic nation, which in the sixth century became known as the Visigoths. It was not until 382 that Theodosius the Great succeeded in stabilising the situation and settling the intruders in the border region on the Danube as federates.

Since crossing over into the Roman empire, these Goths had been regarded as Christians. The rudimentary church organisation set up shortly before the Hunic invasion had weathered the confusion and survived, adapting to the circumstances of a people on the move. This entailed the ability of the clergy to identify with the Goths. Indeed, in recruiting personnel, it is likely that the original imperial mission had drawn upon clergymen who had been trained in the Ulfilanian Gothic community. They taught the future Visigoths not only the Gothic liturgy and the Gothic Bible, but also the Homoian creed that defined the official orthodoxy in the eastern empire during the reign of Valens. Together with Ulfila's Goths, the Visigoths continued to adhere to it even after Theodosius the Great had brought about a swing to the Nicene Creed in 379. Both Gothic churches were subordinate to the patriarchate of Constantinople, which was at this time in its formative period. In 380, the Homoian bishop Demophilus of Constantinople was removed from his see and replaced by a Nicene primate. The Gothic churches, however, remained in communion with him, thus rejecting the change of official religious policy. Precedence was apparently given to personal over institutional allegiances. As a consequence of this, the Gothic Christians were henceforth deemed Arian'. They defined themselves as Catholics, and their opponents, the Nicenes, as 'the Romans' (Romani). But allegiance to the insignificant Arian community of Constantinople, racked as it was by internal disputes, cannot have held for long. The Arian churches were subsequently autonomous, the church of the North African Vandal kingdom even having its own patriarch.

At the end of the fourth century, a Gothic group on the Crimean Bosporus (Strait of Kerch), with its own king, adopted Catholic Christianity and saw to it that a bishop was consecrated for them by the bishop of Constantinople, John Chrysostom. The newly consecrated bishop's name, Unila, was Germanic. Nothing further is known with respect to the Christianisation of the numerous Goths resident in the Crimea, whose language was still attested as late as the sixteenth century. The Goths on the Taman peninsula, who had requested a

0 0

Post a comment