Augustines Oak, Conferences At

Augustine's Oak, Conferences At, between Augustine of Canterbury and the British bishops.

I. In A.D. 602 or 603, and probably at Aust on the Severn, or some spot near to it, with a view to induce the British bishops to give up their Easter Rule and to co-operate with Augustine in preaching to the Saxons. The first conference was only preliminary (Augustine, however, working a miracle at it, according to Bede) and led to

II. A more formal conference, shortly after, in the same year, at the same place, at which seven British bishops were present, with "many learned men," especially from Bangor monastery (near Chester), then under Diioth as its abbot. On this occasion Augustine limited his demands to three, conformity in keeping Easter and in the baptismal rite, and co-operation in preaching to the Saxons; suppressing, if Bede's account is complete, all claim to the jurisdiction which Gregory the Great had bestowed upon him over the British bishops and saying nothing of the tonsure, but disgusting the Britons by refusing to stand up at their approach-a token, according to the words of a certain anchorite whom they had consulted, that he was not a man of God, and therefore was not to be followed. The conference accordingly broke up without any other result than that of drawing from Augustine some angry words, which unfortunately came true a dozen years afterwards, when he was dead, in the slaughter of the Bangor monks at Chester. The baptismal differences have been supposed to relate to trine immersion; by others to have referred to the washing of the feet, which the Britons are supposed to have attached to baptism; but both are conjectures only.

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