Bertha (or Bercta)
Bertha (Or Bercta)
wife of Ethelbert; king of Kent, was the daughter of Caribert king of Paris, by his wife Moberga. At the time of their marriage Ethelbert was still a heathen, but she was allowed to enjoy the exercise of her own religion, and to be attended by a bishop. It was partly, no doubt, by her influence that Ethelbert was induced to receive the Roman mission and be baptized. Pope Gregory, in 601, addressed a letter to Bertha, complimenting her highly on her faith and knowledge of letters, and urges her to make still greater efforts for the spread of Christianity. He also ascribes the conversion of the English mainly to her, and compares her to the empress Helena (St. Gregory, Epist. 12:29; Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, 3, 17, 18). The date of her death is unknown. She was buried in the porch of St. Martin, in the church of Sts. Peter and Paul. Elmham (ed. Hardwick, p. 110) says that she took part in the foundation of the Monastery of St. Augustine, at Christmas, 604; but the latest trustworthy trace of her is St. Gregory's letter of 601.