fesse, neyther wyll I greatly stycke wyth them therein: yet what haue they got thereby, when they haue cast al their gayne? In few wordes to conclude this matter, if so be that the Christian fayth and religion was fyrst deriued from Rome to this our nacion by Eleutherius, then let them but graunt to vs the same fayth and religion, which then was taught at Rome: and frō thence deriued hether by the sayd Eleutherius, and we wyl desire no more. For thē, neither was any vniuersal Pope aboue al churches and councels, which came not in before Pope Boniface time, which was 400. yeres after: neither any name or vse of the Masse, the partes wherof how and by whom they were cōpiled, here after in this booke following appeareth to be sene. Neyther any sacrifice propiciatory for the scouring of Purgatory was then offered vpon halowed altars, but onelye the communion frequented at Christian tables: where oblations and giftes were offered, as well of the people, as of the Priestes to God: because they shoulde appeare neyther empty nor vnkinde before the Lord, as we may vnderstād by the tyme of Cyprian. Neyther was then any transubstātiation heard of, which was not brought in before a thousand yeare after. Neyther were then any images of sayntes departed, set vp in Churches, yea a great number of the Sayntes woorshipped in this our tyme, were not as yet borne, nor the churches wherein they were worshipped, were yet set vppe: but came in long after, especiallye in the tyme of Irene and Constans the Emperour. Likewise neyther reliques nor peregrinations were then in vse. Priestes marriage was then as lawful, and no lesse receiued as nowe: neyther was it condemned before the dayes of Hyldebrand, almost a thousand yeare after that. Their seruice was then in the vulgar toung, as wytnesseth Ierome. The sacrament ministred in both kindes, as wel to lay men, as to priestes, the wytnes wherof is Cyprian. Marginalia De consecrao. Dist. 2.Yea, and that temporal mē which would not then communicate at Easter, Whytsontide, & Christenmas: were not coūted for Catholickes, the Popes own distinction can testify. In funerals, priestes then flocked not together, sellyng trentals and diriges for sweeping of Purgatory: but onelye a funerall concion was vsed, with psalmes of praises, and songes of their worthy deedes: and alleluya sounding on hyghe, which did shake the gilded ceelinges of the temple, as wytnesseth Nazianzenem Ambrose, and Ierome. &c.[Back to Top]
In the supper of the Lorde, and at baptisme, no suche ceremonies vsed, as now of late haue ben intruded, wer in so much þt as in thys storye is shewed hereafter, both Austen and Paulinus baptised then in riuers not in halowed fountes, as witnesseth Fabianus. Marginalia Fabianus ca. 119. & 120.The portuis of Sarum, of Yorke, of Bangor, with mattens and euensong of the day: agayne neither the orders and religions of Monkes and Fryers, were not yet dreamed of, to the space almost of a thousand yeares after, &c. So that, as I sayd, if the papistes would nedes deriue the faith and religion of thys Realme, from Rome: then let them set vs and leaue vs there, where they had vs: that is, let thē suffer vs to stand content with that fayth and religion, which then was taught and brought from Rome by Eleutherius (as now we differ nothing frō the same) and we will desire no better. And if they will not, then let the wyse reader iudge where the faulte is, in vs or them: which neyther themselues will persiste in the antiquitie of the romysh religion, which they so much bragge of, neither will they permit vs so to do.[Back to Top]
And thus much by the way, to satisife the foresayd obiection: wherby we may haue now a more readie passage into the order & course of the historye. Being therefore graunted vnto them, which they so earnestly sticke vpon, that the Christian fayth & religion of this Realme was brought to vs from Rome, first by Eleutherius, Marginalia Elutherius bish. of Romethen afterward by Austen: thus writeth the Chroniclesof that matter.[Back to Top]
The fayth of Christ brought into the realme.
Lucius the first christened king of the Britaynes.About the tyme and yeare of the Lord. Clxx.
Foxe is explicit about the difficulties of dating the letter from King Lucius to Pope Eleutherius to receive him into the Christian faith. Foxe primarily follows the details in Fabian's Chronicle (R. Fabyan, The Chronicle of Fabian [London, 1559], book 3, chs 58-59). Fabian himself notes that the sources differ, which is probably why Foxe had recourse to the Magdeburg Centuries, II ch. II, pp. 8-9 to pursue the issue, and also to Bale's English Votaries p. 14 for its mention of the evidence from Geoffrey of Monmouth and other authors. Interestingly, Fabian explicitly says that he disregards Monmouth's evidence. Foxe chose to disregard this, and thereby follow Bale's account. For the relevant passage in Geoffrey of Monmouth, albeit not directly used by Foxe, so far as one can judge, see The historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth, edited and translated by Neil Wright, vol. 5 (Cambridge, 1991), ch. 72, pp. 125-6.[Back to Top]
Ex vetusto codice regum antiquorum.
The epistle of Elutherius to king Lucius.Anno. 169. a passione Christi scripsit dominus Elutherius Papa Lucio Regi Britanniæ, ad correctionem regis & procerum regni Britanniæ,
Anno. 169. a passione Christi scripsit dominus Elutherius Papa Lucio Regi Britanniæ, ad correctionem regis & procerum regni Britanniæ
John Wade, University of Sheffield
In the 169th year from the passion of Christ the Lord Pope Elutherius wrote to Lucius the King of Britain for the improvement of the king and the nobles of the kingdom of Britain.