Critical Apparatus for this Page
Latin/Greek TranslationsCommentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
159 [159]

King Lucius Actes and Monuments of the Church.

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]

Marginalia Austen
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.  

Commentary   *   Close

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]
Kyng Lucius sōne of Coilus, which builded Coilchester, king of the Britaines, who then were the inhabiters and possessours of this land (which now we englishe men call England) hearing of the miracles and wonders done by the Christians at that tyme in diuers places (as Monumetensis writeth) directed his letters to Eleutherius Bishop of Rome, to receaue of him the Christian fayth. Although aboute the computation of the yeare and tyme: great difference there is in authors, whē this should be. Nauclerus sayth it was, an. 156. but that cannot be, for so much as Eleutherius was not yet Bishop by þe space of. xx. yeares after that. Henric9 de Erfordia sayth, it was an. 169. in the. xix. yeare of Verus Emperour, but that agreeth not with approued historyes: Marginalia Ex Monumetensi & aliis.which all consent, that Verus reigned not. xix. yeares, and if he had, yet that yeare commeth not to the yeare of our Lord. 169. but to the yeare. 181. Some other say, that Eleutherius was made Byshop, in the. vj. yere of Cōmodus, which was the yeare of our Lord. 186. but that semeth to goe to farre, but let the authors agree as they can. Let vs returne to Eleutherius þe good Bishop, who hearing þe request of this king, and glad to see the godly towardnes of hys well disposed minde: sendeth hym certayne teachers and preachers, Marginalia Faganus
called Fugatius, or by some Faganus, and Damianus, or Dimianus: which conuerted first the king and people of Britaine, and baptised them with the baptisme & sacrament of Christes fayth. The temples of idolatrie and all other monumentes of gentilitie they subuerted, conuerting the people from theyr diuers and many Gods to serue one liuing God. Thus true religion with sincere fayth increasing, superstition decayed, with al other rites of idolatry. Marginalia 28. bishops within this realme.
3. Archb.
Ther were then in Britanye. 28. head priestes, which they called Flamines, & iij. Archpriests amōg thē, which were called Archiflamines: hauing þe ouersight of their manners, & as iudges ouer the rest. These 28. Flamines thei turned to. 28. bishops. And þe iij. Archiflamines, to three Archbishops, hauing thē their seates in iij. principal cities of þe realm: þt is, in Londō, in Yorke, and in Glamorgantia, videlicet, in Vrbe legionū, by Wales. Thus þe coūtries of þe whole realm, being deuided euery one vnder his own bishop, & al things setled in a good order: þe foresaid king Lucius sent agayne to the sayd Eleutherius, for the Romane lawes: therby likewise to be gouerned as in religiō now they were framed accordingly. Vnto whō Eleutherius agayn writeth, after the tenor of these wordes ensuing.

[Back to Top]
¶ The Epistle of Elutherius B. of Rome, sent to king Lucius.

Marginalia 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,  

Latin/Greek Translations   *   Close
Christianity comes to England.
Foxe text Latin

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.

& so forth as foloweth in English. Ye require of vs the Romane lawes and the Emperors, to be sente ouer to you: whiche you maye practise and put in vre within your Realme. The Romaine lawes, and the Emperours, we may euer reproue, but the law of God we may not. Ye haue receaued a late through Gods mercy in the Realme of Britaine, þe lawe and fayth of Christ: ye haue with you within þe realme both the parties of the Scriptures. Out of thē by gods grace, with the councell of your Realm, take ye a law, and by that lawe (through Gods sufferaunce) rule your kingdome of Brytaine. Marginalia The kyng gods vicar within his own kingdom.For you be gods vicare in your kingdome, according to the saying of the Psalme. Deus iudicium ruum regi da, &c. That is. O God geue thy iudgement to the king, and thy righteousnes to þe kings sonne, &c. He sayd not the iudgement and righteousnes of the Emperour, but thy iudgement and iustice: that is to say, of God. The kinges sonnes be the Christian people and folke of the Realme, which be vnder your gouernement, and liue and continue in peace within your

[Back to Top]