Ancient Vikings And Today's Norway Christians

Mecky Wohlenberg and seven clergy colleagues from the Church of Norway's Bamble Deanery have spent a good week with us on Holy Island. They were here on Monday, June 8th. This, says Mecky, is the date of the Viking invasion in 793 (but in the 8th century there was the Julian Calendar which at that time had become about 5 days too late according to the later Gregorian Calendar. That means that the exact date of the Viking invasion was around the 13th of June, according to our calendar), Holy Island was the first place in Britain to be ravaged by the Vikings. It was a 9/11 kind of event. It sent a shock wave around Europe.

Our pilgrims went to Sandham Bay, on the north shore, which is thought the most likely place the Vikings landed. There they held a prayer service and said sorry for what their forbears did. One honest clergy person later admitted that he also felt a little bit proud. 'You are entitled to feel proud that you built such brilliant boats', I suggested, 'but not, I hope, that you murdered people so well.'

I was gratified that each of them had read the Norsk edition of my book 'Keltische veimerker'. They warmed to the insight that the glory of God is seen through those who live their manhood and womanhood to the full, and that clergy are called to model this, not to be machines of ecclesiastical organisation.

Nor, for that matter, should they be machines of blog sites -so I better sign off.

Posted at 12:39pm on 12th June 2009
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