Was Part of Pergamos in Britain, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland?

Ancient Pergamos


It appears possible that some of the Pergamos era lived in Scotland, Ireland, and other parts of the British Isles.

Some have speculated that the Apostle Paul went to Britain, and this is possible.  However, whether Paul actually got there is not recorded in scripture.  Historical evidence, however, does seem to show that somehow early Christianity made it into the British Isles.

Here is one early 20th century claim by J.L. Gamble and C.H. Greene:

That Christianity was established in Britain between the years A.D. 51 and A.D. 61, either by the Apostle Paul himself or by converts made by him during his Roman imprisonment, is the testimony of many credible historians. Gildas the earliest British writer of history, born A. D. 520, says of the introduction of Christianity into the islands: “Meanwhile these islands, stiff with cold and frost, and in a distant region of the world, remote from the visible sun, received the beams of light, that is, the holy precepts of Christ – who is the true Sun, and who shows to the whole world his splendor, nor only from the temporal firmament, but from the height of heaven, which surpasses everything temporal – at the latter part, as we know, of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, by whom his religion was propagated without impediment.” Comparing this with the previous passage, the events mentioned appear to be limited by the ‘meanwhile’ to a period between the defeat of Boadicea, A.D. 61, on the one hand, and on the other to events not far distant – such as the defeat of Caractacus, A.D. 51. Therefore the testimony of Gildas is to the effect that the gospel was preached in Britain before the year 61. (Yeowell, p. 22.).[i]

Hippolytus, in the early third century, seems to have claimed that one of the seventy that Jesus sent out to preach (although no names are mentioned in the biblical account in Luke 10:1-20), ended up in Britain:

These two belonged to the seventy disciples who were scattered…

Aristobulus, bishop of Britain.[ii]

If that is so, Aristobulus could have been placed in charge by one of the apostles as the seventy (Luke 10:1,17) had to have known the original apostles.

It is clear that by the early third century, some version of Christianity had made it into the British Isles. And as others have also indicated, this could have occurred earlier.  Eusebius, for one example, wrote that Jesus’ disciples reached the British Isles:

His disciples…to preach to all the Name of Jesus, to teach about His marvelous deeds in country and town, that some of them should take possession of the Roman Empire, and the Queen of Cities itself, and others the Persian, others the Armenian, that others should go to the Parthian race, and yet others to the Scythian, that some already should have reached the very ends of the world, should have reached the land of the Indians, and some have crossed the Ocean and reached the Isles of Britain.[iii]

A team of writers wrote:

…the Celtic Church circumvented the Church of Rome and functioned as a repository for elements of Nazarean tradition transmitted from Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor.[iv]

One researcher noted in the fifth and sixth centuries:

The Celtic church of this period often termed itself the Church of God.  How many of its members were really converted Christians, however, is difficult to determine. In some respects this group was similar to the church in the wilderness described by Stephen in Acts 7:38.[v]

According to 19th research by William Dawson, notice what the Celts/Kelts claimed in the late 6th/early 7th century:

The Keltic Churches of Ireland, of Galloway, and of Iona were at one with the British Church. These claimed, like Southern Gaul and Spain, to have drawn their faith from the Apostolic See of Ephesus. Their liturgies, or such fragments as have come down to us, bear marks of belonging to the Oriental family of liturgies.[vi]

Here is a report related to the period 549-1049, by Philip Schaff:

The term Culdee has been improperly applied to the whole Keltic church, and a superior purity has been claimed for it.

There is no doubt that the Columban or the Keltic church of Scotland, as well as the early Irish and the early British churches, differed in many points from the mediaeval and modern church of Rome, and represent a simpler and yet a very active missionary type of Christianity.

The leading peculiarities of the ancient Keltic church, as distinct from the Roman, are:

1. Independence of the Pope. Iona was its Rome, and the Abbot of Iona, and afterwards of Dunkeld, though a mere Presbyter, ruled all Scotland.

2. Monasticism ruling supreme, but mixed with secular life, and not bound by vows of celibacy; while in the Roman church the monastic system was subordinated to the hierarchy of the secular clergy.

3. Bishops without dioceses and jurisdiction and succession.

4. Celebration of the time of Easter.

5. Form of the tonsure.

It has also been asserted, that the Kelts or Culdees were opposed to auricular confession, the worship of saints, and images, purgatory, transubstantiation, the seven sacraments…[vii]

Thus, it should be clear that, the true church was not limited to Asia Minor, but spread throughout many lands. It should be noted that it was the time of Passover (and not Easter), that was always supposed to be the issue. Also, the original church did not have the idea of seven sacraments, nor did the early church in the British, Irish, or Scottish regions.  Later, however, changes occurred and basically took over in this region.

The Catholic monk and historian Bede in the eighth century wrote about a group of churches and related leaders in Britain who did not agree with Augustine:

They do not keep Easter Sunday at the proper time, but from the fourteenth…They did other things too which were not in keeping with the unity of the Church. After a long dispute they were unwilling, in spite of the prayers, exhortations, and rebukes of Augustine and his companions to give their assent, preferring their own traditions to those which all the churches throughout the world agree in Christ.[viii]

In other words, from the time of Augustine (late fourth/early fifth century) it was clear that there were those in Britain who kept the Passover on the 14th and who held to practices that the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox confederation of churches did not hold.

Where did this church into the British Isles come from?

Well, it logically, did not come from Rome, but from the Smyrnaeans, that is, the prior Church era in Asia Minor and Palestine. Dr. T.V. Moore noted:

“The type of Christianity which first was favored, then raised to leadership by Constantine was that of the Roman Papacy. But this was not the type of Christianity that first penetrated Syria, northern Italy, southern France, and Great Britain. The ancient records of the first believers in Christ in those parts, disclose a Christianity which is not Roman but apostolic. These lands were first penetrated by missionaries, not from Rome, but from Palestine and Asia Minor. And the Greek New Testament, the Received Text, they brought with them, or its translation, was of the type from which the Protestant Bibles, as the King James in the English, and the Lutheran in German, were translated.” — Dr. T. V. Moore, The Culdee Church, chapters 3 and 4, and Wilkinson, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, pp. 25, 26.[ix]

There were those small groups of the true church in many lands.  However, the fact that those in the Celtic regions observed Passover on the 14th, before the Roman Catholic got there, absolutely should be seen as proof that the early non-Jewish church did not keep Passover on Sunday.

Even Catholic scholars acknowledge that the Celts kept Passover on a different day than the Roman Catholics did.  Notice the following report by Catholic theologian R. McBrien:

Pope Vitalin…supported efforts of the king of Northumbria, following the Synod of Whitby (664), to establish in England the Roman, as opposed to the Celtic, date for Easter (that is the Sunday after the Jewish Passover, rather than the Passover itself) and other Roman practices as well.[x]

Notice that the above account, written by a Catholic priest and scholar acknowledges that Rome changed Passover in Britain from the biblical date, which apparently the Celts still observed into at least the seventh century, to the Roman date.  Rome would not have felt that this was necessary, if it originally installed an Easter Sunday tradition into the British/Irish regions in the first or second century.

Footwashing was also a practice among the Celts. Notice this report from L Hardinge:

Feetwashing… was carried out long enough to be introduced among the earliest Celtic Christians.[xi]

Sabbath-keeping was also occurring in the Celtic regions until at least 886:

The Celtic Church which occupied Ire­land, Scotland, and Britain, had the Syriac (Byzantine) scriptures instead of the Latin vulgate of Rome. The Celtic Church, with the Waldenses and the Eastern empire, kept the seventh-day Sabbath…

“Adomnan’s use of sabbatum for Satur­day, the seventh day of the week, is clear indication from ‘Columba’s mouth’ that ‘Sabbath was not Sunday.’ Sunday, the first day of the week is ‘Lord’s day.’ Adomnan’s attitude to Sunday is important, because he wrote at a time when there was controversy over the question whether the ritual of the Biblical Sabbath was to be transferred to the Christians’ Lord’s-day.’ — A.O. and M.O. Anderson (editors) Adomnan’s Life of Columba, Thomas Nelson’s Medieval Texts, 1961, pages 25-26.

“The Old Testament required seventh-day Sabbath observance and, reason Adomnan’s editors, since the New Testament nowhere repealed the fourth commandment, the seventh-day was observed by all early Christians. The evidence they adduce suggests that no actual confusion between Sunday and ‘the Sabbath’ occurred until the early sixth century, and then in the writings of the rather obscure Caesarius of Arles. (Ibid., page 26.)…

The Roman ‘movement’ to supersede the Celtic Sabbath with Sunday ‘culminated in the production of an (apocryphal) ‘Letter of Jesus’, or ‘Letter of Lord’s day’, alleged to have been found on the altar of Peter in Rome; and is said in the annals to have been brought to Ireland by a pilgrim (c. 886). Upon this basis laws were promulgated, imposing heavy penalties for those that violated on Sunday certain regulations derived from Jewish prohibitions for Sabbath. . . . There is in fact no historical evidence that Ninian, or Patrick, or Columba, or any of their con­temporaries in Ireland, kept Sunday as a Sabbath.’ (Ibid., page 28.).[xii]

James Moffat reported that the Sabbath was kept even beyond that, but was changed:

It seems to have been customary in the Celtic churches of early times, in Ireland as well as Scotland, to keep Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, as a day of rest from labor, and Sunday, commemorative of the Lord’s resurrection, as one of rejoicing, with exercises of public worship.  In that case they obeyed the fourth commandment literally upon the seventh day of the week…

The queen insisted upon the single and strict observance of the Lord’s Day. People and clergy alike submitted, but without entirely giving up their reverence for Saturday, which subsequently sank into a half-holy day preparatory for Sunday.[xiii]

The queen mentioned above was Margaret who died in 1093.  Margaret was canonized a Roman Catholic saint in the year 1250 by Pope Innocent IV.  So, once again political power was used to try to stop people from following the biblical practices of early Christianity.

Thus, various historians have reported that beliefs of the true church of God, such as the seventh day Sabbath, Passover on the 14th, foot washing, and opposition to pagan sacraments, during the Pergamos era, can be documented as have also been in existence throughout parts of the British Isles.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church.
Joyce’s Photos of Pergamos Pergamus (also known as Pergamum, but currently known as Bergama, Bergamo, or Bergamum) was one of the seven churches of Revelation.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years. It also discusses the concept of church eras.
The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D. The Church of James, Peter, Paul, and John, etc.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church?
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins?  Should Christians wash each others feet?


[i] Gamble J.L., Greene C.H. THE SABBATH IN THE BRITISH ISLES; Reprinted from “Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America” Volume 1, 1910, pp 21-39

[ii] Hippolytus. Where Each OF Them Preached, And Where HE Met His End

[iii] Eusebius, Demonstratio Evangelica, Book 3, Chapter 5, p. 113

[iv] Baigent M, Leigh R, Lincoln H. The messianic legacy.  Cape, 1986, p. 107

[v] Fletcher I.C. THE INCREDIBLE HISTORY OF GOD’S TRUE CHURCH, Chapter 7. Copyright 1984, by Ivor C. Fletcher. Reprinted in 1995 by Giving & Sharing, with permission from Ivor C. Fletcher

[vi] Dawson W. The Keltic Church and English Christianity. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (New Series), 1884, p. 377 doi:10.2307/3677978

[vii] Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church,

[viii] Bede, pp. 71-72

[ix] As cited in Dugger AN, Dodd CO. A History of True Religion, 3rd ed. Jerusalem, 1972 (Church of God, 7th Day). 1990 reprint, pp. 90-91

[x] McBrien, p. 109

[xi] Hardinge, p. 111

[xii] Celtic Sabbath-Keeping Study No. 264, from Cherith Chronicle, April-June 1998, pp. 46-47. http://www.giveshare.org/BibleStudy/264.celtic-sabbath-keeping.html 6/24/06

[xiii] Moffat , James Clement.  The Church in Scotland: A History of Its Antecedents, it Conflicts, and Its Advocates, from the Earliest Recorded Times to the First Assembly of the Reformed Church. Published by Presbyterian Board of Education, 1882.  Original from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Digitized Mar 13, 2008, p. 140

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