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Augustine of Canterbury

(d. 604) [ODNB]

Monk; first archbishop of Canterbury; sent as a missionary in 597 to Ethelbert of Kent, bretwalda of England, by Pope Gregory the Great

Gregory I sent Augustine to Britain. 1563, p. 16.

After Augustine and the other missionaries had set out on their journey, they turned back through fear. Gregory sent them back with letters of encouragement and help. 1570, p. 155; 1576, p. 116;1583, p. 115.

Augustine met King Æthelbert of Kent and was given permission to live and preach in his kingdom. He and the other missionaries were given a house in Canterbury. The king was converted and built a church and an abbey for Augustine. 1570, p. 156; 1576, p. 117;1583, p. 116.

Augustine went to France to be consecrated bishop. He sent his colleague Laurence to Rome to report on their progress and to deliver a set of questions to Pope Gregory, to which Gregory sent back answers. 1570, pp. 156-58; 1576, pp. 117-19;1583, pp. 116-18.

Gregory sent more missionaries, along with books, implements and letters and a pallium for Augustine. 1570, p. 158; 1576, p. 119;1583, p. 118.

At the direction of Gregory, Augustine consecrated two bishops, one for London and one for York. He then called the bishops and doctors together in assemblies, where the differences between the rites and customs of the Irish church and that of Rome were noted. 1570, pp. 159-60; 1576, pp. 119-20;1583, pp. 118-19.

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Augustine baptised thousands of converts in the River Swale on Christmas day. He appointed Laurence as his successor at Canterbury. 1570, p. 160; 1576, p. 120;1583, p. 119.

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(c. 673/4 - 735) [ODNB]

Benedictine monk at Wearmouth and Jarrow; historian and theologian

Wrote on the use of language, computation, chronology, biblical commentaries, hagiography and biography

Author of Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum

Bede entered the monastery at Wearmouth under Abbot Benedict Biscop when he was seven years old. 1570, p. 164; 1576, p. 124; 1583, p. 122.

Bede was made deacon at nineteen years of age, and priest when he was twenty. 1570, p. 170; 1576, p. 128; 1583, p. 127.

Pope Sergius I sent a letter to Ceolfrith, abbot of Wearmouth, praising Bede's learning and asking that he be sent to Rome. 1570, p. 170; 1576, p. 128; 1583, p. 127.

Bede gave his Anglorum Historia to King Ceolwulf of Northumbria to be approved and amended. 1570, p. 170; 1576, p. 128; 1583, p. 127.

Bede wrote that in his time Easter was celebrated in Britain following the eastern practice. 1570, p. 145; 1576, p. 107; 1583, p. 106.

Thomas Arthur and Thomas Bilney, in their examination for heresy, said that Bede had translated the gospel of St John into English. 1563, p. 465; 1570, p. 1137; 1576, p. 974; 1583, p. 1000.

Bede died during the reign of Æthelbald of Mercia. 1570, p. 150; 1576, p. 112; 1583, p. 111.

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Bernard of Clairvaux

(1090 - 1153)

b. Fontaines, France; joined Cistercians in 1113

Abbot of the house of Clairvaux; diplomat; preacher of crusade

Writing to Bernard, Peter the Venerable of Cluny noted that the Scots celebrated Easter according to the Greek, rather than the Roman, fashion. 1570, p. 145; 1576, p. 107; 1583, p. 106.

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Boniface I (St Boniface)

(d. 422) [Kelly]

Pope (418 - 22) One of two claimants; recognised by the emperor Honorius; supported Augustine in combating Pelagianism

Boniface I is probably the Pope Boniface recorded as having been the son of a married priest. The father of Boniface I was a presbyter. 1570, p. 1319, 1576, p. 1129, 1583, p. 1154.

He wrote to Emperor Honorius requesting a settlement of the claims for the papacy. 1570, p. 8, 1576, p. 7, 1583, p. 7.

Boniface attempted to enforce appeals to Rome on the African bishops, but this was rejected at the Council of Carthage.1563, p. 9; 1570, p. 5, 1576, p. 4, 1583, p. 4.

Popes Zosimus, Boniface I and Celestine I claimed supremacy for the bishop of Rome based on the canons of the Nicene council. The sixth council of Carthage sent to Constantinople for the true record. 1570, p. 1318; 1576, p. 1128; 1583, p. 1153.

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(d. 189) [Kelly]

Pope (c. 174 - 189)

Eleutherius sent two preachers to Britain. 1563, p. 16; 1570, p. 78, 1576, p. 53, 1583, p. 53.

Shortly after Irenæus was made minister, he was commended by the martyrs in Lyons to Pope Eleutherius. 1570, pp. 75, 80-81; 1576, pp. 50, 55; 1583, pp. 50, 55.

According to legend, Lucius, supposed king of Britain during the time of the Roman occupation, was supposed to have requested missionaries from Eleutherius, who sent Fugatius and Damian. 1570, p. 146, 1576, p. 108, 1583, p. 107.

Eleutherius wrote a letter to Lucius in response to his request for Roman laws. 1570, pp. 8, 146; 1576, pp. 7, 108; 1583, pp. 7, 107.

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Gildas (St Gildas)

(fl. C5-6) [ODNB]

Wrote an account of the defeat of the Britons by the Anglo-Saxons

Gildas was denounced as a false prophet. 1570, p. 39; 1576, p. 32; 1583, p. 32.

Gildas was one of the sources used by William the Conqueror to compile a book of canons and ordinances to govern the clergy. 1570, p. 1302; 1576, p. 1114; 1583, p. 1139.

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Gregory I (the Great) (St Gregory)

(c. 540 - 604) [Kelly]

Monk; abbot of St Andrew's, Rome. Pope (590 - 604) Wrote Dialogues, Homilies, Pastoral Care, Moralia

Gregory objected to the title 'universal patriarch', assumed by John IV Nesteutes, and refused the title 'universal pope', used in letters from Eulogius, patriarch of Alexandria. 1563, p. 9; 1570, p. 16; 1576, p. 13; 1583, p. 13.

Gregory saw English slave children in the market and remarked on their beauty. He wished to go as a missionary to England, but was not allowed by Pope Pelagius and the Romans. 1570, p. 155; 1576, p. 116;1583, p. 115.

Gregory sent Augustine as a missionary to England. 1563, p. 16.

After Augustine and the other missionaries had set out on their journey, they turned back through fear. Gregory sent them back with letters of encouragement and help. 1570, p. 155; 1576, p. 116;1583, p. 115.

After Augustine had converted King Æthelbert of Kent, Gregory ordered that he be consecrated bishop. Augustine sent his colleague Laurence to Rome to report on their progress and to deliver a set of questions for Gregory, to which he sent back answers. 1570, pp. 156-58; 1576, pp. 117-19;1583, pp. 116-18.

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Gregory sent more missionaries, along with books, implements and letters and pallium for Augustine. He also sent letters to Mellitus and King Æthelberht. 1570, pp. 158-59; 1576, p. 119;1583, p. 118.

Emperor Maurice had granted John IV Nesteutes, patriarch of Constantinople, the title of universal patriarch. John was in conflict with Gregory I over the title. Gregory wrote to Maurice about the matter. 1570, pp. 16, 161; 1576, pp. 13, 121; 1583, pp. 13, 120.

Gregory was the first pope to use the title 'Servus servorum Dei' (servant of the servants of God). 1570, p. 161; 1576, p. 121;1583, p. 120.

Foxe says Gregory I commended Serenus for removing images from churches. 1563, p. 3.

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(supp. fl. 185) [ODNB]

Supposed king of the Britains during the time of the Roman occupation; said to have been the first native Christian convert c. AD 180

At the request of Lucius, Pope Eleutherius sent two missionaries, Damian and Fugatius, who converted Lucius. 1570, pp. 78, 146; 1576, pp. 53, 108; 1583, pp. 53, 107.

Lucius received a letter from Pope Eleutherius in response to his request for Roman laws. 1570, pp. 8, 146; 1576, pp. 7, 108; 1583, pp. 7, 107.

Lucius was baptised, built churches, died peacefully and was buried in Gloucester. 1570, p. 147; 1576, p. 109; 1583, p. 108.

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(d. 828) [Gams]

Greek Orthodox theologian and historian; patriarch of Constantinople (806 - 15)

He is cited extensively by Foxe as a source in Book 1.

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(d. c. 254) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

Christian scholar, theologian

Head of a school at Alexandria; banished by a church council held in 231; started a school at Caesarea; imprisoned under Decius

Origen was a pious and scholarly child. He would have suffered martyrdom with his father during the reign of Severus, but his mother hid his clothes. After the death of his father, Origen supported his mother and siblings by starting a school. He then went on to translate scripture from the Hebrew. 1570, p. 79; 1576, p. 54; 1583, p. 54.

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Origen was sought out by his fellow Christians, and many of his associates were martyred. 1570, pp. 79-80; 1576, p. 54; 1583, p. 54.

He was sent for by Julia Mamaea, mother of Emperor Alexander Severus, and he spent some time with them. 1570, p. 84; 1576, p. 58; 1583, p. 57.

Origen wrote his lost martyrology during the persecutions of Maximinus Thrax. 1570, p. 85; 1576, p. 59; 1583, p. 59.

He and Pope Fabian converted Emperor Philip the Arab and his family. 1570, p. 86; 1576, p. 60; 1583, p. 59.

Origen wrote De orthodoxia su? fidei to Fabian. 1570, p. 87; 1576, p. 60; 1583, p. 60

Under Decius, Origen suffered threats, torture and imprisonment. 1570, p. 87; 1576, p. 60; 1583, p. 60

He was banished from Alexandria for sacrificing to the gods. He went to Jerusalem and spent the rest of his life in misery and poverty. He was buried in Tyre.1570, p. 87; 1576, p. 60; 1583, p. 60

Jerome was at times critical of Origen's doctrine, but praised his learning. 1570, p. 87; 1576, p. 60; 1583, p. 60

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Peter the Venerable (Peter of Montboissier)

(c. 1092 - 1156)[Catholic Encyclopedia]

General of Benedictine order c. 1122; abbot of Cluny; attended the Council of Pisa in 1134 and the Council of Reims in 1147

Writer; adviser to kings and popes

Writing to Bernard of Clairvaux, Peter noted that the Scots celebrated Easter according to the Greek, rather than the Roman, fashion. 1570, p. 145; 1576, p. 107; 1583, p. 106.

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Tertullian (Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus)

(c. 155 - c. 230) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

of Carthage; Christian convert and writer, church leader

Tertullian was a man of learning and eloquence who defended the Christians under persecution. 1570, p. 80; 1576, p. 55; 1583, p. 55.

Tertullian commended Irenæus for his learning. 1570, p. 80; 1576, p. 55; 1583, p. 55.

Tertullian recorded that Christianity came to Britain in the time of Pope Eleutherius in C2. 1570, p. 145; 1576, p. 107; 1583, p. 106.

Tertullian was a married priest, according to Jerome. 1570, p. 1319; 1576, p. 1128; 1583, p. 1154.

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Tiberius (Tiberius Claudius Nero)

(42 BCE - 37 CE) [G. G. Fagan]

Roman emperor (14 - 37 CE)

Tiberius began his reign in a moderate fashion, but became cruel and violent. 1570, pp. 37-38; 1576, p. 30; 1583, p. 30.

According to Gildas, Christianity came to Britain in the reign of Tiberius. 1570, p. 145; 1576, p. 107; 1583, p. 106.

129 [106]

King Lucius. Christian Religon planted in England, by whome.
THE SECOND BOOKE, CONTAINING the next 300. yeares following, with such things specially touched, as haue happened in England, from the time of king Lucius, to Gregorius, and so after to the time of king Egebert.

BY these persecutions hytherto in the Booke before precedent, thou maiest vnderstand (Christian reader) how the furie of Sathan and rage of men, haue done what they could to extinguish the name and religion of Christ. 

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Christianity comes to England

Foxe's decision to expand the 'second age' of the church, briefly mentioned in the 1563 edition of the martyrology, into a separate, second book in 1570 'contayning the next 300. yeres following' the 'Ten Persecutions of the Church' allowed him much more space to broaden the historical and polemical foundations of his underlying narrative. In this passage, he took the oppotunity to do so, firstly in assembling the 'domestical histories' to confute the proposition that British Christianity owed its origins to Rome. The issue was, as he put it, 'a great controversie in these our popish days'. Foxe's response was both to deny the deduction and to assail the premise. Even if British Christianity owed something to Rome, especially at the time of St Augustine of Canterbury, it 'foloweth not therby, that we must therfore fetch our religion from thence still, as from the chiefe welhead and fountayne of all godlines'. The Christianity which then prevailed in Rome was very different: 'For then, neither was any vniuersal Pope aboue al churches and councils...neither any name or vse of the Masse....Neither any sacrifice propiciatory....Neither were then any images of sayntes departed....Likewise neyther reliques nor peregrinations...'. His attack upon the premise was undertaken with seven documented 'probations'. The nature of Foxe's argument is such that he seems to have been aware that the evidence being adduced here was, if not flimsy, certainly deductive and capable of being construed in different ways.

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The second issue which he was able to confront was the importance of the monarchy in England to his overarching narrative. By emphasising the significance of King Lucius and his conversion, and cataloguing the succession of British kings until the coming of the Saxons, Foxe was beginning, even at this early part of his narrative, to construct one of the important building-blocks for his argument about the dynamic forces that would triumph in the protestant reformation. It was also a moment for an earnest aside on 'what incommoditie commeth by lacke of succession'. With Elizabeth's succession such an unresolved problem, a present danger to the protestant cause in England in 1570 as Foxe saw it, his reminder of how the English 'inwrapped themselues in such miserye and desolation, which yet to this day amongst them remayneth' had long-term consequences, which he did not hesitate to emphasise, and contemporary resonances, which he did not need to insist upon.

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How did Foxe put together his seven 'probations' describing the pre-Augustinian possibilities of the Christian conversion of Britain? His proofs were almost entirely extracted from the Magdeburg Centuries volumes I-III (mainly vol. 2, chs. 2-3). It is interesting to note that a similar list, however, appeared at the beignining of Matthew Parker's De Antiquitate Britanniae (1572). Although both entering the same debate, Foxe and the De Antiquitate differ in certain ways. They both cite Gildas, Tertullian's Adversus Judaeos, Origen's Fourth Homily on Ezechiel, and Nicephorus. The De Antiquitate adds evidence from Julius Caesar whilst Foxe adduces that of Bede, Peter of Cluny and the epistle of Eleutherius to King Lucian (which he prints). Foxe's source for this letter is interesting. It had been printed in William Lambarde, Archaionomia (London: 1568), fol 131. It is possible that Foxe simply reproduced it from that source. However, comparing the two sources leads us to suppose that he had perhaps been given the epistle in manuscript form. It is possible that he had completed the drafting of this book before the publication of Lambarde's book in 1568. This, at least, would explain why Foxe did not cite the Anglo-Saxon law-codes in Book Two from Lambarde, choosing instead to take them directly from Brompton's Chronicle.

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Matthew Phillpott and Mark Greengrass
University of Sheffield

For what thing did lacke, that eyther death could doe, or torments coulde worke, or the gates of hell coulde deuise: all was to the vttermost attempted. And yet all the furie and malice of Sathan, al the wisedom of the world, & strength of men, doing, deuising, practising what they could: notwtstanding the religion of Christ (as thou seest) hath had the vpper hand. Which thing I wish thee greatly (gentle reader) wisely to note, and diligently to ponder, in cōsidering these former histories. And because thou canst not consider them, nor profit by them, vnles thou do first read & peruse them: MarginaliaA petition to the reader, diligently to read ouer the former booke of the x. persecutions. let me craue therfore thus much at thine handes, to turne & read ouer the said hystories of those persecutiōs aboue described: especially aboue all the other hystories of this present volume: for thy especiall edification, whych I trust thou shalt finde not vnworthy the reading.

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Nowe because the tying vp of Sathan geueth to the Church some rest, & to me some leisure to addresse my selfe, to the handling of other stories: I minde therefore (Christ willing) in thys present booke, leauing a while the tractation of these generall affaires, pertaining to the vniuersal Church: to prosecute such domesticall hystories, as more neare concerne this our country of England & Scotland, done here at home: beginning first with king Lucius, with whome the faith first begā here in this Realme, as the sentence of some writers doth hold. MarginaliaThe first planting of Christē faiyth in England. Question.And for somuch as here may rise, yea and doth rise, a great cōtrouersie in these our Popish daies, cōcerning the first origine & planting of the faith in this our Kealme: it shall not be greatly out of our purpose, somewhat to stay & say of this question, whether the Church of England first receiued the faith from Rome or not. The which, although I graunt so to be, yet being so graunted, it little auaileth the purpose of them whiche woulde so haue it: for be it so, that England first receaued the Christian faith and Religion from Rome, both in the time of Eleutherius theyr Byshop. 180. yeares after Christ: and also in the time of Austen, whome Gregory sent hether 600. yeares after Christ: MarginaliaWhether Christian Religion in this Realme came first from Rome. yet their purpose followeth not thereby, that we must therefore fetche our Religion from thence still, as from the chiefe welhead and fountaine of all godlines. And yet as they are not able to proue the second, so neither haue I any cause to graunt the first: that is, that our Christian faith was first deriued from Rome, which I may proue by vj. or vij. good cōiectural reasons. MarginaliaAunswere. 1. Gildas.Wherof the first I take of the testimony of Gildas, our coūtreyman, who in his history affirmeth plainly, that Britaine receaued the Gospell in the time of Tiberius the Emperour, vnder whome Christ suffered. Lib. De victoria Aurelij Ambrosij. And sayth moreouer, that Ioseph of Arimathie after dispersion of the Iewes, was sent of Philip the Apostle frō France to Britayne, about the yeare of our Lord. 63. and heere remained in this land al his time: and so with his fellowes, laide the first foundation of Christian faith amōg the Britayne people. Whereupon other preachers and teachers comming afterward confirmed the same, and increased it.

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Marginalia2. Ex Tertul. contra Iudæos.2. The secōd reason is out of Tertullian, who liuing neare about, or rather somewhat before the time of this Eleutherius, in hys booke Contra Iudæos, manifestly importeth the same: where the sayde Tertullian testifying how the Gospel was dispersed abroad by the sound of the Apostles, & there reckening vp the Medes, Persians, Parthiās, and dwellers in Mesopotamia, Iewry, Cappadocia, Pōtus, Asia, Phrigia, Egypt, Pamphilia, with many mo, at length cōmeth to the coasts of the Moorrians, and al the borders of Spayne: with diuers natiōs of Fraunce, & there amongst all other reciteth also the partes of Britayne, whyche the Romaines could neuer attaine to, and reporteth the samenow to be subiect to Christ, as also reckeneth vp the places of Sarmatia, of the Danes, the Germanes, the Scithians, with many other prouinces and Iles to him vnknowen: in all which places, sayth he, raigneth the name of Christ, which now beginneth to be commō. This hath Tertullian. Note here, how amōg other diuers beleuing nations, he mentioneth also the wildest places of Britaine to be of the same number. And these in his time were Christened, who was in the same Eleutherius time, as is aboue sayd. Then, was not Pope Eleutherius, the first whych sent the Christian fayth into this Realme; but the Gospell was heere receiued before hys time, eyther by Ioseph of Arimathia, as some Chronicles recorde, or by some of the Apostles, or of their scholers, which had bene heere preaching Christ, before Eleutherius wrote to Lucius.

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Marginalia3. Ex Origene hom. 4. in Ezechi.3. My thirde probation I deduct out of Origen, Hom. 4. in Ezechielem, whose words be these: Britāniam in Christianam consentire religionem 

Latin/Greek Translations  *  Close
Christianity comes to England: citation from Origen, Hom. 4. in Ezechielem
Foxe text Latin

Britanniam in Christianam consentire religionem.


John Wade, University of Sheffield

Britain to agree to the Christian religion

. Whereby it appeareth that the faith of Christ was sparsed here in England before the daies of Eleutherius.

Marginalia4. Ex Beda.4. For my fourth probation I take the testimony of Bede, where he affirmeth that in his time, and almost a thousand yeare after Christ, here in Britayne: Easter was kept after the maner of the East Church, in the full moone, what day in the weeke soeuer it fell on, and not on the Sonday, as we do now. Wherby it is to be collected, that the first preachers in this land, haue come out from the East part of the world, where it was so vsed, rather then from Rome.

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Marginalia5. Ex Niceph. Lib. 2. cap. 40.5. Fiftly, I may alledge the woordes of Nicephorus, Lib. 2. cap 40. where hee sayeth, that Symon Zelotes did spreade the gospel of Christ to the West Oceane, and brought the same vnto the Iles of Britayne.

Marginalia6. Ex Pet. Cluniacensi. ad Bernardum.6. Sixtly may be added here also the words of Petrus Cluniacensis, who wryting to Bernard, affirmeth that þe Scots in his time did celebrate their Easter, not after þe Romane maner, but after the Greekes. &c. And as the said Britains were not vnder the Romane order in the time of this Abbot of Cluniake[illegible text]: so neither were they nor woulde be, vuder the Romane legate, in the time of Gregory: nor would admit any primacy of the bishop of Rome, to be aboue thē.

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Marginalia7. Ex Epist. Eleutherij ad Lucium.7. For the the seuenth argument, moreouer I may make my probation by the plaine woordes of Eleutherius, by whose Epistle wrytten to king Lucius, we may vnderstande, that Lucius had receaued the faith of Christ in his lande, before the king sent to Eleutherius for the Romane lawes: for so the expresse wordes of the letter do manifestly purport, as hereafter followeth to be seene. By all which coniectures, it may stand probably to be thought, that the Britaynes, were taught first by the Grecians of the East Church, rather then by the Romaines.

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Peraduenture Eleutherius might helpe something, eyther to conuert the king, or else to encrease the Faith then newly sprong among the people: but that he precisely was the first, that cannot be proued. But graunt he were, as in deede the most part of our English stories confesse, neither will I greatly sticke with them therin: yet what haue they got thereby, when they haue cast all their gaine? In fewe wordes to conclude this matter, if so be that the Christian faith and religiō was first deriued from Rome to this our nation by Eleutherius, then let them but graunt to vs the same faith and religion, which then was taught at Rome: and from thence deriued hether by the sayd Eleutherius, and we wil desire no more. MarginaliaWhat difference betweene the late church of Rome, from the old Church of Rome, and in what matters.For then neither was any vniuersal Pope aboue all Churches and Councels, whych came not in before Bonifacius time, whych was 400. yeres after: neither any name or vse of the Masse, the partes whereof how and by whom they were compiled, here after in this booke following appeareth to be seene. Neither any sacrifice propiciatorie for the scouring of Purgatory was then offered vpon halowed altars, but onely the Communion frequented at Christian tables: where oblations and gifts were offered, as well of the people, as of the Priestes to God: because they should appeare neither emptie nor vnkinde before the Lord, as we may vnderstand by the time

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