Christian Saxon king unearthed

An inspection for a road widening project in the town of Prittlewell, Essex, has yielded what British archeologists are calling the most important find in decades: an early 7th-century tomb of an apparent Anglo-Saxon king. "Two foil crosses, probably originally laid on the body or sewn to a shroud, suggest that the king had converted from paganism to Christianity," senior archaeologist Ian Blair told the press. The crosses, the first of their kind found in England (they were more popular on the continent) also may be a key to the king's identity. The skeleton has long decayed in the acidic soil, but the grave may be that of Sabert, the first Christian king of Essex. That the burial chamber also contained other goods, such as his sword and shield, copper bowls, and glass containers-not typical for Christian burials-supports the story of church historian Bede: Immediately after Sabert's death, he writes, the king's three sons "began openly to give themselves up to idolatry, which, during their father's lifetime, they had seemed somewhat to abandon, and they granted free license to their subjects to serve idols." The sons also drove out the bishop, and it wasn't until King Sigbert accepted Christianity in 653 that the faith took deeper root. Some scholars speculate that the chamber belonged to Sigbert rather than to Sabert, while most say it's too early to tell. The artifacts are now at the Museum of London.

"God's Acre"

Around the world, Moravian graveyards are known as "God's Acre." But the original Gudsageren can still be found in the East German town of Herrnhut, the home base of Moravianism's founder, Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf. Moravianism's precursor group, the 15th-century Unitum ...

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