Crossings and Conversions
This chapter begins the comparison of the cults of Genovefa and Brigit of Kildare. It describes the three phases of Ireland’s christianization during the 4th through 5th centuries. Because the Romans had never invaded Ireland, the Irish had a different relationship with the empire and its religions than other Europeans. In the first phase of conversion, the island’s inhabitants sought trade in Roman goods via Britain. In the second phase, romanized Christians such as Saint Patrick used this trade network to bring new religious ideas to Ireland. In the third phase, Christian leaders in Ireland began to organize the politically fragmented rural landscape and its ancient pagan sites into recognizably Christian, Roman-style places.
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