Home > Author >


2 " Of course, there were innumerable conversions during these years, as Christianity became the religion of Western Europe and Christendom took its characteristic shape. Many of these were undramatic – serfs responding to the importunity of their lords – or group events, as in the conversion of Clovis’s troops. But for many others there was no longer need of conversion. The contours of Christian experience had shifted. Whereas up to the time of Augustine there had been four stages of initiation and incorporation into the church, there were no typically two. The first stage was brief and obligatory – baptism in the days or months after birth. The second stage would happen later and would take longer – if it took place at all – when confirmation happened and when parents instructed their children and godparents instructed their godchildren in the beliefs and behavior of the Christian church. Indeed, at this time of the rapid spread of Christianity into new territories, it was vitally necessary that the baptizands be taught well. The heroic and valorous values of the folk, the glorious narratives of warriors, the adulation of wealth and strength – all of these were as firmly in place in seventh-century Gaul as the pagan values and narratives had been in third-century Rome. If Christianity were to be a religion of revelation that could challenge the commonplaces of Gallic society, if new habits were to be taught and new role models were to be adopted, there would have to be some form of postbaptismal pastoral follow-up. "

, The Change of Conversion and the Origin of Christendom