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Unformatted text preview: This story's first phase begins in Ireland. Though never a part of the Roman Empire, Christianity had begun to proliferate there from the fifth century, based upon commercial and cultural interaction with more Romanized Britons. The major missionary thrust there is associated with the near-mythical figure of St. Patrick (390?-461). Possibly born among the Christianized west Britons, he was carried off to Ireland as a slave at a young age, after which he escaped to Gaul and spent twenty years in its burgeoning monastic centers. At his point (432) he undertook a further exile (a pattern followed by later Irish-English monks), returning to Ireland as a bishop and overseeing mass conversion there. Ireland was almost entirely non-urban. Thus, the basic unit of church organization was not the bishopric, but the monastery. Small affairs scattered throughout the region, their monks were not bishopric, but the monastery....
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- Fall '08