Europes’ Responces to Muslim and Arian Migrations
I don’t know much about the EDL (English Defence [sic, because they are English and not American] League), but their protest against Muslim immigrants in England reminded me of another period of time in which people did great migrations, and to which some parallels can be drawn.
From 541 to around 750, a great plague beset Europe. Each generation it would return to kill a new wave of people. Procopius said it killed 10,000 people a day in the capital city of Constantinople. Entire farming villages were emptied of their people. Wikipedia suggests up to a quarter of the population was killed. Combined with this, from 300 to 600 AD massive waves of barbarians began immigrating into and around the Roman empire to take advantage of the accumulated Roman wealth. As the empire folded in on itself these migrants displaced the locals, causing the foundations to be set for modern nations. The Huns settled in Hungary, the Anglos in England, the Franks in France, and so forth. Many of these people were pagan or heretical Arians. The Lombards established a kingdom in northern Italy and in central Italy the Visigoths reigned — which put the core of Christian lands firmly in heretical Arian hands. Arians denied Jesus Christ was God and that God became man.
Another group in the 600’s also denied Jesus Christ was God and that God became man. This group were the newly minted Muslims in the Arabian peninsula — the same religion that is worrying the EDL so much today. In much of Europe the population has been dropping due to widespread birth control. A birth rate of 1.59 children per woman was the 2009 EU average, but to hold a population steady it is necessary to have 2.1 children per woman. Muslim immigrants are coming to Europe to take advantage of the accumulated wealth and work openings that a falling population brings. To me, this sounds remarkably similar to what took place in Europe in the 500’s. Declining population plus a group of people who deny Jesus was God moving into formerly Christian lands. As place names changed in the former migration, there is already sense that place names might well change again:
In the 600’s the pagans and heretical Arians were converted due to the influence of the monasteries and missionaries. St. Columbanus from Ireland went into what would become France and northern Italy and set up monasteries to Christianize these people who were Arians. St. Benedict founded the famous monastery at Monte Cassino. This was the age of monks working to save the souls in Europe. The Christian love and order that came out of monasteries slowly won people to the faith. These were lands that were formerly Christian, lost that when Christians couldn’t keep the land populated so non-Christian migrants came in, and then through missionary work regained Christianity.
Only time will tell if Europe will again do the missionary work necessary in their own homelands to evangelize the new migrants who don’t believe that Jesus is God. History shows it is possible, but only time will show if Europe has the faith to do it once again.