'It is said that one day, soon after some merchants had arrived in Rome, a quantity of merchandise was exposed for sale in the market-place. Crowds came to buy and Gregory too amongst them. As well as other merchandise he saw some boys put up for sale, with fair complexions, handsome faces, and lovely hair. On seeing them he asked, so it is said, from what region or land they had been brought. He was told that they came from the island of Britain, whose inhabitants were like that in appearance. He asked again whether those islanders were Christians or still entangled in the errors of heathenism. He was told that they were heathen. Then with a deep-drawn sigh he said, "Alas that the author of darkness should have men so bright of face in his grip, and that minds devoid of inward grace should bear so graceful an outward form." Again he asked for the name of the race. He was told that they were called Angli. "Good", he said, "they have the face of angels, and such men should be fellow-heirs of the angels in heaven". "What is the name", he asked, "of the kingdom from which they have been brought?" He was told

that the men of the kingdom were called Deiri. "Deiri", he replied, "De ira! good! snatched from the wrath of Christ and called to his mercy. And what is the name of the king of the land?" He was told that it was Ælle; and playing on the name, he said, "Alleluia! the praise of God the Creator must be sung in those parts."Click for footnote This event is said to have taken place before Gregory the Great became pope. He went to the bishop of Rome and asked for permission to convert the heathen Angles, but this was denied. The mission had to wait until Gregory's papacy. In 596, Gregory sent a group of monks, led by a man who would later be called Augustine of Canterbury 'to preach the word of God to the English race'. The monks were terrified by the idea of a hostile heathen people whose language they did not even understand, but finally obeyed and arrived in Britain in 967. Despite their expectations, the monks were welcomed friendly enough, and King Æthelberht of Kent gave them a home in Canterbury, from which they could start to bring Christianity closer to the inhabitants by word and good example.Click for footnote The Mission had begun.

The Mission Christianisation through Persuasion Why Christianity?
Paganism vs. Christianity