Sabbath Keeping in 600 AD
By Kelly McDonald, Jr.
Recall from previous blogs that the Arians had Sabbath-keeping tendencies. They eventually conquered and ruled the Western Roman Empire. In 476 AD, Odoacer king of the Heruli ruled Italy. In the 490s AD, the Ostrogoths conquered the Heruli. Not long after this, the Eastern Roman Empire under Justinian conquered the Ostrogoths.
In the 580s AD, the Arian Lombards overran Italy and began to rule most of the inner part of the country. There were remnants of Arian Christians in France and even Spain. During this time, we have some writings of Catholic clergy who lived in the region.
Around 575 AD, Gregory of Tours [modern day France] tells us, “The day of the Lord’s resurrection is the first, not the seventh as many think” (History of the Franks, 1:22 [others list it as 1:23]).
Late 500s or Early 600s AD
Pope Gregory I tells us, “It has come to my ears that certain men of perverse spirit have sown among you some things that are wrong and opposed to the holy faith, so as to forbid any work being done on the Sabbath day. What else can I call these but preachers of Antichrist, who, when he comes, will cause the Sabbath day as well as the Lord’s day to be kept free from all work…he compels the people to Judaize that he may bring back the outward rite of the law, and subject the perfidy of the Jews to himself, he wishes the Sabbath to be observed.” (Registrum Epistolarum, Book 13, Letter 1)
These two men give us some important details. From one, we learn that most people still believed in a seventh-day resurrection of Jesus. From the second, we learn that a significant number of people still honored the Sabbath. Sabbatarians were so numerous that Pope Gregory I compares them to the anti-Christ and the one-world government of prophecy!
We can see that Sabbath keepers in Italy still had strong numbers; Catholicism viewed them as a major threat. Many still believed in a Saturday resurrection, which was contrary to the Catholic view. Sabbath keeping still had influenced in certain areas several centuries after the time of Christ.
Kelly McDonald, Jr.
BSA President www.biblesabbath.org