“Ingolf” by P. Raadsig, 1850, Viðeyjarstofa in Viðey, Reykjavik. Wikipedia photo.
“Ingolf” by P. Raadsig, 1850, Viðeyjarstofa in Viðey, Reykjavik.
Wikipedia photo.

Amongst Iseland-approaching Norse longboats,
Brithe t
ook to bow as volcanic plume of Helka
rupted, thick ash smoke billowing visible at
orizon’s edge, lava up-flowing beyond fertile
Iseland southern shores. Sixteen summers
Young, Brithe and her family left Norselands
To begin life anew, search for arable fields,
Freedom to follow Christian religion condemned
By despot warlords, ignoble earl.

With sails wind-filled, Viking ships rounded
Lush peninsular grasslands of Reykjavik settle-
Ment, welcomed landfall, protected ice-cluttered
Waters, rippling silver in warmth of summer
Sun. Her heart brimming, soul welling, Brithe
Anticipated baptism by Irish Papar monks who
Recited liturgies in cadenced church Latin,
Preaching Christian hope and charity to Viking
Families who fast-clung to ancient Norse gods.

Helka distant rumbling, fiery clouds forewarned
Viking settlers that Odin and Thor once ruled
This deep-rilled land, fire and ice grandeur. Old
Gods reluctantly conceded their realm to one
Christian god, sacrificial lamb, atoned for man’s
Sins, gruesome crucifixion, holy resurrection.
Divine glories, young Brithe prayed for baptism
By immersion in Iseland frigid waters, salvation,
Faith and praise on thriving Viking farmsteads.

On Sunday morn, Vikings, armed with swords and
Shields, made solemn procession to long-sloped
Beach, where priests, clad in black-hooded robes,
Attended Brithe and her family, acceptance of
Christian faith. Standing in waist-deep water,
Brithe’s Rite of Baptism began in Latin: “Accipe
Signum crucis tam in fronte, quam in corde,
Sume fidem cælestium præceptorum: et talis esto
Moribus, ut templum Dei iam esse possis.”

Attempting to repeat Latin rite in Norse, one
Priest read aloud: “Héldest pæt Cristesmél búté
Uppan éower steorne, and uppan éower heorte
Hēdest geléaffulness heofondéma regollif; and
Dæl éow life fram æfre Tempel Godfæder.”
Dressed in a plain white gown, mother given,
Brithe, first baptized, priest immersed in water,
Iseland fiords, emerging child of God, lifetime
To grow in Christian love and faith.

As legend tells, Brithe spread Christ’s word of
Faith and love throughout her new Iselandic
Home, smoldering volcanoes, massive glaciers,
Families in sod houses. In seagoing longboats,
She ventured to and from Greenland camps,
Viking exploration for new life, attending Irish
Church, following old gods in private. To Brithe,
It was neither sin nor contradiction, security of
Old ways, Christian and pagan blended as one.

Latin-English translation “Rite of Baptism” excerpt:
“Receive the Sign of the Cross both upon your
Forehead + and also upon your heart +; take to
You the faith of the heavenly precepts; and so
Order your life as to be, from henceforth, the
Temple of God.”

Excerpt of English-Latin “Rite of Baptism” obtained from this link:
Anglo-Saxon translation is my own.

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