Christianity in Pannonia During the Great Migrations and up to the Hungarian Conquest

Christianity in Pannonia During the Great Migrations and up to the Hungarian Conquest

c AD 400–895

Lamp with Christ’s monogram, 3rd or 4th century.

The Roman occupation of Pannonia ended at the beginning of the 5th century and the legions were gradually withdrawn from the area. As the Roman defense of the mostly Christian Pannonia vanished, the wave of migrations reached the region. Barbaric nations attacked from several directions, and by the end of the 6th century, Vandals, Goths, Huns, Langobards and Avars had arrived to this region. The domination of the Avars lasted for three hundred years, until the beginning of the 9th century.

Cross-shaped lamp hanger, 6th century.

Christianity didn’t cease in Pannonia during the great migrations, although a part of the population had fled. Nevertheless, those who remained tried to practice their religion. Besides, there were Christians among the invading people and the Gospel was preached to them by missionaries. This is well proven by the fact that by the end of the 8th century many Avars living here became Christians. Slavs arrived in Pannonia from the beginning of the 9th century, and there were Christians among them too. Cyril and Methodius, “the apostles of the Slavs”, spent some time in Pannonia preaching the Gospel during the latter half of the 9th century.

Churches continued to be built in Pannonia during these centuries, for example in Zalavár, Zalabér, Nyitra, Veszprém, Fenékpuszta and Pécs. Archeological findings also bear witness to the continual presence of Christianity in the Carpathian Basin: e.g. Christian symbols such as the cross, dove, grapes, fish, can be seen on belts and jewelry found in Avar graves. Christian motifs, especially the cross, are also present on the pieces of the golden Avar treasure of Nagyszentmiklós.


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