Antony Jenkinson

An astonishment a day- 
drives your depression away...



Free will and the battle for souls.

In 1557, Anthony Jenkinson, ambassador-merchant of the British Queen Maria Tudor and agent of the Muscovy Company, reached Moscow and was lavishly entertained by Tsar Ivan the Terrible. England was counting on the opening up of Moscow markets, and have even created the Muscovy Company, modeled on the Indian Company. Taking advantage of his unusually friendly reception, the ambassador had the opportunity to wander around Russia. 

An unusual, and very effective, method for converting pagans to Christianity caught his attention. The pagans involved were mainly Mongols, with whom Russia seemed to be in a constant state of war. Many of Mongol prisoners ended up as Russian slaves. And of course, as they were pagans, they needed to be converted for their own good. For this, an unusual, but yet simple and effective method was used. Hoards of Mongolian slaves were herded into a river or a lake. On the bank a pope awaited with holy water. Every Mongol that managed to scramble out of the river, was sprinkled with the holy water, he then only needed to be crossed, given a Christian name and the convertion was done. 

In April of 2003, during the war with Iraq, the Chaplain of the American Army, Luitenant Josh Llano, belonging to the church of South Baptists, requested 500 gallons of water (a commodity that was very scarce at the front and highly rationed). He filled a christening pool with this water and told his soldiers, all exhausted by the war and the desert climate, that they were welcome to come and bathe under the condition that this would be a christening for then, and they would emerge converts to the Baptist church.

The American press does not specify how many soldiers underwent the baptism, however one thing is evident in the methods used by both Tasr's popes, as well as Llano. If we look at the matter closely, neither the Mongolians nor the American soldiers were forced to be christened. After all the Mongolians didn't have to come out of the river and the Americans could have refused to bathe. They chose to be chrsitened. Obviously, somewhere deep inside they knew that they were ready to be converted, and their ties to paganism, or their previous faith were not strong enough. After all, people have the right to execute their free will, and this will must be respected.

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(C) (selected from publications of 
 R. Antoszewski

Titirangi, Auckland, 
New Zeland

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April 2003

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