Connecticut’s 5th Century Church
by John Gallager

In the stillness of Cockaponset State Forest, southern Connecticut,
near the town of Guilford, masterfully carved from solid rock, stands
North America’s oldest Christian church. Recent epigraphic evidence
found here suggests that it is 1500 years old, and linked to a voyage
of Christian Byzantine monks who fled from North Africa during the 5th
Century, in the wake of the Vandal invasions. Greek and North African
inscriptions, Greek cupule patterns in the form of Chrismons
(monograms of Christ), baptismal fonts, a cathedra or throne,
candelabras and an altar have been found at the site.

These items indicate that it was a place of worship, an Early
Christian Church. The artifacts are illuminated by Libyan Arabic texts
found at Figuig (Hadj-Mimoum), a remote oasis in eastern Morocco, in
1926. They tell of a voyage undertaken by North African Christian
monks sailing “toward the setting sun,” to “Asq-Shamal,” the “Northern
Land,” suggestive of North America. A diffusionist scholar, Frederick
J. Pohl, who studied the Figuig inscriptions during the 1960s, placed
the monks arrival in North America at about 480 AD.

About 40 years ago, he was told of some strange carvings on stone in
the Connecticut woods, and obtained the services of a local a
physician as a guide to their location. As the author of several books
describing Norse voyages to America, Pohl anticipated Viking origin
for the Connecticut inscriptions. Seeing them in person, however, he
knew at once that they were not 10th Century runic, but belonged to
something entirely different and much older. Seeking clues from the
immediate environment, he noticed a nearby cove suitable as a
land-fall for ships was visible from the inscriptions.

When I first met an older Frederick Pohl at his home in Brooklyn, New
York during 1976, he asked me to go to the site, look it over and see
what I could make of it. For two and a half years thereafter, I
regularly visited the site gathering information, taking photographs
and making drawings, followed by long hours investigating source
materials in public and university libraries. Together with Pohl, I
sought out the opinions of other experts in pre- Columbian matters.
Their insight combined with diligent, independent research to reveal
the Guilford location as an Early Christian Church and Baptismal site
of Byzantine Greek North African origin. Epigraphic evidence
identified its construction or carving by Christian monks who voyaged
to Connecticut from North Africa in the mid-5th Century.

To understand the origins and reasons behind this 1600 year-old
undertaking, something about the history of the Early Christian Church
during this period is needed. By 430 AD, more than 600 bishops
operated across North Africa, mostly in Tunisia, where Christianity
sank its roots in the Dark Continent at the ancient Phoenician
port-city of Carthage. From the beginning, the new faith was a tale of
violence and heresy. Under Emperors Decius (249 to 250), Valerian (257
to 259) and Diocletian (245 to 313), many Christians everywhere were
arrested, tried and executed on charges of theological or political
subversion, because they characterized the deities of all other faiths
as “devils” and called for the downfall of the Roman state.
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