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Sigeberht (d.635), king of the East Angles (c.630–5), became a baptized Christian when exiled in Gaul. Returning to reign, he introduced Christianity into East Anglia, aided by the Burgundian bishop Felix, and secured the future of his church by founding a school. During his reign he received the Irish monk Fursa, who established a monastery on the Suffolk coast. Described by Bede as devout and learned, he ultimately resigned his earthly kingdom, entering his own monastery. Attacked by the powerful Mercian king Penda, the East Angles tried to persuade their erstwhile distinguished royal commander to lead them. When Sigeberht refused to fight, they dragged him out of his monastery, hoping his presence would inspire the soldiers. Refusing to carry anything but a staff, he was killed by the heathen army.

Audrey MacDonald

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