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03 August 2012


Welcome back: a Viking longship, the Gaia, sailed up the Tyne on Sunday to bring a message of thanks to north-east England for sending Christianity to Norway with returning Vikings, 1000 years ago. The event was part of a community project in which 300 young Norwegians have come to work in churches in Tyneside.

Kay Morten Aarskog, from the Norwegian branch of Youth With a Mission, said: "We are as a people a little bit ashamed of the past; so we thought we should come and say thank you for bringing the gospel 1000 years ago." Built in 1990, the Gaia is a 24-metre oak replica of a longship excavated at Gokstad in 1880.

The NSM at St Luke's, Newcastle, the Revd Robert Ward, who helped to arrange the visit, said that Christians in Britain had forgiven the Vikings for their raiding parties. Meanwhile, the Norwegians "feel they owe a debt to their Christian forebears of Northumbria"


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