Augustine of Canterbury, Saint

Augustine of Canterbury, Saint
born , Rome?
died May 26, 604/605, Canterbury, Kent, Eng.; feast day May 26 in England and Wales, May 28 elsewhere

First archbishop of Canterbury.

A Benedictine prior in Rome, he was chosen by Pope Gregory I to lead 40 monks as missionaries to England. They arrived in 597 and were welcomed by King Ethelbert of Kent, at the behest of his queen, and he gave them a church in Canterbury. Augustine converted the king and thousands of his subjects and was made bishop of the English. On the pope's instructions he purified pagan temples and consecrated 12 other bishops. He founded Christ Church, Canterbury, as his cathedral and made Canterbury the primary see in England. He tried unsuccessfully to unify his churches with the Celtic churches of northern Wales.

* * *

also called  Austin 
born Rome?
died May 26, 604/605, Canterbury, Kent, Eng.; feast day in England and Wales May 26, elsewhere May 28

      first archbishop of Canterbury and the apostle of England, who founded the Christian church in southern England.

      Probably of aristocratic birth, Augustine was prior of the Benedictine monastery of St. Andrew, Rome, when Pope St. Gregory I the Great (Gregory I, Saint) chose him to lead an unprecedented mission of about 40 monks to England, which was then largely pagan. They left in June 596, but, arriving in southern Gaul, they were warned of the perils awaiting them and sent Augustine back to Rome. There Gregory encouraged him with letters of commendation (dated July 23, 596), and he set out once more.

      The entourage landed in the spring of 597 on the Isle of Thanet, off the southeast coast of England, and was well received by King Aethelberht (Ethelbert) I (Aethelberht I) of Kent, who gave the missionaries a dwelling place in Canterbury and the old St. Martin's Church, where he allowed them to preach. With Aethelberht's support, their work led to many conversions, including that of the King. In the following autumn Augustine was consecrated bishop of the English by St. Virgilius at Arles.

      Thousands of Aethelberht's subjects were reportedly baptized by Augustine on Christmas Day 597, and he subsequently dispatched two of his monks to Rome with a report of this extraordinary event and a request for further help and advice. They returned in 601 with the pallium (i.e., symbol of metropolitan jurisdiction) from Gregory for Augustine and with more missionaries, including the celebrated saints Mellitus, Justus, and Paulinus. Gregory, with whom Augustine corresponded throughout his apostolate, directed him to purify pagan temples for Christian worship and to consecrate 12 suffragan bishops; thus, he was given authority over the bishops in Britain, and the evangelization of the Kingdom of Kent began.

      Augustine founded Christ Church, Canterbury, as his cathedral and the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul (known after his death as St. Augustine's, where the early archbishops were buried), which came to rank as the second Benedictine house in all Europe. Canterbury thus was established as the primatial see of England, a position maintained thereafter. In 604 he established the episcopal sees of London (for the East Saxons), consecrating Mellitus as its bishop, and of Rochester, consecrating Justus as its bishop.

      At a conference with British bishops, Augustine tried in vain to unify the British (Celtic) churches of North Wales and the churches he was founding. A second conference, his last recorded act, proved equally fruitless. Augustine was buried at SS. Peter and Paul.

Additional Reading
F.A. Gasquet, The Mission of St. Augustine and Other Addresses (1924); Margaret Deanesly, Augustine of Canterbury (1964, reissued 1997).

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Augustine of Canterbury, Saint — • Biographical article on the monk who was the first Archbishop of Canterbury, called Apostle of the English. Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Augustine of Canterbury — Infobox Saint name=Saint Augustine of Canterbury birth date=early 6th century death date=26 May 604 feast day=26 May (Anglican Communion) 27 May (Roman Catholic Church) 28 May (Roman Catholic calendar 1882 1969) venerated in=Roman Catholic… …   Wikipedia

  • Augustine of Canterbury — (d. 604/5)    Saint, Missionary and Archbishop.    Augustine was Prior of St Andrew’s Monastery in Rome. He was sent by Pope Gregory the great to bring the English people back to Christianity. In 597 he landed in Kent where Queen bertha, a… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Laurentius of Canterbury, Saint — ▪ archbishop of Canterbury also called  Lawrence, or Laurence   died Feb. 2, 619, Canterbury, Kent, Eng.; feast day February 3       second archbishop of Canterbury, missionary who played a large part in establishing the Anglo Saxon church.… …   Universalium

  • Anselm of Canterbury, Saint — (ca. 1033–1109)    Saint Anselm of Canterbury is often called the first scholastic. That is, he is considered by many to be the first medieval Christian theologian to apply philosophical argument in the classical sense to spiritual matters. In… …   Encyclopedia of medieval literature

  • Theodore of Canterbury, Saint — born с 602, Tarsus, Cilicia, Asia Minor died Sept. 19, 690, Canterbury, Kent, Eng.; feast day September 19 Seventh archbishop of Canterbury (668–690). He was sent from Rome to Canterbury, where he helped establish a famous school at the monastery …   Universalium

  • Mellitus of Canterbury, Saint — ▪ Italian saint died April 24, 624, Canterbury, Kent [England]; feast day April 24       first bishop of London and the third archbishop of Canterbury (619–624), known for his missionary work and his diplomatic efforts between the Roman church… …   Universalium

  • St Augustine of Canterbury R.C. High School (Oldham) — Saint Augustine of Canterbury RC High School is a mixed gender Roman Catholic secondary school in Oldham, Greater Manchester, England.Notable past students include Mark Owen of 1990s boyband Take That, Gerard Kearns who is known for his Role as… …   Wikipedia

  • St. Augustine of Canterbury —     St. Augustine of Canterbury     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► St. Augustine of Canterbury     First Archbishop of Canterbury, Apostle of the English; date of birth unknown; d. 26 May, 604. Symbols: cope, pallium, and mitre as Bishop of Canterbury …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Eglise Saint-Augustine of Canterbury — Église Saint Augustine of Canterbury Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Église Saint Augustine of Canterbury d Aiken Église Saint Augustine of Canterbury du comté d Oklahoma Église Saint… …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”