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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Augustine of Canterbury

On May 26, 604 Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, fell asleep in Jesus. Not to be confused with his more famous namesake, Augustine of Hippo, this Augustine is known chiefly as the apostle to the English. In 595 Pope Gregory the Great sent him to convert King Æthelberht and to re-christianize the Kingdom of Kent.

Thus, shortly after the death of St. Columba (who brought Irish Christianity to the Picts in Scotland) Augustine was bringing Roman Christianity to the south of England. These two traditions eventually met at the Synod of Whitby in 664 to be melded into one ecclesiastical structure.

The Venerable Bede tells his story beginning in chapter XXIII Book I on the Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, written in about 731.

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