Saint Augustine of Canterbury
Augustine turned to Gregory for instructions on organization, management, and discipline. Gregory advised tolerance of irregularities committed in ignorance, recognized the difficulty of eradicating old customs immediately, and suggested adapting existing festivals and temples for Christian worship. He supplied more personnel, books, relics, and furnishings for the churches, sent an archbishop's pallium for Augustine, and a plan for the organization of all England.
Augustine is perhaps overshadowed by Gregory, perceived apostle of the English, who conceived and directed the mission. Yet Gregory's letters reveal a diligent servant who faced enormous difficulties in securing a new church based on orthodox Roman lines. Although he failed to win the co-operation of British clergy in his few available years, Augustine established Christianity, and introduced to an illiterate Germanic society the influence of Mediterranean civilization, through Latin learning and classical architecture. With him, Æthelbert produced the first written law code, providing for matters secular and ecclesiastical. With Æthelbert's crucial support, he consecrated two bishops, establishing sees at Rochester in Kent and in East Saxon London. To secure continuity, he consecrated his successor, Laurentius, before he died. Although the church suffered early set-backs, it was rooted in Kent where Augustine, first archbishop of Canterbury, established his see and provided training for those who would continue his work.
St Augustine of Canterbury (d. c.604), Italian churchman. Sent from Rome by Pope Gregory the Great to refound the Church in England in 597, he was favourably received by King Ethelbert, who was afterwards converted, founded a monastery at Canterbury and became its first bishop, but failed to reach agreement with the existing Celtic Church over questions of discipline and practice. His feast day is 26 May.
St Augustine of Hippo (354–430), Doctor of the Church; his early life was marked by a series of spiritual crises, and he is known for a famous prayer in his Confessions, ‘Give me chastity and continency—but not yet.’ Augustine was baptized by St Ambrose in 386 and henceforth lived a monastic life. He became bishop of Hippo in North Africa in 396. His writings, such as Confessions and the City of God, dominated subsequent Western theology. His feast day is 28 August.
The Augustinians are a religious order observing a rule derived from the writings of St Augustine.
Augustine of Canterbury, Saint
Augustine of Canterbury, Saint
Saint Augustine of Canterbury (ô´gəstēn, –tĬn; ôgŭs´tĬn), d. c.605, Italian missionary, called the Apostle of the English, first archbishop of Canterbury (from 601). A Roman monk, he was sent to England, as the head of some 40 monks, by Pope St. Gregory I. Arriving in 597, they were well received by King Æthelbert, who was converted by Augustine, thus making him the first Christian king in Anglo-Saxon England. Æthelbert gave the monks land at Canterbury, and a church was built on the site of the present cathedral. A monastery was also founded. Augustine's mission, introducing the more flexible and organized Roman usages, was resented by Celtic monks of the British isles, whose austerities were disparate and more severe and who kept a different date of Easter. Their differences were eventually settled in 663 at the Synod of Whitby, when England abandoned Celtic practices. Feast: May 28 (May 26 in England and Wales).
See Bede's Ecclesiastical History; biography by H. Chadwick (1986); studies by E. Easwaran (1985) and T. A. Hand (rev. ed. 1986).