Mellitus of Canterbury, St.

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Benedictine (?) monk, first bishop of London and third archbishop of Canterbury; d. April 24, 624. Possibly abbot of St. Andrew's monastery, Rome, he was sent by Pope gregory i the great with the second group of missionaries to England (601). Having been consecrated bishop of the East Saxons by augustine of canter bury in 604, he established his see in London, where st. paul's was built as his cathedral. He revisited Rome on church business and attended a council there on Feb. 27,610. During the pagan reaction (c. 617) he was expelled from London and took refuge in Gaul. He returned a year later but was unable to resume his position among the East Saxons, who were to require reconversion a generation later. He succeeded Abp. lawrence of canter bury after Feb. 2, 619, and as archbishop is reputed to have saved his see from destruction by averting a fire with prayer. He was buried in the church of SS. Peter and Paul, Canterbury.

Feast: April 24.

Bibliography: bede, Historia ecclesiastica 1.2930; 2.37. a. w. haddan and w. stubbs, eds., Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents Relating to Great Britain and Ireland, 3 v. in 4 (Oxford 186978) 3:6171. w. bright, Chapters of Early English Church History (3d ed. Oxford 1897). w. stubbs, A Dictionary of Christian Biography, ed. w. smith and h. wace, 4 v. (London 187787) 3:900901. f. m. stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (2d ed. Oxford 1947) 109113, 120.

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