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Not to be confused with Augustine of Hippo. Illuminated manuscript with a forward-facing man in the middle of the large H. Man is carrying a crozier and his head gay dating st albans surrounded by a halo.

Benedictine monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 597. King Æthelberht converted to Christianity and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Augustine was consecrated as a bishop and converted many of the king’s subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. After the withdrawal of the Roman legions from their province of Britannia in 410, the inhabitants were left to defend themselves against the attacks of the Saxons. It was against this background that Pope Gregory I decided to send a mission, often called the Gregorian mission, to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity in 595. Aside from Æthelberht’s granting of freedom of worship to his wife, the choice of Kent was probably dictated by a number of other factors.

Kent was the dominant power in southeastern Britain. In 595, Gregory chose Augustine, who was the prior of the Abbey of St Andrew’s in Rome, to head the mission to Kent. The pope selected monks to accompany Augustine and sought support from the Frankish royalty and clergy in a series of letters, of which some copies survive in Rome. Sources make no mention of why Pope Gregory chose a monk to head the mission. Pope Gregory once wrote to Æthelberht complimenting Augustine’s knowledge of the Bible, so Augustine was evidently well educated. Other qualifications included administrative ability, for Gregory was the abbot of St Andrews as well as being pope, which left the day-to-day running of the abbey to Augustine, the prior. Map showing the kingdoms of Dyfed, Powys, and Gwynedd in the west central part of the island of Great Britain.

Mercia, Middle Anglia and East Anglia run across the middle of the island from west to east. Below those kingdoms are Wessex, Sussex and Kent, also from west to east. Augustine was accompanied by Laurence of Canterbury, his eventual successor to the archbishopric, and a group of about 40 companions, some of whom were monks. Soon after leaving Rome, the missionaries halted, daunted by the nature of the task before them. They sent Augustine back to Rome to request papal permission to return. Augustine established his episcopal see at Canterbury. It is not clear when and where Augustine was consecrated as a bishop.

Soon after his arrival, Augustine founded the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul, which later became St Augustine’s Abbey, on land donated by the king. After these conversions, Augustine sent Laurence back to Rome with a report of his success, along with questions about the mission. Further missionaries were sent from Rome in 601. They brought a pallium for Augustine and a present of sacred vessels, vestments, relics, and books. Stone statue of a crowned man holding a sceptre. In 604, Augustine founded two more bishoprics in Britain. Two men who had come to Britain with him in 601 were consecrated, Mellitus as Bishop of London and Justus as Bishop of Rochester.

Augustine failed to extend his authority to the Christians in Wales and Dumnonia to the west. Gregory had decreed that these Christians should submit to Augustine and that their bishops should obey him, apparently believing that more of the Roman governmental and ecclesiastical organisation survived in Britain than was actually the case. Gregory also instructed Augustine on other matters. Temples were to be consecrated for Christian use, and feasts, if possible, moved to days celebrating Christian martyrs.

One religious site was revealed to be a shrine of a local St Sixtus, whose worshippers were unaware of details of the martyr’s life or death. They may have been native Christians, but Augustine did not treat them as such. Gregory legislated on the behaviour of the laity and the clergy. He placed the new mission directly under papal authority and made it clear that English bishops would have no authority over Frankish counterparts nor vice versa. Other directives dealt with the training of native clergy and the missionaries’ conduct. The King’s School, Canterbury claims Augustine as its founder, which would make it the world’s oldest existing school, but the first documentary records of the school date from the 16th century.

Pile of stones marked with a tag reading “St. Before his death, Augustine consecrated Laurence of Canterbury as his successor to the archbishopric, probably to ensure an orderly transfer of office. Augustine’s body was originally buried in the portico of what is now St Augustine’s, Canterbury, but it was later exhumed and placed in a tomb within the abbey church, which became a place of pilgrimage and veneration. After the Norman Conquest the cult of St Augustine was actively promoted. A life of Augustine was written by Goscelin around 1090, but this life portrays Augustine in a different light than Bede’s account. Goscelin’s account has little new historical content, mainly being filled with miracles and imagined speeches. Augustine’s shrine was re-established in March 2012 at the church of St.

Augustine in Ramsgate, Kent, very close to the mission’s landing site. The name is in the halo, in a later hand. The figure is identified as a saint, rather than Christ, by his clerical tonsure. The view that it represents Gregory is set out by Douglas Michaels in a recent article.