St Augustine

Augustine of England was a Benedictine monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 597. He is considered the “Apostle to the English” and a founder of the English Church. Augustine was the prior of the monastery of St Andrew in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him in 595 to lead a mission, usually known as the Gregorian mission, to convert the English from paganism. The Anglo-Saxons had invaded and settled on the island of Britannia one hundred and fifty years before. In 597, Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet. At a meeting at Ebbesfleet with King Ethelbert, the principal ruler of the Anglo-Saxons, Augustine first proclaimed the gospel to the English. Augustine and his group of forty monks were invited back to Canterbury and through their holy lives, miracles and preaching converted 10,000 souls. King Ethelbert was also baptised and allowed the monks to establish a Cathedral church and a Monastery. There began the long and fruitful Christian history of the English people. From Augustine’s foundation missionaries were sent to establish the Christian faith in London, Rochester and York. He probably died on 26th May 604 and was soon revered as a saint. Many centuries of devotion followed. In 1534 his shrine at Canterbury was destroyed only to be restored on 1st March 2012 on the Isle of Thanet near to where he first landed, at Pugin’s Church of St Augustine, Ramsgate.

Comments are closed.