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Saint Augustine of Canterbury
Birth: unknown
Death: May 26, 604

1st Archbishop of Canterbury, Roman Catholic Saint. He served as Archbishop of Canterbury from 597 until his death. He is considered the "Apostle to the English" and a founder of the English Church. Little is known of his early life and it is speculated that he was born to aristocrats in Rome, present-day Italy. He became a Benedictine monk and was the prior of the Abbey of St. Andrew's in Rome when Pope Gregory I sent him to England, to lead a mission to Christianize King Ehelberht, who was a pagan, and his Kingdom of Kent from their native Anglo-Saxon paganism. Ethelberht had married a Christian princess, Bertha, daughter of Charibert I the King of Paris. In 597 Augustine and his missionaries, including Laurence of Canterbury who would become the 2nd Archbishop of Canterbury, landed on the Isle of Thanet, England and proceeded to Ethelberht's main town of Canterbury. Ethelberht converted to Christianity and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul outside the city walls, which later became Saint Augustine's Abbey. He established his episcopal see at Canterbury and converted many of the king's subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. In 601 Pope Gregory sent more missionaries, along with encouraging letters and gifts for the churches. However, he failed to extend his authority to the Christians in Wales and Dumnonia to the west. Pope Gregory had decreed that these Christians should submit to Augustine and that their bishops should obey him. According to the narrative of Bede, the Christians in these regions viewed Augustine with uncertainty, and their suspicion was compounded by a diplomatic misjudgment on his part. In 603 he and King Ethelberht summoned the British bishops to a meeting south of the Severn. These guests retired early to confer with their people, who, according to Bede, advised them to judge Augustine based upon the respect he displayed at their next meeting. When he failed to rise from his seat on the entrance of the British bishops, they refused to recognize him as their archbishop. Additionally, there were deep differences between him and the British church that perhaps played a more significant role in preventing an agreement. At issue were the tonsure (the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on the scalp, as a sign of religious devotion or humility), the observance of Easter, and practical and deep-rooted differences in approach to asceticism, missionary endeavors, and how the church itself was organized. In 604 Roman bishops were established at London and Rochester, and a school was founded to train Anglo-Saxon priests and missionaries. Before his death, he consecrated Laurence as his successor to the archbishopric, probably to ensure an orderly transfer of office. Their differences were eventually settled in 663 at the Synod of Whitby, when England abandoned Celtic practices. After his death, at Canterbury, Kent, England, his 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. He was canonized a saint soon after his death. After the Norman Conquest in 1066, his shrine held a central position in one of the axial chapels, flanked by the shrines of his successors Laurence and Mellitus. During the English Reformation in the 16th century, his shrine was destroyed and his relics were lost. In March 2012 his shrine was re-established at the church of Saint Augustine in Ramsgate, Kent, England very close to the mission's first landing site. His feast day is observed on May 26th in the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches and May 27th in the Roman Catholic Church. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Burial:
St Augustine Abbey (ruins)
Canterbury
City of Canterbury
Kent, England
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: julia&keld
Record added: Aug 31, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 21267038
Saint Augustine of Canterbury
Added by: julia&keld
 
Saint Augustine of Canterbury
Added by: julia&keld
 
Saint Augustine of Canterbury
Added by: julia&keld
 
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- Gina G.
 Added: May. 26, 2014

- A Roman Catholic
 Added: May. 26, 2014
R.I.P.
- Danny Trahan
 Added: May. 26, 2014
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