St. Augustine of Canterbury

St. Augustine of Canterbury


The sixth-century bishop St. Augustine of Canterbury (d. 605) is legendary for his missionary work in England. (He is to not be confused with St. Augustine of Hippo, the good Church thinker of the fourth century.) Augustine was the prior or abbot of a monastery in Rome. In 596 the Pope, St. Gregory the Great, selected him to guide a bunch of thirty monks on a missionary journey to England. (There had been some scattered Christian communities there, however the land as a complete was nonetheless predominantly Anglo-Saxon and pagan.)

Augustine’s group set out, however on reaching France, heard terrifying tales of the treacherous waters of the English Channel and the ferocious temperament of the Anglo-Saxons. Augustine hurried again to seek advice from the pope, however Gregory reassured him that his fears had been groundless, and despatched him again on his manner.

The missionaries arrived in England in 597. King Ethelbert, a pagan married to a Christian, obtained them kindly, and their work flourished. On Pentecost Sunday the king was baptized, together with a lot of his topics. Augustine journeyed briefly to France, the place he was consecrated a bishop, after which returned to England, establishing his see, or diocese, in Canterbury. The see at Canterbury continued to prosper, and extra dioceses had been later established at London and Rochester.

Not all of Augustine’s efforts had been profitable; his makes an attempt to reconcile the Anglo-Saxon converts and the unique Christian inhabitants of England failed, and for a time the missionaries’ work progressed slowly. By the time of St. Augustine’s loss of life in 605, nevertheless, a strong basis for England’s later widespread conversion to Christianity had been established.


  1. Even saints will be reluctant to meet their mission; St. Augustine needed to be inspired by the pope, who helped him overcome his fears by telling him, “He who would climb to a lofty top should go by steps, not leaps.”

  2. God is ready to use us regardless of our weaknesses and failures, so long as we’re prepared to let His grace work in and thru us.

Other Saints We Remember Today

  • St. Bede the Venerable (735), Priest, Doctor
  • St. John I (526), Pope, Martyr

picture: St. Augustine of Canterbury engraved holy card / See page for author, CC BY 4.0, by way of Wikimedia Commons