“Apostle to the English”
The liturgical calendar of the Church celebrates two saints who share the name: Augustine.
Augustine of Hippo [354-430] was an early Christian theologian , a doctor of the Church, whose writings have influenced the Western Church and also the discipline of Western philosophy. Augustine of Hippo is remembered also for bringing the Christian faith to what was then a pagan Roman Empire.
Augustine of Canterbury , was a Benedictine monk, who became the very first Archbishop of Canterbury. Augustine was born and lived in Rome. He was the prior of a monastery dedicated to St. Andrew. In 596 Augustine following the instructions of Pope Gregory the Great [c 540-604 ], to lead a small party of monks from his monastery in Italy to England to preach the Gospel. Initially, Augustine was reluctant to accept such a challenge, owing to the fear of crossing the channel, and also what sort of reception he and his brethren would receive from the Anglo-Saxons when they arrived in England. However, after more encouragement from the Pope, Augustine set sail for the shores of Kent. Upon arrival, Augustine was received by King Ethelbert of Kent, who gave him permission to preach. The following year, the king and many hundreds of people, where baptised. Augustine then settled permanently in England and built a church and monastery at Canterbury, now known as Canterbury Cathedral.
Augustine died on 26th May 605 and is buried in Canterbury Cathedral. His grave has been a place of Christian pilgrimage for well over a thousand years.
All Archbishops of Canterbury share the title of occupying the Chair of Augustine.
Please look at the engraving of Augustine, in a boat, as you enter the church.
“Lord, grant that your word be preached to all the world,
and lead all peoples to your kingdom” [S. Augustine of Canterbury]