Today we remember a missionary Bishop who was sent to Britain in 597 AD to convert the heathen Angles and Saxons who had invaded Britain after the withdrawal of the Roman Legions in the 5th Century. Augustine was greatly relieved to discover that the Anglo-Saxon Queen, Bertha, was a Christian who had grown up in Paris. Due to her influence with King Ethelbert, Augustine and his 30 or more monks were given permission to live in Canterbury and preach the Gospel. By 601 King Ethelbert and many of his people had been baptized.
Pope Gregory 1st ,who was Augustine’s superior, friend, and supporter, made him Archbishop of Canterbury. The first to hold this title and See. Under Augustine’s leadership and with Gregory’s wise guidance, the Christian Church in Britain was organized and contact was made with the remnant of the Celtic Church which had suffered greatly during the years of foreign invasion and turmoil. Augustine died in 605, but 59 years later these two branches of the Christian Church came together at the Synod of Whitby.
On May 26 we remember with thanksgiving the work and witness of St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
Bible Reading: Psalm 47; Matthew 13:31-33