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A History Christianity

Edited By: Robert A. Guisepi

 

Augustine's Missionary Work In England

Book:        By The Venerable Bede

Author:      The Venerable Bede

Translation: King Alfred, the Great

 

By The Venerable Bede  597

 

 

 

     St. Augustine was the first archbishop of Canterbury.  He was educated

in Rome under Pope Gregory I, by whom he was sent to Britain with forty monks

of the Benedictine order, for the purpose of converting the English to

Christianity.  Bertha, wife of Ethelbert, king of Kent, was a Christian.  She

was a daughter of Charibert, king of Paris, and had brought her chaplain with

her, who held services in the ruined church of St. Martin, near Canterbury.

 

     There seemed little prospect, however, of the faith spreading among the

wild islanders until Augustine arrived on the Isle of Thanet A.D. 596.  The

occasion of his being sent on this missionary errand is said to have been

connected with an incident which has often been related, wherein it appears

that Gregory, while yet a monk, struck with the beauty of some heathen

Anglo-Saxon youths exposed for sale in the slave market at Rome, inquired

concerning their nationality.  Being told that they were Angles, he said:

"Non Angli sed angeli ['Not Angles, but angels'], and well may, for their

angel-like faces it becometh such to be coheirs with the angels in heaven.

In what province of England do they live?"  "Deira" was the reply.  "From Dei

ira ['God's wrath'] are they to be freed?" answered Gregory.  "How call ye

the king of that country?"  "Aella."  "Then Alleluia surely ought to be sung

in his kingdom to the praise of that God who created all things," said the

gracious and clever monk.

 

     "The conversion of the English to Christianity," says Freeman, "at once

altered their whole position in the world.  Hitherto our history had been

almost wholly insular; our heathen forefathers had had but little to do,

either in war or peace, with any nations beyond their own four seas.  We hear

little of any connection being kept up between the Angles and Saxons who

settled in Britain, and their kinsfolk who abode in their original country.

By its conversion England was first brought, not only within the pale of the

Christian Church, but within the pale of the general political society of

Europe.  But our insular position, combined with the events of our earlier

history, was not without its effect on the peculiar character of Christianity

as established in England.  England was the first great territorial conquest

of the spiritual power, beyond the limits of the Roman Empire, beyond the

influence of Greek and Roman civilization."

 

     The following account from the Ecclesiastical History of the Venerable

Bede, the "father of English history," and foremost scholar of England in his

age, is in the modern English rendering by Thomson, of King Alfred's famous

translation, made for the instruction of the English people as the best work

of that period on their own history.

 

     As a contrast John Richard Green's treatment of the same episode is

appended.

 

Augustine's Missionary Work In England By The Venerable Bede

 

     When according to forthrunning time [it] was about five hundred and

ninety-two years from Christ's hithercoming, Mauricius, the Emperor, took

to the government, and had it two-and-twenty years.  He was the

fifty-fourth from Augustus.  In the tenth year of that Emperor's reign,

Gregory, the holy man, who was in lore and deed the highest, took to the

bishophood of the Roman Church, and of the apostolic seat, and held and

governed it thirteen years and six months and ten days.  In the fourteenth

year of the same Emperor, about a hundred and fifty years from the English

nation's hithercoming into Britain, he was admonished by a divine impulse

that he should send God's servant Augustine, and many other monks with him,

fearing the Lord, to preach God's word to the English nation.

 

     When they obeyed the bishop's commands, and began to go to the mentioned

work, and had gone some deal of the way, then began they to fear and dread

the journey, and thought that it was wiser and safer for them that they

should rather return home than seek the barbarous people, and the fierce and

the unbelieving, even whose speech they knew not; and in common chose this

advice to themselves; and then straight-way sent Augustine (whom they had

chosen for their bishop if their doctrines should be received) to the Pope,

that he might humbly intercede for them, that they might not need to go upon

a journey so perilous and so toilsome, and a pilgrimage so unknown.

 

     Then St. Gregory sent a letter to them, and exhorted and advised them in

that letter: that they should humbly go into the work of God's word, and

trust in God's help; and that they should not fear the toil of the journey,

nor dread the tongues of evil-speaking men; but that, with all earnestness,

and with the love of God, they should perform the good things which they by

God's help had begun to do; and that they should know that the great toil

would be followed by the greater glory of everlasting life; and he prayed

Almighty God that he would shield them by his grace; and that he would grant

to himself that he might see the fruit of their labor in the heavenly

kingdom's glory, because he was ready to be in the same labor with them, if

leave had been given him.

 

     Then Augustine was strengthened by the exhortation of the blessed father

Gregory, and with Christ's servants who were with him returned to the work of

God's word, and came into Britain.  Then was at that time Ethelbert king in

Kent, and a mighty one, who had rule as far as the boundary of the river

Humber, which sheds asunder the south folk of the English nation and the

north folk.  Then [there] is on the eastward of Kent a great island [Thanet

by name], which is six hundred hides large, after the English nation's

reckoning.  The isle is shed away from the continuous land by the stream

Wantsum, which is three furlongs broad, and in two places is fordable, and

either end lies in the sea.  On this isle came up Christ's servant Augustine

and his fellows - he was one of forty.  They likewise took with them

interpreters from Frankland [France], as St. Gregory bade them; and he sent

messengers to Ethelbert, and let him know that he came from Rome, and

brought the best errand, and whosoever would be obedient to him, he

promised him everlasting gladness in heaven, and a kingdom hereafter

without end, with the true and living God.

 

     When [he then] the King heard these words, then ordered he them to abide

in the isle on which they had come up; and their necessaries to be there

given them until he should see what he would do to them.  Likewise before

that a report of the Christian religion had come to him, for he had a

Christian wife, who was given to him from the royal kin of the

Franks - Bertha was her name; which woman he received from her parents on

condition that she should have his leave that she might hold the manner of

the Christian belief, and of her religion, unspotted, with the bishop whom

they gave her for the help of that faith; whose name was Luidhard.

 

     Then [it] was after many days that the King came to the isle, and

ordered to make a seat for him out [of doors], and ordered Augustine with his

fellows to come to his speech (a conference).  He guarded himself lest they

should go into any house to him; he used the old greeting, in case they had

any magic whereby they should overcome and deceive him.  But they came

endowed - not with devil-craft, but with divine might.  They bore Christ's

rood-token - a silvern cross of Christ and a likeness of the Lord Jesus

colored and delineated on a board; and were crying the names of holy men; and

singing prayers together, made supplication to the Lord for the everlasting

health of themselves and of those to whom they come.

 

     Then the King bade them sit, and they did so; and they soon preached and

taught the word of life to him, together with all his peers who were there

present.  Then answered the King, and thus said: Fair words and promises are

these which ye have brought and say to us; but because they are new and

unknown, we cannot yet agree that we should forsake the things which we for a

long time, with all the English nation, have held.

 

     But because ye have come hither as pilgrims from afar, and since it

seems and is evident to me that ye wished to communicate to us also the

things which ye believed true and best, we will not therefore be heavy to

you, but will kindly receive you in hospitality, and give you a livelihood,

and supply your needs.  Nor will we hinder you from joining and adding to the

religion of your belief all whom you can through your lore.

 

     Then the King gave them a dwelling and a place in Canterbury, which was

the chief city of all his kingdom, and as he had promised to give them a

livelihood and their worldly needs, he likewise gave them leave that they

might preach and teach the Christian faith.  It is said that when they went

and drew nigh to the city, as their custom was, with Christ's holy cross, and

with the likeness of the great King our Lord Jesus Christ, they sung with a

harmonious voice this Litany and Antiphony: Deprecamur te, etc.  "We beseech

thee, Lord, in all thy mercy, that thy fury and thy wrath be taken off from

this city and [from] thy holy house, because we have sinned.  Alleluia."

 

     Then it was soon after they had entered into the dwelling place which

had been granted to them in the royal city, when they began to imitate the

apostolic life of the primitive church - that is, served the Lord in constant

prayers, and waking and fasting, and preached and taught God's word to whom

they might, and slighted all things of this world as foreign; but those

things only which were seen [to be] needful for their livelihood they

received from those whom they taught; according to that which they taught,

they [themselves] through everything lived; and they had a ready mind

to suffer adversity, yea likewise death [it] self, for the truth which they

preached and taught.  Then was no delay that many believed and were baptized.

They also wondered at the simplicity of [their] harmless life and the

sweetness of their heavenly lore.

 

     There was by east well-nigh the city a church built in honor of St.

Martin long ago, while the Romans yet dwelt in Britain [in which church the

Queen (was) wont to pray, of whom we said before that she was a Christian].

In this church at first the holy teachers began to meet and sing and pray,

and do mass-song, and teach men and baptize, until the King was converted to

the faith, and they obtained more leave to teach everywhere, and to build and

repair churches.

 

     Then came it about through the grace of God that the King likewise among

others began to delight in the cleanest life of holy [men] and their sweetest

promises, and they also gave confirmation that those were true by the showing

of many wonders; and he then, being glad, was baptized.  Then began many

daily to hasten and flock together to hear God's word, and to forsake the

manner of heathenism, and joined themselves, through belief, to the oneness

of Christ's holy Church.  Of their belief and conversion [it] is said that

the King was so evenly glad that he, however, forced none to the Christian

manner [of worship], but that those who turned to belief and to baptism he

more inwardly loved, as they were fellow-citizens of the heavenly kingdom.

For he had learnt from his teachers and from the authors of his health that

Christ's service should be of good will, not of compulsion.  And he then, the

King, gave and granted to his teachers a place and settlement suitable to

their condition, in his chief city, and thereto gave their needful supplies

in various possessions.

 

     During these things the holy man Augustine fared over sea, and came to

the city Arles, and by Aetherius, archbishop of the said city, according to

the behest and commandment of the blessed father St. Gregory, was hallowed

archbishop of the English people, and returned and fared into Britain, and

soon sent messengers to Rome, that was Laurence a mass-priest and Peter a

monk, that they should say and make known to the blessed St. Gregory that the

English nation had received Christ's belief, and that he had been consecrated

as bishop.  He likewise requested his advice about many causes and questions

which were seen by him [to be] needful; and he soon sent suitable answers of

them.

 

     Asked by St. Augustine, bishop of the church of Canterbury: First, of

bishops, how they shall behave and live with their fellows.  Next, on the

gifts of the faithful which they bring to holy tables and to God's

churches - how many doles of them shall be?

 

     Answered by Pope St. Gregory: Holy writ makes it known, quoth he, which

I have no doubt thou knowest, and sunderly the blessed Paul's epistle, which

he wrote to Timothy, in which he earnestly trained and taught him how he

should behave and do in God's house.  For it is the manner of the apostolic

seat, when they hallow bishops, that they give them commandments, and that of

all the livelihood which comes in to them there shall be four doles.  One, in

the first place, to the bishop and his family for food, and entertainment of

guests and comers; a second dole to God's servants; a third to the needy; the

fourth to renewing and repair of God's church.  But because thy brotherliness

has been trained and taught in monastic rules, thou shalt not, however, be

asunder from thy fellows in the English church, which now yet is newly come

and led to the faith of God.  This behavior and this life thou shalt set up,

which our fathers had in the beginning of the new-born church, when none of

them said aught of that which they owned was his in sunder; but they all had

all things common.  If, then, any priests or God's servants are settled

without holy orders, let those who cannot withhold themselves from women take

them wives, and receive their livelihood outside.  For of the same fathers,

of whom we spoke before, [it] is written that they dealt their worldly goods

to sundry men as every [one] had need.

 

     Likewise concerning their livelihood it is to be thought and foreseen

(i.e., provided) that they live in good manners under ecclesiastical rules,

and sing psalms and keep wakes and hold their hearts and tongues and bodies

clean from all forbidden [things] to Almighty God.  But, as to those living

in common life, what have we to say how they deal their alms, or exercise

hospitality, and fulfil mercy? since all that is left over in their worldly

substance is to be reached and given to the pious and good, as the master of

all, our Lord Christ, taught and said: Quod superest, etc.  "What is over and

left, give alms, and to you are all [things] clean."

 

     Asked by St. Augustine: Since there is one faith, and are various

customs of churches, there is one custom of mass-song in the holy Roman

Church, and another is had in the kingdom of Gaul.

 

     Answered by Pope St. Gregory: Thou thyself knowest the manner and custom

of the Roman Church, in which thou wert reared; but now it seems good, and is

more agreeable to me, that whatsoever thou hast found either in the Roman

Church or in Gaul, or in any other [church], that was more pleasing to

Almighty God, thou should carefully choose that, and set it to be held fast

in the Church of the English nation, which now yet is new in the faith.  For

the things are not to be loved for places; but the places for good things.

Therefore what things thou choosest as pious, good, and right from each of

sundry churches, these gather thou together, and settle into a custom in the

mind of the English nation.

 

     Asked by Augustine: I pray thee, what punishment shall he

suffer - whosoever takes away anything by stealth from a church?

 

     Answered by Gregory: This may thy brotherliness determine from the

thief's condition, how he may be corrected.  For there are some who have

worldly wealth, and yet commit theft; there are some who are in this wise

guilty through poverty.  Therefore need is that some be corrected by waning

of their worldly goods, some by stripes; some more sternly, some more mildly.

And though the punishment be inflicted a little harder or sterner, yet it is

to be done of love, not of wrath nor of fury; because through the throes of

this is procured to the man that he be not given to the everlasting fires of

hell-torments.  For in this manner we ought to punish men, as the good

fathers are wont [to do] their fleshly children, whom they chide and swinge

for their sins; and yet those same whom they chide and chastise by these

pains they also love, and wish to have for their heirs, and for them hold

their worldly goods which they possess, whom they seem in anger to persecute

and torment.  For love is ever to be held in the mind, and it dictates and

determines the measure of the chastisement, so that the mind does nothing at

all beside the right rule.  Thou likewise addest in thy inquiry, how those

things should be compensated which have been taken away from a church by

theft.  But, oh! far be it that God's Church should receive with increase

what she seems to let alone of earthly things, and seek worldly gain by vain

things.

 

     Asked by Bishop St. Augustine: At what generation shall Christian people

be joined among themselves in marriage with their kinsfolk? ... Answered by

St. Gregory: ... But because there are many in the English nation

[who], while they were then yet in unbelief, are said to have been joined

together in this sinful marriage, ^1 now they are to be admonished, since they

have come to the faith, that they hold themselves off from such iniquities,

and understand that it is a heavy sin, and dread the awful doom of God, lest

they for fleshly love receive the torments of everlasting death.  They are

not, however, for this cause to be deprived of the communion of Christ's body

and blood, lest this thing may seem to be revenged on them, in which they

through unwittingness sinned before the bath of baptism.  For at this time

the Holy Church corrects some things through zeal, bears with some through

mildness, overlooks some through consideration, and so bears and overlooks

that often by bearing and overlooking she checks the opposing evil.  All

those who come to the faith of Christ are to be reminded that they may not

dare to commit any such thing.  But, if any shall commit them, then are they

to be deprived of Christ's body and blood; for, as some little is to be

borne with in regard to those men who through unwittingness commit sin, so on

the other hand it is to be strongly pursued in those who dread not to sin

wittingly.

 

[Footnote 1: That is, with their near kinsfolk.]

 

     Asked by Bishop St. Augustine: If a great distance of journey lies

between, so that bishops may not easily come, whether may a bishop be

hallowed without the presence of other bishops.

 

     Answered by Gregory: In the English Church, indeed, in which thou alone

as yet art found a bishop, thou canst not hallow a bishop otherwise than

without other bishops; but bishops must come to thee out of the kingdom of

Gaul, that they may stand as witness at the bishop's hallowing, for the

hallowing of bishops must not be otherwise than in the assembling and

witnessing of three or four bishops, that they may send [up] and pour [forth]

their petitions and prayers to the Almighty God for his favor.

 

     Asked by Augustine: How must we do with the bishops of Gaul and Britain?

 

     Answered by Pope Gregory: Over the bishops of Gaul we give thee no

authority, because from the earlier times of my predecessors the bishop of

the city Arles received the pallium, whom we ought not to degrade nor to

deprive of the received authority.  But, if thou happen to go into the

province of Gaul, have thou a conference and consultation with the said

bishop what is to be done, or, if any vices are found in bishops, how they

shall be corrected and reformed; and if there be a supposition that he is too

lukewarm in the vigor of his discipline and chastisement, then is he to be

inflamed and abetted by thy brotherliness's love, ^1 that he may ward off

those things which are contrary to the behest and commands of our Maker, from

the manners of the bishops.  Thou mayest not judge the bishops of Gaul

without their own authority; but thou shalt mildly admonish them, and show

them the imitation of thy good works.  All the bishops of Britain we commend

to thy brotherliness, in order that the unlearned may be taught, the weak

strengthened by thy exhortation, and the perverse corrected by thy

authority. ^2

 

[Footnote 1: A brother is here styled "his brotherliness," as a pope "his

holiness."]

 

[Footnote 2: The remainder of this is not translated here.]

 

     Augustine likewise bade [his messengers] acquaint him that a great

harvest was here present and few workmen.  And he then sent with the

aforesaid messengers more help to him for divine learning, among whom the

first and greatest were Mellitus and Justus and Paulinus and Rufinianus, and

by them generally all those things which were needful for the worship and

service of the Church - communion vessels, altar-cloth, and church ornaments,

and bishops' robes, and deacons' robes, as also reliques of the apostles and

holy martyrs, and many books.  He likewise sent to Augustine the bishop a

pallium, and a letter in which he intimated how he should hallow other

bishops, and in what places [he should] set them in Britain.

 

     The blessed Pope Gregory likewise at the same time sent a letter to King

Ethelbert, and along with it many worldly gifts of diverse sorts.  He wished

likewise by these temporal honors to glorify the King, to whom he had, by his

labor and by his diligence in teaching, opened and made known the glory of

the heavenly kingdom.

 

     And then St. Augustine, as soon as he received the bishopseat in the

royal city, renewed and wrought, with the King's help, the church which he

had learnt was wrought long before by old Roman work, and hallowed it in the

name of our Lord Jesus Christ; and he there set a dwelling-place for himself

and all his after-followers.  He likewise built a monastery by east of the

city, in which Ethelbert the King, by his exhortation and advice, ordered to

build a church worthy of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and he enriched

it with various gifts, in which church the body of Augustine, and of all the

Canterbury bishops together, and of their kings, might be laid.  The church,

however, not Augustine, but Bishop Laurentius, his after-follower, hallowed.

 

     The first abbot at the same monastery was a mass-priest named Peter, who

was sent back as a messenger into the kingdom of Gaul, and then was drowned

in a bay of the sea, which was called Amfleet, and was laid in an unbecoming

grave by the inhabitants of the place.  But the Almighty God would show of

what merit the holy man was, and every night a heavenly light was made to

shine over his grave, until the neighbors, who saw it, understood that it was

a great and holy man who was buried there; and they then asked who and whence

he was: they then took his body, and laid and buried it in a church in the

city of Boulogne, with the honor befitting so great and so holy a man.

 

     Then it was that Augustine, with the help of King Ethelbert, invited to

his speech the bishops and teachers of the Britons, in the place which is yet

named Augustine's Oak, on the borders of the Hwiccii and West Saxons.  And he

then began, with brotherly love, to advise and teach them, that they should

have right love and peace between them, and undertake, for the Lord, the

common labor of teaching divine lore in the English nation.  And they would

not hear him, nor keep Easter at its right tide, and also had many other

things unlike and contrary to ecclesiastical unity.  When they had held a

long conference and strife about those things, and they would not yield any

things to Augustine's instructions, nor to his prayers, nor to his threats,

and [those] of his companions, but thought their own customs and institutions

better than [that] they should agree with all Christ's churches throughout

the world; then the holy father Augustine put an end to this troublesome

strife, and thus spoke:

 

     "Let us pray Almighty God, who makes the one-minded to dwell in his

Father's house, that he vouchsafe to signify to us by heavenly wonders which

institution we ought to follow, by what ways to hasten to the entrance of his

kingdom.  Let an infirm man be brought hither to us, and, through whose

prayer soever he be healed, let his belief and practice be believed

acceptable to God, and to be followed by all."

 

     When his adversaries had hardly granted that, a blind man of English kin

was led forth: he was first led to the bishops of the Britons, and he

received no health nor comfort through their ministry.  Then at last

Augustine was constrained by righteous need, arose and bowed his knees, [and]

prayed God the Almighty Father that he would give sight to the blind man,

that he through one man's bodily enlightening might kindle the gift of

ghostly light in the hearts of many faithful.  Then soon, without delay, the

blind man was enlightened, and received sight; and the true preacher of the

heavenly light, Augustine, was proclaimed and praised by all.  Then the

Britons also acknowledged with shame that they understood that it was the way

of truth which Augustine preached; they said, however, that they could not,

without consent and leave of their people, shun and forsake their old

customs.  They begged that again another synod should be [assembled], and

they then would attend it with more counsellors.

 

     When that accordingly was set, seven bishops of the Britons came, and

all the most learned men, who were chiefly from the city Bangor: at that time

the abbot of that monastery was named Dinoth.  When they then were going to

the meeting, they first came to a [certain] hermit, who was with them holy

and wise.  They interrogated and asked him whether they should for

Augustine's lore forsake their own institutions and customs.  Then answered

he them, "If he be a man of God, follow him."  Quoth they to him, "How may we

know whether he be so?"  Quoth he: "[Our] Lord himself hath said in his

gospel, Take ye my yoke upon you, and learn from me that I am mild and of

lowly heart.  And now if Augustine is mild and of lowly heart, then it is [to

be] believed that he bears Christ's yoke and teaches you to bear it.  If he

then is unmild and haughty, then it is known that he is not from God, nor

[should] ye mind his words" Quoth they again, "How may we know that

distinctly?"  Quoth he, "See ye that he come first to the synod with his

fellows, and sit; and, if he rises toward you when ye come, then wit ye that

he is Christ's servant, and ye shall humbly hear his words and his lore.  But

if he despise you, and will not rise toward you since there are more of you,

be he then despised by you."  Well, they did so as he said.

 

     When they had come to the synod-place, the archbishop Augustine was

sitting on his seat.  When they saw that he rose not for them, they quickly

became angry, and upbraided him [as being] haughty, and gainsaid and

withstood all his words.  The archbishop said to them: "In many things ye are

contrary to our customs and so to [those] of all God's churches; and yet if

ye will be obedient to me in these three things - that first ye celebrate

Easter at the right tide; that ye fulfil the ministry of baptism, through

which we are born as God's children, after the manner of the holy Roman and

apostolic Church; and that, thirdly, ye preach the word of the Lord to the

English people together with us - we will patiently bear with all other

things which ye do that are contrary to our customs."  They said that they

would do none of these things, nor would have him for an archbishop; they

said among themselves, "If he would not now rise for us, much more, if we

shall be subjected to him, will he contemn us for naught."  It is said that

the man of God, St. Augustine, in a threatening manner foretold, "if they

would not receive peace with men of God, that they should receive unpeace and

war from their foes; and, if they would not preach among the English race the

word of life, they should through their hands suffer the vengeance of death."

 

     And through everything, as the man of God had foretold, by the righteous

doom of God it came to pass; and very soon after this Ethelfrith, king of the

English, collected a great army, and led it to Legcaster, and there fought

against the Britons, and made the greatest slaughter of the faithless people.

While he was beginning the battle, King Ethelfrith saw their priests and

bishops and monks standing aloof in a safer place, that they should pray and

make intercession to God for their warriors: he inquired and asked what that

host was, and what they were doing there.  When he understood the cause of

their coming, then said he, "So! I wot if they cry to their God against us,

though they bear not a weapon, they fight against us, for they pursue us with

their hostile prayers and curses."  He then straightway ordered to turn upon

them first, and slay them.  Men say that there were twelve hundred of this

host, and fifty of them escaped by flight; and he so then destroyed and

blotted out the other host of the sinful nation, not without great waning of

his [own] host; and so was fulfilled the prophecy of the holy bishop

Augustine, that they should for their trowlessness suffer the vengeance of

temporal perdition, because they despised the skilful counsel of their

eternal salvation.

 

     After these things Augustine, bishop [of Britain], hallowed two bishops:

the one was named Mellitus, the other Justus.  Mellitus he sent to preach

divine lore to the East Saxons, who are shed off from Kentland by the river

Thames, and joined to the east sea.  Their chief city is called Lundencaster

(now London), standing on the bank of the foresaid river; and it is the

market-place of land and sea comers.  The King in the nation at that time was

Seabright (or Sabert), Ethelbert's sister-son, and his vassal.  Then he and

the nation of the East Saxons received the word of truth and the faith of

Christ through Mellitus, the bishop's lore.  Then King Ethelbert ordered to

build a church in London, and to hallow it to St. Paul the apostle, that he

and his after-followers might have their bishop-seat in that place.  Justus

he hallowed as bishop in Kent itself at Rochester, which is four-and-twenty

miles right west from Canterbury, in which city likewise King Ethelbert

ordered to build a church, and to hallow it to St. Andrew the apostle; and to

each of these bishops the King gave his gifts and bookland and possessions

for them to brook with their fellows.

 

     After these things, then, Father Augustine, beloved of God, departed

[this life], and his body was buried without [doors], nigh the church of the

blessed apostles Peter and Paul, which we mentioned before, because it was

not then yet fully built nor hallowed.  As soon as it was hallowed, then his

body was put into it, and becomingly buried in the north porch of the church,

in which likewise the bodies of all the after-following archbishops are

buried but two; that is, Theodorus and Berhtwald, whose bodies are laid in

the church itself, because no more might [be so] in the foresaid porch.

Well-nigh in the middle of the church is an altar set and hallowed in name of

St. Gregory, on which every Saturday their memory and decease are celebrated

with mass-song by the mass-priest of that place.  On St. Augustine's tomb is

written an inscription of this sort: Here resteth Sir ^1 Augustine, the first

archbishop of Canterbury, who was formerly sent hither by the blessed

Gregory, bishop of the Roman city; and was upheld by God with working of

wonders.  King Ethelbert and his people he led from the worship of idols to

the faith of Christ, and, having fulfilled the days of his ministry in peace,

departed on the 26th day of May in the same King's reign.

 

[Footnote 1: "Sir" in English [Schir, Scottish] equal to Dominus, Latin, was

five or six centuries ago prefixed to the name of every ordained priest.]

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