Who is St Augustine?
Feast day: 26 May
House Colour: Red
St. Augustine of Canterbury was a monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 597. He is considered the "Apostle to the English" and a founder of the English Church.
Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him in 595 to lead a mission to Britain to Christianize King Ethelbert and his Kingdom of Kent from Anglo-Saxon paganism. Before reaching Kent, the missionaries had considered turning back, but Gregory urged them on, and in 597, Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet and proceeded to Ethelbert main town of Canterbury.
King Ethelbert converted to Christianity and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Augustine was consecrated as a bishop and converted many of the king's subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. Roman bishops were established at London, and Rochester in 604, and a school was founded to train Anglo-Saxon priests and missionaries. The archbishop probably died in 604 and was soon revered as a saint.
St. Augustine's shrine was re-established in March 2012 at the church of St. Augustine in Ramsgate. St Augustine's Cross, a Celtic cross erected in 1884, marks the spot in Ebbsfleet, Thanet, where the newly arrived Augustine is said to have first met and preached to the awaiting King Ethelbert.