Saint Augustine of Canterbury
May 26 – St. Augustine of Canterbury –
(circa first third of the 6th century – probably 26 May 604) – A Benedictine 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. Laboring patiently, Augustine wisely heeded the missionary principles—quite enlightened for the times—suggested by Pope Gregory the Great: purify rather than destroy pagan temples and customs; let pagan rites and festivals be transformed into Christian feasts; retain local customs as far as possible. The limited success Augustine achieved in England before his death in 605, a short eight years after he arrived in England, would eventually bear fruit long after in the conversion of England.