Augustine of Canterbury (c. 530AD - 26 May 604)was a Benedictine monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 598AD. 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 595AD to lead a mission, usually known as the Gregorian mission, to Britain to convert the pagan King Aethelberht of the Kingdom of Kent to Christianity. Kent was probably chosen because it was near the Christian kingdoms in Gaul and because Aethelberht had married a Christian princess, Bertha, daughter of Charibert I the King of Paris who was expected to exert some influence over her husband. Before reaching Kent, the missionaries had considered turning back but Gregory urged them on and, in 597AD, Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet and proceeded to Aethelberht's main town of Canterbury.
King Aethelberht converted to Christianity and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Augustine was consecrated bishop of the English and converted many of the king's subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. Pope Gregory sent more missionaries in 601, along with encouraging letters and gifts for the churches, although attempts to persuade the native Celtic bishops to submit to Augustine's authority failed. Roman bishops were established at London and Rochester in 604, and a school was founded to train Anglo-Saxon priests and missionaries. Augustine also arranged the consecration of his successor, Laurence of Canterbury. The archbishop died in 604 and was soon revered as a saint.
(c. 560AD - 24 February 616) was King of Kent from about 580AD or 590AD until his death. In his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, the 8th Century monk Bede lists Aethelberht as the third king to hold imperium over other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. In the late 9th Century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Aethelberht is referred to as a bretwalda, or "Britain-ruler". He was the first English king to convert to Christianity.
He was the son of Eormenric, succeeding him as king, according to the Chronicle. He married Bertha, the Christian daughter of Charibert, king of the Franks, thus building an alliance with the most powerful state in contemporary Western Europe; the marriage probably took place before Aethelberht came to the throne. The influence of Bertha may have led to the decision by Pope Gregory I to send Augustine as a missionary from Rome. Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet in east Kent in 597AD. Shortly thereafter, Aethelberht was converted to Christianity, churches were established, and wider-scale conversion to Christianity began in the kingdom. Aethelberht provided the new church with land in Canterbury, at what came to be known as St Augustine's Abbey.
Aethelberht�s code of laws for Kent, the earliest written code in any Germanic language, instituted a complex system of fines. Kent was rich, with strong trade ties to the continent and, it may be that Aethelberht instituted royal control of trade. For the first time following the Anglo-Saxon invasion, coins began circulating in Kent during his reign.
Aethelberht later was canonised for his role in establishing Christianity among the Anglo-Saxons, as were his wife and daughter. His feast day originally was 24 February, but was changed to 25 February......more