Augustine of Canterbury – A Reluctant Missionary

 By Simonetta Carr - Posted at The Place for Truth:

Augustine of Canterbury, often known as “the apostle of the English,” would have never made it across the Channel if it hadn’t been for the insistent prompting of Pope Gregory I.

The eighth century historian Bede tells us in fact that Augustine and his companions were “seized with a sudden fear” after hearing tales about the “barbarous, fierce, and unbelieving nation to whose language they were strangers.” In unanimous agreement, they sent Augustine back to Rome to beg Gregory to spare them from “so dangerous, toilsome, and uncertain a journey.”[1]

Gregory and Augustine had known each other for some time, since Augustine had served as prior at Gregory’s family monastery of St. Andrew’s in Rome. Gregory held Augustine in great esteem, but was not about to let him off so easily. He sent him back to his companions, but sent letters to bishops and kings in France asking them to supply the missionaries with whatever they needed. He also made sure Augustine could able to find some interpreters who spoke the language of the Anglo-Saxons.

Augustine and his team of about forty monks landed in the Isle of Thanet (a peninsula in the east of Kent, southern England) in the spring of 597.


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