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St. Augustine of Canterbury

St Augustine (Augustine of Canterbury, Apostle to the English) (early-6th-Century-605). Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Extraordinary Form calendar in Great Britain Feast Day commemorating the death of Italian monk, Prior of the Abbey of St Andrew’s in Rome, 1st Archbishop of Canterbury and founder of the English Catholic Church. Before the Roman legions’ withdrawal in 410, Roman Britain (Britannia) had been converted to Christianity and western Britain, beyond the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, remained Christian with the native British Celtic Church developing in isolation from Rome under the influence of missionaries from Ireland who had a different calculation of the date of Easter. Augustine was chosen by Pope Gregory the Great in 595 to lead the Gregorian mission to Britain to christianise King Æthelberht, who had married a Christian princess, and his Kingdom of Kent from Anglo-Saxon paganism. In 597, Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet and proceeded to Æthelberht’s main town of Canterbury. He converted King Æthelberht and many of his subjects to Roman Christianity and the missionaries were allowed to preach freely. They were given land outside the Canterbury town walls to found the 598 monastery of Saints Peter and Paul, which later became St Augustine’s Abbey with a school to train Anglo-Saxon priests and missionaries. In 597, Augustine had been consecrated Bishop of the English at Arles and he was appointed Archbishop in 601, establishing his episcopal see at Canterbury. Further missionaries had been sent from Rome in 601 with the aim of appointing 12 suffragan bishops, including a Bishop of York. Pagan temples were consecrated for Christian use and feasts were moved to days celebrating Christian martyrs. In 603, Augustine attempted unsuccessfully to unite the Roman and native Celtic churches at a conference at Aust on the Severn and so Augustine failed to extend his authority to the Christians in Wales and Dumnonia in the present Devon and Cornwall. Roman Bishops were appointed for London and Rochester in 604 and, although at the time of Augustine’s death the mission barely extended beyond Kent, his undertaking introduced a more active missionary style into the British Isles. Augustine died at Canterbury, was originally buried in what is now St Augustine’s Abbey, and in 1091 was translated to a tomb within the Abbey Church, which became a place of cult pilgrimage and veneration, particularly after the Norman Conquest. During the English Reformation, Augustine’s shrine was destroyed and his relics were lost. The shrine was re-established in 2012 at the church of St Augustine in Ramsgate, Kent, close to the mission’s landing site, as is St Augustine’s Cross, an 1884 Celtic cross in Ebbsfleet, Thanet. Venerated in Anglicanism, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Feast Day 27 May Catholic Ordinary Form calendar, 28 May Catholic Extraordinary Form calendar outside Great Britain. Patron of England. Image: catholicnewsagency.com.

Prayer In the name of St Augustine, breathe in us O Holy Spirit, that our thoughts may all be holy. Act in us O Holy Spirit, that our work, too, may be holy. Draw our hearts O Holy Spirit, that we love but what is holy. Strengthen us O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard us, then, O Holy Spirit, that we always may be holy. Amen

Jean Calvin, French theologian, 1581 - Stock Image - C040/9728 - Science  Photo Library

Jean Calvin (John Calvin, Jehan Cauvin, Ioannis Calvinus) (1509-64). Lutheran Commemoration of death of controversial French Roman Catholic humanist lawyer, renewer of the church, theologian, pastor and reformer in Geneva during the Protestant Reformation. At 14, Calvin travelled the 100 km from his home to Paris to continue his Roman Catholic education but by 1527 he had developed friendships within the Reformed faith. In 1533, Calvin experienced a sudden and unexpected conversion and broke with the Roman Catholic Church. After religious tensions caused widespread violence against Protestant Christians in France, Calvin fled to Basel, Switzerland. In 1536, he joined the Reformation in Geneva but the governing council of the city expelled him and he  went to Strasbourg, where he became the minister of a church of French refugees. In 1541, he was invited back to lead the church in Geneva and, despite opposition, he introduced new forms of church government and liturgy, although several powerful families in the city tried to curb his authority. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism, including its doctrines of predestination and of God’s absolute sovereignty in the salvation of the human soul from death and eternal damnation. Calvinist doctrines were influenced by and elaborated on by Augustinian and other Christian traditions. Calvin spent his final years promoting the Reformation both in Geneva and throughout Europe, lecturing, preaching and writing commentaries, treatises and various editions of his Institutes of the Christian Religion. He died in Geneva, having asked to be buried in an unmarked grave. Various Congregational, Reformed and Presbyterian Churches that look to Calvin as the chief expositor of their beliefs have spread throughout the world. Image: sciencephoto.com.

Full of Grace and Truth: St. Melangell, the Righteous Abbess of Wales

St Melangell (Monacella) (d590). Feast Day for Irish princess who fled to Powys in central Wales to escape from an arranged marriage, fulfil her vow of celibacy and become a hermit in a cleft in a valley rock. After 15 years in her hermitage, the Prince of Powys was hunting and pursued a hare that took refuge under Melangell’s cloak. The hounds fled in fear and the Prince was moved by her courage and sanctity. He gave her the valley where she had her hermitage to be a sanctuary to all who fled there and she founded an Abbey for a community of women, serving as Abbess for 37 years. After her death in the Abbey, she was buried in a small chapel (oratory) in the neighbouring Pennant church, which was then distinguished by the addition of Melangell. The oratory is now a vestry known as Cell-y-bedd (Cell of the Grave). Her shrine remains as a place of sanctuary at St Melangell’s Church, Pennant Melangell, a place of pilgrimage for many centuries. Patron of hares (Oen Melangell, St Monacella’s Lambs). Image: full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com.