History of St. Augustine of Canterbury 


Please click the link below to read the history of St. Augustine's first 25 years 

25 years



Who was

St. Augustine of Canterbury?

St. Augustine, an Italian by birth, was prior of St. Andrew Monastery in Rome in 596 when Pope Gregory I sent him and a company of 30 monks to England to re-found the Church. They were to unify scattered pockets of Christianity and convert the mass of Anglo-Saxon peoples.

Christianity had come to Britain with the Roman occupation, but its adherents retreated to the west and north following the Anglo-Saxon invasions.  When St. Augustine arrived, the faith flourished mainly in isolated communities of monks who had developed a theology and practices different from those of Rome.

St. Augustine and his company landed in Kent in 597 and, carrying a silver cross and the image of Jesus painted on a board, met with King Ethelbert, a pagan.  The king’s wife, Queen Bertha, was a Christian, but she apparently had not tried to convert her husband.  Ethelbert, although suspicious, accorded the group tolerance and cooperation if not enthusiasm and St. Augustine promptly reestablished a religious center in Canterbury at the ancient Church of St. Martin where the queen went to pray.  After Ethelbert and a number of his people were converted and baptized, St. Augustine was allowed great freedom to preach. 

In his seven years as "Apostle to the English," St. Augustine founded the Cathedral Church of Christ in Canterbury, the repaired the ancient Church of Our Savior, and established the Monastery of Saints Peter and Paul, later to be known as St. Augustine's. He also consecrated bishops in London and Rochester.  Despite two conferences he held for the purpose, he failed to bring the English Church into union with Rome before his death in 605 AD.  The union he so desired did not take place for 200 more years.

Behind Our Naming

The mission was named by the former bishop of Upper South Carolina, William A. Beckham, as a reminder that, like Augustine, the members of the congregation are missionaries within our community, called by God to reach out to everyone with The Good News of Jesus Christ.



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