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The Catholic Defender: Saint Adrian of Canterbury


Adrian became a valuable advisor to the pontiff and, three years later, was offered the position of Archbishop of Canterbury. He declined the papal appointment, but was persuaded to accompany Theodore to England as a trusted counselor.


Pope St. Vitalian judged him to be the best person to fill the vacant post of Archbishop of Canterbury, for his talents were most suitable for instructing and nurturing a nation still young in the Faith.


But St. Adrian, deeming himself unworthy, suggested St. Theodore of Tarsus in his place. The Pope agreed but sent him along to be the assistant and adviser of the Archbishop.



Though Saint Adrian turned down a papal request to become Archbishop of Canterbury, England, Pope Saint Vitalian accepted the rejection on the condition that Adrian serve as the Holy Father’s assistant and adviser. Adrian accepted, but ended up spending most of his life and doing most of his work in Canterbury.


The famous Abbot of St. Augustine's in Canterbury, was likely born in Libya Cyrenaica, North Africa.


the Pope to appoint Theodore, a Greek monk, in his place. The Pope yielded, on condition that Adrian should accompany Theodore to England and be his adviser in the administration of the Diocese of Canterbury.


Setting out in 668, the two holy men proceeding by way of France. There, St. Adrian was arrested by Ebroin, Mayor of Neustria, as an agent of the Eastern Emperor; and St. Theodore alone was able to go on. When St. Adrian was finally able to reach England, he found St. Theodore already confirmed in his See, and was named Abbot of the monastery of Sts. Peter and Paul at Canterbury.


Adrian of Canterbury. Adrian was an African who became the abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Nerida, Italy, when he was a young man. He became renowned for his piety and scholasticism, and his virtues came to the attention of the pope.


Born in Africa, Adrian was serving as an abbot in Italy when the new Archbishop of Canterbury appointed him abbot of the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul in Canterbury.


Thanks to his leadership skills, the facility became one of the most important centers of learning. The school attracted many outstanding scholars from far and wide and produced numerous future bishops and archbishops. Students reportedly learned Greek and Latin and spoke Latin as well as their own native languages.


After spending time in France, he arrived in Britain and immediately succeeded Benedict Biscop as Abbot of St. Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury. He established a flourishing monastic school, where many future bishops and abbots were educated in Latin, Greek, scripture, theology, Roman law and arithmetic.


Under St. Adrian’s administration, this monastic school attracted students from all over and had a far-reaching influence. The Saint himself was learned in the Scriptures, well versed in the Fathers of the Church, and a fine Greek and Latin scholar. All these subject were taught there, as well as poetry, astronomy, and calendar calculation. St. Adrian died on January 9, 710.


St. Adrain died on Jan. 9 at Canterbury, Kent. Several hundred years after his death, Adrian’s body was discovered in an incorrupt state.


Several hundred years later, when reconstruction was being done, Adrian’s body was discovered in an incorrupt state. As word spread, people flocked to his tomb, which became famous for miracles. Rumor had it that young schoolboys in trouble with their masters made regular visits there.


Adrian taught at the school for 40 years. He died there, probably in the year 710, and was buried in the monastery.


Several hundred years later, when reconstruction was being done, Adrian’s body was discovered in an incorrupt state.


As word spread, people flocked to his tomb, which became famous for miracles. Rumor had it that young schoolboys in trouble with their masters made regular visits there.

Words from Saint Adrian of Canterbury


"O God, let me know you and love you so that I may find joy in you; and if I cannot do so fully in this life, let me at least make some progress every day, until at last that knowledge, love and joy come to me in all their plenitude. While I am here on earth let me know you fully; let my love for you grow deeper here, so that there I may love you fully. On earth then I shall have great joy in hope, and in heaven complete joy in the fulfillment of my hope. "


"From the moment of her fiat Mary began to carry all of us in her womb."


"No one will have any other desire in heaven than what God wills; and the desire of one will be the desire of all; and the desire of all and of each one will also be the desire of God."


"I acknowledge, Lord, and I give thanks that you have created your image in me, so that I may remember you, think of you, love you. But this image is so obliterated and worn away by wickedness, it is so obscured by the smoke of sins, that it cannot do what it was created to do, unless you renew and reform it. I am not attempting, O Lord, to penetrate your loftiness, for I cannot begin to match my understanding with it, but I desire in some measure to understand your truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this too I believe, that "unless I believe, I shall not understand."


Almighty God, who raised up your servant Anselm to teach the Church of his day to understand its faith in your eternal Being, perfect justice, and saving mercy: Provide your Church in every age with devout and learned scholars and teachers, that we may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.





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