Laurence of Canterbury

Saint Laurence of Canterbury (d. February 3, 619) was the second Archbishop of Canterbury. He arrived at Thanet with St. Augustine in 597 as part of the missionary effort dispatched from Rome to Kent in 595. He was sent back to Pope Gregory I to report on the successes in Kent in converting King Ethelbert. He succeeded Augustine to the See of Canterbury around 604 and ruled until his death. He was succeeded as Archbishop by Mellitus, the bishop of London.

During Laurence's reign, Ethelbert died (616) and his son Eadbald returned to the old faiths and many prominent missionaries fled to Gaul. But Laurence managed to reconvert him. The tale is that Laurence had been prepared to give up when he was visited by St. Peter in a vision, who chastised him and whipped him. The marks of the whipping remained and the display of them to Eadbald effected his conversion.

On his death he was buried in St. Peter's Abbey church, later renamed St. Augustine's. His festival is on February 3.


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