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Dear catholic.com visitors: This Catholic Answers website, with all its free resources, is the world’s largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. We receive no funding from the institutional Church and rely entirely on your generosity to sustain this website with trustworthy, accessible content. If every visitor this month donated $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. If you’ve never made a gift, now is the time. Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar this week only. Thanks and God bless.

Adrian of Canterbury, Saint

African by birth, d. 710

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Adrian of Canterbury, Saint, an African by birth, d. 710. He became Abbot of Nerida, a Benedictine monastery near Naples, when he was very young. Pope Vitalian intended to appoint him Archbishop of Canterbury to succeed St. Deusdedit, who had died in 664, but Adrian considered himself unworthy of so great a dignity, and begged 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. They left Rome in 668, but Adrian was detained in France by Ebroin, the Mayor of the Palace, who suspected that he had a secret mission from the Eastern Emperor, Constans II, to the English kings. After two years Ebroin found that his suspicion had been groundless and allowed Adrian to proceed to England. Immediately upon his arrival in England, Archbishop Theodore appointed him Abbot of St. Peter in Canterbury, a monastery which had been founded by St. Augustine, the apostle of England, and became afterwards known as St. Austin’s. Adrian accompanied Theodore on his apostolic visitations of England, and by his prudent advice and cooperation assisted the Archbishop in the great work of unifying the customs and practices of the Anglo-Saxon Church with those of the Church of Rome. Adrian was well versed in all the branches of ecclesiastical and profane learning. Under his direction the School of Canterbury became the center of English learning. He established numerous other schools in various parts of England. In these schools of Adrian were educated many of the saints, scholars, and missionaries, who during the next century rekindled the waning light of faith and learning in France and Germany. After spending thirty-nine years in England Adrian died in the year 710 and was buried at Canterbury. His feast is celebrated January 9, the day of his death.

MICHAEL OTT


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