Saint Adrian of Canterbury

Saint Adrian of Canterbury, was born in 635 in North Africa.  By the 640s his family had moved to Naples, Italy to avoid the Arab invasion.  He went on to serve as an abbot in Italy.  Twice he was offered the position of archbishop of Canterbury by Pope Vitalian.  He declined.  He suggested it first go to Andrew, who also declined because of his age.  The second time he introduced the Pope to his friend Theodore of Tarsus, who happened to be in Rome.  Theodore accepted the offer from the Pope.  Pope Vitalian agreed only as long as Adrian would accompany the hew archbishop to Britain.  Pope Vitalian said Adrian had already been to Gal twice and knew the road.  

The two left from Rome on May 27, 668.  They first traveled by sea to Marseille, crossed overland to Arles, until they received passports.  They then made their way to the north of France.  They separated to live through the winter.  Theodore lived with the Bishop of Paris, then in the spring went on to England arriving at the end of May 669.  Adrian was detained by Ebrion because he was suspected of being a spy of the Greek emperor sent to stir up trouble.  Finally, Ebrion was convinced this wasn’t true, and Adrian was able to continue to England.  When he arrived he was immediately made abbot of the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul at Canterbury.  These were the instructions given by the pope to Theodore.  

Saint Bede called Adrian a distinguished theologian. He was also well-educated in Greek and Latin.  He was an excellent administrator.  Under Adrian’s direction, the abbey had far-reaching influence.  Saint Bede called Adrian a distinguished theologian.  Adrian and Theodore traveled all over Britain.  They taught those who came to see them wherever they traveled, not just religion, but also in literature, astronomy, arithmetic, and physical science.   Adrian taught school for 40 years.  Under his leadership, the School of Canterbury became the center of English learning.  It is believed he died around the year 710.  

Several hundred years later, reconstruction was being done.  Adrian’s body was discovered to be incorrupt.  People gathered at his tomb, which became famous for miracles.