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Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum:
The History of the Primitive Church of England.
Book One, Chapter Twenty-Four

Translated by Rev. William Hurst, 1814.

Chapter XXIV

The same Pope sends Austin and his companions to the Archbishop of Arles, with a letter of recommendation.

The same venerable Pontiff, of whom we have just now spoken, soon after this, sent an epistle to Etherius, the Archbishop of Arles, in which he requested him to receive Austin kindly, in his way to Britain. The tenor of it is as follows:-

"Gregory, the Servant of the Servants of God,

"To the Right Rev. Etherius, our most holy brother, and fellow-bishop,

"Although religious men stand not in need of recommendation with prelates who possess that charity which is pleasing to God, yet, as a favourable opportunity of writing to you, brother, offered itself, we gladly embraced it, that we might inform you that Austin, the servant of God and bearer of this letter, with whose zeal we are well acquainted, has been sent with other servants of God, his companions, by us, with the help of the Lord, to gain souls. For this purpose, he will stand in need of the exertions of your holy zeal and charity, which, we trust, will not be wanting, to make him comfortable. We have given directions to him, to explain fully to you the motives of his present journey, that you may be induced to assist him the more readily: for we doubt not, but you will, on account of your piety towards God, apply yourself with the greatest alacrity to provide him with what is necessary, when you shall hear from himself the excellent motive of his coming amongst you.

"We likewise, in all things, recommend to your charity our common son Candidus, the priest, whom we have sent to govern the church, which is our peculiar patrimony. May God preserve your health, most reverend brother. Given this twenty-third of July, in the fourteenth year of the reign of our sovereign lord Mauritius Tiberius, our most pious emperor, and the thirteenth year since his consulship, the fourteenth indiction."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Etherius was bishop of Lyons, not of Arles as stated by Bede.


Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum:
The History of the Primitive Church of England.
Book One, Chapter Twenty-Six

Translated by Rev. William Hurst, 1814.

Chapter XXVI

St. Austin receives, from the munificence of the King of Kent, the means of establishing his Episcopal See in the royal city of Canterbury, where he imitates the Primitive Church, both in his manner of living and his doctrine.

As soon as our holy missionaries had entered into the place assigned them for their residence,they began to imitate the apostolical life of the Primitive Church,by applying themselves to frequent prayer.watching,and fasting; by preaching the word of God to as many as they could; despising all wordly things, as not belonging to them; receieving only what seemed necessary to provide them with nourishment, from those whom they instructed; living themselves, in all respects, comformably to what they taught others, and being always disposed to suffer any adversity, and even to die for that truth which they preached.

The consequence of which good example was, that, in a very short time, several persons were converted and baptised, admiring their innocent lives, the sincerity of their devotion, and the sweetness of their heavenly doctrine. There was at that time an old church standing near the city, on the east side of it, which had been formerly built when the Romans inhabited Britain in which the queen (who as we before observed was a Christian) was accustomed to pray. In this, then they began to assemble, to sing, to pray, to celebrate masses, to preach and to baptise, till the king, being converted to the faith, they had leave granted them to preach freely in any place, and to build or repair churches in any part of the kingdom. But when he himself, attracted by the most consoling promises which these holy men made to him, and proved to be true by performing many miracles, as well as edified by the eminent sanctity of their lives, believed their doctrine, and was baptised by them, many others began daily to assemble to hear them preach the word of God, and foraking their heathenish rites, to associate themselves by faith to the unity of the holy church of Christ: at whose conversion to the faith, though the king much rejoiced, yet is he said not to have compelled anyone to profess Christianity, but only to have shewn greater affection for such as he considered to be his fellow-citizens in the heavenly kingdom. For he had learned from his instructors and directors in the way of salvation, that the service of Christ ought not to be forced, but voluntary. Nor did he delay long before he gave his teachers accomodations suitable to their rank, and possesions of different kinds necessary to enable them to establish an Episcopal See, in the metropolis of Canterbury.

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Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum:
The History of the Primitive Church of England.
Book One, Chapter Twenty-Eight

Translated by Rev. William Hurst, 1814.

Chapter XXVIII

Pope Gregory writes to the Bishop of Arles, requesting him to assist Austin in the work of God.

Gregory, the Servant of the Servants of God, to his most reverend and holy brother and fellow-bishop Vergilius:

As love for our brethren in Christ frequently causes us to invite them to come and visit us, so ought it to incline us to receive and entertain them, with equal affection when they favour us with their company of their own accord, without any formal invitation. If, therefore, it should happen that our common brother and fellow-bishop Austin should come to you, we entreat you to receive and welcome him so kindly and affectionately, that you may both make him comfortable by the attention which you will pay him, and show an example to others how they ought to exercise hospitality and fraternal charity, And, whereas it often happens that persons, living at a distance from us, sooner know by report what faults are committed amongst us, than we do ourselves; if he should inform you of any charges brought against the priests, subject to your jurisdiction, or against any others, we would have you to investigate every thing with the strictest scrutiny, in conjunction with him; and show yourself so strict and circumspect, in regard of those things, which offend God and provoke him to wrath, that both the guilty may be corrected for the amendment of others, and the innocent may not suffer from false aspersions. God keep you in good health, most reverend brother. Given this twenty-second day of June, in the eighteenth year of the reign of our sovereign lord and most pious emperor Mauritius Tiberius, the nineteenth year since his consulship, and the fourth indiction.