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Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum:
The History of the Primitive Church of England.
Book Two, Chapter Three

Translated by Rev. William Hurst, 1814.

Chapter III:

St. Austin ordains Mellitus and Justus Bishops. His death.

In the year of our Lord 604, Austin Archbishop of Britain, consecrated two bishops, viz. Mellitus and Justus. He sent Mellitus to preach the gospel to the kingdom of the East-Saxons, which is separated from that of Kent by the river Thames, and bounded by the sea to the East, having for its metropolis the city of London, situated on the banks of the said river, which is the general emporium of many nations, constantly resorting to it both by sea and land. Sebert, the nephew of King Ethelbert, by his sister Ricula, reigned there at that time, though he was tributary to his uncle, who, as we before observed, had command over all the English nations as far as the river Humber.

Now, after Mellitus had converted this kingdom to the true faith, King Ethelbert built the church of St. Paul the Apostle, in the city of London, where he an his successors might establish their Episcopal See.

Justus he ordained bishop of a city in Kent, which by the English is called Rochester, from the name of the principal person there. It is situated about twenty-four miles to the West of Canterbury. King Ethelbert built the church of St. Andrew the Apostle, and bestowed many donations on the bishops of both these churches, as well as on that of Canterbury; adding lands and possessions for the support of those who were with the bishops.

Soon after this, our holy Father, the beloved man of God, Austin, departed this life, and his body was interred near the church of the blessed Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul, of which we have before made mention; but which was not yet finished nor consecrated. Immediately after it was dedicated, the sacred body was removed and buried in the North porch of it, with all due respect. In which place also were afterwards deposited the bodies of all the succeeding Archbishops, except those of two of them, viz. Theodore and Berthwald, whose remains were laid in the church itself, because the aforesaid porch was so completely filled, that it could contain no more. Almost in the middle of this church is an altar, dedicated in honour of the blessed Pope Gregory, at which their memories are solemnly celebrated every Saturday, by the priest of the place. The following epitaph was written on the tomb of St. Austin: "Here lies the Lord Austin, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, who, being formerly sent hither by the blessed Gregory, bishop of the city of Rome, and assisted by God with the working of miracles, converted both King Ethelbert and his people from the worship of idols to the faith of Christ: and, having fulfilled the days of his office in peace, departed this life on the twenty-sixth of May, in the reign of the same king."

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

Translated by Rev. William Hurst, 1814.

Chapter IV:

Laurence, with other Bishops his colleagues, admonish the Scots of the necessity of preserving the Unity of the holy Church, particularly in the celebration of Easter. Mellitus's journey to Rome.

LAURENCE, whom Austin had ordained bishop, lest at his death the church in her infant state should be exposed to danger, if she should be left destitute of a Pastor for ever so short a time, succeeded him in the see of Canterbury. In this, the holy Prelate followed the example of the chief pastor of the church, i.e. of the most blessed Peter, prince of the Apostles, who, having founded the church of Christ at Rome, is recorded to have consecrated Clement as his coadjutor in preaching the gospel; and, at the same time, to have appointed him to be his successor. Laurence, therefore, having been exalted to the dignity of an Archbishop, strenuously laboured to build up the church, the foundation of which he had seen so nobly laid, and to raise it to its proper height of perfection by frequent pious exhortations, and continual examples of good works. In a word, he not only took care of the new church, collected amongst the English, but employed also his pastoral solicitude on the ancient inhabitants of Britain, as likewise among the Scots, who inhabit the island of Ireland, which is next to Britain.

For, when he understood that the course of life, held by the Scots and Britons, was not according to the laws of ecclesiastical discipline, especially with regard to the celebration of the solemnity of Easter at the due time, but that they were accustomed to observe the feast of the resurrection of our Lord, as has been said above, between the fourteenth and the twentieth day of the moon; he wrote jointly with the other bishops his colleagues an epistle, in which he admonished, entreated, and conjured them to keep the unity of peace and conformity with the church of Christ, spread throughout the world. The epistle began thus:

"To our most dearly beloved Brethren the Lords, Bishops, and Abbots, throughout Scotland, [now called Ireland,] Laurence, Mellitus, and Justus, Servants of the Servants of God.

"When, being sent to these western countries to preach to the pagan nations by the See Apostolic, (which is accustomed to send missionaries to all parts of the world,) we happened to arrive in this island of Britain, we held both the Britons and Scots in great estimation for sanctity, judging that they followed the customs of the universal church. But, afterwards, we learned with great concern, that the Britons had departed from several of those customs. However, we hoped that the Scots would be better; whereas, we have lately been informed by Bishop Dagamus, coming into this island, and by the Abbot Columban from Gaul, that the Scots no way differ from the Britons in this respect. For, Bishop Dagamus, on his arrival amongst us, refused to eat not only in the same apartment, but even in the same house with us."

The same Laurence and his fellow-bishops sent also letters suitable to his dignity to the British Prelates, by which they laboured to prevail on them to preserve Catholic unity; but with what success the present times show!

At this time, Mellitus, Bishop of London, went to Rome, to confer with the Apostolic Pope Boniface, concerning the most important affairs of the English church. On this occasion, the Pope called a Synod of the Bishops of Italy, in the eighth year of the reign of the Emperor Phocas; the thirteenth indiction; and the twenty-seventh day of February, to appoint certain rules and regulations for the monastic profession, that no contentions or disagreements might happen amongst the monks, but that they might live in perfect harmony and concord. Mellitus was invited to take his seat amongst them, that he might by his signature confirm with his authority whatever should be regularly decreed at the synod; and, afterwards, propose the same as rules and regulations to be observed by the English church, together with letters which the same Pope sent to the holy servant of God Archbishop Laurence, and to all the clergy, as well as to King Ethelbert and to the whole English nation.

This Pope was Boniface, the fourth Bishop of the city of Rome after St. Gregory. He prevailed on the Emperor Phocas to give to the church of Christ a temple, which was called by the ancients Pantheon, that is, the temple of all the Gods; which he converted into a church of the holy Mother of God, and of all the martyrs of Christ, that, by thus excluding the abominable worship of a multitude of demons, the memory of a multitude of saints might be celebrated.