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St. Mellitus, Archbishop of Canterbury
(Died AD 624)

Mellitus was sent to England in AD 601 by Pope Gregory in response to an appeal from St. Augustine of Canterbury for a fresh band of missionaries. He was commissioned by Gregory to convey the pallium to Augustine, together with a present of books and "all things which were needed for worship and the ministry of the Church."

When London once more became the seat of a bishopric, Mellitus was chosen by Augustine to be Bishop of the See and the Church of St. Paul was founded as its Cathedral. He was driven from London by the heathen sons of King Sebert of Essex, in consequence of his refusal to give them the sacramental bread unless they consented to be baptised. He fled to Gaul but was recalled by St. Laurence of Canterbury, upon whose death, in AD 619, he succeeded to the Archbishopric of Canterbury, and died on 24th April AD 624. Of the last years of his life scarcely anything is known.

Edited from G.M. Bevan's "Portraits of the Archbishops of Canterbury" (1908).

 

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