St. Adrian of Canterbury

st. Adrian2St. Adrian lived a long time ago, in the years 635-710 AD. He  was born in Africa, however, around the age of ten, his family fled the Arab invasions  and settled in Naples, Italy. Naples had many famous monasteries. This is where Adrian decided to become a monk, when he was a young boy.

Eventually, he was appointed abbot of the monastery of St. Peter and Paul in Canterbury. While holding this post,  he became acquainted with the Emperor Constans II. Constans introduced Adrian to Pope Vitalian while visiting to Rome. Adrian became an advisor to the Pope and, three years later, he was offered the Archbishopric of Canterbury. He politely declined, but was persuaded to accompany Pope Vitalian to England as a trusted counselor.

Because of some troubles in Europe, Adrian agreed to move on. Upon his arrival in Britain, Adrian received a temporary appointment as Abbot of St. Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury. Adrian did most of his work in Canterbury. He soon established a thriving monastic school there, where many future bishops and abbots were educated in Latin, Greek, scripture, theology, Roman law and arithmetic. His monastery outshone the best educational facilities of Western Europe. Thanks to Adrian’s leadership, the school became an important center of education.

Adrian taught for 40 years. He died there and was buried in the monastery. Hundreds of years later, when rebuilding was being done, Adrian’s body was discovered. People flocked to his tomb, which became famous for miracles. Young schoolboys in trouble made regular visits there. St. Adrian is still remembered for his contribution to the religious life.  His monastery outdid the best educational facilities of Western Europe.