SAINT ADRIAN OF CANTERBURY (c.635-710), abbot
Today, the Church honors Saint Adrian of Canterbury, a servant of the Church who established numerous schools of learning throughout England, enabling many to grow in both knowledge and faith, so that they, too, may come to serve the needs of the Body of Christ in accordance with God’s will for them in their lives.
Adrian was born in northern Africa about the year 635. He decided to become a monk early in life and eventually rose to the position of abbot of Hiridanum on the Isle of Nisida, a Benedictine monastery near Naples, Italy. It was there that he became acquainted with the Emperor Constans II and later with Pope Saint Vitalian.
Adrian became a valuable advisor to the Pontiff and, three years later, the pope wanted to appoint him as Archbishop of Canterbury, England, but Adrian considered himself unworthy of such an honor and recommended the Holy Father appoint Theodore of Tarsus instead, a Greek monk. The pope conceded, but insisted that Adrian should accompany Theodore as a trusted counselor.
In England, Archbishop Theodore appointed Adrian as abbot of the monastery called Saint Peter’s in Canterbury, which had been founded by Saint Augustine (also known as St. Austin) of Canterbury, the great apostle to the English.
Abbot Adrian fulfilled his mission in England by accompanying Theodore on his apostolic visitations throughout the country. Through his wise counsel and assistance, he helped the archbishop in the work of harmonizing the customs and practices of the Anglo-Saxon Church with those of the Church of Rome.
Adrian also established a flourishing monastic school, where many future bishops and abbots were educated in Latin, Greek, Sacred Scripture, theology, Roman law and arithmetic. It became known as the center of English learning. He established numerous other schools in various parts of England. In these schools were educated many of the saints, scholars and missionaries who, during the next century, rekindled the waning light of faith and learning in France and Germany.
After living for 39 years in England, Adrian died there on January 9, 710 of natural causes, and was buried in the monastery at Canterbury. Almost four hundred years later, when reconstruction was being done, Saint Adrian’s body was discovered in the year 1091, and it was found to be incorrupt. His tomb became a place of pilgrimage and is said to have been the site of numerous miracles.
We commemorate his feastday on January 9.
(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, newadvent.org and osv.com)
(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Religious ~ abbot)
“Lord, in Your abbot, Adrian, You gave an example of the Gospel lived to perfection. Help us to follow him by keeping before us the things of Heaven amid all the changes of the world.
“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”