Adrian of Canterbury


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Aldhelm (c. 639—709) abbot of Malmesbury, bishop of Sherborne, and scholar


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(d. 709–10),

abbot. An African by birth, Adrian became a monk and eventually abbot of Nerida, near Naples. On the death of Deusdedit, archbishop of Canterbury, in 664 and of his replacement Wighard in 665, Pope Vitalian wished to appoint Adrian to Canterbury. He, however, refused, but suggested the nomination of Theodore instead. This was agreed, but the pope asked Adrian to accompany Theodore to be his adviser and helper.

Theodore named him abbot of St Augustine's, Canterbury, where he directed an important school, at which many future bishops and abbots were educated. Subjects taught included Greek as well as Latin, Scripture, computistics, theology, and Roman law. Students came from all parts of England and even from Ireland: Aldhelm thought that the education offered there exceeded anything then available in Ireland. Adrian worked at Canterbury for nearly forty years, far outliving Theodore.

He died on 9 January and was buried in his monastery. His body was found incorrupt in 1091, when architectural alterations made the translation of several Canterbury saints necessary. Among the miracles recorded of him then are several accomplished in favour of the boys who studied in the monastery and were in trouble with their masters. Feast: 9 January (with an octave at St Augustine's, Canterbury).

Bede, H.E., iv. 1–4; v. 20 and 23;N.L.A., i. 13–15;Goscelin's account of the translation is in P.L., clv. 36–8.

Subjects: Christianity.

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