Saint of the Day – 9 January – St Adrian of Canterbury (c 635-710). St Adrian was born in c 635 in Libya Cyrenaica, North Africa as Hadrian and he died on 9 January 710 of natural causes at Canterbury, England and was buried there. His tomb became a site of miracles and his body was found incorrupt in 1091. He was a Monk, Abbot, a brilliant Scholastic and Thelogian, Teacher, Administrator and Adviser. A record of the teaching of Theodore and Adrian is preserved in the Leiden Glossary.
St Adrian was born in Africa and became a monk and eventually abbot of Nerida, not far from Naples in Italy. In the early years of the See of Canterbury after St Augustine of Canterbury, the archbishops were chosen from the companions who had come with him from Rome. Two Englishmen then succeeded but as both fell victim to the plague in 664 and 665, the pope of the time, Vitalian (657-672) wanted to appoint Adrian. He refused but suggested the nomination of a Greek monk Theodore of Tarsus. Vitalian accepted this suggestion, provided Adrian accompany Theodore as his adviser and helper. Which he did.
On arrival in Canterbury Theodore appointed Adrian abbot of the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul (later St Augustine’s). An excellent administrator as well as a Greek and Latin scholar, Adrian insured that the monastery grew into a centre of theological learning drawing students from all over England and even Ireland. Adrian helped his archbishop in the pastoral governance of the English Church. Bede says of this time: “Never had there been such happy times as these since the English settled in Britain.”
Adrian worked at Canterbury for nearly forty years, far outliving Theodore. He was buried in the church of the monastery. His body was still incorrupt when renovations made the translation of Canterbury saints necessary. His tomb became famous for many miracles.