Saint of the Day – 30 September – St Honorius of Canterbury (Died 653) The Fifth Successor of St Augustine as Archbishop of Canterbury, Confessor, Missionary. Born at Rome, Italy and died in 653 at Canterbury, England of natural causes. Also known as Honoratus.
From St Bede we gather that he was a Roman Monk, a disciple of St. Gregory the Great and probably a Benedictine Monk. He either accompanied St.Augustine in 596 or was one of the second band of Missionaries sent by Pope Gregory in 601.
As a member of that apostolic company, he must have led that life of fervent piety, which, we are told, had so much effect in converting the inhabitants of Kent. When Honorius’s predecessor, Justus died, St Paulinus of York, fresh from the conversion of Northumbria, was the only English Bishop left to Consecrate him.
From two letters of Pope Honorius I, preserved in the writings of St Bede, it appears that Honorius and his Consecrator, in applying to Rome, asked that, in order to avoid the delays and uncertainties then involved in a journey to Italy, whenever the occupant of one of the metropolitan Sees should die, the survivor should have power to Consecrate the successor, a request which the Pope granted and sent a pallium.
The chief act of Honorius’s episcopate was the mission of St. Felix, whom he consecrated and sent to convert the East Angles, an expedition which was crowned with complete success. He administered his own Diocese with great zeal and energy. The Pope’s letter to him shows that his life was spent in the vigorous exercise of the duties of his office and in the faithful observance of the rule of his master, St. Gregory the Great. On the overthrow of the flourishing Kingdom and Church of Northumbria by Cadwalla of Wales and Penda of Mercia in 633, he received St Paulinus and appointed him to the vacant See of Rochester. On the death of Paulinus in 644, Honorius Consecrated Ithamar, a native of Kent, as his successor. And some years later, he Consecrated a deacon of Mercia, Thomas, to succeed Felix in East Anglia,and in or about 652 Beretgils or Boniface, a native of Kent, to succeed Thomas. The following year, 653, our Saint himself died and was buried with his predecessors in the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, founded by Saint Augustine.