Saint of the Day – 8 March – St Felix of Burgundy (Died 647) “The Apostle of East Anglia,” the First Bishop of Dunwich, Missionary in East Anglia and particularly in the Port Town now known as Felixstowe, in Suffolk, England. Amongst being the Founder of Norwich Cathedral and countless Churches.the famous Monastery of Bury Saint Edmunds, he is also the Founder of what is now the University of Cambridge. Born in the late 6th Century in Burgundy, France and died on 8 March 647 of natural causes. Patronage – of the Diocese of East Anglia, Also known as – “The Apostle of East Anglia,” Felix of Dunwich, Felix of East Anglia.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In England, St Felix, Bishop, who converted the East Anglians to the Faith.”
Felix is widely credited as the man who introduced Christianity to the Kingdom of East Anglia. Almost all that is known about him comes from St Bede’s The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, St Bede wrote that Felix freed “the whole of this Kingdom from long-standing evil and unhappiness.”
St Bede continues: “Bishop Felix… came to Archbishop Honorius from the Burgundian region, where he had been raised and Ordained and, by his own desire, was sent by him, to preach the Word of Life to the nation of the Angles. Nor did he fail in his purpose; for, like a good farmer, he reaped a rich harvest of believers. In accord with the meaning of his own name, he freed the whole province from its ancient iniquity and infelicity rought it to the Faith and works of righteousness and guided it to eternal felicity.”
St Bede also records the great zeal of St Sigebert, the King of East Anglia (whom some say was converted by Felix which the King was in exile in France. St Bede says: “As soon as he began to reign, he made it his business to see that the whole Kingdom shared his Faith. Bishop Felix most nobly supported his efforts. This Bishop, who had been born and Consecrated in Burgundy, came to Archbishop Honorius, to whom he expressed his longings, so the Archbishop sent him to preach the Word of Life to this nation of the Angles.”
Upon his arrival in East Anglia, Sigeberht gave him a See at near Felixstowe, or Dunwich in Suffolk. According to St Bede, Felix helped Sigebert to establish a school in his Kingdom “where boys could be taught letters.”
Felix evangelised throughout East Anglia, building a Cathedral at Norwich and school at Dunwich, stone Churches throughout the region and the College that would become the University of Cambridge. In c637, with the aid of St Sigebert, he founded the Bury Saint Edmunds Monastery. Finally, he worked with St Fursey, an Irish Missionary who had arrived in the area. Spiritual teacher of Saint Ethelreda (Died 679) the East Anglian Princess, Queen and later Abbess.
Felix died on 8 March 647, having been the Bishop for 17 years. His Relics were translated from Dunwich to Soham Abbey and then to the Abbey at Ramsey. After his death, he was immediately venerated as a Saint. Several English Churches are dedicated to him.