Adrian the African Abbot

African-born Abbot Adrian (also referred to as Hadrian) was appointed by Pope Vitalian (twice), to become the Bishop of Canterbury. Described as having great learning, he modestly declined the appointments. Instead he suggested to the pontiff his friend Theodore of Tarsus, who subsequently consented to undertake the charge. Pope Vitalian, however, stipulated that Adrian should accompany the new archbishop to Britain. He gave as his reasons the fact that Adrian, having twice before made a journey into Gaul (France) – a stop off point, before reaching Britain, knew the roads and the mode of travelling.

On his arrival to Britain, Adrian was made abbot of the monastery of St. Peter (afterwards called St. Augustine’s Abbey) at Canterbury, an appointment which was in conformity with instructions given by the pope to Theodore.

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