July 23, 2013

0762 UNITED KINGDOM (England) - Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine's Abbey, and St. Martin's Church (UNESCO WHS)

In 597 arrived in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Kent Saint Augustine, with 40 monks and some Frankish priests, sent by Pope to Christianize Bretwalda (King) Æthelberht, who was married a Christian princess, Bertha, daughter of Charibert I the King of Paris. Because the main town of the kingdom was Canterbury, the saint founded an episcopal see here and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury, a position that now heads the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion. Because Christ Church Cathedral, the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey, and St Martin’s Church "reflect milestones in the history of Christianity in Britain", they were included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1988. 

When Saint Augustine arrived in England, King Æthelberht allowed him to found a monastery outside the Canterbury's walls. On this site there were already three Saxon churches, dedicated respectively to Saints Pancras, Peter and Paul, and finally Mary. The Saxon-phase remains of the church of Saint Pancras are still extant, but the other two were rebuilt by the Normans into one building in the Romanesque style. In 978 a new larger building was dedicated by Archbishop Dunstan, to the Saints Peter, Paul, and Augustine. In the following centuries the abbey was enlarged and rebuilt several times, such that in 1500 it covered a very large area and its library contained 2,000 volumes, many of them produced in the abbey's own scriptorium. Its religious history came to an end with Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries, but the king didn't sold the site, as he did with others, converting it into a palace for the use of his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. This palace has survived until 1703.

About thet stamp, which is part of the definitive series issued in 2011, I wrote here.

Canterbury - Wikipedia
St Augustine's Abbey - Wikipedia
Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey, and St Martin's Church - UNESCO official website
St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury - Sacred Destinations

sender. Sheila / A postcard a Day (direct swap)
sent from ? (England / United Kingdom), in 26.04.2012

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