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Saint Paulinus of York

Bishop and Confessor

Paulinus was sent to England by blessed Pope Gregory, in answer to a request for help from Saint Augustine of Canterbury. Where he was finally consecrated bishop by Saint Justin, the fourth Archbishop of Canterbury, that he might go along with Princess Ethelburga, whom Edwin, the pagan King of the Northumbrians, had espoused. Now when he was come into that country, he toiled much, not only to keep his own people in the Faith, but also by preaching to turn the heathen thereto. And for some years it came to very little, but at last the King, after weighing the matter much and long, yielded to Paulinus, and put away his idols.

Therefore King Edwin, with all the chief men of his race, and a great multitude of the people, accepted the Faith, and were baptized at York, where afterwards was built the Church of Saint Peter the Apostle, and where also he caused his teacher Paulinus to locate his episcopal See. It is said that so great was then the eagerness among the Northumbrian people that, at one time, Paulinus did nothing for thirty-six days together, from morning even until night, save to teach the word of Christ to the multitude who flowed unto him from all round about; and when he had taught them, he washed them from their sins in the river Glenny. However, he baptized very often in the river Swale, which runneth by the town of Catterick, for it was not possible to build any houses of prayer at that time of the birth of the Church in those parts. And there was an uprising against the King, and he was slain in defence of the Christian State which he had established, for which reason he was afterwards venerated as one of the holy Martyrs in heaven.

Now when Saint King Edwin was dead, and the country of the Northumbrians all troubled, there seemed no help for it but to flee; and Paulinus and Ethelburga went back by ship to Kent; and there Ethelburga became a nun and died as the abbess of Lyminge, and is venerated a Saint. This Ethelburga should not be confused with two others of the same name, one of Barking and the other of Faremoutier. And Paulinus, because he found the church of Rochester without a shepherd, took charge thereof, but keeping still the pallium, which Pope Honorius had sent to him at York. While he governed the church of Rochester, he passed away to be with the Lord, upon the 10th day of October, in the year 644, and was buried in the church of the blessed Apostle Andrew, which Saint King Ethelbert, the father of Saint Ethelburga, had built in that city.


GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that the devout observance of this festival of blessed Paulinus, thy Confessor and Bishop, may be profitable unto us for our advancement in all godliness, and for the attainment of everlasting salvation. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1897-1898; 1659

Additional Information:

For additional readings, or to learn more about the Anglican Breviary, visit The Anglican Breviary Website.

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