St. Paulinus

Saint Paulinus (d.644 ) A Faithful Servant

Saint Paulinus was born in Italy, and came to England as part of a group of monks sent by Gregory the Great in 601, settling in Kent. But, in 625, when King Edwin of York asked the king of Kent for the hand of his sister Ethelburga in marriage, permission was only given on the understanding that she could continue in her Christian Faith and be accompanied by a personal chaplain. Paulinus was the monk chosen for the task and on his arrival at York, he was consecrated as the city's first bishop.

In addition to his official duties as queen's chaplain, Paulinus also spent a great deal of time in prayer and in speaking to King Edwin. Paulinus was very persuasive, patiently answering the questions that were put to him but, although he was willing to listen, Edwin was reluctant to accept the Christian Faith for himself. He was also very bold, and on one occasion after speaking to Edwin and his men, they all watched as a Raven flew across the sky, a serious omen of bad luck. Without hesitation he seized a bow and shot the bird. "How can that bird be an omen for the future when it could not foresee its own death?" Paulinus asked.

Paulinus' breakthrough came when God revealed to him the content of a vision Edwin had received at a particularly difficult point in his life. As he spoke with the king, Edwin realised that God must have had His hand on his life for much longer than he had known. On Easter Day 627, Paulinus had the privilege of baptising Edwin and his whole household. Among those baptised that day was a thirteen year old girl named Hild.

Paulinus' ministry was instantly transformed as Edwin began to tour his kingdom, inviting his chaplain to teach his subjects about Jesus. Many were baptised both at Catterick and Yeavering.

Sadly his ministry in the North of England was cut short when Edwin was defeated in battle at Hadfield Chase in 633. As the victorious Kings Cadwallon and Penda enjoyed their spoils, Paulinus helped Queen Ethelburga to flee to the safety of Kent. Paulinus was now about 60 years old and he spent the remainder of his days serving as Bishop of Rochester.

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