Countdown to Black History Month 2013: January 9 – Celebrating the Feast of Saint Adrian The African Abbot of Canterbury

This post is part of our blog series, “Countdown to Black History Month 2013.”  Each blog post will cover one significant event or person in black history that we are highlighting as a lead in to Black History Month 2013: At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality.  This year is a particularly significant Black History Month as it is both the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation as well as the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.


The exact date of Adrian’s birth is not known, however it is known that he came from the Berber people, an indigenous tribe of North Africa. At a young age, Adrian devoted his life to becoming a monk and eventually became the Abbot of Nerida, a Benedictine Monastery near Naples.  Adrian was successful in his position as Abbot and regarded as a highly intelligent man. Twice, Pope Vitalian offered him the position of Archbishop of Canterbury, but Adrian refused on the grounds of humility and suggested instead his friend Theodore of Tarsus. The Pope only agreed to give Therodore the position if Adrian would accompany the new Archbishop to England to reside as the Abbot of Canterbury.  For forty years Adrian worked as the Abbot of Canterbury and under his tutelage and direction, the School of Canterbury became the center for English learning. A great Theologian, Adrian taught not only Biblical studies, but also secular subjects such as poetry, mathematics, foreign languages, and astronomy. He died on January 9, 710, a well-beloved and influential teacher. He was canonized Saint Adrian of Canterbury when his body was discovered several hundred years after his death with no signs of deterioration.


Read more on Saint Adrian at:

Keep an eye out for upcoming blog posts that are a part of the “Countdown to Black History Month 2013” series. Black History Month provides a significant opportunity for organizations to have conversations around the history and contributions of African Americans.  Please visit our Black History Month Page for more information about Black History Month as well as ways to engage your employees or volunteers.

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