February 25: Aethelbert of Kent

Aethelbert was king in Kent, a region of today’s England, from around 580 to his death in 616. He is best known as the first English king to become a Christian. He was converted through the efforts of his wife, Bertha, who was raised as a Christian, and Augustine of Canterbury, a Benedictine monk (not to be confused with Augustine of Hippo who wrote the Confessions of St. Augustine). Although many (most?) of his people remained pagan during his lifetime, his conversion opened the door for others to spread the gospel.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”

Colossians 4:2-4

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