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'Gregory the Great as "Apostle of the English" in Post-Conquest Canterbury'

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2004
<mark>Journal</mark>The Journal of Ecclesiastical History
Issue number1
Number of pages39
Pages (from-to)19-57
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article re-examines the history of a saint’s cult that has been taken as a crucial test case in discussions of Norman attitudes towards Anglo-Saxon culture. The first study to offer a systematic survey of the liturgical, diplomatic and hagiographical evidence, it shows that the promotion of Gregory the Great as ‘Apostle of the English’ was not – as argued by the late Richard Southern – a concession to native ethnic sensibilities on the part of the Archbishop Anselm (1093-1109), but a contribution to the exemption dispute between the archbishopric of Canterbury and St Augustine’s Abbey. In so doing, the article draws attention to the ways in which ethnic rhetoric was constructed and manipulated to support claims to status and power in the context of medieval colonialism. A secondary theme is the intersections between local conflicts between churches over status and privilege, and the (inter)national issues of Church-State relations in the Middle Ages – especially the English version of the Investiture Contest.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 55 (1), pp 19-57 2004, © 2004 Cambridge University Press.