Honorius (DNB00)

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HONORIUS, Saint (d. 653), fifth archbishop of Canterbury, one of the disciples of Pope Gregory, and of the companions of St. Augustine in his mission to England, was, after the death of Archbishop Justus on 10 Nov. 627, consecrated to the see of Canterbury by Paulinus, archbishop of York, though not before 628. The ceremony took place in the stone church which the ealdorman Blæcca built at Lincoln. Probably about 630 Honorius ordained Felix [q. v.], and sent him to preach to the East Angles. In answer to Honorius's request that on a vacancy occurring either at Canterbury or York the surviving archbishop might appoint and ordain to the vacant see, Pope Honorius wrote to him in 634 acceding to his wish, and sent palls both to him and to Paulinus. The terms of the letter and the equal gifts are sufficient to discredit the letter preserved by William of Malmesbury, and purporting to have been written by the pope at the same date, which declares the superiority of Canterbury over York. After the church of York had been overthrown by the defeat and death of Edwin [q. v.] in 633, Honorius received Paulinus, and with the concurrence of Eadbald [q. v.], king of Kent, appointed him bishop of Rochester. By the accession of Earconberct in Kent in 640 Honorius gained a powerful and zealous helper, for the king compelled the destruction of all the idols in his kingdom and the observance of the Lenten fast. Honorius did not exercise jurisdiction except in Kent, where, without the assistance of other bishops, he ordained Ithamar as bishop of Rochester in 644, and in East Anglia, where he ordained two bishops in 647 and 652. He died on 30 Sept. 653, and was buried in the west porch of St. Peter's at Canterbury. The see of Canterbury remained vacant until the consecration of Deusdedit [q. v.] eighteen months later.

[Bæda's Hist. Eccl. ii. cc. 3, 16, 17, 18, 20, iii. cc. 8, 20 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Anglo-Saxon Chron. ann. 627, 653, 654; William of Malmesbury's Gesta Pontiff. pp. 49–51, 134 (Rolls Ser.); Haddan and Stubbs's Councils and Eccl. Docs. iii. 82–93.]

W. H.