Justus was sent from Italy to England by Pope Gregory the Great. He probably arrived with the second group of missionaries despatched in 601. Justus became the first Bishop of Rochester in 604, and attended a church council in Paris in 614.
About Justus in brief
Justus was sent from Italy to England by Pope Gregory the Great. He probably arrived with the second group of missionaries despatched in 601. Justus became the first Bishop of Rochester in 604, and attended a church council in Paris in 614. Following the death of King Æthelberht of Kent in 616, Justus was forced to flee to Gaul, but was reinstated in his diocese the following year. In 624 he became Archbishop of Canterbury, overseeing the despatch of missionaries to Northumbria. After his death he was revered as a saint, and had a shrine in St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury. Almost everything known about Justus and his career is derived from the early 8th-century Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum of Bede. The choice of Rochester was probably not because it had been a Roman-era bishopric, but rather because of its importance in the politics of the time.
A charter purporting to be from King Æthelbersht, dated 28 April 604. Written mostly in Latin but using an Old English boundary clause, the charter records a grant of land near the city of Rochester to Justus’ church. Among the witnesses is Laurence, Augustine’s future successor, but not Augustine himself. A more recent and more positive appraisal by John Morris argues that the charter and its witness list are authentic because it incorporates titles and phraseology that had fallen out of use by 800. What remains of an early rectangular building near the present-day Rochester Cathedral may also be part of a Roman building, the foundations of which may be near the southern part of the current cathedral. It is unclear why Justus urged the native church to adopt the Roman method of calculating the date of Easter.