Paulinus may have come to Britain with Augustine in 597, as part of the Pope’s plan to bring the land back to Roman Christianity. He settled in Kent and became chaplain to Princess Ethelburga. When she was sent to marry the pagan King Edwin of Northumbria, Paulinus accompanied her and presented the gospel to Edwin. Although he was not immediately convinced, his pagan high priest, Coifi, was soundly converted and went off to burn down his own temple. The Pope appointed Paulinus Bishop of York, and later Edwin became a Christian along with all his household.

Paulinus is said to have baptised thousands of people in the River Swale near Catterick, in the Glen near the royal summer residence of Yeavering (near Wooler) and at the Holystone near Rothbury. In about 627 he certainly baptised Hild (see November 17th), who became the well-respected abbess of Whitby.

In 633, however, Edwin was defeated by Penda of Mercia and Cadwallon of Gwynedd, and his former kingdom returned to paganism, until his nephew, Oswald (see August 5th), reconquered the land and at his request Aidan (see August 31st) came from Iona to proclaim the gospel once again. Paulinus, along with Ethelburga and her children, fled back to Kent for safety, where he served as Bishop of Rochester until his death.

We who are baptised into the name of Father, Son and Spirit seek to be true to the promises made at that time, by Your help and grace dear Lord.  Teach us to walk day by day with Christ as he walks with us, to turn away from self and sin, and to be faithful in sharing the love of the Saviour with those around us. Amen.