Mellitus a noted prelate of the Church in the Anglo-Saxon period, flourished in the 7th century. He was sent in AD. 601, by pope Gregory the Great, as missionary to the assistance of Augustine, who was then laboring in England. Mellitus, with other zealous missionaries, proved a valuable help in the promotion of Christianity on the Anglican shores. He brought from Rome all the paraphernalia necessary for the performance of Church services; also a manuscript copy of the Bible in two volumes, two copies of the Psalms, as they were sung in the churches, two copies of the Gospels. Lives of the Apostles and Martyrs, and a Commentary on the Gospels and Epistles. These were the first books ever known among the Saxons. Sebert, king of Essex, permitted Mellitus to preach the Gospel to his subjects, made him first bishop of the Saxons in London, and favored him with a life-long friendship. At his death Sebert was succeeded by three pagan sons, who did not continue their father's protection. It is related that after the decease of Sebert, Mellitus encountered much opposition, and was finally required to leave the country; and consequently he, with others of the persecuted, crossed over to France. Subsequently Edbald, who succeeded Ethelbert in Kent, embracing Christianity and relenting towards the exiles, Mellitus was recalled, and afterwards labored zealously in the cause of Christianity, which from that time became firmly established in Kent. Mellitus appears to have been endowed with much prudence as well as piety: not making fierce inroads upon paganism, but watching for and seizing the favorable moment for speaking and doing, he effected much for Christianity. He was afterwards made archbishop of Canterbury, and died about the year 625. See Maclear, Hist. of Missions, p. 105 sq.; Churton, Hist. of the Early Engl. Ch.; Inett, Hist. of the Engl. Ch. (see Index).

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