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Romanus (bishop of Rochester)

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Bishop of Rochester
Term endedbefore 627
SuccessorPaulinus of York
Consecrationc. 624
Personal details
Diedbefore 627

Romanus (died before 627) was the second bishop of Rochester and presumably was a member of the Gregorian mission sent to Kent to Christianize the Anglo-Saxons from their native Anglo-Saxon paganism. Romanus was consecrated bishop around 624 and died before 627 by drowning. Little is known of his life beyond these facts.


Presumably Romanus came to England with Augustine of Canterbury's mission to Kent,[1] He would have arrived either in 597 with the first group of missionaries, or in 601 with the second group.[2] He was consecrated as bishop by his predecessor Justus in 624,[1] after Justus became Archbishop of Canterbury.[3] He was the second bishop at Rochester.[4]

Romanus died before 627,[3] probably about 625.[4] He drowned in the Mediterranean Sea off Italy while on a mission to Rome for Justus.[3] Presumably this happened before Justus' death in 627.[1] He was certainly dead by 633, when Paulinus of York became bishop at Rochester after fleeing Northumbria.[3]

Nothing else is known of Romanus' life beyond these facts.[3] The medieval writer Bede is the main source of information, as Romanus is mentioned twice in the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum; the first time in connection with his consecration, where Bede says that Justus "consecrated Romanus as Bishop of Rochester in his place".[5] The second mention concerns Romanus' death after Paulinus had left Northumbria. Bede says that "[a]t this time, the church of Rochester was in great need of a pastor, since Romanus its bishop who had been sent by Archbishop Justus to Pope Honorius I as his representative, had been drowned at sea off Italy."[6] Romanus is further mentioned in both the Winchester Manuscript (Version A) and the Peterborough Manuscript (Version E) of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle,[7] but the reference is not likely to be contemporary and probably draws on Bede for its information.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Beazley "Romanus" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  2. ^ Mayr-Harting Coming of Christianity pp. 61–62
  3. ^ a b c d e Blair World of Bede pp. 96–97
  4. ^ a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 221
  5. ^ Bede History of the English Church and People p. 112
  6. ^ Bede History of the English Church and People p. 139
  7. ^ Swanton (trans.) Anglo-Saxon Chronicle p. 24
  8. ^ Swanton "Introduction" Anglo-Saxon Chronicle pp. xviii, xxi, and xxvi


  • Beazley, C. R. (2004). "Romanus (d. in or before 627)" ((subscription or UK public library membership required)). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. revised by Marios Costambeys (October 2005 Revised ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  • Bede (1988). A History of the English Church and People. Translated by Leo Sherley-Price. Penguin Classics. ISBN 0-14-044042-9.
  • Blair, Peter Hunter (1990). The World of Bede (Reprint of 1970 ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-39819-3.
  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.
  • Mayr-Harting, Henry (1991). The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0-271-00769-9.
  • Swanton, Michael James, ed. (1998). The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-92129-5.
  • Swanton, Michael James (1998). "Introduction". In Swanton, Michael James (ed.). The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. New York: Routledge. pp. i–xxxv. ISBN 0-415-92129-5.

External links[edit]

Christian titles
Preceded by
Bishop of Rochester
c. 624–before 627
Succeeded by
Paulinus of York