This article appeared in the March 2013 issue of Anglican Journal.
When Archbishop Justin Welby takes his oath as Archbishop of Canterbury, he will be holding the ancient St. Augustine Gospels, which many Anglicans refer to as “the Canterbury Gospels.”
Believed to have been written in Italy in the sixth century and presented by Pope Gregory the Great to St. Augustine for his mission to England in 597 AD, these gospels are considered to be the oldest surviving Latin illustrated gospels.
The gospels are in safekeeping at the Parker Library of Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, and are part of a collection donated by Archbishop of Canterbury Matthew Parker (1559 to 1575) in 1575.
The master and librarian of Corpus Christi College will bring the gospels to Canterbury Cathedral, which is done whenever a dean or an archbishop is installed in the cathedral, said the dean of Canterbury Cathedral, Robert Willis.