Week Three: introduction

Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) from an illumination in the Littlemore Anselm Manuscript, C12th, Bodlean Library Oxford.

Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Anselm was born in 1033 in Aosta, then in the kingdom of Burgundy. He came north after the death of his mother, and three years later he entered the abbey of Notre Dame at Bec in Normandy, where Lanfranc was prior. When Lanfranc went to Caen, Anselm replaced him as prior at the age of thirty, and fifteen years later, 1078, he became abbot, at the death of the founder of the abbey, Herluin. In 1093 William II appointed him Archbishop of Canterbury, and he held this office until his death on 21 April 1109. It was while he lived at Bec that he did some of his most creative writing, including the Prayers and Meditations and the Proslogion—which are the source of our readings this week.

The texts are from The prayers and meditations of Saint Anselm, with the Proslogion. Translated by Benedicta Ward. Penguin Classics, 1973.

This week's music is a selection of performances by the Tallis Scholars.

Most of the photographs are from Canterbury Cathedral — seat of the Archbishop. St Anselm's chapel is one of the still remaining parts of the Norman Cathedral, built between 1096 and 1130 by Anselm. The whole eastern end of Lanfranc's construction was knocked down in the 1090s to make way for it.

St Philip's Anglican Church, cnr Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602
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