Infobox Saint
name=Saint Birinus
birth_date=c. 600
death_date=death date|649|12|3|df=y
feast_day=3 December, 4 September
venerated_in=Roman Catholic Church; Anglican Communion

caption=The commissioning of Birinus (centre) by Asterius (left), a photograph from David Nash Ford's [ Early British Kingdoms website] , taken at Dorchester Abbey
birth_place=France probably
death_place=Dorchester, Oxfordshire
attributes=bishop, sometimes baptising a king
patronage=Berkshire; Dorchester
major_shrine=Dorchester Abbey, now destroyed. Small parts survive. Modern replica now in place. (Or Winchester Cathedral, now destroyed).
issues=body claimed by both Dorchester Abbey and Winchester Cathedral

Infobox bishopbiog
name =St. Birinus

religion =Catholic
See =Bishop of Dorchester
Title =
Period = 634–649
Predecessor = new foundation
Successor =Agilbertus
ordination =
bishops =
post =
date of birth = c600
place of birth =
date of death =December 3, 649
place of death =

Saint Birinus (c. 600–649), venerated as a saint, was the first Bishop of Dorchester,Powicke "Handbook of British Chronology" p. 219] and the " to the West Saxons".

After St. Augustine of Canterbury performed initial conversions in England, Birinus, a Frank, came to the kingdoms of Wessex in 634.Walsh "A New Dictionary of Saints" p. 102] Birinus had been made bishop by Asterius in Genoa, and Pope Honorius I created the commission to convert the West Saxons. In 635, he persuaded the West Saxon king Cynegils to allow him to preach. Cynegils was trying to create an alliance with Oswald of Northumbria, with whom he intended to fight the Mercians. At the final talks between kings, the sticking point was that Oswald, being a Christian, would not ally himself with a heathen. Cynegils then converted and was baptized, [ [ Patron Saints Index: Birinus] accessed on September 1, 2007] and he gave Birinus Dorchester for his episcopal see. Birinus's original commission would have entailed preaching to all parts of the West Saxon kingdom, but he remained there in Wessex. However, in Wessex, Birinus was very active in establishing churches. After Cynegils' death, the new king, Cenwalh, invited Birinus to establish a church at Winchester. He also supposedly laid the foundations for Saint Mary's in Reading, Saint Helen's in Abingdon and other churches across old Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

His feast day is December 3 in the Roman Catholic Church, [ [ Catholic Online Saints and Angels St. Birinus] accessed on September 1, 2007] but some churches celebrate his feast on December 5. In the Church of England his feast day falls on 4 September and has the status of a Commemoration.



* [ Catholic Online Saints and Angels St. Birinus] accessed on September 1, 2007
* [ Patron Saints Index: Birinus] accessed on September 1, 2007
*Powicke, F. Maurice and E. B. Fryde "Handbook of British Chronology" 2nd. ed. London:Royal Historical Society 1961
*Walsh, Michael "A New Dictionary of Saints: East and West" London: Burns & Oats 2007 ISBN 0-8601-2438-X

External links

* [ Berkshire History site with a biography of St. Birinus]
* [ "Catholic Encyclopaedia": St. Birinus]

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