Æthelberht (c. 550 – 24 February 616) was King of Kent from about 589 until his death. The son of Eormenric, succeeding him as king. He married Bertha, the Christian daughter of Charibert, king of the Franks (Paris) , thus building an alliance with the most powerful state in contemporary Western Europe; the marriage probably took place before he came to the throne.
Queen Bertha’s reign in Kent saw the beginning of a Roman Catholic influence on Anglo-Saxon society – it is thought that Bertha persuaded Ethelbert to welcome St Augustine and the Roman Mission.
It is possible that Æthelberht was converted to Christianity before Augustine's arrival. Æthelberht's wife did bring a Frankish bishop with her, to attend her at court.
Augustine, and his band of twenty missionaries came bearing a silver cross with a painting of Jesus on a board and greeted Ethelbert by singing a prayer litany. He landed on the Isle of Thanet in east Kent in 597. Shortly thereafter, Æthelberht converted to Christianity, churches were established, and wider-scale conversion to Christianity began in the kingdom. He provided the new church with land in Canterbury, thus establishing one of the foundation stones of what ultimately became the Anglican Communion. Augustine.
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