An historic church building which stands close to the place where St Augusting landed in the UK, has been formally designated as a shrine to the ‘Apostle for the English.’
St Augustines church in Ramsgate, which had become the centre of a row when an order of monks had moved out of their next-door quarters, is to become a place of pilgrimage.
Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark has given an official decree that the building, designed by the artist Pugin, will become the new shrine of Augustine, the first since the Reformation.
Now pilgrims will take spiritual journeys to Ramsgate, in an echo of the ancient traditions which were among the reasons for the original building of the church.
The artist Pugin, who designed it, and created various artefacts to go in to it, chose the spot because of its proimity to the landing spot of Augustine in 597.
The last shrine of Augustine, on the Isle of Thanet, was destroyed in the 16th century.
Pugin, who is buried in the church, chose to dedicate the building to Augustine – the originator of the Roman church in England.Pilgrims from across the country already journey to it in recognition of his huge impact on the shape of Christianity in the UK.
But St Augustines recently became the centre of controversy, when a group of Benedictine monks who had been living next door to the church, chose to move to a new home, and put a number of the Pugin designed treasures they had been looking after, up for auction.
The sale caused anger among some commentators who felt that Pugin’s legacy, and that of St Augustine’s was being squandered.
Help came when many of the treasures were sold privately, with the purpose of being kept at St Augustine’s - which is currently undergoing some restoration work.
Fr Marcus Holden, parish priest and custodian of St Augustine’s said: "This is amazing news for us. Pugin’s church is secured by this added living identity which also fulfils many of his own dreams in honouring the English saints and St Augustine in particular.”
March 13th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross