The Chapel of St Gregory and St Augustine
The mosaic decoration depicts the historical
evangelisation of England directly from Rome.
The Chapel was built to commemorate the two
great apostles of England. Pope St Gregory,
on the left, who sent St Augustine to England in 597.
This Chapel is dedicated to the saints who first brought the gospel to England. Above the altar, St Gregory, as Pope, sends St Augustine and his companions to these shores. Higher up, St Augustine is received by the pagan Ethelbert, King of Kent. Augustine was later to become the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
On the ceiling are portrayed early saints of these isles, including St Wilfrid, St Benedict Biscop, St Cuthebert, St Edmund, St Bede the Venerable, and St Osmund.
In the panel in the arch, we see St Gregory in the Forum at Rome. Upon asking the origin of some slave children, he was told they were Anglo-Saxons. Above, in Latin, are the words he is reputed to have said, "Not Angles, but angels, if they were but Christians".
In this Chapel lie buried two of the greatest Christian leaders of this country.
Bishop Richard Challoner (1691 - 1781) lived during a period of great difficulty and unpopularity for the Catholic Church in England. Despite having to work in secret, he founded schools and charities for the poor, and ministered faithfully to the small Catholic population of London. He wrote the popular spiritual classic, "The Garden of the Soul", while his revision of the Old and New Testaments was the standard English translation for two hundred years. Bishop Challoner narrowly escaped attack in the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots of 1780, but died soon afterwards.
Cardinal George Basil Hume (1923 - 1999) was born in Newcastle, and took his solemn vows as a monk of Ampleforth Abbey, Yorkshire, in 1945. In 1963, he was elected Abbot, where his wisdom and holiness earned him great respect. Basil Hume was installed as ninth Archbishop of Westminster on 25 March 1976 and was created Cardinal by Pope Paul VI on 24 May 1976.
An outstanding leader of the Church in this country, his humility, prayerfulness and foresight made him a popular figure well beyond the Catholic community. He was awarded the Order of Merit by Her Majesty the Queen in May 1999 - a unique distinction for a Catholic prelate.
His funeral in 1999 was attended by leaders of Church and State, as well as thousands of the faithful people whom he had served so devotedly.
Lord, we pray for those
who lead our Church and State;
May they be true ministers of God's love.
May we, like St Augustine, spread the gospel
Through our words and actions.