Created especially for St. Austin Catholic Parish by Nicholas Markell, this icon of St. Augustine of Canterbury contains many symbols of St. Austin which reveal the truth and power of his holy life.
Chosen by Pope St. Gregory the Great to be Apostle to the English, Augustine converted King Ethelbert of Kent to Christianity. Tradition holds that they met under an oak tree, the tree associated with the virtue of hospitality in icon painting. Augustine holds in his right hand an oak tree branch with an acorn symbolizing both his own hospitality to others and his opennes to graciously receiving God's life within him. Moreover, the acorn itself represents new life. Just as the acorn grows into the oak, Augustine's efforts in service of the gospel helped establish the English Church which has since grown great in stature, influencing the entire world.
Augustine was named Archbishop of England, the see of which became Canterbury. Augustine is shown with his Bishop's mitre, staff and pallium. The pallium itself is intimately associated with Augustine. It is decorated with five Fitchee crosses which display a pointed base. These crosses were often used by missionares to thrust into the ground for daily devotions. St. Augustine's pallium also appears on his shield, located in the upper left-hand corner of this icon. The shield also contains a black cross, associated with his Benedictine roots, and a lily, symbolic of Augustine's death in May, the month of Mary. In the upper right-hand corner of the icon is the cross of Canterbury.
Augustine himself displays the look of a saintly man, wearing dark vestments on-fire with the life of the spirit. His face bears the weight of shepherding the English church, though his glance is paradozically peaceful and light. His gaze is not only temporal but also eternal, looking towards the Kingdom which was his life's mission and joy.