New Catholic Dictionary – Saint Anselm

[Saint Anselm of Canterbury]

Confessor, Doctor of the Church, born Aosta, Italy, 1033; died Canterbury, England, 1109. He entered the monastery at Bec, studied under Lanfranc, and was made prior, 1063, and abbot, 1078. After the death of Lanfranc, Anselm succeeded him as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093. This see having been vacant for four years, the revenues had been seized by the state. Anselm devoted himself to abolishing this encroachment by the state and to reforming ecclesiastical circles, thus incurring the hostility of the king, against whose wishes he went to consult the pope on the question of investiture. Banished by William, he was recalled by Henry I, but the quarrel was renewed and it was not until 1107 that settlement was made, resulting in a victory for the Church. He influenced deeply Catholic philosophy and theology, his chief achievement in philosophy being the ontological argument for the existence of God, viz., that God exists in reality, because He is that than which nothing greater can be thought, and since to exist in reality is greater than to exist in the mind. He therefore has real existence. Feast, Roman Calendar, 21 April.

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Anselm”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 July 2012. Web. 26 April 2018. <>