The Venerable Bede describes him as a “tall man with a slight stoop, who had black hair, a thin face and a narrow, aquiline nose, his presence being venerable and awe-inspiring”. Monk at the monastery of Saint Andrew, Rome, Italy. Missionary to the Anglo-Saxons in 601, sent by Pope Saint Gregory the Great. Worked with Saint Augustine of Canterbury, Saint Justus of Canterbury, and Saint Mellitus of Canterbury. Evangelized in Kent for 24 years. Bishop of York in 625. First missionary to Northumbria, converting thousands including King Saint Edwin in 627. When the pagan Mercians defeated Edwin‘s forces in 633, Paulinus retreated to Kent with the remaining royal family. Friend of Saint Ethelburgh of Kent. Bishop of Rochester.
This is how the present life of man on Earth, King, appears to me in comparison with that time which is unknown to us. You are sitting feasting with your ealdormen and thegns in winter time. The fire is burning on the hearth in the middle of the hall and all inside is warm, while outside the wintry storms of rain and snow are raging – and a sparrow flies swiftly through the hall. It enters in at one door and quickly flies out through the other. For the few moments it is inside, the storm and wintry tempest cannot touch it, but after the briefest moment of calm, it flits from your sight, out of the wintry storm and into it again. So this life of man appears but for a moment. What follows or, indeed, what went before, we know not at all. – Saint Paulinus of York, speaking in Northumbria
- “Saint Paulinus of York“. CatholicSaints.Info. 11 October 2008. Web. 28 May 2015. <>