Above: England in 700
SAINT BOSA OF YORK (DIED CIRCA 705)
Roman Catholic Bishop of York
His feast transferred from March 9
SAINT JOHN OF BEVERLEY (DIED 721)
Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham then of York
His feast transferred from October 12
SAINT WILFRID THE YOUNGER (DIED CIRCA 744)
Roman Catholic Bishop of York
His feast = April 29
SAINT ACCA OF HEXHAM (660-742)
Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham
His feast transferred from October 20
This post carries me through English church history I have dabbled in by the way of St. Wilfrid of Ripon. His path crossed those of other saints. For the sake of clarity I have chosen to write about part of that saga in one post and another part in this one. Anyhow, once gain one name has led to others and to a tale of positive influences.
We begin with St. Bosa of York (died circa 705). A Benedictine monk at Whiby, he became Bishop of York in 678, replacing St. Wilfrid of Ripon, who refused to accept the division of the diocese. St. Wilfrid returned to serve as Bishop of York from 686 to 691. after which the tenure of St Bosa resumed. The Venerable Bede of Jarrow called St. Bosa
a man beloved of God…of most unusual merit and sanctity.
St. John of Beverley (died 721) succeeded St. Bosa as Bishop of York in 705. A protege of St. Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, who supervised his education, St. John became a famous preacher renowned for his erudition. St. John served as Bishop of Hexham from 687 to 705. He also participated in the Synod of Nidd (705), which decided the proper settlement of St. Wilfrid of Ripon‘s case. After serving as Bishop of York from 705 to 717, St. John retired to the monastery at Beverley. Among his pupils (and therefore legacies) was the Venerable Bede of Jarrow, whom he ordained.
Another legacy of St. John of Beverley was St. Wilfrid the Younger (died circa 744). Educated at Whitby Abbey, he became a priest under St. John, to whom he functioned as a chaplain and a close aide. St. Wilfrid the Younger succeeded his mentor as Bishop of York in 717, serving for fifteen years before retiring to Ripon monastery.
St. Bosa had another protege, St. Acca of Hexham (660-742). This saint grew up in St Bosa’s household and became his (Acca’s) mentor’s aide and traveling companion. St. Acca also befriended the Venerable Bede of Jarrow and traveled with St. Wilfrid of Ripon in Europe. St. Acca, Abbot of St. Andrew’s Monastery, Hexham, was St. Wilfrid of Ripon‘s handpicked successor as Bishop of Hexham, serving from 709 to 732. Renowned for his lovely singing voice, St. Acca encouraged the revival of vocal music in the church. He also built many churches. And the Venerable Bede of Jarrow found St Acca’s large library essential for research purposes.
It seems that St. Acca found himself on the wrong side of royal politics in Northumbria in 732. King Coelwulf (reigned 729-731, 732-737) had to spend part of 731-732 in exile in a monastery due to political intrigues. Apparently, St. Acca had at least supported the palace coup. So Coelwulf, restored to the throne, either deposed the bishop in 732 or did not act to reverse that deed. I found two stories of what St. Acca did after 732. He either fled west and became Bishop of Whithorn or retired to the hermitage at Withern, in Galloway.
Coelwulf, by the way, is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. His feast day is January 15. Given the uncertain nature of the information I have found about him, I prefer simply to note what I have written in this paragraph and to leave the matter there.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
MARCH 2, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SHABBAZ BHATTI AND OTHER CHRISTIAN MARTYRS OF THE ISLAMIC WORLD
THE FEAST OF SAINT CHAD OF LICHFIELD, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP
Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servants
Saint Bosa of York
Saint John of Beverley,
Saint Wilfrid the Younger,
and Saint Acca of Hexham,
who were faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;
and we pray that, following their examples,
we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:1-4
–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 718