Above: England in 700
Image in the Public Domain
SAINT ALDHELM OF SHERBORNE (639-MAY 25, 709)
Poet, Literary Scholar, Abbot of Malmesbury, and Bishop of Sherborne
St. Aldhelm comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days from the Roman Catholic Church and The Church of England.
St. Aldhelm was a scholar, poet, and churchman. Our saint, a relative–perhaps a brother–of King Ine of Wessex (reigned 688-726), studied at Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, where Maildubh (died in 675), an Irish monk and scholar was abbot. For a time St. Aldhelm studied at Canterbury under the tutelage of St. Adrian/Hadrian (died in 710). Bad health forced our saint to return to Malmesbury, where he served as a monk under Abbot Maildubh until succeeding him in 675. St. Aldhelm introduced the Rule of St. Benedict to the monastery, made the abbey a center of learning, oversaw the construction of a new church on the grounds, and expanded the land holdings of the monastery.
St. Aldhelm was a literary figure. He was, as far as historians know, the first Anglo-Saxon to write in Latin. His Latin writing style reflected his erudition, for it was abstruse and sesquipedalian. His works were standard in English ecclesiastical schools for centuries, declining after the Norman Conquest (1066). Our saint also wrote in Old English, but none of his writings in that language have survived.
St. Aldhelm, who had a strong devotion to Mary and the saints, became the first Bishop of Sherborne in 705, after the division of the large Diocese of Winchester. He held that post until he died at Doulting, Somerset, on May 25, 709.
Archive.org offers several works about our saint:
- St. Aldhelm: His Life and Times, Lectures Delivered in the Cathedral Church of Bristol, Lent, 1902 (1903), by George Forrest Browne;
- Life of S. Ealdhelm, First Bishop of Sherborne (1905), by William Beauchamp Wildman; and
- Two Ancient English Scholars: St. Aldhelm and William of Malmesbury: Being the First Lecture on the David Murray Foundation in the University of Glasgow Delivered on June 9th, 1931 (1931), by Montague Rhodes James.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JANUARY 29, 2016 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINTS LYDIA, DORCAS, AND PHOEBE, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE
O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.
We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Saint Aldhelm of Sherborne and all others]
who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.
May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.
In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP
THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN