Archive for the ‘St. Wilfrid’ Tag

Feast of St. Hilda of Whitby (November 18)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Hilda of Whitby

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT HILDA OF WHITBY (614-680)

Roman Catholic Abbess

Roman Catholic and New Zealand Anglican feast day = November 17

Episcopal feast day = November 18

Church of England feast day = November 19

St. Hilda of Whitby, born in Northumbria, England, in 614, crossed paths with a number of other canonized saints.  Her sister, St. Hereswitha (d. 690), was a princess.  Our saint’s grand-uncle was St. Edwin (reigned 616-633), the first Christian King of Northumbria.  Her grand aunt was St. Ethelburga, Queen of Northumbria.  Bishop St. Paulinus of York (584-644) baptized St. Hilda at age 13, in 627.  Our saint, a single lay woman until the age of 33 years, became a Benedictine nun at Challes, France.  Later, she became the abbess of Hartepool.  Then, in 657, she became the founding abbess of Whitby.  St. Caedmon (d. circa 670), a foundational English poet, was one of her monks and a recipient of her mentoring.  St. Hilda was also the abbess to future bishops St. Wilfrid of York (d. circa 744) and St. John of Beverley (d. 721).

St. Hilda was a reconciling figure.  She had made sure that her monastic houses followed the Celtic liturgy.  The Synod of Whitby (664), at which the Roman Catholic Church took over the Celtic Church, met at her abbey at Whitby.  After that synod, St. Hilda followed the Latin Rite instead.

St. Hilda died in 680.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 10, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PIERRE TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, SCIENTIST, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF HENRY VAN DYKE, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF HOWARD THURMAN, PROTESTANT THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF MIKAEL AGRICOLA, FINNISH LUTHERAN LITURGIST, BISHOP OF TURKU, AND “FATHER OF FINNISH LITERARY LANGUAGE”

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O God of peace, by whose grace the abbess Hilda was endowed with gifts of justice, prudence, and strength

to rule as a wise mother over the nuns and monks of her household,

and to become a trusted and reconciling friend to leaders of the Church:

Give us the grace to recognize and accept the varied gifts you bestow on men and women,

that our common life may be enriched and your gracious will be done;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 6:20-23

Psalm 113

Ephesians 4:1-6

Matthew 19:27-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 687

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Feast of Sts. Willibrord and Boniface (November 7)   3 comments

Francia Map

Above:  Map of Francia

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT WILLIBRORD (658-NOVEMBER 7, 739)

Apostle to the Frisians

Also known as Clement of Echternach

His feast day = November 7

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SAINT BONIFACE OF MAINZ (675-JUNE 5, 754)

Apostle to the Germans

Also known as Winfrid, Wynfrith, and Wynfryth

His feast transferred from June 5

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INTRODUCTION

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Sts. Willibrord and Boniface were missionaries whose stories I can recount most effectively in one post, not two.

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SAINT WILLIBRORD (658-739)

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St. Willibrord, born Clement,  was the Apostle to the Frisians and a relative of St. Alcuin of York (735-804).  St. Willibrord, a Northumbrian native, was son of St. Wilgils/Hilgis of Ripon (feast day = January 31), a convert to Christianity.  St. Wilgils/Hilgis entrusted his son to the Church and became a holy hermit.  Young Clement studied at Ripon Abbey under the tutelage of his mentor, St. Wilfrid of Ripon (634-709), then abbot there and later the Bishop of York, Lichfield, and Hexham, in that order.  Clement became a Benedictine monk and spent twelve years at Rathmalsigi Abbey (in Ireland).  The abbot was St. Egbert of Lindisfarne (639-739).

Frisia was coming under the influence of Francia.  Pepin II, Mayor of the Palace from 680 to 714, requested that St. Egbert send missionaries to Frisia.  The abbot sent twelve monks, including Clement.  Early efforts, headquartered at the court of Pepin II, proved unsuccessful most of the time.  Nevertheless, Clement established a base of operations at Utrecht.  On November 21, 695, Pope St. Sergius I (reigned 687-701) consecrated Clement a bishop and named him Willibrord.

[Aside:  Many of the sources I consulted identified the pontiff erroneously as Sergius III.  J. N. D. Kelly makes clear, however, in The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (1986) that it was Sergius I and that Sergius III reigned from 904 to 911.]

The first stage of the Frisian mission spanned 695-716 and met with much success.  St. Willibrord presided over the building of both a monastery and a cathedral at Utrecht, plus the founding of many congregations.  This frightened chieftain Rabdod, who conquered Frisia in 716 and spent the remaining three years of his life undoing the work of St. Willibrord and his missionaries by destroying all ecclesiastical structures and killing missionaries.  Meanwhile, St. Willibrord and companions attempted (without much success) to evangelize in Denmark.

The Frisian mission resumed in 719.  St. Willibrord and companions, including St. Boniface, who had evangelized in Frisia as early as 716, rebuilt the Church in the region.  St. Willibrord retired to Echternach Abbey, Echternach (now in Luxembourg), which he had founded.  He died at the abbey on November 7, 739.  Veneration of him as a saint began immediately.

St. Willibrord is the patron of convulsions, epilepsy, epileptics, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and the Archdiocese of Utrecht.  According to a Medieval legend, an epidemic caused the cattle around Echternach Abbey to tremble then die.  Peasants in the region, the legend tells us, invoked St. Willibrord.  As they processed to his shrine, the story states, some of the peasants danced in a manner resembling the convulsions of the cattle, hence some of those patronages.

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SAINT BONIFACE OF MAINZ (675-754)

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St. Boniface of Mainz, born Winfrid and also known as Wynfrith and Wynfryth, assisted St. Willibrord in Frisia before becoming the “Apostle to the Germans.”  Winfrid/Wynfrith/Wynfryth was a native Exeter, in the Kingdom of Wessex, in England.  He, born in 675 and educated at monasteries, faced early opposition from his father to his plan to become a monk.  His father changed his mind eventually, however.  Our saint taught at the school attached to Nursling Abbey.  At the age of 30 years he became a priest.  He also wrote a Latin grammar, a series of riddles, and a treatise on poetry, participated in the Frisian mission, first in 716 then again in 719-722.  In 722 Pope St. Gregory II (reigned 715-731) appointed him to be a missionary bishop (without a diocese) in Germany and named him Boniface.  Ten years later our saint became a missionary archbishop.  He did not receive an appointment to a diocese until 743, when he became the Archbishop of Mainz.  The “Apostle to the Germans” led a successful missionary venture sponsored by Frankish rulers.  His immediate legacy included congregations, abbeys, and three dioceses.

St. Boniface and 52 others became martyrs near Dokkum, Frisia, on June 5, 754, prior to a planned confirmation service.  A band of violent pagans attacked them yet did not kill the Church there.

Our saint is the patron of brewers, Germany, file cutters, tailors, the Diocese of Fulda (in Germany), and the Archdiocese of Saint-Boniface (in Manitoba, Canada).

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CONCLUSION

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We of the Church in 2016 stand on the broad shoulders of saints such as Willibrord and Boniface, who risked much to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and influenced civilization positively long after their lifespans ended.  We do not know how long-lasting our influences (direct and indirect, as well as positive and negative) will be.  May we strive, by grace, to be the most effective ministers of grace possible.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 3, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOANNA, MARY, AND SALOME, WITNESSES TO THE RESURRECTION

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servants

St. Willibrord, whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of Frisia; and

St. Boniface of Mainz, whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of Frisia and Germany.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 716

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Feast of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne, Caelin, St. Cedd of Lastingham, St. Cynibil of Lastingham, St. Chad of Mercia, St. Vitalian, St. Adrian of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus, and St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (March 2)   4 comments

England in 600 CE

Above:  England in 600 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT AIDAN OF LINDISFARNE (CIRCA 590-AUGUST 31, 651)

Celtic Missionary Bishop

His feast transferred from August 31

mentor of

CAELIN (600S)

Celtic Priest

brother of

SAINT CEDD OF LASTINGHAM (CIRCA 620-OCTOBER 26, 664)

Celtic and Roman Catholic Priest, Bishop of Essex, and Abbot of Lastingham

His feast transferred from October 26

brother of

SAINT CYNIBIL OF LASTINGHAM (CIRCA 622-664)

Celtic and Roman Catholic Priest and Monk

His feast = March 2

brother of

SAINT CHAD (A.K.A. CEADDA) OF MERCIA (DIED MARCH 2, 672)

Celtic and Roman Catholic Priest, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of York/the Northumbrians and of Lichfield/the Mercians and the Lindsey People

His feast day = March 2

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SAINT VITALIAN (DIED JANUARY 27, 672)

Bishop of Rome

His feast transferred from January 27

consecrated 

THEODORE OF TARSUS (CIRCA 602-SEPTEMBER 19, 690)

Roman Catholic Monk and Archbishop of Canterbury

His feast transferred from September 19

worked with

SAINT ADRIAN (A.K.A. HADRIAN) OF CANTERBURY (DIED JANUARY 9, 710)

Roman Catholic Abbot of Ss. Peter and Paul’s, Canterbury

His feast transferred from January 9

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SAINT CUTHBERT OF LINDISFARNE (CIRCA 635-MARCH 20, 687)

Celtic and Roman Catholic Monk, Hermit, Priest, and Bishop of Lindisfarne

His feast transferred from March 20

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INTRODUCTION

Preparation for this post began with one name–St. Chad of Mercia.  As I took notes and followed leads, the number of saints, canonized and otherwise, increased to nine.  I could have gone beyond that, but (A) I had already written about some of the other related saints, and (B) I chose to draw the proverbial line somewhere.  I also thought seriously about covering the material in more than one post, but I decided that writing just one post would maintain the unity of the narrative, with its overlapping lives of saints.  I therefore invite you, O reader, to follow the proverbial bouncing ball and to draw inspiration from the lives of great men of God as you learn about them.

SAINT AIDAN OF LINDISFARNE (CIRCA 590-AUGUST 31, 651)

St. Aidan of Lindisfarne

Above:  St. Aidan of Lindisfarne

Image in the Public Domain

Augustine was the Apostle of Kent, but Aidan was the Apostle of the English.

–Joseph Lightfoot (1828-1889), Anglican Bishop of Durham (1879-1889)

The best saint with whom to begin the narrative is St. Aidan of Lindisfarne.  The historical record contains little information about his early life.  It does tell us that he was Irish, ascetic, and, from an early age, a monk at Iona.

St. Aidan belonged to the Celtic Church, which preceded the Roman Catholic Church in the British Isles for centuries and existed alongside it for decades until the Synod of Whitby (664).  St. Oswald, the King of Northumbria from 634 to 641/642, was a devout Christian ruler, but a large proportion of his subjects consisted of pagans.  He contacted the great abbey at Iona and requested missionaries.  The first missionary bishop Iona sent was one Corman, who employed harsh tactics, alienated many people, failed thoroughly, and declared that converting the people was impossible.  Iona recalled him and replaced him with St. Aidan in 635.  St. Aidan, as the first Bishop of Lindisfarne (635-651), with the seat of his see at Bamburgh, used gentle tactics of evangelism.  He and his fellow missionaries converted many people, founded many churches, and built schools and monasteries.  He undertook many missionary journeys in Great Britain.  St. Aidan died at Bamburgh on August 31, 651, after returning from one such journey.

FOUR HOLY BROTHERS:  CAELIN, SAINT CEDD OF LASTINGHAM, SAINT CYNIBIL OF LASTINGHAM, AND SAINT CHAD OF MERCIA

St. Aidan taught four Northumbrian brothers at Lindisfarne.  They were Caelin (600s), St. Cedd of Lastingham (circa 620-October 26, 664), St. Cynibil of Lastingham (622-664), and St. Chad of Mercia (died March 2, 672).  These brothers continued their studies under St. Egbert of Lindisfarne (circa 639-729) in Ireland and became priests in the Celtic Church.

St. Cedd

Above:  St. Cedd of Lastingham

Image in the Public Domain

St. Aidan’s successor as Bishop of Lindisfarne was St. Finan of Lindisfarne (in office 651-661).  In 653 Bishop St. Finan sent four priests, including St. Cedd, to engage in missionary work in Northumbria.  The efforts proved successful, leading to the conversion of many people and the building of churches and monasteries.  In 654 St. Finan consecrated St. Cedd as the Bishop of Essex, with the seat of the see at London.  Four years later St. Cedd expanded his portfolio by founding the abbey at Lastingham and becoming the abbot thereof.

St. Cedd’s three brothers assisted in this founding.  Caelin, a court chaplain, arranged for the royal donation of land.  St. Cedd started a forty-day-long fast to purify the site of the monastery prior to construction.  He held up well until the twenty-ninth day.  St. Cynibil took up the fast on the thirtieth day.  St. Cedd recalled his other brother, St. Chad, from Ireland to help with the founding also.

St. Cynibil lived as a monk at Lastingham until 664, when he died of plague.

Ss. Cedd and Chad attended the Synod of Whitby (664) and accepted its result.  Rome and its customs were supreme.  St. Cedd died of plague on October 26, 664, during a visit to the monastery at Lastingham.  St. Chad succeeded him as abbot.

That year St. Chad became the Bishop of the Northumbrians, with his seat at York.  There was already a bishop-designate, St. Wilfrid (lived 634-709), but, for political reasons, King Oswiu of Northumbria (reigned 642-670) chose St. Chad.  St. Wilfrid, ordained in France, arrived to find a rival claimant to his see.  The resolution of this dispute fell to the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus.

SAINT VITALIAN, BISHOP OF ROME (DIED JANUARY 27, 672), AND THEODORE OF TARSUS (CIRCA 602-SEPTEMBER 19, 690)

St. Vitalian

Above:  St. Vitalian

Image in the Public Domain

Historical records tell us little regarding the early life of St. Vitalian.  We do know that his birthplace was Segni, near Rome, and that his father’s name was Anastasius.  Those records are mostly silent regarding the saint’s life prior to becoming the Pope.

St. Vitalian’s papacy started on July 30, 657, and ended with his death on January 27, 672.  His predecessor was St. Eugene I (reigned 654-657), a man with a conciliatory spirit, especially regarding the Eastern Roman Empire and the Patriarchate of Constantinople.  St. Vitalian succeeded where St. Eugene I could not; he restored good relations between the Holy See and Constantinople.  Later during his papacy St. Vitalian found an opening (due to internal politics in Constantinople) to insist on what was not previously politically feasible:  an unambiguous statement that Jesus had two wills–not one or three.  Closer to home, St. Vitalian established the singing school at the Lateran to train singers for the new, more elaborate papal rites.

St. Vitalian sought to fill the vacant See of Canterbury.  Deusdedit (reigned 655-664) had died.  The see remained vacant for four years.  Twice St. Vitalian asked St. Adrian (of Canterbury), who declined, claiming to be unworthy.  St. Adrian, a native of northern Africa, had become the Abbot of Narida, Naples, at a young age.  He was indeed an accomplished, capable, and humble man.  Wighard, Archbishop-designate from 666, died of plague in 667.

Theodore of Tarsus

Above:  Theodore of Tarsus

Image in the Public Domain

Finally the Holy Father found his man in Theodore of Tarsus (circa 602-690).  Theodore was a native of Tarsus, Cilicia, Asia Minor, the hometown of St. Paul the Apostle.  He was also a learned monk who had fled his home region because of Islamic conquests in the Eastern Roman Empire.  In 667 Theodore lived in an Eastern Rite monastic community at Rome.  He was also in the sixties.  Theodore had many miles to go before he slept, however.  On March 26, 668, at Rome, St. Vitalian consecrated him the Archbishop of Canterbury.  The Pope sent St. Adrian (of Canterbury) and St. Benedict Biscop with him to England.  These three men–Theodore of Tarsus, St. Adrian of Canterbury, and St. Benedict Biscop–left positive and long-term legacies in England.

THEODORE OF TARSUS, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY (668-690)

England in 700 CE

Above:  England in 700 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

Theodore of Tarsus was among the most important Archbishops of Canterbury.  He arrived in England in May 669 to find a divided Church, for the Synod of Whitby (664) by which the Roman Catholic Church took over the Celtic Church, remained controversial.  Kingdoms divided the island further.  He had much work to do to create a sense of unity.

Immediately the Archbishop addressed the dispute regarding Ss. Chad and Wilfrid.  He deposed St. Chad, declared his consecration irregular and therefore null, and installed St. Wilfrid.  St. Chad took this well and with humility, declaring that he had never thought himself worthy of the office anyway.  Then he returned to the abbey at Lastingham.  This humility impressed Theodore, who re-consecrated him and made him the Bishop of the Mercians and the Lindsey People, with the seat of the see at York.  From 669 to 672 St. Chad fulfilled his duties faithfully.  He died of plague at Lichfield on March 2, 672.  Among his eventual successors was St. Wilfrid, who served in the post from 691 to 709.

Theodore of Tarsus left his mark on the English Church.  He filled vacant sees, created new dioceses, and reorganized the Church.  Along the way he became a party to disputes, including one with St. Wilfrid, whose Northumbrian diocese he divided.  The Archbishop, being a human being, could never please all of the people all of the time, but he did win widespread respect.  The Venerable Bede wrote that Theodore was “the first archbishop whom all the English obeyed.”  Theodore died at Canterbury on September 19, 690.  He was 88 years old.

SAINT ADRIAN OF CANTERBURY IN ENGLAND

Gaul in 628 C.E.

Above:  Gaul in 628 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

Theodore of Tarsus collaborated with St. Adrian of Canterbury (died January 9, 710).  St. Adrian, whom some sources list as St. Hadrian, arrived in England in 671.  Ebroin, the perfidious Mayor of the Palace in Neustria, in Merovingian France, detained St. Adrian for about two years.  The Mayor of the Palace claimed that the saint was on a secret mission for the Eastern Roman Emperor Constans II (reigned 641-668).  Of course our saint was not on any such mission.  Furthermore, Ebroin’s timing was bad, even considering the fact that news traveled more slowly in the 600s than it does in 2015.  Constans II died under suspicious circumstances on July 15, 668.  But who needs facts, right?  Eventually Ebroin released St. Adrian.

The Archbishop of Canterbury appointed St. Adrian the Abbot of Ss. Peter and Paul’s, Canterbury, in 671, succeeding St. Benedict Biscop.  St. Adrian advised and assisted Theodore of Tarsus in bringing liturgical unity to the English Church.  The abbot, a well-educated man, made the School of Canterbury the center of learning in England and established other institutions of learning in England.  From these schools emerged scholars and missionaries who renewed church life in England, France, and Germany.

SAINT CUTHBERT OF LINDISFARNE (CIRCA 635-687)

St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne also helped to bring peace to the English Church after the Synod of Whitby (664).  He was probably a native of the environs of Melrose, for, as a young person, he tended sheep near the monastery there.  In 651, when fifteen or sixteen years old, St. Cuthbert reported a vision upon the event of the death of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne.  The young man claimed to have seen angels carrying St. Aidan’s soul to Heaven.  This experience prompted St. Cuthbert to join the monastery at Melrose that year.  There he remained until 664 when St. Eata (died October 26, 686), the Abbot of Melrose from 651 to 678 (and a protegé of St. Aidan), sent St. Cuthbert to Lindisfarne to introduce Roman Catholic customs there.  He also evangelized effectively and demonstrated a strong devotion to the Mass, for he could not celebrate it without tears.  In 676, with permission from the Abbot of Lindisfarne, St. Cuthbert became a hermit and began to deepen his contemplative life.  His first hermitage was the site known today as St. Cuthbert’s Cave.  St. Cuthbert’s’ long-term hermitage was a site on Farne Island, however.

Circumstances removed St. Cuthbert from Farne Island briefly.  In 686 Church officials persuaded him to succeed St. Eata (Bishop of Lindisfarne from 678 to 685 then Bishop of Hexham from 685 to 686) as Bishop of Lindisfarne.  St. Cuthbert’s episcopate was brief.  At Christmas 686 he, knowing that he was dying, resigned and returned to Farne Island.  He died there on March 20, 687.

CONCLUSION

The legacies of these nine saints (not all of them canonized) echo down the corridors of time.  These were foundational figures.  I, as a Christian and, more specifically, an Episcopalian, stand on their shoulders.  These men built up and renewed the Church, to which I belong.

The work of building up and renewing the Church is never finished.  This is especially true in the global West, where much of Christianity is declining and pockets of it are falling into frightened fundamentalism and hateful phobias targeted at people.  Between the extremes of the right (where too much is literal and fixed) and the left (where too much is metaphorical and relative) one finds a middle way of truth and of love for God without denying tolerance, intellectualism, and science.  That broad path of faithful union of healthy spirituality with secular knowledge and respect for the dignity of those who are different also exists in Christian tradition.  It is the best way forward for the Church.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 9, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORG FRIEDRICH HELLSTROM, DUTCH-GERMAN MORAVIAN MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, AND EDUCATOR

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Almighty God, we praise you, for your servants

St. Aidan of Lindisfarne,

Caelin,

St. Cedd of Lastingham,

St. Cynibil of Lastingham,

St. Chad of Mercia,

St. Vitalian,

St. Adrian of Canterbury,

Theodore of Tarsus, and

St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church,

and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of St. Benedict Biscop (January 12)   2 comments

England 700 CE

Above:  England in 700 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

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ST. BENEDICT BISCOP (CIRCA 628-JANUARY 12, 688/689)

Roman Catholic Abbot of Wearmouth

As I read and took notes about the life of St. Benedict Biscop I became increasingly impressed.  I also decided that he was among my kindred spirits separated from me by time and space.  His habit of accumulating a relatively large library spanning a variety of subjects yet focused on service books confirmed that conclusion.

January 12 seems to be an auspicious date for saints from Northumbria.  In the previous post I wrote about St. Aelred of Hexham (circa 1109/1110-1167), an influential abbot and writer.  Now I write about St. Benedict Biscop (circa 628-689/690), also an influential abbot and scholar.

Biscop Baducing came from Northumbrian nobility.  For a time he was a warrior of King Oswiu of Bernicia (reigned 642-670).  Our saint, who traveled to Rome five times (often in part to purchase books), was a friend of St. Wilfrid, Bishop of York (lived 634-709), a predecessor of St. Wilfrid of Ripon (died circa 744), also Bishop of York.  (Some sources identify the first St. Wilfrid as St. Wilfrid the Elder and the second St. Wilfrid, the one from Ripon, as St. Wilfrid the Younger.)  In 665, after returning from his second journey to Rome, Biscop settled on the island of Lerins, where he studied to become a monk for two years then took vows and a new name–Benedict.

Thus St. Benedict Biscop found his calling and pursued it.  In 668 and 669 he accompanied St. Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury from 668 to 690, from Rome to England.  Upon their arrival the Archbishop appointed our saint the Abbot of Sts. Peter and Paul’s, Canterbury, a post he held for two years.  In 674 King Ecgfirth of Northumbria (reigned 670-685) granted St. Benedict Biscop land on which to build a monastery–St. Peter’s, Monkwearmouth.  Our saint traveled in Europe to find the masons to erect the structures in the Pre-Romanesque style.  He also made his final journey to Rome in 679 and returned with books, relics, glaziers, masons, and a papal grant of special privileges for the monastery.  Ecgfirth, impressed, granted more land adjacent to St. Peter’s, Monkwearmouth, in 1182.  Thus St. Paul’s, Jarrow, came to exist.  The priory of St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s became a center of learning, due primarily to its library of almost 300 books–an impressive number for the time and place.  (There were no printing presses in Europe yet, although the Chinese had invented one by that time.)  That library proved invaluable to St. Bede of Jarrow, or the Venerable Bede (circa 673-735), a great historian.

St. Benedict Biscop, who did much to influence the world for the better, spent his last two years in pain and confined to his bed.  He died on January 12, 689 or 690, but his legacy has never ceased to live.  The legacies of teachers survive in their students and those whom the students influence.  To this day the writings of St. Bede remain in print, awaiting more readers.  They would not exist without the efforts of St. Benedict Biscop.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 5, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MOTHER TERESA OF CALCUTTA, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN

THE FEAST OF AARON ROBARTS WOLFE, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM MORTON REYNOLDS, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, EDUCATOR, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [St. Benedict Biscop 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.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

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

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Feast of Sts. Bosa of York, John of Beverley, Wilfrid the Younger, and Acca of Hexham (April 29)   3 comments

Above:  England in 700

SAINT BOSA OF YORK (DIED CIRCA 705)

Roman Catholic Bishop of York

His feast transferred from March 9

preceded

SAINT JOHN OF BEVERLEY (DIED 721)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham then of York

His feast transferred from October 12

preceded

SAINT WILFRID THE YOUNGER (DIED CIRCA 744)

Roman Catholic Bishop of York

His feast = April 29

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SAINT ACCA OF HEXHAM (660-742)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham

His feast transferred from October 20

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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

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 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.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 718

Feast of Sts. Colman of Lindisfarne, Agilbert, and Wilfrid (February 18)   5 comments

Above:  England in 600 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT COLMAN OF LINDISFARNE (CIRCA 605-676)

Celtic Bishop of Lindisfarne

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SAINT AGILBERT (DIED CIRCA 685)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Dorcester and Bishop of Paris

His feast transferred from October 11

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SAINT WILFRID (634-709)

Roman Catholic Bishop of York, Bishop of Lichfield, and Bishop of Hexham

His feast transferred from October 12

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A calendar of saints ought to reflect the breadth and width of Christian traditions.  Consider the Roman Catholic calendar, for example:  it contains feasts for Sts. Colman of Lindisfarne, Agilbert, and Wilfred.  The first disagreed strongly with the other two.  The short version of their common story follows.

St. Colman of Lindisfarne, Irish-born, entered Iona monastery under St. Columba He became the third Bishop of Lindisfarne.  In that capacity St. Colman attended the Synod of Whiby (664), where he argued for Celtic practices which contradicted Roman Catholic ones.  He lost that argument, resigned as bishop, and founded a new monastery (on the island of Inishbofin) for English and Irish monks who agreed with him.  When disputes erupted between the English and Irish monks, St. Colman founded a second monastery and served as abbot of both.

St. Agilbert, a Frank, studied at a West Saxon monastery before becoming a missionary bishop.  He ordained St. Wilfrid.  He and St. Wilfrid argued for the Roman practices at the Synod of Whitby.  St. Agilbert returned to France, becoming Bishop of Paris in 668, after King Cuenwald of the West Saxons divided his diocese.  A few years later, St. Agilbert declined the king’s invitation to return to England.  The saint sent his nephew instead.

St. Wilfrid, educated at Lindisfarne and Canterbury, became an advocate of Roman practices over Celtic ones.  He left for the European continent in 654, living alternatively in Rome and Lyons for a few years.  St. Wilfrid became abbot at Ripon in 660, where he introduced the Rule of St. Benedict and became a leader in replacing Celtic rites and practices with Roman ones.  St. Wilfrid, on the winning side at the Synod of Whitby (664), became Bishop of York.  Ordained by non-schismatic bishops in France in 666, St. Wilfrid returned to England to find that one St. Chad was the new Bishop of York.  St. Wilfrid chose not to contest this fact; he returned to Ripon instead.  St. Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, made St. Wilfrid the Bishop of York in 669.  Eight years later, in 677, St. Wilfrid appealed to Rome because King Egfrid had divided the Diocese of York and deposed him.  Rome overruled the king in 680, at which point the king imprisoned St. Wilfrid for nine months.  The liberated bishop went to Sussex, where he converted almost everyone and founded a monastery.  King Aldfrid, Egfrid’s successor, recalled St. Wilfrid to Ripon in 686 yet exiled him five years later. St. Wilfrid filled the vacant See of Lichfield.  In 703, he refused an order from Berhtwald, Archbishop of Canterbury, to resign as Bishop of Lichfield and return to Ripon.  Rome upheld the bishop.  In 705, after Aldfrid died, St. Wilfrid became Bishop of Hexham.  He died at St. Andrew’s Monastery in Oundle, Northhamptonshire, during a visitation.

Christians will disagree, of course.  Yet this fact need not override our unity in Christ.  These three men served Christ, each in his own way.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 6, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICHOLAS OF MYRA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF PHILIP BERRIGAN, SOCIAL ACTIVIST

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Almighty God,

you raised up faithful bishops of your church,

including your servants

Saint Colman of Lindisfarne,

Saint Agilbert,

and Saint Wilfrid.

May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith,

so that we may serve and confess your name before the world,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Revised on December 2, 2016

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