Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Feast of St Bede the Venerable OSB, Doctor of English History

Today is the feast day of another great saint, St Bede the Venerable. Born around 673, St Bede entered the monastery of Wearmouth in Northumbria as a child oblate (the middle ages had rather different ideas on the notion of vocation than those of today!) under the care of St Benedict Biscop. He moved to the associated monastery of Jarrow while still a boy.

This was a golden age for English monasticism, a period when scholarship flourished, nourished by a confluence of influences including the learning of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury; the determined acquisitiveness of men like Benedict Biscop, who did several monastery crawls on the continent in search of best practice, and came back with an impressive haul of books, relics, stonemasons and glaziers; and in part by the Irish tradition. It was also an age of great English missionaries, such as St Boniface.

St Bede wrote many sermons and commentaries, a number of which are used in the breviary. His most famous work, though, is The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. In it, he speaks of his delight in 'learning, teaching and writing.'

St Bede the Venerable, pray for us.

No comments: