Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A saint for traditionalists - St Benedict Biscop

Today, the Roman Martyrology (and the Ordo of the English Congregation of Benedictines) mentions St Benedict Biscop, a seventh century Anglo-Saxon abbot, one of my favourite saints, one of those responsible for the preservation of Western civilization in the 'dark ages'.

Biscop went to Rome and the famous monastery of Lerins as a young man, and became a Benedictine monk.  He then dedicated himself to the 'Romanization' of the English Church, making six trips to Rome, each time bringing back many books (which he instructed his monks to carefully protect and retain!), relics, statues, icons, fabulous silks, and skilled workers and instructors.

On one of last of these trips, around 680 AD, for example he brought back a monk, Abbot John, to run chant workshops, teaching "the theory and practice of singing and reading aloud, and he put into writing all that was necessary for the proper observance of festivals throughout the year."

He died early on this day in 689, surrounded by his brethren, and was buried in the Church he had founded, surrounded by the treasures that he had collected.

Maybe a patron saint for all those who worked to save what they could from the Church wreckovators, and are now working to restore beauty in the sacred arts?

You can read more about the saint over at my other blog.

No comments: