Friday, 12 October 2007

Saint Wilfrid.

Wilfrid (634-709) is one of England’s greatest and most controversial Saints. He directly influenced the move away from Celtic to the more orderly Roman church practices and is best known for championing and winning the case for the Roman, as opposed to the Celtic method of calculating the date of Easter at the famous Synod of Whitby in 664 held in Whitby Abbey under the guidance of Saint Hilds, patron saint of my Church. He became Bishop of York with a See covering the whole of Northumbria, built magnificent stone churches at Ripon and Hexham and completed and restored the stone church at York started by the newly converted king Edwin. He acquired vast landholdings and established monasteries in Northumbria, Mercia, Sussex and the Isle of Wight and converted Sussex, the last vestige of paganism, to Christianity. He was the confidant of kings and rulers across Europe but made many powerful enemies and was twice banished from Northumbria. He made three journeys on foot and horseback through Europe to Rome and was not afraid to seek papal jurisdiction over both crown and church where he felt badly treated. His life was threatened many times being shipwrecked and nearly killed by natives off the coast of Sussex, which is dangerously close to Essex, imprisoned in Northumbria by the king and twice nearly murdered whilst travelling abroad.