St. Aidan of Lindisfarne (Feast: August 31)
Born in Ireland, Aidan studied under St. Senan of Iniscathay on Scattery Island. He was made Bishop of Clogher, but resigned his bishopric to become a monk on Iona.
This rugged and storm-swept island in the Scottish seas became renowned throughout Europe as the greatest center of Irish monasticism. The saints connected with Iona are legendary and read like a veritable litany.
Aidan’s virtues, however, outshone the remoteness of his seclusion and he was again selected for an episcopal see, this time for that of Lindisfarne, an island some two miles off the coast of Northumberland.
The island mission was begun at the request of King Oswald, who had been educated by the Irish monk, and was then residing on the mainland at the royal fortress of Bamborough.
Aidan, the monk-bishop from the island of Iona, established his see on the island of Lindisfarne in 635 and it in turn became the center of great missionary activity and the religious capital of Northumbria.
In fact, Lindisfarne so closely resembled the island of Iona, from whence its first bishop had come, and gained for itself so sacred a reputation, that it came to be known as the Iona of England, or Holy Isle.
Having established his episcopal see, Aidan also founded a monastic community on the island. From this monastery were founded all the churches between Edinburgh and the Humber, as well as several others in the Midlands and in the country of East Anglia.
In time, Aidan came to be regarded as the Apostle of Northumbria and the influence of his successors was considerable.
St. Bede is lavish in his praise of the holy bishop’s rule and of the monks who served under him, saying of St. Aidan “he was a pontiff inspired with a passionate love of virtue, but at the same time full of a surpassing mildness and gentleness.”
Aidan died a Bamborough, on the mainland, on the last day of August in the year 651. His remains were taken with great reverence to Lindisfarne to be buried among the monks of the monastery he had founded.
Image: King Oswald of Northumbria translates the sermon of Aidan into the Anglo-Saxon language, by A.M. von Ow, 1778
DAILY QUOTE for May 18, 2021
As the century began anew, so did Catherine’s life. Catherine was a young woman possessing great beauty.