Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne

St. Aidan of Lindisfarne is our patron saint.

From For All the Saints, 264:

Aidan was an Irish monk who restored Christianity in the war-ravaged kingdom of Northumbria early in the seventh century.

In the year 631 pagan invaders wrecked all the churches in this kingdom, which covered much of northeastern England. Its king asked the Irish monks at Iona for help in restoring Christianity among his people. First they sent a bishop who regarded his Anglo-Saxon flock as obstinate and uncivilized; he soon became disgruntled and returned to Iona. Then the monks chose Aidan, had him consecrated bishop, and sent him to Northumbria.

Aidan established a monastery on an island called Lindisfarne. This allowed him to come and go among the people as he wished. As the Venerable Bede later said of him: “Aidan used to travel everywhere on foot ... in order that, as he walked along, whenever he saw people, whether rich or poor, he might at once approach them and, if they were unbelievers, invite them to accept the mystery of the faith; or, if they were believers, that he might strengthen them in the faith, urging them by word and deed to practise almsgiving and good works.” As he journeyed, Aidan founded monasteries and saw to the building of churches; he taught the people how to use fasting and meditation on the Scriptures to strengthen their faith; and he obtained freedom for children who were held as slaves. Finally, because of his obvious holiness and care for the poor, he was able to bear effective witness against the rich and powerful when they exploited or oppressed their neighbours.

Aidan spent just over a decade in mission-work, then retired from Lindisfarne to a much smaller island nearby in order to give himself entirely to prayer and contemplation. There he died in the year 651, beloved by God and by the people of Northumbria.

We acknowledge that Jesus, the Lord of all, has called His Church to be a Church of all nations. With joy and in humility we gather on Treaty 4 Territory, the traditional lands of the Cree, Ojibwe, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota, Nakoda, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.