12 Jan Saint Benedict Biscop, Abbott
Today is the feast day of Saint Benedict Biscop. Ora pro nobis.
Benedict Biscop was born in 628 into the Northumbrian nobility.
He was raised in the court of the King of England. He served King Oswy and distinguished himself, particularly in the use of arms. The King had chosen him as his personal aide-de-camp and he exercised an important role in the war campaigns of this monarch. Benedict received many awards and proofs of esteem for his valor in combat and fidelity to the King.
When twenty-five years old, he made the first of his five pilgrimages to Rome. After a pilgrimage to Rome, Benedict returned to England and asked permission to leave a career of arms and to enter the religious life.
He entered the Order of St. Benedict and founded numerous monasteries, the most famous being the Monastery of St. Peter at Wearmouth in 674. He also took charge and reformed others where fidelity to the rule had become relaxed. He was a trusted adviser to St. Theodore, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and St. Adrian in their activities in England.
In 671, he made another pilgrimage to Rome. During this and his two succeeding pilgrimages to the city of the Apostles he collected numerous relics, books, and paintings for the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow, the former of which he founded in 674, the latter in 682. He also engaged Abbot John, Arch-cantor of St. Peter’s in Rome, to teach Roman chant at these monasteries. Benedict was the first to introduce into England the building of stone churches and the art of making glass windows.
To regularize the religious ceremonies, he wrote a book called On the Celebration of Feasts.
At the end of his life he suffered from a painful paralysis that deprived him the use of his lower limbs and tested his patience greatly. He died in 690.
Image: Image of St. Benedict Biscop carrying St. Peter’s Basilica to Britain, circa 8th Century. (5)
Research by Ed Masters, REGINA Staff