Saint Finán of Lindisfarne, Bishop

February 17

Today is the feast day of Saint Finan (Fionán) .  Ora pro nobis.

Saint Finan was Irish by birth and became a monk of Iona. (2)

The first monk sent from Iona, to replace the noble St. Aidan as Bishop of Lindisfarne in AD 651, was the Irishman, St. Finan. His episcopate was prosperous and followed that of his predecesor in both policy and character. It lasted ten years and was not interrupted by any melancholy event, such as those which had troubled the life of Aidan, by taking, from him, his two Royal friends. St. Finan always lived on good terms and worked in close co-operation with King Oswiu of Northumbria; and, before he died, he had the honour of introducing, to the Church, the heads of the two other great Saxon kingdoms. For Sigebert, King of Essex and Peada, King of the Middle Angles, both came to seek baptism at the gates of Lindisfarne. This made way for the conversion of their respective provinces, which this holy prelate furnished with proper missionaries.

After some time, he ordained the Scot, Diuma, as Bishop of Middle Anglia, Lindsey & Mercia and St. Cedd as Bishop of Essex. In the island sanctuary of Lindisfarne, St. Finan caused a cathedral to be built, not of stone, like that which Paulinus and Edwin had commenced at York, but, according to the Celtic custom and like the churches built by Columba and his Irish monks, it was made entirely of wood. It was covered with bent, that long rough sea-grass, whose pivot-like roots bind together the sands on the seashore and which is still found in great abundance on the island. (1)

Finán struggled for ten years, supporting his missionaries in their work in the Midlands and East Anglia, and finding his rule at Lindisfarne increasingly threatened.  (2)

He died on 17th February AD 661, was buried in his cathedral and priory church on Lindisfarne and succeeded in his episcopacy by St. Colman. (1)

Research by REGINA Staff


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