4th September St. Cuthbert

Today was the feast of the translation of the relics of St. Cuthbert when they moved his body to Durham from Lindisfarne in fear of the Vikings. But in the diocese this has now become his feast day, and he is one of the patrons of the diocese along with Our Lady. Cuthbert was already famous in his own lifetime as a monk, abbot and bishop based in Lindisfarne for much of his life. He travelled across the north and preached in Cumbria too where he became a great friend of S. Herbert. His shrine in Durham was one of the great centres of pilgrimage, and though closed at the Reformation and his body moved, it was reinstated in the 19th century. His significance for us was in giving Christianity a secure base in the north. In the 7th century when he lived, he with St. Hilda and others brought about a resolution between Celtic Christianity and Rome, not one all approved of, but it established the Church firmly. His preaching and care for people, his holy life which was much influenced by Celtic Christianity, and his last years were lived as a hermit on an island, and that form of monasticism you find across Ireland and Scotland, and can still see the oratories on the west coast of Ireland, was a powerful witness to his faith. Cuthbert was born in Dunbar, then a part of Northumbria. It is good to remember that the borders have always been fluid. (Grasmere, as you will find on some of its signs, was never included in the Doomsday Book as it was then a part of a Scottish Kingdom.) It is a good day to pray for the north of the country, and its many needs as well as its blessings.

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