Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Remembering Saint Cuthbert

Okay, okay, I know I've been doing female saints, but I really like Cuthbert's story. There's also a neat Web site for the Parish Church of St. Cuthbert in Edinburgh (Church of Scotland) I found while pulling up information on the Celts.
I like the message in the collect for Cuthbert -- its message serves the Episcopal Church well.

The Collect
Almighty God, who called Cuthbert from following the flock to be a
shepherd of your people: Mercifully grant that, as he sought in
dangerous and remote places those who had erred and strayed from
your ways, so we may seek the indifferent and the lost, and lead
them back to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

James Kiefer's bio:


Cuthbert was born in Northumbria in northern England about 625.
One night, while tending a herd of sheep, he saw lights in the sky
which he interpreted as a soul being escorted heavenward by a band
of angels. Later, he learned that Aidan of Lindisfarne (31 August
651) had died that night, and he resolved to enter the monastic
life. He was a monk at Melrose Abbey from 651 to 664, and when the
Abbot, Eata, became abbot and bishop at Lindisfarne, Cuthbert
accompanied him and was Prior there until 676. Although he had
been brought up in the Celtic customs, he accepted the decrees of
the Synod of Whitby in 663, which committed the English Church to
following instead the Roman customs that had been introduced into
Canterbury by Augustine, and so he helped to minimize contention
over the decision. Although his real preference was for the
solitary life of a hermit, he recognized a duty to minister to the
needs of the people about him. Year after year he made long
journeys, on horseback and on foot, to Durham and throughout
Northumbria, and in the regions of Berwick and Galloway, preaching
to the scattered population in remote and sparsely settled areas,
instructing them in the faith and encouraging them in the practice
of it, urging them in times of sickness not to rely on charms or
amulets, but to pray to God and put their trust in His mercy and
love. Like Francis of Assisi, he had a remarkable rapport with
animals, both wild and domestic.

Theodore, the Archbishop of Canterbury, made Cuthbert Bishop of
Hexham, but he was a solitary by nature, and promptly exchanged
bishoprics with Eata so as to remain at Lindisfarne. After two
years, he retired to the neighboring island of Farne as a hermit,
and died there the following year.

The Parish Church of St. Cuthbert adds this to the story:

He preached in Galloway, giving his name to the largest county, Kirk-Cuthbert, now known as Kirkcudbright. He was a missionary as well as a monk and won many for Christ through his conversations rather than by preaching.

Cuthbert was reputed to have the gift of healing and so, wherever he went, people would flock to him in scenes reminiscent of the Gospel Ministry of Jesus.Bede tells us that no one took home with them the burden that they came with.

Tradition has it that, on his journeys, Cuthbert stopped by the shores of the Nor' Loch just below Edinburgh Castle and built a little hut there.If this is so, the present day church of St Cuthbert stands on the same site as his early resting place.

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