continue to work on his writings
Sometimes called Bede the Venerable, this Doctor of the Church was born near the monastery of Wearmouth in the year 673AD.
As a youth he entered the monastery and stayed there all his life. He was ordained a priest and even in his lifetime he renowned for his holiness. The Venerable Bede was a scholar of note and wrote the Ecclesiastical History of England.
This work is important because it records the setting up of the church in England shortly after the arrival of Augustine of Canterbury in about AD600. Augustine was sent by Pope Gregory the Great to evangelise England.
A couple of things that I have read in the Venerable Bede’s work have fascinated me.
The first is the writing on the Magnificat and its use in evening prayer, ‘from ancient times’ says Bede. This means that even then the evening prayer of the church had more than a passing resemblance to the present day.
The second is his martyrology or list of feasts. In it the feasts from Christmas Day to New Year are the same as they are today, and St Patrick’s Day is already given as March 17th. As an Irishman this is important to me!
The Venerable Bede’s tomb is at Durham Cathedral, an old Augustinian Monastery which was taken over by the Church of England at the time of the Reformation. It is well worth a visit.
The Office of Readings today for the feast contains a reading from the letter of St Cuthbert on the death of the Venerable Bede. It tells how even on his deathbed the saint was still dictating to his secretaries. The story is well worth reading and you can find it on Universalis.com.