Monday, May 26, 2008

Bede ( 673? - 735)

Saint Bede also know as the Venerable Bede, was a Benedictine monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth. He is well known as an author and scholar, and his most famous work, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People gained him the title "The father of English history".

His life was externally uneventful. Apparently he travelled little, probably never outside Northumbria. He spent his life primarily occupied with monastic duties and his writing.

A story goes that when Bede was about twelve, a plague visited Jarrow and wiped out all the monks except for him and Abbot Ceolfrith. Piously, the two survivors trained lay brethren to chant in order that the monastery might continue its sung devotion to God. This piety is characteristic of Bede's life, and is exemplified especially in the story of his death.

A moving contemporary account describes how knowing he was soon to pass, Bede pressed forward with his translation of the Gospel of John. He finished it dictating the last sentence to the boy who was his scribe. He spent much time singing antiphons from the Divine Office especially that from Ascension Day. He died singing ‘Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost’.

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