Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (634-687)

Cuthbert, Lindisfarne, Saints and Relics

St.Cuthbert died on the Inner Farne island and was buried on Lindisfarne. People came to pray at the grave and then miracles of healing were claimed. To the monks of Lindisfarne this was a clear sign that Cuthbert was now a saint and they, as the saint's community, should declare this to the world.

In those days people felt it important, when they prayed for help or healing, to be as close as possible to a saint's relics. And so, if a community made relics available that was equivalent to a declaration of sainthood. The monks of Lindisfarne determined to do this for Cuthbert.

They decided to allow 11 years for his body to become a skeleton and then 'elevate' his remains on the anniversary of this death (20th March 698). We believe that during these years the beautiful manuscript known as 'The Lindisfarne Gospels' was made, to be used for the first time at the great ceremony of the Elevation. The declaration of Cuthbert's sainthood was to be a day of joy and thanksgiving. It turned out to be also a day of surprise, even shock, for when they opened the coffin they found no skeleton but a complete and undecayed body. That was a sign of very great sainthood indeed.

Pilgrims began to flock to the shrine. The ordinary life of the monastery continued for almost another century until, on 8th June 793, the Vikings came. The monks were totally unprepared; some were killed; some younger ones and boys were taken away to be sold as slaves; gold and silver was taken and the monastery partly burned down. After that the monastery lived under threat and it seems that in the 9th century there was a gradual movement of goods and buildings to the near mainland.

The traditional date for the final abandonment of Lindisfarne is 875ad..

The body of St.Cuthbert, together with other relics and treasures which had survived the Viking attack were carried by the monks and villagers onto the mainland.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Desert Wisdom (11)

Some old men went to Abba Poemen and asked, "If we see brothers sleeping during the synaxis [common prayer], should we wake them?" Abba Poemen answered, "If I see my brother sleeping, I will put his head on my knees and let him rest." Then one old man spoke up, "And how do you explain yourself before God?" Abba Poemen replied, "I say to God: You have said, "First take the beam out of your own eye and then you will be able to remove the splinter from the eye of your brother."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St Patrick (389-460 AD)

Prayer for the faithful attributed to St Patrick

May the Strength of God guide us.
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Angels of God guard us.
- Against the snares of the evil one.

May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!

May Thy Grace, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen. 

graphic: modern Icon of St Patrick

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday (4)

O my all-merciful God and Lord,
Jesus Christ, full of pity:
Through Your great love You came down
and became incarnate in order to save everyone.
O Savior, I ask You to save me by Your grace!
If You save anyone because of their works,
that would not be grace but only reward of duty,
but You are compassionate and full of mercy!
You said, O my Christ,
"Whoever believes in Me shall live and never die."
If then, faith in You saves the lost, then save me,
O my God and Creator, for I believe.
Let faith and not my unworthy works be counted to me, O my God,
for You will find no works which could account me righteous.
O Lord, from now on let me love You as intensely as I have loved sin,
and work for You as hard as I once worked for the evil one.
I promise that I will work to do Your will,
my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, all the days of my life and forever more.

Prayer of St. John Chrysostom

Sunday, March 6, 2011

the Lords Prayer in Welsh

The Lord's Prayer


Ein Tad yn y nefoedd,
sancteiddier dy enw;
deled dy deyrnas;
gwneler dy ewyllys,
ar y ddaear fel yn y nef.
Dyro inni heddiw ein bara beunyddiol,
a maddau inni ein troseddau,
fel yr ym ni wedi maddau i'r rhai a droseddodd yn ein herbyn;
a phaid รข'n dwyn i brawf,
ond gwared ni rhag yr Un drwg.
Oherwydd eiddot ti yw'r deyrnas a'r gallu a'r gogoniant am byth.


(The 1988 Welsh Bible)

Graphic: 'Ein Tad': The Lord's Prayer in Welsh by Vera Law, in ink and gold leaf cir.1923

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

David of Wales (500-589)

When  the Pagan Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries  many British  Christians fled to the hill country of Wales for refuge. A christian life style devoted to learning asceticsim and missionary zeal sprang up. Since there were no cities the centers of culture were the monastic communities. Most abbots were bishops as well.  These abbot/bishops had no clear territory and simply traveled as required. Dewi (David) was the founder, abbot and bishop of the Monastery of Menevia in Pembrokeshire. He was greatly responsible for the spread of Christianity in Wales. His community was sought out  by scholars from Ireland and else where. He is considered the apostle of Wales in the same way that Patrick is the apostle of Ireland. Davids tomb is in St Davids cathedral on the site of ancient Mynynw now called Ty-Dewi or the House of David.

see other Living Water David of Wales pages

graphic: St David's Cathedral Menevia in Pembrokeshire