Saint Aidan

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Aidan, St (d. 651). First abbot of Lindisfarne, site of his see (634–51). Sent from Iona, replacing a severer colleague, to work closely with King Oswald in restoring Christianity in Northumbria, Aidan's legacy was profound: Lindisfarne, and his royal pupil Hilda were stars in the later 7th-cent. firmament. Aidan's rejection of worldly behaviour and elevated associations partly explains the eclipse of his cult by Cuthbert's and his relative obscurity. We depend on Bede, in whose portrait, combining contemplation, industry in evangelization (royal estates providing his bases for preaching tours), study, sternness, asceticism, moderation, humility, and discretion, he embodies the episcopal ideals of Pope Gregory I and is a model for Bede's slothful contemporaries. His only defect was failure to accept the Roman Easter. Here Bede may have been defending Lindisfarne against Wilfrid's negative assessment of its traditions as expounded, apparently, at the Synod of Whitby. Some of Aidan's relics were taken from Lindisfarne to Ireland by Colman, and his cult was revived at Glastonbury in the 10th cent.

A. E. Redgate

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Aidan, St (d. 651). Christian apostle to Northumbria. He was a monk of Iona brought to Lindisfarne as bishop by King Oswald to evangelize his territory. His gentle commitment and personal asceticism made his many missionary journeys successful. He educated a small group of boys to be church leaders, among them St Chad. Feast day, 31 Aug.

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Aidan, St (d. ad 651), Irish missionary. While a monk in the monastery at Iona he set out to Christianize Northumbria, founding a church and monastery at Lindisfarne in 635 and becoming its first bishop. His feast day is 31 August.