Benedict Biscop, St.
BENEDICT BISCOP, ST.
Benedictine abbot, known also as Baducing, founder of the joint monasteries of SS. Peter and Paul at Wearmouth and Jarrow; b. c. 628; d. Jan. 12, 690. He was of noble birth, a thane of King Oswiu of Northumbria. In 653 he renounced the world, traveling to Rome to learn more about the Church's teaching and institutions. wil frid of york was his companion as far as Lyons, and thence he traveled alone, returning after some months filled with enthusiasm for Roman institutions, art, and learning. He revisited Rome in 665, later becoming a monk at Lérins; after two years he went back to Rome, just in time to conduct the newly consecrated Abp. Theodore of Canterbury to England. After acting temporarily as abbot of SS. Peter and Paul, Canterbury, he again visited Rome in 671, returning laden with books. Soon afterward he established a monastery at Wearmouth on land given by King Ecgfrith, building a stone church with the assistance of glaziers and masons from Gaul. At the new monastery he introduced the benedictine rule, but with certain modifications. He was back in Rome in 678 with his kinsman Ceolfrith. This time he brought back John, precentor of St. Peter's, to instruct the English in Church music. In 682 he founded the monastery at Jarrow, returning to Rome in 687 to bring back more books and church furnishings. Back in Jarrow, he fell ill and died after a short time. He did much to bring England into contact with western European civilization, while the magnificent library he gathered made Bede's work possible.
Feast: Jan. 12.
Bibliography: bede, Historia ecclesiastica 4.18; 5.19, 24, and Historia abbatum, ed. c. plummer, 2 v. (Oxford 1896). a. m. zimmermann, Kalendarium Benedictinum, (Metten 1933–38) 1:71–75. e. fletcher, Benedict Biscop (Jarrow, Durham 1981). w. levison, England and the Continent in the Eighth Century (Oxford 1946). e. s. duckett, Anglo-Saxon Saints and Scholars (New York 1947).