Sunderland, in Tyne and Wear, has adopted a 7th century saint as its patron. The Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Bishop Kevin Dunn, Rt Rev John Pritchard, Anglican Bishop of Jarrow and Canon Stephen Taylor were among faith leaders who attended the ceremony at St Peter's Church, Sunderland on Wednesday. St Benedict is famous for a long list of achievements. He founded both St Peter's at Wearmouth and St Paul's in Jarrow, creating an internationally important centre of faith and learning. He developed the first stone-built church in Northumbria and brought stonemasons and glaziers from France. St Peter's became the birthplace of stained glassmaking in Britain, now celebrated by the nearby National Glass Centre, which supports the exploration, creation and promotion of glass. An epic traveller, he journeyed to Rome six times in his lifetime and was the mentor of the Venerable Bede. It is through his work that St Benedict Biscop's achievements are known. Canon Taylor said: "The adoption of St Benedict as Sunderland's Patron Saint, will stimulate even greater awareness and appreciation of the city's rich cultural heritage. A highlight of the service was the blessing of a special copy of the Codex Amiatinu - an 8th Century Anglo Saxon Bible written by scribes in Jarrow and Wearmouth. Residents of the city had to vote for who they wanted as their saint and the choice was submitted to Sunderland City Council for approval. This week's ceremony was the first of a series of events marking the growing diversity of the faith communities in the city. St Benet's primary school in Sunderland, marked the occasion by asking Bishop Dunn to unveil a stained glass panel on Wednesday.
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