St Aidan

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Monk of Iona, first bishop and abbot of Lindisfarne. Born in Ireland, St Aidan came to England in the 7th century when King Oswald was living in exile with the monks at Iona, during the Mercian invasion. The King became Christian and when he regained his throne he gave Aidan the island of Lindisfarne, close to the royal palace of Bamburgh.

Aidan converted many people. He founded churches and monasteries, liberated Anglo Saxon slaves and educated them. Aidan had a reputation for living very modestly. After Oswald died Aidan supported King Oswin and the two became good friends. One day Oswin gave him a fine horse but he gave it away to a poor man almost immediately. During Lent he went on retreat to the Inner Farne Island. In 651, he saw Bamburgh being burnt by Fenda, another militant King of Mercia. He prayed successfully for the wind to change, but died later that year.

The Vikings sacked Lindisfarne in 793 and St Aidan was forgotten for a while, but in the 10th century the monks of Glastonbury obtained his supposed relics and his cult was revived.

Bede praised him for his eloquence, his prayerfulness, peaceful nature, humility and care of the sick and poor.

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