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St. Chad in stained glass -  Nash Ford PublishingSt. Chad,
Bishop of Lichfield

(AD 623-672):
Training & Abbacy of Lastingham

St. Chad, or Ceadda, was the youngest of the four brothers: Cedd, Cynebil, Celin and Chad, all eminent priests. Despite attempts to claim him as both a Scottish and an Irish saint, he was certainly an Angle, born of noble parents in Northumbria around AD 623. Bede tells us that St. Chad, along with his elder brothers, was a pupil of St. Aidan at his Lindisfarne school. The bishop required the young men who studied with him to spend much time in reading Holy Writ and in learning, by heart, large portions of the Psalter, which they would require in their devotions. Upon the death of Aidan, in AD 651, the four young men were to Ireland to complete their training. The Emerald Isle was then full of men of learning and piety, and Chad, there, made the acquaintance of Egbert, afterwards Abbot of Iona.

Meanwhile, Chad's brother, Cedd, had returned to England and evangelised the East Saxons. In AD 658, at the request of King Aethelwald of Deira, he also established a monastery at Lastingham in Yorkshire, standing just on the edge of the North York Moors. Though often absent, he frequently returned thither from his London diocese and, at a time of the AD 664 plague, he died there. Upon his death-bed, Cedd bequeathed the care of the monastery to his brother, Chad, who was then still in Ireland.

On his return, St. Chad ruled the Lastingham Abbey with great care and prudence, and received all who sought his hospitality with kindness and humility. However, he arrived in Northumbria during a period of religious change and political upheaval. Having, at the Synod of Whitby, rejected the ways of the Irish Church in favour of those of Rome, the Northern diocese quickly found itself short of a Bishop. Eventually, the heavily pro-Roman and, therefore to some factions, unpopular St. Wilfred given the Northumbrian Bishopric which he transferred to York. Arrogant to the last, he insisted on being consecrated by true followers of the Roman rule, as only to be found in France and was absent some months.

Part 2: Episcopate of York


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