Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Saint Chad (Caedda), bishop of Mercia (Lichfield)

St. Chad was the youngest of four brothers, Cedd, Cynebil, Celin and Chad, all eminent priests 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 reading Holy Scripture and learning, by heart, large portions of the Psalter.
Upon the death of St. Aidan, in AD 651, the four young men went to Ireland to complete their training. Whilst there, Chad met Egbert, later 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 built a monastery at Lastingham on the North York Moors. Though often absent, he frequently returned there 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.
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. When 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 pro-Roman St. Wilfred was 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, at that time only to be found in France and so was absent some months.


The following year (AD 665), while St. Wilfred was still abroad, King Oswiu of Northumbria became impatient for some religious guidance in his kingdom and St. Chad was duly consecrated Bishop of York in Dorchester Cathedral.
He travelled about his new diocese on foot, preaching the gospel, according to the example of both St. Aidan and his late brother, Cedd. Wilfred returned to England in AD 666 and quietly retired to his Abbey at Ripon. Three years later, Theodore of Tarsus, a new Archbishop arrived in Canterbury. He charged Chad with holding an uncanonical office and the northern prelate humbly replied that if this were true, he would willingly resign for he never thought himself worthy of the position and had consented out duty. Theodore was so moved that he completed Chad's ordination himself. Chad still preferred to resign in favour of Wilfred and retired to Lastingham. Though Chad was Bishop of York for so short a time, he left his mark on the affections of the people and at least one chantry was dedicated in his name at York Minster.
The King of Mercia gave him land for a monastery at Lichfield. Chad travelled great distances and carried out much pastoral work. He was devout, humble and laid much emphasis on prayer and study of the scriptures.
His exploits were known throughout all Mercia, St. Chad was known to have retired, from time to time, to the bottom of a small well where he could contemplate and "pray without ceasing." The people would say that they knew when St. Chad was in his well, "a light like that of the sun, would shine from the bottom of the well." St. Chad was seen in the uncreated light by countless many. His humble prayers could easily cure illnesses and demonic possession. A gifted man of prayer he was also a source of forgiveness even to those who would seek his destruction.
King Wulfere was a pagan, but also a good statesman. He used Christianity to control his subjects, he secretly despised the Faith. One day, the sons of Wulfere, Princes Wulfade and Ruffin were out hunting a dear near the saint's cell, when they approached the saint and asked about "the One called Jesus". So struck by the holy elder's words they both asked to be immediately baptised into Christ's holy Church. Wulfere, so enraged by the actions of his sons, killed them with his own hands. Afterwards, filled with such remorse the King suffered in both body and spirit by the loss of his children. He was counselled by his queen to ask the holy elder to forgive him and to hear his confession. As he approached the holy hierarch's cell he was witness to a great sight, the uncreated light of Tabor that shown upon the saint's visage. The king fell down in prostrate and begged his forgiveness and to truly bring him into the Orthodox Christian faith. As a penance for the murder of his children, the saint told him to build churches and monasteries in the name of Jesus Christ. He did so, and up until the end of the saint's earthly life, King Wulfere remained a humble servant of the holy elder.
Owini, a novice monk under St. Chad's care, was working alone in the fields near Chad's residence. When he heard the sound of singing, apparently descending from the sky to the rectory where the saint was praying. The angelic chanting could be heard for half an hour before returning heavenwards. Chad then summoned his monks and, after urging them to live good Christian lives and to continue in keeping the rules of monastic discipline, announced that he would soon die. When the other fathers had gone away, Owini returned to Chad and begged to know what the singing had been that he had heard. St. Chad replied that he had been visited by angelic hosts summoning him to heaven and that the angels would return in seven days to take him to heaven. He then commanded the young monk to tell no one of this until after his death.
Bede goes on to tell us that he was called "saint" immediately after his death. Miracles and cures of all ailments occurred at the place of his death, his reliquary, his well and anywhere his holy relics travelled. He died in 672 on the 2nd of March. Chad was buried at the Church of St Mary, which later became part of Lichfield Cathedral. His feast day is on 2nd March.[1]



2 comments:

  1. Χαίρεται. Διαχειρίζομαι ένα ιστολόγιο σχετικό με την Ορθόδοξη Βρετανική-Κελτική Εκκλησία. Δείτε εδώ: http://orthodoxy-rainbow.blogspot.gr/

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  2. Ευχαριστώ για το μήνυμά σας...Πολύ Ενδιαφέρον!

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