Silent Sunday…… So Off to Church

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Lindisfarne Priory, Holy Island, Northumberland

 

It is on a tiny Island, to become known as Holy Island, that King Oswald of Northumberland directed that a Monastery be built. He had already summoned Saint Aidan to travel from Iona to found a Celtic Christian community…this was in 635ad.

Lindisfarne as it was called became a powerful and influential Religious Centre.  It was Saint Aidan who took the challenge forward but there after he was followed by Cuthbert,  Eadfrith of Lindisfarne and then Eadberht of Lindisfarne.

The history is quite involved, so if you are really keen I suggest you read further, maybe the English Heritage site. Here is a very brief overview. It was 670 that Cuthbert joined the Monastic community.  He soon became both influential and also divisive. Perhaps it was after his death in 687 that his spiritual powers started to become part of the legend that is Lindisfarne. He was buried in a stone tomb within the Priory.  Then some 11 years later, in 689, he was exhumed…. his body had not decade and a ‘miracle’ of Saintly proportions was declared.  Instead of a reburial a Shrine was erected in the Priory which soon became a place of Pilgrimage  and Religious Fame.

From 710 to 725, Lindisfarne continue to grow in Monastic importance, a place of religious education and study…. most notably the publication of the Lindisfarne Gospels, still considered one of the most important Religious Writings.

Soon all fell apart when the first major Viking Invasion on mainland Britain occurred. Destruction and plunder followed. The Monks had foresight and removed Cuthbert’s remains to safety,  travelling across the north of England to keep one step ahead of any pursuit.

Peace of sorts returned shortly after 1069 and Cuthbert’s remains  were returned and by 1122 a Monastery under the guidance of Durham Cathedral was re-established.

Of course Religious buildings were never totally secure.  Lindisfarne suffered in the ‘Border Wars’ and of course in the Abolition Orders.

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I should add as a footnote that Holy Island is a rather enchanting place.  Assessable only at low tide via a causeway, surrounded by the North Sea.  There is a Castle of much more modern date than the Priory and a small community that gets engulfed by hundreds of visitors every low tide.

But for me I have always founded it to have both a special feel, peace and having very special light.

10th February

(C) David Oakes 2019

 

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12 thoughts on “Silent Sunday…… So Off to Church

    • Hi Sue…. Do you know the Northumberland Coast ? If so you will know just how beautiful (and at times and places wild) it is. But Holy Island is extra special. The pics in todays blog were all taken in mid September. I have though visited at other times of the year. The weather has been mixed but I have never experienced the worst that the North Sea can throw at it. But even when the weather is at its best the light is very different from the mainland. The Castle I mention is National Trust, The Priory English Heritage. There is a little fishing harbour and rather unique buildings. Apart from the village the rest I just a haven for wildlife. I guess it is crossing the mile long causeway that makes it all the more exciting. (put it at the top of your list)

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