The Venerable Bede
Bede, also known as Saint Bede, Venerable Bede, or Bede the Venerable, was an English monk at the monastery of St. Peter and its companion monastery of St. Paul in the Kingdom of Northumbria of the Angles. He is well known as an author, teacher, and scholar, and his most famous work, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, or Ecclesiastical History of the English People, gained him the title "The Father of English History".
He was born in around 673, probably on lands belonging to the Monkwearmouth monastery and joined Abbot Ceolfrith at the Jarrow monastery at the age of 7. While he spent most of his life in the monastery, Bede travelled to several abbeys and monasteries across the British Isles, even visiting the archbishop of York and King Ceolwulf of Northumbria.
He completed An Ecclesiastical History of the English People in about 731 and was aided in writing in the task by Albinus, abbot of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. The book begins with some geographical background, and then sketches the history of England, beginning with Caesar's invasion in 55 BC and ends in he 730s, and includes an account of missionary work in Frisia, and of the conflict with the British church over the correct dating of Easter. Bede wrote a preface for the work, in which he dedicates it to Ceolwulf, king of Northumbria.
His ecumenical writings were extensive and included a number of Biblical commentaries and other theological works of exegetical erudition. Another important area of study for Bede was the academic discipline of computus, otherwise known to his contemporaries as the science of calculating calendar dates. One of the more important dates Bede tried to compute was Easter, an effort that was mired with controversy. He also helped establish the practice of dating forward from the birth of Christ, a practice which eventually became commonplace in medieval Europe.
Bede was also one of the greatest teachers and writers of the early Middle Ages and is considered by many historians to be the single most important scholar of antiquity for the period between the death of Pope Gregory I in 604 and the coronation of Charlemagne in 800.
He died on the 26th May 735 at Jarrow Monastery and became known as Venerable Bede by the 9th century. According to a legend the epithet was miraculously supplied by angels. By the 11th and 12th century, it had become commonplace. However, there are no descriptions of Bede by that term right after his death.
His body was 'translated' (the ecclesiastical term for relocation of relics) from Jarrow to Durham Cathedral around 1020, where it was placed in the same tomb with Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne. Later Bede's remains were moved to a shrine in the Galilee Chapel at Durham Cathedral in 1370. The shrine was destroyed during the English Reformation, but the bones were reburied in the chapel. In 1831 the bones were dug up and then reburied in a new tomb, which is still there.
His feast day was included in the General Roman Calendar in 1899, for celebration on 27 May rather than on his date of death, 26 May, which was then the feast day of Pope Saint Gregory VII. He is venerated in both the Anglican and Roman Catholic Church, with a feast day of 25 May, and in the Eastern Orthodox Church, with a feast day on 27 May.
This model was built by James Pegrum as part of a series of models on interesting events and people in British history. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see them first.
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