Who Was St. Aidan?

In 634, king Oswald of the English kingdom of Northumbria sent to the famed Irish monastery of Iona for them to send a bishop who could labor to restore Christianity in his kingdom. St. Aidan is credited with the success of that mission. The first person sent to King Oswald met little success due to his harsh and demanding approach, and when he returned to Iona, Aidan proposed that perhaps it was better to lead people to grow in Christ more gently. The rest of the monastery agreed, and ordained Aidan a bishop and sent him to do the work in Northumbria.

Upon arriving, Aidan set up a monastery on the island of Lindisfarne for he and his monks, but Aidan himself was not often there. Instead, he was often on the road, traveling on foot, encouraging those he met who were already Christians, and urging those who were not to receive baptism. When given gifts from the wealthy, Aidan would turn and give that money to the poor, or use it to purchase slaves who he then set free.

Aidan is recognized as a saint for his holy life, love for God and people, and for his zeal in proclaiming the gospel through word and acts of mercy to restore Christianity among a people for whom it was lost. For these reasons, St. Aidan is the patron of our congregation, and a model towards which we aspire.

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