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A page of the Vita Sancti Wilfrithi

Wilfrid (c. 633 – c. 709) was an English bishop. The abbot of a monastery at Ripon, he advocated the Roman method for calculating the date of Easter at the Synod of Whitby in 664 and was appointed Bishop of Northumbria as a result. After Wilfrid quarrelled with Ecgfrith, the Northumbrian king, Theodore of Tarsus (the Archbishop of Canterbury) implemented some reforms in the diocese despite Wilfrid's opposition. Pope Agatho ruled in Wilfrid's favour, but Ecgfrith imprisoned Wilfrid before exiling him. Aldfrith, Ecgfirth's successor, allowed Wilfrid to return, but later expelled him. Wilfrid again appealed to Rome, and eventually regained possession of his Northumbrian monasteries. After Wilfrid's death, he was venerated as a saint. His followers commissioned a Life of Wilfrid (page from an 11th-century copy pictured), and the medieval historian Bede also wrote extensively about him. Wilfrid lived ostentatiously and claimed to be the first Englishman to introduce the Rule of Saint Benedict into English monasteries. Some modern historians see him as a champion of Roman customs against those of the British and Irish churches, others as an advocate for monasticism. (Full article...)

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