« Aichspalt Aidan, Saint Aiken, Charles Augustus »

Aidan, Saint

AIDAN, ai´dan, SAINT: First bishop of Lindisfarne; d. at Bamborough (on the coast of Northumberland, 16 m. s.e. of Berwick) Aug. 31, 651. When Oswald, king of Northumbria (634-642), wished to introduce Christianity into his dominions (see Oswald, Saint; Celtic Church in Britain and Ireland), he applied to Seghine, abbot of Iona, for missionaries, and a certain Corman was sent, who soon returned, declaring it was impossible to Christianize so rude a people. Aidan, then a monk of Iona, suggested that Corman had failed to adapt his teaching to their needs and had expected too much, forgetting the Apostle’s injunction of “milk for babes.” Whereupon Aidan was at once ordained and sent to Oswald in Corman’s place (635). He established himself on the island of Lindisfarne, near Bamborough, brought fellow workers from Ireland, and founded a school of twelve English boys to provide future priests. Consistently exemplifying in his daily life the doctrines he taught, he gained great influence with Oswald and, after his death, with Oswin, king of Deira, while the people were won by his mildness, humility, and benevolence. He could not preach in the Saxon language at first and Oswald acted as interpreter. His work in Northumbria was continued by Finan. All information about Aidan comes from Bede (Hist. eccl., iii. 3, 5-17, 26), who praises him and tells marvelous stories about him.

Bibliography: J. H. A. Ebrard, Die iroschottische Missionskirche, Gütersloh, 1873; A. C. Fryer, Aidan, the Apostle of the North, London, 1884; J. B. Lightfoot, Leaders in the Northern Church, ib. 1890; W. Bright, Early English Church History, 153-168, 188-189, Oxford, 1897.

« Aichspalt Aidan, Saint Aiken, Charles Augustus »
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