St Aidan was born in Ireland and became a monk on the Island of Iona. When King Oswald of Northumbria invited missionaries to preach the Gospel in his kingdom, Aidan was sent. 

He established a monastery on the island of Lindisfarne which became the centre of missionary activity in the north of England. It also became a valuable centre of learning and an important training ground for those who would continue the work of evangelisation. 

Aidan was consecrated a bishop and made Lindisfarne his headquarters. He worked with King Oswald and often travelled with him on missionary journeys, the king acting as interpreter, for at first Aidan was not able to speak the Northumbrian dialect. 

Bede described Aidan as “a man of remarkable gentleness, goodness and moderation, zealous for God“. 

Oswald’s death in battle was a great blow to Aidan, but his successor, King Oswin, was equally dear to him. After Oswin’s murder Aidan only survived a fortnight, dying it is said of a broken heart at Bamburgh on 31 August 651.

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St Aidan

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