The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation

By Bede | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII.
HOW THE POST OF THE CHURCH ON WHICH BISHOP AIDAN WAS
LEANING WHEN HE DIED, COULD NOT BE BURNT WHEN THE
REST OF THE CHURCH WAS CONSUMED BY FIRE; AND OF HIS
INWARD LIFE.

Aidan was in the king's country-house, not far from the city of which we have spoken above, at the time when death separated him from his body, after he had been bishop seventeen years; for having a church and a chamber there, he was wont often to go and stay there, and to make excursions to preach in the country round about, which he likewise did at other of the king's country seats, having nothing of his own besides his church and a few fields about it. When he was sick they set up a tent for him close to the wall at the west end of the church, by which means it happened that he gave up the ghost, leaning against a post that was on the outside to strengthen the wall. He died in the seventeenth year of his episcopacy, the day before the kalends of September. His body was thence translated to the isle of Lindisfarn, and buried in the church-yard belonging to the brethren. Some time after, when a larger church was built there, and dedicated in honour of the most blessed prince of the apostles, his bones were translated thither, and deposited on the right hand of the altar, with the respect due to so great a prelate. Finan, who had likewise come from the same monastery of Hii in the Scottish island, succeeded him, and continued a considerable time in the bishopric. It happened some years after, that Penda, king of the Mercians, coming into these parts with a hostile army, destroyed all he could with fire and sword, and burned down the village and church above-mentioned, where the bishop died; but it fell out in a wonderful manner that the post, which he had leaned upon when he died,

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