Preface of a Saint (1)
[Common of a Monastic or Professed Religious]
[Common of a Theologian and Teacher]
[Of the Incarnation]
PRAYERS (traditional language)
O God of peace, by whose grace the abbess Hilda was endowed with gifts of justice, prudence, and strength to rule as a wise mother over the nuns and monks of her household: Raise up these gifts in us, that we, following her example and prayers, might build up one another in love to the benefit of thy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
PRAYERS (contemporary language)
O God of peace, by whose grace the abbess Hilda was endowed with gifts of justice, prudence, and strength to rule as a wise mother over the nuns and monks of her household: Raise up these gifts in us, that we, following her example and prayers, may build up one another in love to the benefit of your Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
This commemoration appears in Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2018 with revised lessons and collects.
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Last updated: 22 Sept. 2018
HILDA OF WHITBY
ABBESS AND PEACEMAKER (18 NOV 680)
Hilda (known in her own century
as "Hild") was the grandniece of King Edwin (see 12 Oct) of Northumbria,
a kingdom of the Angles. She was born in 614 and baptized in 627 when
the king and his household became Christians. In 647 she decided to become
a nun, and under the direction of Aidan (see 31 Aug) she established several
monasteries. Her last foundation was at Whitby. It was a double house:
a community of men and another of women, with the chapel in between, and
Hilda as the governor of both; and it was a great center of English learning,
one which produced five bishops (during Hilda's lifetime or that of the
Abbey?). Here a stable-boy, Caedmon, was moved to compose religious poems
in the Anglo-Saxon tongue, most of them metrical paraphrases of narratives
from Genesis and the Gospels.
|Ruins of Whitby
Abbey (built long after Hilda's time). [Photo
The Celtic peoples of Britain had heard the Gospel well before 300 AD,
but in the 400's and 500's a massive invasion of Germanic peoples (Angles,
Jutes, and Saxons) forced the native Celts out of what is now England and
into Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. The invaders were pagans, and missionaries
were sent to them in the north and west by the Celts, and in the south
and east by Rome and other churches on the continent of Europe.
Roman and Celtic traditions differed, not in doctrine, but on such questions
as the proper way of calculating the date of Easter, and the proper style
of haircut and dress for a monk. It was, in particular, highly desirable
that Christians, at least in the same area, should celebrate Easter at
the same time; and it became clear that the English Church would have to
choose between the old Celtic customs which it had inherited from before
300, and the customs of continental Europe and in particular of Rome that
missionaries from there had brought with them. In 664 the Synod of Whitby
met at that monastery to consider the matter, and it was decided to follow
Hilda herself greatly preferred the Celtic customs in which she had been
reared, but once the decision had been made she used her moderating influence
in favor of its peaceful acceptance. Her influence was considerable; kings
and commoners alike came to her for advice. She was urgent in promoting
the study of the Scriptures and the thorough education of the clergy.
She died 17 November 680.
by James Kiefer