Today is the memorial of Saint Wilfrid, Abbot of Ripon, apostle of Sussex, Bishop of Leicester, and of Hexham, and twice Bishop of York, succeeding Paulinus and Chad. He retired to Ripon, died at Oundle (during a visit), but his relics were translated back to Ripon. His shrine and cult were maintained until 948 when King Eadred destroyed the cathedral, and the relics were translated to Canterbury. The photos above were taken during a visit to Ripon Cathedral in May 2011.
‘We looked on our holy bishop as a great man and a faithful servant of Christ, but our Lord, by the miracles worked on his behalf, made it known that he was no less than a saint living with him in glory. It happened one day that all the abbots came to Oundle to carry away the body in a carriage. Some of them wanted to wash the corpse and have it decently vested (as indeed was only right and proper) and obtained permission to do so. Abbot Bacula spread out his robe on the ground and the brethren laid the body on it. After the washing and vesting, which the abbots themselves performed, it was taken with great reverence to the place appointed. And lo, once again from over the monastery came the sound of birds alighting and taking off with a gentle, almost musical flapping of wings. The wisest members of the community were convinced that Michael had come with his choirs of angels to lead our bishop’s soul to Paradise. The washing had been done outside the monastery buildings in a tent put up for the purpose and the water had been emptied out in the same place. The monks erected a cross to mark the spot and many miracles were later performed there. Our monks wrapped up the holy remains in linen, placed them in a carriage, and brought it to Ripon, chanting as they came. The community came out with the holy relics to honour the cortège and hardly any of them managed to fight back his tears. They found voice, nonetheless, to sing the hymns and canticles for the reception of the corpse and let it into the basilica he himself had built and dedicated to Saint Peter. There he was buried with all honour in the seventy-sixth year of his age and the fortieth of his episcopate. Who can tell how many bishops, priests, and deacons he had consecrated and ordained or count the churches he has dedicated during all those years? His glory shall endure for ever’.
from The Life of Wilfrid by Eddius Stephanus (Stephen of Ripon), d.709
Almighty God, who didst call our forebears to the light of the Gospel by the preaching of thy servant Wilfrid: grant us, who keep his life and labour in remembrance, to glorify thy Name by following the example of his zeal and perseverance; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon