Benedict, Biscop, St

Benedict, Biscop, St.

was born of noble parents in Northumberland about the year 628. He was originally bred to the profession of arms, and served under king Oswy, who made him his minister, with an estate suited to his rank; but at the age of twenty-five he took leave of the court, and made a voyage to Rome, and upon his return home devoted himself to study and exercises of piety. About six years afterward he again traveled to Rome with Alfred, king Oswy's son, and subsequently retired into the monastery of Lerins in France, where he took the vows. Having spent two years in this retirement, he returned to England, upon occasion of Theodore's journey thither, who had been nominated to the see of Canterbury, and upon his arrival was made abbot of St. Augustine's at Canterbury. In 671 we find him again at Rome, when he brought back to England many liturgical works. Soon after this, i.e. in 674, he retired into the county of Northumberland, and there founded the monastery of St. Peter at Weremouth, and, ten years later, that of St. Paul at Jarrow. After this he again visited Rome and many of the Italian monasteries, seemingly for the purpose of collecting books, etc., and learning the customs and discipline of those houses. He is also said to have introduced into England the Gregorian method of chanting, and for that purpose to have brought with him from Rome the abbot John, precentor of St. Peter's. During the last years of his life Benedict was afflicted with palsy, and to such an extent that his body was quite deprived of all power of motion. In this state he continued for about three years, and died on the 14th of January, 690. He wrote a "Treatise on the Method of Celebrating Festivals," and some other liturgical works, which are lost. — Bede, Vita Beatorum Abbatum; Landon, Eccl. Dict. 2, 235; Hook, Eccl. Biog. 2, 256.

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