Birinus Saint

Birinus Saint the first bishop of the West Saxons, is said by Bede (Hist. Eccl. 3, 7) to have undertaken, by the advice of pope Honorius, the conversion of the interior of England, and for this work was consecrated by Asterius, bishop of Genoa. He landed in Wessex in 634, and, finding the people to be heathen, decided to stay and preach among them. The king, Cynegils, was one of his first converts, and under his protection and that of Oswald of Northumbria he fixed his see at Dorchester, Oxfordshire, on the border of Wessex and Mercia. The latter kingdom, then under Penda, afforded a field for his missionary labors. He died in or about 650, and was buried at Dorchester. His remains were translated by bishop Haedde to Winchester about 686, and he is commemorated Dec. 3. The Winchester historians add that he was a Benedictine monk of the monastery of St. Andrew at Rome, that he dedicated the Church of the Holy Trinity, Winchester, in the twelfth year of his pontificate, and died in the fourteenth. The canons of Dorchester claimed his relics, asserting that Birinus had never been translated. The parish of Kilbirnie, Scotland, is named from St. Birinus, but no fair marks his day. There is a Kilbirnie Loch at the west end of the parish of Beith; and the parish Dumbarne. probably takes its name from this saint. See Forbes, Kal. Scott. Saints, p. 279 sq.

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