Oswald of Worcester

Oswald Of Worcester, an English prelate who flourished .in the second half of the 10th century, is noted as one of the principal advocates on English soil of the monastic associations. He was a nephew of Odo of Canterbury (q.v.), and was, like him, of Danish parentage, but of English birth. In his childhood he was placed under Fridegode (q.v.), and made great progress in profane as well as theological learning. His uncle then called him to Canterbury, and made him canon of the old minister. Oswald was, however, very restless in this position, having conceived a great preference for the monastic state, and finally passed over to France and joined the monks of Fleury. On the approach of Odo's death Oswald was sent for, but he reached England too late to see his uncle again. Oswald was, however, induced to remain in his native country, after he had returned to the Continent for a short stay with his kinsman Oskitel, and was honored by the English clergy with several rich benefices, and in 960 with the see of Worcester. In 972 he was still further recognized by being elevated to the archbishopric of York, retaining at the same time the bishopric of Worcester. Together with Dunstan and Ethelwald, Oswald now labored for the triumph of English monasticism. and at the different English councils advocated the abolition of a married clergy (see Lea, Hist. of Celibacy, p. 174; Hill, English

Monasticism, p. 162 sq.). Oswald died Feb. 28, 992. Four books have been attributed to Oswald, none of which are known to exist at present: a book of letters to his uncle Odo; a letter or treatise addressed to Abbo, beginning with the words "Praescientia Die monachus;" a book, Ad sanctos dum esset Floriaci, beginning with the words "Oswaldus supplex monachus;" and Stzatuta synodalia. The only ground for the first of these titles appears to be the statement of his biographers that, in answer to Odo's letter begging him to return to England, 'he wrote excuses for staying at Fleury. It is difficult to judge of the authenticity of the other three, since they rest on the simple statement of the old bibliographers. See Inett, Hist. of the English Church, vol. i; Wright, Biog. Brit. Literaria (Anglo-Saxon period), p. 462-467.

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