Wilfrid (Wilferder), Saint

Wilfrid (Wilferder), Saint is the name of four English bishops.

1. Bishop OF YORK (which was no longer an archbishopric after the death of Paulinus; see Fuller, Church Hist. of Britain, 1, 217). This celebrated man was born of noble parents in Northumberland, in A.D. 634. Having lost his mother in his fourteenth year, he entered a Scottish convent on the island of Lindisfarne, but afterwards resolved to study the Church and monasticism at Rome. He went thither by way of Canterbury and Lyons, and arrived in 654. From 655 to 658 he was at Lyons, and there received the tonsure at the hands of his friend, the archbishop Dalfin. He returned to England, and gained the favor of Oswy, king of Northumberland, being made tutor to the prince Alchfrid (664) and receiving the abbey of Inrhypum (Ripon). At this time a synod was assembled at Streneshale (Whitly, in Yorkshire) to discuss the Easter and the tonsure controversies, and Wilfrid succeeded in determining it to approve the usages of Rome, in consequence of which he was appointed in 665 to the then vacant see of York, and sent to archbishop Agilbert of Paris for consecration. During his absence, Ceadda (St. Chad) was ordained bishop of York at Canterbury, and Wilfrid therefore retired to-his monastery of Ripon until archbishop Theodore transferred Ceadda to Mercia (Lichfield) and restored York to Wilfrid, after which he exercised jurisdiction over the whole of Northumberland He lost the royal favor, however, in 673, by assisting queen Ethelrida to take the veil, and he was thereupon deposed and his diocese divided into three parts. He appealed to the pope, and started for Rome to plead his own cause in A.D. 678; and being driven out of his course by a storm, he carried the Gospel to the Frisians, converted many, and baptized their king, Aldegils. On his arrival at Rome, pope Agatho restored him to his bishopric, but directed that the more distant parts of his see should be erected into separate dioceses. King Egfrid threw him into prison, however, on his return to England, regardless of the justification of his cause pronounced by the pope; and he was eventually obliged to seek an asylum among the heathen people of Sussex. This banishment was utilized, however, for successful missionary labors. King Edilwalch received baptism, and evangelists were sent to the Isle of Victa (Wight), who labored with gratifying success. In 686, Alchfrid, Wilfrid's former pupil, having obtained the crown, the exiled bishop was recalled but again deposed in 692 on a charge of disobedience to the authority of Canterbury. He once more appealed to the pope from his banishment in Mercia, and at the age of seventy years undertook a journey to Rome that he might obtain justice (703 or 704). The conclave decided that Wilfrid's opponents-were base calumniators, and instructed the king to restore him to his see. While returning through Gaul, Wilfrid fell sick (705), and had a vision-in which the angel Gabriel revealed that the prayers of Wilfrid's pupils had obtained for him restoration to health, the recovery of part of his diocese, and four years of life. The king refused, on his arrival in England to obey the papal order, but died soon afterwards, and his successor, Osred, restored the see. Wilfrid died, "after four years," Oct. 12, 709, having held the bishopric during forty-four years. His remains were interred at Ripon, but ultimately at Canterbury. His importance, aside from his missionary character, lies in his association with Theodore of Canterbury as principal supporter of the papal authority and Romish customs in England The following writings are attributed to him, but without full proof of authenticity:. De Catholico Celebrando Paschali Ritu:De Regulis Monachorum, etc. See Heddius, Vitaa Wilfridi; Bede, Hist. Eccles. 3-5, ed. Stevenson; Roger de Wendover, Chronica sive Flores Historiarum, vol. 1, ed. Coxe; Lingard, Hist. of England, 5th ed. 1, 122 sq.; William of Malmesbury, De Gest. Pontif. 3, 152; id. De Gest. Reg. 1, 3; Godwin, De Praesul. Angl. p. 654; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.

2. Bishop of BEVERLY and archbishop of York (Wilfridus Junior), a contemporary of Bede (Hist. Eccles. 5, 5, 23; see also Roger de Wendover, ut sup. 1, 213, 227; and Sachsenchronik).

3. Bishop OF WORCESTER at the beginning of the 8th century. See Anglia Sacra, 1, 470; Roger de Wendover, ut sup. 1, 205; Bede, Hist. Eccles. 5, 23.

4. Archbishop OF CANTERBURY, 806 et sq., died 829 or 832. See Roger de Wendover, ut sup. 1, 270; also Sachsenchronik.

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