Preaching with the Northern Saints
PREACHING WITH THE NORTHERN SAINTS
Rosalind BrownMaterial from the July 2011 Lincoln Diocese Pilgrimage to Durham
Bede tells the story that when the first missionary from Iona was sent to Northumberland at the request of King Oswald they sent a man of austere disposition. After some time, having met "with no success in his preaching to the English, who refused to listen to him, he retuned home and reported to his superiors that he had been unable to achieve anything by teaching to the nation to whom they had sent him, because they were an ungovernable people of an obstinate and barbarous temperament."
At this point Bede tells us that Aidan said to the priests who had been unsuccessful, "Brother, it seems to me that you were to severe on your ignorant hearers. You should have followed the practice of the Apostles and begun by giving them the milk of simpler teaching, and gradually nourished them with the word of God until they were capable of greater perfection and able to follow the loftier precepts of Christ."
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