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St. Bede The Venerable: The Father of English Erudition

by: Russell Fleur F. Gallego

St. Bede is a Benedictine monk that is called as “the father of English erudition.” He died in the monastery at Jarrow, England and was named as the only Englishman to be a Doctor of the Church in 1879. His greatest work is the Ecclesiastical History of the English People.

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Bede was born in the region where the monastery is located and had been educated in the monastery since he was seven. He spent his whole life in that monastery and dedicated to study the Sacred Scriptures and the Fathers. He was a grammarian, naturalist, poet and theologian. He also composed the first martyrology. During the Carolingian Renaissance, he was considered the outstanding ecclesiastical author and was described by St. Boniface as “a light of the Church lit by the Holy Spirit.” Bede was in fact not only an erudite scholar, bur all of his study was directed to a better understanding of the Scripture, knowledge of the Church and participation in its mystery. He considered the wisdom of the Fathers of the Church to be a veritable treasure and he was so faithful in using their works and commenting on them that he was considered an authentic transmitter of the ancient tradition of the Church.

His death was peaceful and before he died, he distributed little gifts to the monks in accordance with monastic poverty. As for Bede, his words “it has ever been my delight to learn, to teach or to write,” had been a source of inspiration. The Council of Aachen bestowed the title “Venerable” on him. His feast day is every 25th of May.

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